Working in the photography industry is a fantastic gig – there's no denying it. Something about being around creative people and being able to be creative yourself is just unmatchable. But sometimes, it's obviously difficult for others to realise that a photographer is a professional too and deserves professional respect. Here are a few common situations when that can be a little irritating for a photographer.
Friends Will Work for Free – The ridiculousness of asking your accountant friend to do your tax for you for free is readily apparent to most people. So is getting your dentist friend to do a bit of free root canal work. For some reason, that doesn't extend to photographers. This one seems to be unique to photographers too.
Better Equipment Means Better Photographs – When a painter comes up with a fantastic painting, do you say, “Wow, you must have a great brush and paints!” This is a pet irritation of a lot of photographers. If you really think that it takes an expensive rig to take a great photograph, then you need to check out what can be done with the humble iPhone.
My Brother Can Shoot the Wedding – Well, your brother probably can take photographs at the wedding. Just like he can do your tax. Or fix your car. Of course if you want your car to keep going, or avoid getting slammed by the IRS, then you might like to get a professional to look at your tax return and car. Just like you might like to check out some professionals if you want good wedding photographs.
They Have No Right to Shoot X – The truth is that if a photographer is in a public space in most western countries then they can shoot just about anything. That includes you, security guards, police, children, your house – anything. If they are on private property, then it's different, but in public there is usually no legal expectation of privacy. (Check the laws in your own country for specifics). That's not to say they shouldn't be polite, but rights are a whole different issue to manners.
If It's a Striking Photograph, It Must be Photoshopped – A talented photographer knows that getting an image right “in camera” is the best way to end up with a great result. Many are actually very good at it and get stunning images before they get anywhere near a computer. That is what makes them good at their craft. That is why they study. That is why they practice.
They'll Be Grateful for the Work and Work Cheap – This one again goes back to professional respect. You don't ask your dentist for a discount. You don't ask your child's teacher to throw in Maths and Science, but don't charge you for geography. You don't ask your waiter to throw in dessert for free. So don't do this to a photographer. If you cannot pay for the service, then don't ask for it.
I Know a Guy Who Can Do It Much Cheaper – Yes, yes, everybody knows a friend of a friend who can do the photography job for a third of the cost. The kicker is that a photography business is an expensive one to run and you get what you pay for. If you're happy enough to risk your cheap shooter, then go for it. Just don't use it as a cheap bargaining ploy when you're talking to a professional.
Here's a great little video that we found on John Dowling's photography blog that you might like to watch so you can really see the ridiculousness of some of these situations.