10 Things Not to Say to a Photographer

Nikon CameraWhen I was 6 years old, I received a camera for my birthday. Now, to be clear, this was a Fisher-Price camera meant for a child. It was made of blue plastic with black rubber bumpers lest it be dropped by said child.

It required little film cartridges and huge flashbulbs to work, and I adored it. It was the start, you might say, of a life-long adventure from behind the lens. Taking photos comes second only to writing as far as my passions go.

I have long taken photos to go beside my stories for this newspaper, shot weddings, babies, proms and more.

To say I love it is an understatement.

But folks, I’ve got to be honest with you for just a second. Photographers love what they do; but we just don’t always love the people we deal with.

Hold up now, don’t get huffy. It’s not all people we dislike! It’s just the people who seem to equate what we in our 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond are doing with professional cameras with the same sort of photography I was doing with that Fisher-Price.

More From Inside Out: Why This Photographer Says ‘No’ to Celebrity Kids

Don’t want to drive a photographer – whether it’s at a wedding or at a news event – up the wall? How about striking the following from your conversation list:

1. “Your camera takes really good pictures.” Yeah, it was all the camera; I had nothing to do with it.
2. “I have a friend who edits photos; you can just give me all your images and knock a few hundred bucks off the price.” Why don’t you go ask your friend how they’d feel about someone else editing THEIR photos?
3. “My iPhone takes really good pictures.” Think about it.
4. “I’m inviting you to my daughter’s birthday party; don’t forget your camera!” I love taking photos of my friends’ life events … but I also love actually letting my hair down once in awhile and enjoying myself. If you want me to work, hows about throwing a little money my way?
5. “You’re putting this in the paper, right?” If you’d asked me that a few days ago, I could have checked with my editor, but you just had to put me on the spot, didn’t you?
6. “You’re going to have to hand over your camera since you just took my photo without my permission (in a public place).” Actually, New York State law is on my side here. If you’re in a public place, a photojournalist (or anyone!) can take your photo without asking. If you really don’t want to see it in the paper, how about asking nicely? You’ll attract more flies with sugar than vinegar!
7. “My kid takes really good pictures.” Maybe they do, but what’s your point?
8. “Can you Photoshop off 40 pounds?” OK if you’re kidding, but if you’re not, remember I’m a photographer, not a miracle worker.
9. “Can you leave your watermark off the photos?” Sure! Can you hand over the pin to your ATM card?
10. “I want to do exactly what you do in the same exact area; can you tell me how?” Oh sure, I’ll also hand over my mortgage bill and car loan bills so you can pay them!

Photographers, chime in! What else would you add to the list?


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