I bet you didn’t know I was a professional photographer did you? Well I’m not, ha! Had you going there didn’t I? But I do have several friends and acquaintances who are, and it seems they have a tougher time of it than we might imagine. Overall my impression is that they love their job, so we don’t need to feel too sorry for them, however, they do have to put up with a lot of crap from the general public. I like those guys, so I thought I’d help them out here by highlighting some common issues, in the hope that people will stop and think before opening their mouths.
Here is a small selection of the types of things they have to deal with…
They receive compliments – “Wow, your camera takes really good pictures!”
That is seriously insulting. “Wow mister surgeon, your knife does really good operations!” Yes, quality tools are important, but good tools in the wrong hands can have disastrous results; if you don’t believe me, then just ask my kids after I’ve cut their hair using a really good pair of scissors.
They receive helpful advice – “You might want to use a flash, the light isn’t very good here.”
Well thank goodness someone was there to point this out to them! Otherwise they’d have been puzzling for weeks about why their pictures didn’t come out right.
They get given the chance to charge less than they are worth – “My friend’s brother’s cousin has a nice camera and he says he’ll do our wedding for a quarter of the price you’ve quoted. Can you match it?”
Oh yes, absolutely. By the way, I have a really nice hammer, and can install your new kitchen for a fraction of the price you’ve been quoted, are you interested?
They are presented with wonderful opportunities – “Would you take some photos of me/my wedding/my kids/my dog, for free? Then you can use them in your portfolio, so it’s win-win for both of us!”
Photographers are by no means the only professionals who are asked to provide their services for free under the suggestion that it will be good for their portfolio, or that it might open doors to bigger and better things for them; actors have to deal with this a lot, as do graphic/web designers and probably others that I haven’t thought of too. I’m not saying that professionals should never do any work for free; there are occasions where it might be appropriate, but to try and sell the idea to professionals as being some kind of great opportunity for them is, again, insulting.
One of issues with photography is that it is done both professionally, and by most people anyway (even if it’s just an occasional snapshot on their phone), so everyone thinks they know something about it. I was trying to think of what other professions are like that – I came up with chefs, and er…there’s photographers, chefs, and…you know, those other ones that are done both professionally and most people do the thing regularly as well anyway.
I will finish with a couple of questions for you; answer them if you like, or not, I don’t mind!
1. Aside from photographers and chefs, can you think of any other professions that are also something that most people do anyway?
2. Do you work in a profession/job where you have to deal with a lot of annoying things like that from people?