It’s a busy season right now, it’s that time where everyone is excited and buzzing and ready for family portraits and holiday family pictures! Right now, the industry is saturated with photographers and that is amazing because it means two really important things: first EVERYONE knows and is probably really great friends with a photographer! Second, as a perspective client you get to choose the right photographer for you… win win win all around!
Today, I’m going to share with you and talk with you about the first topic and it’s kind of a really hard topic for most photographers. It’s that friend zone. Everyone has a hard time when it comes to being in the “friend zone” and it’s why this is probably going to be a controversial blog topic. When it comes to being friends with a photographer you usually fall into two categories (and I’m just being honest here) those that totally respect that you are running a small business and those that are a little hazy on the idea.
Here’s the thing, we LOVE you and we respect you but there are some things that we need you to know. Some things that we want to say to you but we are either a little too scared, or maybe we just don’t know how to say them, or maybe we just aren’t sure what will happen to our friendship if we do let these feelings out. So here are 10 things that as a photographer and a friend we want you to know but are just too afraid to tell you…
- This is our business and we are supporting our family, so we want and need you to pay us! Unless we work out a deal that is initiated by us (like a family/friend discount) it is a huge sign that you respect us and our work by offering to pay us our full price amount! You would never go to your dentist’s office even if you were BFF and expect them to give you dental care for free or for half price! So it hurts our feelings when you openly expect us to work for you for free! It says that you don’t respect not only our art but also our time and that is especially valuable as most of us have families!
- When you talk about how we have amazing camera’s! There is soo much more to a great image than the camera! As photographers we spend countless hours learning our craft! We learn how to take our camera’s OFF it’s automatic setting and work it in manual mode so that we are telling the camera what WE want it to do. That is why so many photographer’s have different styles. We work with the light, seeking out the best, soft light so that you look amazing and your eyes sparkle with beautiful catch lights. When we come home from the session we use editing software so we can achieve just the right look and feel of the evening! It’s so much more than just the hour we spend with you! It’s that hour plus hours (yes multiple sometimes) AFTER as we go through each image one by one making sure you only get the best of the best. And there’s even more after all that but that would take up so much time, it’s another blog post for sure! Think of it this way: you would never go to a 5 star restaurant and tell the chef, WOW you have a great oven/stove! That’s why your food is so amazing! It’s the same thing with the camera. Or tell a painter Oh my gosh, your brushes must be the BEST! Our camera’s are NOT what is making the images look great. It’s just my tool.
- Please don’t make fun of my pricing! Most photographers have spent time coming up with that exact number by detailing the cost it takes to run their business. It’s not a random number and what we take home to our families is not what you would expect. It is expensive to run a photography business and one that is of the quality that you expect and deserve! At the end of the day, the breakdown is something like this: we pay monthly fee’s for our website, our blogs, our editing software, our booking software (contracts, invoicing, etc) , those beautiful galleries you receive, packaging and gifting, and that is for a basic portrait photographer like me! If you are working with a wedding photographer the monthly fee’s can keep going! I know that when you see a price point higher than a mini session, at first it looks steep and ridiculous! But, now that you know what you are getting in return: a quality photographer who has spent a lot of their own time and money on education, quality equipment (which we won’t even talk about how expensive that is) and has all their ducks in a row when it comes to their presentation (monthly fee’s) you can start to understand why that price point is there! Also, please remember: you get what you pay for!
- Please don’t bash yourself! You are my friend, so it hurts ME when you bash yourself and engage in negative talk! We all have certain things we might not like about ourselves but friend you need to get yourself in the photo and realize that you still look amazing! You also need to realize that those “traits or characteristics” are what make you unique or are just a part of who you are at this stage in your life! When you look back at these images 10 years from now, you won’t care so much about those specific things (gosh you may not even notice) but you will care about being in the images with you family. You will care about those precious moments you can’t get back again because the children are all grown up! You have to know that our children see us through this beautiful love light. We are the most beautiful and most incredible people they know. That is unconditional love. And friend, I see you that way too! I wish you could see yourself this way! I wish for one second you could see yourself the way I see you, because it has nothing to do with your physical attributes! It has everything to do with who you are on the inside and how that translates to your outside… and friend, it is beautiful!
- Your session means AS much to me as it does to you! I get nervous before your session. I do! It doesn’t matter how many sessions I’ve done, or how long I’ve been in business or how many times I’ve shot at this same location. I get nervous because I want your session to be perfect and I want to NAIL IT because you are my friend! I want and I need to capture your family the way that you see them everyday. The way that I see them when our kids play together. I KNOW you and I know your kids so if I can’t capture them, then I freak out… on the inside. I will also relive this again and again for hours as I go through each image culling and editing. So if this session was cheerful, joyful and playful then I will laugh and giggle and be madly happy! But if it was tense and riddled with anxiety, then I will feel like I failed you. Trust me, your session is just as important to me as it is to you!
- Show up on time! Hey, I get it.. a few minutes late is no big deal, especially if you have a family! Sometimes we just can’t get everyone out the door and in once piece to save our lives, but showing up 30 minutes to an hour late is just not acceptable! This goes back to respecting our time. You are our friend and we love to hang with you but waiting around for you, it stinks. We could be with our own family. We could have booked another session. Also, we booked you at this time because of the light, so the more minutes that pass by the less time we have before we lose the light completely and have to pack up and go home! So please, let’s do us all a favor and show up on time or as close time as you can so we can respect both of our time and get as much shooting time as possible! Whew that was a lot of “time!”
- No we can’t photoshop everything out! There are some things that can and need to be taken out of an image, things that are distracting or shouldn’t normally be there! But no I’m not going to photoshop hair on your head (sorry husband!!) No I won’t photoshop braces off. These things are part of who you are in this moment and like I said earlier in number 4, in 10, 15, 20 years, you will look back and appreciate some of them! If it’s something that is temporary like a bruise, or a boo boo then yes of course. But let’s be real friends!
- We do this job because it’s our passion, but it’s also our job so sometimes I leave the camera at home! Let’s be honest, I usually have my camera with me. It’s semi attached to my hand at all times, especially if I have my kiddo with me; but there are times when I just need a break to live in the moment and be a mom. Sometimes I just want to go to an event and enjoy it without taking pictures so please don’t be offended if I don’t take pictures at your kids birthday party or your social event. Please don’t expect me to capture a few “snap shots” every time we are together with my good camera because just like you leave work, I sometimes need to leave work too!
- We wait on pins and needles for your feedback! As soon as we send out that gallery to you, we wait on tenterhooks for your feedback (and we are notified every single time you look at that gallery). It KILLS us when you don’t say a word about those images. We pour over those photos, each and every one, and it hurts our feelings BIG TIME when you don’t take the time to say whether you loved them, liked them or even give us a thank you! We agonize over whether it was a job well done and to be honest, as friends, it effects how we preform on our next session with you! For me, it effects how I am around you even the next time we hang out. It matters to me a lot whether you loved those images, so please take the time to let me know and absolutely take the time to say Thank You!
- Pinterest is wonderful, we like it too, but PLEASE don’t ask us to re-create down to the exact pixel an image you found on there! We love pinterest as much as the next person, in fact pinterest is great for our business! We have boards that showcase our work, we have boards that showcase styling and what to wear for all the different sessions we shoot! Heck, we even have boards (some might be secret) for inspirations when we go out on sessions; but we cringe when you show up with an entire pinterest board of shots you want us to re-create exactly with no room for creativity or our own style. That’s so not cool ya’ll. To put it simply that’s copying another photographers work and there is a reason we don’t like it! There is a specific reason that photo “worked” and that’s because of one of two reasons: 1. It was in the moment and you just can’t re-create that! No amount of staging or forcing will capture that “spark” that you are feeling from that image. It won’t work! It was in the moment for that particular family, couple or child and that’s why you feel what you are feeling! So let’s try to put our own spin on it and make it uniquely yours and in YOUR moment! 2. It was a pre-planned vision of that particular photographer for that particular couple/family/child with their own magic in mind! It was designed for their personality and unique character traits! So instead of trying to re-create something that was meant for someone else, let’s create something similar but with YOU and YOUR unique magic, character and personality traits in mind. Do you see the common theme? These photos work because they are unique to that specific client or environment. So please, trust me and let’s create something similar but let’s put our own unique stamp on it! Let’s make it work for US!
A photo session should be fun for everyone, especially if your friend is the one photographing you! That’s a huge bonus because not only are you getting a great photographer but you have the respect and rapport with them to capture truly authentic images that you know you are going to love!
At the end of the day friendship is the most important thing! We love you and we want and NEED to do our absolute BEST! We want to give you the best experience and we want to serve you well!
After all, photography is all about service. It’s about giving an experience that will live on and provide joy and something tangible not just for this lifetime but for generations to come. It’s not about us, it’s about YOU! That’s why so many of us don’t speak up and sometimes get taken for granted.
We LOVE what we do. We LOVE you and we want to make sure you we give you as much as we can because it matters!