Top 10 Ways To Piss Off A Photographer

Top 10 Ways To Piss Off A Photographer

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Last month, I wrote a story titled “Top 13 Ways to Piss Off a Photo Editor.”
It got a huge reaction, and a number of people suggested that I turn this around, and give photographers some equal play.

So I contacted some photographers and asked for their advice. I wanted to know what really pissed them off. I learned that many different kinds of things are capable of pissing off a photographer.

My trusted panel of photographers are:

John Harrington, freelance Washington DC photographer

David Hume Kennerly, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist

Robert Caplin, freelance photographer in New York City

Andy Biggs, wildlife and outdoor photographer

Daniel Milnor, freelance editorial and commercial photographer

Lynn Donaldson, freelance photographer based in Livingston, Montana

Yunghi Kim, freelance photojournalist

After absorbing their responses, I compiled a list of ten things that will piss off nearly any photographer.

However, their responses were so different from each other, and filled with lots of little interesting tidbits, that I decided to include them in their entirety at the bottom of the post. My intention with this blog post is not to open up a bitch-and-moan session about photo editors or photographers. Instead, I am hoping that maybe this can make help make things just a little bit better by making it obvious that photographers and photo editors are partners, and they need each other in order to survive.

To be fair, tomorrow I will post “Top 10 Ways To Make A Photographer Fall In Love With You.

Please feel free to leave your own comments at the bottom of this post.

Top 10 Ways To Piss Off A Photographer
(in no particular order)

1) Try ‘clever’ tricks to save money.
Photographers have seen and heard just about every trick in the book, and you should realize this. You can expect to piss off a photographer if you treat them as if they haven’t experienced a few of these money-saving tricks already.

Don’t say that an assignment will take 2 hours when you know it will realistically require a full day of work. Don’t try to expand the assignment into something more when the photographer arrives on the scene, and expect them to bend over backwards to “help you out, just this once.” (Read John Harrington’s full reply, below, for some of his least favorite tricks.)

You should understand that a photographer is a small business owner, and they’re not trying to use their own clever tricks to jack up their rates. They want a fair, respectable price. Be upfront and totally honest with them from the very beginning, and you’ll find them much more willing to “help you out” in the end.

2) Don’t understand what it’s like in the real world.
Most editors spend their working day in an office, dreaming up perfect situations and scenarios where everything goes exactly as planned. Most don’t plan for the unexpected, and are surprised and upset when the pre-visualized images they promised to their bosses don’t actually materialize.

Instead, treat the photographer as a partner. Let them know that what you’re asking for is just something intended to get you both on the same page, and you’re not expecting miracles.

Encourage them to think beyond the box, and deliver something even better. If you put a little faith in them as a partner, you’ll often find they’ll work harder for you to come up with something truly great. Something you can both be proud of.

3) Screw up the schedule.
This is usually related to having little idea what it’s like in the real world. Scheduling is very important to a photographer, especially when the photo editor is the person setting up the shooting appointment with the subjects.

Don’t assume, for example, that a photographer in Los Angeles can drive to San Francisco and back within 2 hours. In this case, take the extra step and go to Google Maps and figure out the driving times in advance.

Be as clear with the photographer as possible with regard to the schedule. If you’re unsure about something, or if there may be some waiting time once they arrive on the scene – let them know in advance. You should understand that they may have an assignment booked after yours. Letting them know that the schedule may change without notice will give them an opportunity to plan accordingly, and not screw up another assignment because yours ran late.

4) Expect unlimited use of an image, for free.
Don’t be outraged when a photographer sends you an invoice after you’ve used an image again. Don’t assume that every image is Royalty-Free, even if the image was shot on assignment for you.

When a photographer shoots an image, they are hoping to produce something good enough that it will be used in many places – that there will be a demand for the image. If you suspect that you will want to use an image over again, in different places, tell the photographer in advance and work out a deal. Don’t just assume that you can use it, and then “deal with it later” if/when you’re caught.

5) Be difficult to contact.
This goes both ways – both photographers and photo editors should be easy to contact. Great communication between the parties means that you’re working as partners, each available to the other as the assignment unfolds.

Everyone knows the importance of this. If you expect people to be easy to contact, you should make yourself easy to contact as well.

6) Ask them to copy the style of another photographer.
Most people who become photographers do so because it’s a creative outlet. It allows them the freedom to express their own vision. Not understanding this very basic concept will piss off any photographer who has pride in their work.

Treat a photographer as a person who has their own creative process – and it’s the creative process that you’re paying for.

Don’t treat a photographer like a robot with a camera. Showing them an image, and asking them to replicate it is considered an insult to most. Asking them to “shoot the same thing you did last time” could end up making them second-guess their own creative process.

7) Have a big ego.
Let’s face it, both photographers and photo editors can have a bit of an ego. They’re both often sensitive about their work because, if they do their jobs right, they really put themselves into a project and it ends up becoming an intimate personal expression.

When big egos collide, bad things can happen. Treating each other with respect, as an equal partner in the creative process, will yield better results in the end.

Accept that fact that you actually need each other, and no person is more important, or has “more power” than the other.

8) Offer a photo credit as payment.
Photographers will be easily pissed off when you offer a photo credit as if it has some kind of monetary value. They will be further pissed off if you insinuate that a photo credit in your highly respectable publication will help their career.

You should understand that it costs a photographer time and money to produce the image that you want to use, and a photo credit can’t be used to pay their bills. Offering a photo credit as a form of payment is an insult.

9) Use images without permission.
If you don’t have money to pay for the use of an image, don’t just take the image and use it anyway – and deal with any potential fallout later. Contact the photographer in advance, and see if you can work something out.

Using an image without permission is rude and offensive to most photographers.

10) Crop their photos to the point of obscurity.
Photographers often spend a lot of mental energy composing an image, and brutal cropping hack-jobs can easily send a photographer into a pissy mood. This is like cutting the first 2 paragraphs out of a writer’s story, and expecting the writer to be perfectly fine with it.

Contact the photographer ahead of time, let them know the reasons why the image must be cropped this way, and have a discussion about it before its too late. It is insulting to see your image in print with the heart and soul cropped out.


John Harrington is an editorial, corporate and commercial photographer based in Washington, DC. John’s portraits are featured in publications and annual reports worldwide, and is no stranger to working with tight deadlines.

His reply:

1 – Cancel a shoot after we’ve done pre-production work on your behalf (don’t worry, you’re still getting billed because we got a signed contact before the work started)

2 – Promise that the bottom line isn’t about money, it’s about creative, and then award the job, and when I ask if it was about money, say “yes.”

3 – Tell me it’s only two portraits after I quoted you for five, and then after I re-quote you for two, and turn up, you try to sneak in the other three. Really? Really!?! And don’t think that the group photo you loosely arranged so you could crop to headshots each of the people is going to fly either.

David Hume Kennerly has been shooting on the front lines of history for more than 40 years. He has photographed eight wars, as many U.S. presidents, and he has traveled to dozens of countries along the way.

At 25, the Roseburg, Oregon native won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for his photos of the Vietnam War, and two years later was appointed President Gerald R. Ford’s personal photographer.

His reply:

Behind every good photographer there is a great picture editor. My Pulitzer wouldn’t have happened without one, and my career has been greatly enhanced because I was lucky enough to work with some of the best picture pickers in the world. One of the grave problems with our business today is the diminishing pool of professional photo editors due to cutbacks, and many photographers are choosing their own pictures. It shows. I guarantee you that photographers aren’t their own best editors.

Having said that, there is a dark underside to photo editors, even the greatest ones.

Photographers, like any good artists, are deeply insecure. They need plenty of strokes, hand holding, and plain old sympathy. Photographers are genetic whiners, pissers and moaners, and royal pains in the ass. I know. I am one of them.

There are many things about photo editors that piss us off, however, because even though they know photos, they don’t know jack shit about shooters.

The quotes here are taken from real conversations with picture editors, usually on the phone from long distance after you have managed to deliver them extraordinary images under extreme duress, while they have been sipping lattes or diet cokes in their New York air conditioned offices:

    1. “We saw a really great angle on television at that event you are covering, do you have anything to match it.”
    2. “AP has a picture of the president winking to a cute girl in the crowd, do you?”
    3. “Oh, it’s three a.m. there? That’s weird, it’s only noon here.”
    4. “Do you have anything on the flooding in North Vietnam?” (This while covering the war from Saigon, the north being enemy territory . . .).
    5. “Couldn’t you have gotten an economy ticket?” (asked after I got off a 16-hour flight to jump right into coverage of insurrection in a Third World country).
    6. “Why didn’t you shoot both color and black and white?”
    7. “Couldn’t you have left more room at the top of the frame for the logo?”
    8. “Do you have anything else on the two presidents shaking hands?” (Of course, I always hold the best stuff back . . .).
    9. “Why did you let that television guy get in front of you?”
    10. “Is there any reason that the picture of those guys shooting at you is a little shaky?”

Robert Caplin is a freelance photographer based in New York City available globally for editorial and commercial photographic needs.

His reply:

Editor: Asking to shoot a separate assignment under the same day rate.

Editor: Asking me to arrive early to an assignment when it then involves having to wait for 1-2 hours to shoot what I’ve been assigned.

Publicist: Asking to review and approve my images.

Subject: Explaining to me how to compose, light, or generally take their portrait.

Assistant: Trying to network with my clients while assisting me.

Photo Buyer: Expressing astonishment that I’d charge for usage of an image they desire for their website.

Writer: Calling me their photographer.

Walkie-talkie holder: Believing that having a radio gives him/her some sort of authority to tell me how to do (or not do) my job.

Andy Biggs is an avid adventurer, conservationist, teacher, and outdoor photographer whose photography celebrates the African landscape and its rich wildlife, people, and culture. With a deep respect and understanding for African wildlife, Andy unfolds the world of the Serengeti onto our doorstep with striking emotional depth.

His reply:

1) Say ‘I bet that telephoto lens can photograph the moon’. Hell, yes it can. Just like your camera, but the moon will be larger in my frame.

2) Overuse HDR. Come on people, just because your dial goes to 11 it doesn’t mean you should use it. Overuse or misuse of HDR technologies just shows other photographers that you aren’t working hard enough. HDR is like riding on a small motorscooter: it is fun, but you don’t want your friends to see you doing it.

3) Use my images without notifying me or linking to me. I have had many of my images used in email newsletters, and I like this, but not when they are used without notifying me or linking back to me. I actually encourage the small use of my images on the web, but only if I get credit for the image(s).

4) Continually ask for donations for charity when those asking aren’t donating. This doesn’t really piss me off, but what isn’t cool is to always expect creative people for free things, and then not do something yourself. For example, I get hit up for donated photographs for school auctions from friends. Many are attorneys, CPAs or other per-hour billable profession. I never see their own services on the auction block, and when asked why I usually get a remark like “I am busy”. Uh huh. Like I am not?

Daniel Milnor splits his time between the chaos of Southern California and the spiritual landscape of New Mexico. He is happiest with his notebook, Leica and trusty leather boots, sizing up whatever situation is happening in front of him.

Milnor is former newspaper, editorial and commercial photographer who now tries to work solely on his own projects, projects that allow him to work in the fashion he feels most likely to produce images that go beyond the temporary.

His reply:

1-Make yourself impossible to contact. We live in an age of instant communication, phone, email, text, IM, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and yet somehow you have managed to find the one cubicle in the modern world that is impossible to find.

2-Start a potential job conversation with “Well, we don’t have much of a budget on this one,” as if at some point you will call and say, “Oh man, we have a boatload of cash to spend with you now, go ahead and bring your wife and kids.”

3-Always work on a frantic, last minute deadline for no particular reason. If you don’t eat, and only drink latte’s then everything seems hyper-fast. Breath, slow down and make a plan. Everyone is much happier this way.

4-Don’t use a “hot” photographer and then art speak their value to death, when it is abundantly clear nothing you said makes any sense whatsoever.

5-Tell me you love my work, and my style, then ask me to work in a completely different manor, thus forcing me to create work that looks like everyone else’s. I can’t tell you how many photogs who have told me “I showed pinhole zoom blurs and got hired to shoot portraits on white seamless.” Please explain.

6-See something in my portfolio, content of a certain image that you personally don’t like or agree with, then act turned off by the rest of the work because you can’t get over that one image. (This happened with a story about bloodless bullfighting and a story about the adult entertainment industry.)

7-Act like a normal, compassionate, interested human being in a one on one conversation, ask me to contact you, give me your card, fill my fragile and rapidly beating heart with hope and then fail to respond to all seventeen methods of modern communication. Then, when you see me next, act like none of this happened.

8-Settle for “Good Enough.” Too many people conform. This is the “creative industry” and yet many times people end up doing the same old thing, or the expected. You, or we, should follow the Marine motto, “Improvise, adapt and overcome.” Do I need to see another color, lit, overproduced celebrity portrait? Short answer. No.

9-Microstock.

10-Use a weekend warrior(or anyone who signs your contract) instead of a pro, and then defend their work as if you really like it. Or, call photographer after photographer until you find someone who doesn’t know enough about the business to know about licensing, and then use them while explaining how much you love their portraits with the purple fog around the edges.

11-Ask for a buyout but fail to give one valid reason why you need it, or any hint you even understand it.

12-Ask anyone to work for free. Embarrassing.

13-Assign and produce below average work and then act shocked and sad when subscriptions fall off.

14-Be mean, condescending or egotistical. This cracks me up. Photographers will bend over backwards to work with you if you are cool, honest, professional and interested, and yet this seems like uncharted water for many of those who are in “positions of power.” We all learned this during cookies and milk in preschool, but in some cases it didn’t stick. “Plays well with others,” is a great resume foundation.

15- Do not, I repeat, do not, under any circumstances, when asked why you haven’t responded to repeated attempts to contact you, respond with “I’ve been really busy,” insinuating the photographer hasn’t been. This is perhaps the worst excuse of all time, and will sour any potential relationship. “I was trapped in a mineshaft,” or “I was lobbying congress for your copyright protection,” or “I was determining which of your images I wanted to buy, frame and hang,” are far better options. If you are gonna lie, make it a good one. Photographers love good stories, make one up.

Lynn Donaldson is a freelance photographer based in Livingston, Montana. She specializes in travel, food, architecture, and portrait photography.

Her reply:

1) Ask for something Herculean. I am only human & do not have the power–or PhotoShop skills–to make images assigned in February in the Rockies “look like July” when the landscape is blanketed with four feet of snow, dead grass, leafless trees, white skies. I’ll do my best, but I can only do so much.

2) “Piss off” is strong to use here, but it ticks me off when you don’t shoot me an email letting me know you got my images off your ftp and all is well. It takes two seconds to write, “Got ‘em; thanks.” I once had someone contact me five days after I uploaded–frantic that there was a glitch–and I was on another shoot with my assistant and had to hire a second to go in and deal with it.

3) Crop the sh** out of my image without checking with me or warning me. Regional magazines (where the Art Director/Photo Editor is one and the same) do this frequently. At the very least, if you crop to the point that it is nothing like what I shot, ask me if I want to be credited. 99.9% of the time I will tell you, “No thanks!”

4) Have no concept of distances or driving time. When a subject tells you she lives 100 miles from her ranch and only has an hour on Tuesday for a shoot…and you want me to shoot her both at her house in town AND on her ranch, don’t piss HER off by pushing her and asking why we can’t do both in an hour. (Seriously, this has happened!)

5) When you’re not “culturally” sensitive and freak subjects out before I get a chance to talk to them. I know it’s hard to believe, but people in rural America might not be familiar with your publication…and if they ARE, they may be suspicious of it. Talk slowly, let them finish their sentences without talking over them….it is a huge turnoff for most Westerners to get a cold-call from someone whose “pushy”. People move at a different pace out here and need a minute to get a sense of whom you are before you launch into what you need.

6) I once gave a photo editor friend the name of a 95-year-old farmer who lived near the town where I grew up, because a famous photojournalist wanted to document elderly farmers for her magazine. My friend’s fast-talking assistant called the old guy, talking a mile a minute and expecting him to know the photographer’s work and the magazine she represented. The guy lived in Coyote Nowhere and, being older, had no idea what she was talking about…and he ended up saying no. I know that if he’d been approached in a subtle manner, he would have been thrilled to have his life/farm documented.

7) I know you are trying to be considerate, but when you hear a photographer is pregnant or has had a baby, don’t assume she is not working. I worked up to 8 months in both pregnancies and did my first assignment five days after my first child was born. When I was pregnant with twins in 2007, I made a point of not telling ANY work colleagues, yet somehow I got a call six months after they were born from an apologetic photo editor saying, “I hate to bother you, because I heard you just had twins, but I have an assignment near you and though you probably don’t want to do it, I thought I’d ask.” I know she truly was worried she was “bothering” me and she practically turned down my assignment BEFORE asking me.

Yunghi Kim is a freelance photographer based in New York. She began her career at The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., then moved to The Boston Globe, where she was a staff photographer for seven years. She was a finalist in 1993 for the Pulitzer Prize in feature photography, for her coverage of the famine in Somalia. She was a member of Contact Press Images from 1995 to 2008.

Her reply:

This is a good idea.. we need to turn it around.

Photographers who know me, know that I am quite blunt and outspoken.

This is a no-brainer.

I think you guys (this Photoshelter blog) are taking more utilitarian view with asking for a list and I don’t agree.

This is it what I think… for I believe, if you are a good photographer, what you say doesn’t matter. Your photographs speak a thousand words. Photographers should have confidence in their work and their vision. Honestly we covered wars, put our lives at risk, even scrape what we can to finances our projects because we believe in a story or a cause. We have to be really quite resourceful, don’t we? So why should we let others define who we are as photographers.

Photographers need to make a statement about their work.

In current climate when magazines have unfair and copyright grab contracts, its even more important that photographers know the value of their work and stand their ground. At the end of the day, we are in this business for our vision and respect to our subjects or issues. To be blunt and lets be realistic here, photo editors come and go, so do magazine contracts but what is important is that we have passion for our craft. Everyone needs to take more of a long term view. Our photography is more than commodity that you can sell for $200, its commitment to our vision, style, expression, craft and passion. As a photojournalists, its recording history!

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There are 51 comments for this article
  1. Dom at 5:44 pm

    been there done that for most of them, you guys forgot Being called a Snapper. And my top annoyance being asked to “pap a quick shot of X” I’m sorry but what!

  2. Harry, ExposedPlanet.com at 8:12 pm

    Wonderful! If I were a photo-editor, I’d hire all of them at least once. Unfortunately I am just a photographer :) Additions to the above: – Not appreciating objectively world-class shots, as it doesn’t fit in the box. Widen the box or break out of it! – Ask me to send full-res edited photos before the deadline in 2 hours, but do not have any budget available to make an advance or full payment, nor offer any hint that you will pay at all… – Ask for photos of illiterate poor children with a high ‘oooh’-factor that have never seen a ballpoint in their lives, but require signed English model releases for them. – Never confirm requested receipt of the high res images, whether FTP-d, downloaded from my server, or emailed. It is not that much of an effort. And yes, we know you are busy, as we are too. Looking forward to the next in the series! Best regards from the road, Harry

  3. Dan at 2:54 am

    Call me on the phone to delude myself about the possibility of having a working relationship and steal the most recent ideas I have. Finally disappear and also denied any response by email. Tell me about my work on news will be put online as soon as possible and not let them ever appear on the agency website.

  4. Graham at 4:12 am

    Hmm.. Hi we really like your photos and want to use 15 of them in our magazine but don’t have a budget for photographs. Me, politely, hows this going to work then? Them,we can give you a free add. Me, can I have the money instead? At that point negotiations broke down and they then said they would put me on the list of photographers to use when they had a budget for photographers. Has happened more than once.

  5. Peter Hearl at 8:38 am

    People don’t realize that when you leave a shoot, you still have quite a few more hours of work to do in front of a computer before that outstanding image pops out.

  6. Andy at 9:16 am

    Call me two weeks after I’d delivered an ‘urgent rush job’ having returned from your holiday and found my invoice but not yet received the photos (which were on his desk in an envelope waiting to be opened). Being asked: ‘How long will it take to photograph 20 conference rooms? The furthest away is about a 2 minute walk. Oh, how much equipment do you have?’ We can’t pay you until our client has paid us. Two days after a studio shot had been photographed & approved: ‘It it still set up?’ Forwarding an email to check my availability for a job and leaving the trail of previous messages which reveal I was 3rd choice.

  7. Thomas Jupe at 2:29 pm

    “Your a photographer, you know about cameras, I have £300 to spend on a new camera I want to take snaps with what should I buy?” Sorry I am a photographer not camera salesman, I don’t know!

  8. Bob Davies at 10:51 pm

    “Using an image without permission is rude and offensive to most photographers.” Not only that, in the vast majority of cases and countries… it is illegal. Would be very nice if you would add that :)

  9. don at 11:06 am

    While all of this is true i could not agree more. what is our course of action. What do we do as creative full time professionals do in this theater of operation.

  10. Corporate photographer London at 1:05 pm

    What really pisses me off, is when you are hired because they like your work and want to commission your style and then they start to tell where the best shots are and what angle you need to be taking the shots from and who should be where etc. Makes me see red, whats the point of it- Let the photographer get on with what you hired them to do. Grant

  11. Heather K McManamy at 12:13 pm

    Wow. I was looking to do less “family photos” and more stock type work, thinking the clients might be a bit more educated when it comes to buying images. I’m so silly! Many of these things have already happened in the portrait side of things, so I guess I’ll be prepared!

  12. Sharon McDonnell at 11:14 pm

    “Is that real?” Followed by many questions and loud exclamations. Emphasis of inquiry on “tricks” or luck to get a picture and no interest in the amazing lives of the pictures’ subject or the story of the picture. After all if it isn’t “real” then it isn’t right.

  13. WetcoastBob at 8:57 pm

    1) assuming I used Photoshop. 2)”You must have a really good camera.” 3)Want to preview images on the camera. (I only show successes) Plus everything everyone else said. Great Post!

  14. spikephoto at 9:47 am

    Calling me to ask if I can do an assignment ‘tomorrow’ of an event that has clearly been six months or more in the planning. Love David Hume Knnerly’s number 10 above: “Is there any reason that the picture of those guys shooting at you is a little shaky?” :-D

  15. Steve Remich at 4:11 pm

    Great post and for trying to improve relations between photographers and editors in general. Thanks Photoshelter. Doesn’t seem like too many photo editors are chiming in to the comments on this one, unfortunately. Alas, the debate will probably always be one-sided because one side holds the money and therefore most of the power. I have one more too; 11.) Asking for work on a tight deadline, having that deadline taken seriously and met by the photographer. Then paying that photographer 9 months later after repeated phone calls and being deferred to the accounts payable people who don’t pick up the phone and apparently lost my invoice. I understand there is a division of labor inside any publication and editors don’t deal with paying bills. However, I don’t particularly care. The reality is I give you work when you need it (and take meeting deadlines seriously) so you can run your business, then to pay me whenever it’s convenient is a double standard and insult. I also want to echo what another commenter mentioned. If you “don’t have a budget for a photographer” we have nothing to talk about. You don’t go to the grocery store, fill up your cart and then get to the cashier and say, “Well I don’t really have a budget for produce. Can I just give your supermarket credit for my fajitas? I’m a good cook, it’s a real honor for your vegetables to be in one of my meals and it will be great advertising for you and other paying consumers will surely shop here.”

  16. Luis Villalon at 1:07 pm

    I hate it when they only call you when there is no budget and “you are the best photographer in the business”, then when they have the money, they always seem to find and hire someone “better” than you.

  17. Paul at 3:10 am

    “Can you shoot half of the images you normally take for a half-price fee?” That’s like wanting to pay only half your mortagage and telling the bank you’ll only live in half the house.

  18. squbg at 3:54 pm

    how about oh we will just hiring and intern for free they can do it or the guy next to you is getting payed more with a point and shoot or the guy that has a mark III ds on “P” mode or can we have your raw file so we can print it 2in by 2in in black and white newsprint

  19. Steven at 4:31 pm

    My favorite… Hearing that, after paying me out a fair amount for the previous year’s work, the client’s designer has decided “We could buy all the same equipment as he’s using for less than his bill… I was on set for everything, I can shoot it! I know where he’s putting his lights!” Classic. Because it’s digital, right? You don’t really need to know what you’re doing… and you’re just paying me to use my stuff, right? It has nothing to do with vision. Nope… and there’s no benefit in paying a professional to know what all those dials and knobs do.

  20. Steven Z at 8:36 am

    Chuckling..Similar to Stevens post, walked into a potential client meeting who opened with “I dont understand your proposal, anyone with a digital camera can do this!!”… Deep breath.. followed with standard 10 minute discussion about the differences in assignment photography, stock photography and point n shoot. Pleased to say what started negatively ended in fair price assignment and happy client. Zack Arias had a great blog recently about Cheap Photography(ers)and whether they are killing the industry. Cheap photographers dont kill the industry, photographers who cant value educate their clients, do.

  21. david cleveland at 1:22 pm

    These are classic and so so so so true! Reading some of these made me realise that sometimes I am not wrong for feeling a bit ‘put out’ when a photo editor or commissioner is being…shall we say…unrealistic!? DCx

  22. David Cleveland at 1:40 pm

    Just remembered these:- Client – Can I just have ALL the raws? Me – NO! and Client – Oh I see your using that camera…I bought the new, better, more expensive version last week.. (probably because he gets paid too much!) Me – This the tool I use for job that I am comfortable with and get fantastic results from over and over again which is a damned site better than I suspect you do with your $9000 camera dude? and Client – Oh, whilst your here you couldn’t possibly get a few extra shots of…? Me – Do you want to pay for that with cash or card sir?

  23. Colleen at 12:13 pm

    Oh my gosh, every wanna be photographer/photo student should read these jaw dropping, head shaking comments. I do more portraiture than commercial work and have also heard plenty of similar comments from clients. Don’t start a conversation with “I don’t need a lot of photos”, meaning I don’t want to spend much, as that doesn’t exactly inspire me to want to work with you. Don’t rave about how you looked at dozens of websites, state that you like my work the best and fully expect to spend $2000 on your daughter’s portraits, then fail to ask about pricing or read the pricing info I sent you, view the portraits after the session and love them, but after you finally read the info I provided, and realize that you won’t get all the digital files, decide that the images are unacceptable and nitpik every possible detail about my business in order to get a refund.

  24. Phil Grant at 12:53 pm

    When I do art shows and visitors oh and aw over my work I hear the same question over and over asking what camera I use. After I respond, I frequently get back “oh, I have a digital camera too.”

  25. scotty at 7:49 pm

    I hate it when people say ” you must have a really good camera” when they see some of my work . I’d read somewhere that one pro would often respond with the explanation that this comment was the same as telling a world class chef that he must have a really good oven after you’ve had an amazing meal.

  26. Charles E. Walton, IV. at 4:45 pm

    My very favorite was when this little drip from NYC pranced in my studio and handed me several pages torn from magazines and smuggly asked if I “could produce anything kinda like that.”…I slowly and softly re-introduced myself …then pointed to my photo credit …as they were my published images…beat that one….really, it happened…

  27. Charles E. Walton, IV. at 4:55 pm

    I have one more…this one is really good…before the collapse of Time Warners division of magazines in Birmingham, Alabama…I was asked to shoot and email all my food photographs to 5 seperate people for approval, 3 in Birmingham on a different floor and 2 in New York…I have been shooting food for 30 years…when the food is ready…it must be shot…..but no, I would wait hours before a “que” might come in about a touch more front fill…by then as we all know the moment had long passed….I had idiots on my team….and I thought the Alabama DMV was bad…..really!

  28. Mike McFarlane at 11:39 am

    It’s good to let out the angst, but a lot of photographers seem to have a little too much. All jobs, especially self-employed ones are hard. Maybe you should run an article – top 10 ways that photographers piss off photoeditors.

  29. Jeff Colburn at 12:49 pm

    I was hired by a client for a half day shoot. It involved me taking various photographs of a hotel. The AD was with me and we shot for four hours. We then went back to a hotel room that was our base of operations. He said he would be right back and left. Time passed, 30 minutes, an hour, two hours. While he was gone I called him 3 times (got voice mail), called his office (VM again) and paged him. He came back to the room almost two and a half hours after leaving (he had taken his contact at the hotel to lunch). He was surprised that I was still there. He was sure he told me we were done (he hadn’t), and was more surprised that I said he would now be charged for a full day. He argued that I didn’t have another client lined up so I shouldn’t charge him. I told him my time was billable. I had been shooting assignments for this company for over a year, and the president liked me. I got paid, continued to shoot for them, but never heard from that AD again. Have Fun, Jeff

  30. persephone at 9:14 am

    SHEESH! All of these stories are so insulting. Thanks to all of the photographers who have shared their stories/scenarios. It’s not easy trying to make a living being a photographer. People need to remember that there’s no ‘HR Department’, or, AP/AR, Benefits, PR, etc. as a photo professional. <— (that’s right, PROFESSIONAL.) Please respect people and handle your business in good faith and responsibility.

  31. Vernon Leow at 1:59 am

    I’ve also had a client ask about equipment and never heard from him again. I always laugh when I see his photos. But the one that takes the cake is the client who wanted to borrow my equipment and do the shoot herself!

  32. Corporate Portraits London Ltd at 4:36 am

    Yes the time issue with ‘can I have a cost for an hour’ and then asking if you could hang on as one of the people is running late or has not finished a meeting- really pisses me off as you charge for your time and seem to be expected not to charge for any run over even though its not your fault it is running over the agreed time. Also in this current climate of tight budgets and reduced rates I am being asked some bizarre requests. The other day a huge corporate client asked me if I could bring a chair with me as she did not like the chairs in the office! Another was I quoted on an hour shoot and was told that one of the people would not be there and would there be any charge if I had to come back a week later. Grant

  33. Richard's Photographic Concepts at 8:58 pm

    One thing that will really piss me off is for a PE to contract with me and then on the day of the shoot, treat me like an employee instead of the Professional contractor that I am. Similar to attitude of introducing me as “His” photographer. I was once told that I represent the company he works for and he expects me to be professional ( before we even sat down to plan the shoot!) I told him that I do Not represent his company, I represent my own. Then I asked him if he worried about my being professional Why did he hire me. He just look at me blankly. (He was new to the field and not much experience under his belt.) We did the shoot and he was happy with the results. I have done several shoots with him since and I admit he was smart enough to improve his working demeanor and we got along fine from there.

  34. Pingback: Top 10 Ways To Piss Off A Photographer « studio 64-20
  35. Pingback: Interesting Article |
  36. charles at 12:08 am

    they don’t want to pay for the photographers’ services but they want to spend a whole lot at the clubs. that makes me sick. i am glad my parents didn’t raise no fool. my price is my price. take it or lose it.

  37. Pingback: Weekly Update 16 December 2011 | Simon Brown photojournalist
  38. Don at 10:28 am

    All good points, but this one is the best (and most idiotic); “Is there any reason that the picture of those guys shooting at you is a little shaky?”

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