Terrible photography memes

March 17, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

If you are on social media these days you are typically bombarded with memes. Those little pictures with captions or ones like this one that are catchy lists... I am no exception to seeing them and must say at times they are entertaining. I am part of many photo groups and wanted to pull back the curtain a bit and show you one that really made me ponder upon its message. 

What I plan on doing in this post is giving you a lighthearted look at a photography meme that circulated recently again. This one is a list of things never to say to a photographer. It cracks me up that someone wanted to rant about these items even though some of them are way more true than others. Feel free to read over the meme before the explanations. 

 

A close up of a building

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  • This one in reference to my camera does make me laugh because of the truth behind it. I can’t tell you how many times I have been out taking nature photos and someone comes up and sees the gear and says “it must take great photos”. I have to admit that in my mind there is an eyeroll that happens to this simply because that same individual would probably never tell a chef or cook that their stove made a great meal. My camera is nothing more than a tool. Yes it did cost a lot and yes it has some great capabilities, but in the hands of someone who doesn’t know a thing about photography it would be all for nothing. It reminds me of my last trip out taking nature photos. I had brought my back-up camera with me to take some shots. I was just enjoying the view when two young men came up with large bags and worked their way to the railing while setting up their carbon fiber tripods (think expensive) and pulling out their cameras (they were pro level canon cameras if you are wondering and they average between 5 and 6 thousand dollars). They just started machine gunning the scene and while it looked impressive to some folks I sat back and listened to them complain that their photos weren’t coming out the way they had hoped… I waited till they had shifted away and snapped my photo to which one saw my screen and exclaimed how did he do that in one shot while the other stated that every amateur gets lucky now and again. Now I wouldn’t have said a word to them, but I admit that his statement got to me….so I handed him my card with the explanation that it isn’t the gear, but more the person operating it. So, with that being said, my light hearted approach to this rant is remember that a good photographer could take a great photo with any type of camera.

 

  • You know I love photoshop; it is my digital darkroom for taking an image and making it art. I can transform it in just about any way imaginable, and love its limitless potential. That being said, when someone says “you can just photoshop that right?” is like nails to a chalkboard at times. Editing an image is a marathon not a sprint, and when you have to “photoshop” something that could be fixed prior to the photo being taken you are just adding miles to my race. Now past my rant/explanation, if you look 50 years old, sure I could smooth out some wrinkles and whatnot but no matter what I do I am not going to alter it to a point that you look 20. I take pride in my style of photography (think of terms like NATURAL, FUN, and CASUAL) and if I alter your appearance to that point it goes against the photographer that I am. Now I do understand this point of folks thinking we as photographers can work magic  in postproduction because we can, but do you want to look at a photo and think “wow he made me look so great” or would you rather look at a photo and think “we had so much fun that day and look at how we looked then versus now”. This goes back to my reason for wanting to do this as a profession. I want people to have something to remind them of the past. Photos are the key to remembering times long gone and loved ones we no longer have with us.

 

  • Ok, so this one I laughed at because everyone in my life knows two things about me. The first is that I love bringing my camera with me nearly everywhere I go. The second is they know better than to ask for a freebie. Photography, is indeed, not only my passion but my profession. If you see me casually taking photos they are for me or my wife. If you ask me to bring it along to take specific photos then you best believe that I am going to get paid for my time and work. I mean that would be like saying hey can you bring that dish you make so well and make enough for everyone and you can come too… If the person who originally wrote this meme has friends that would do that to them then I feel bad for them in a way. My friends and I have enough mutual respect to know not to be so insulting to one another.

 

  • The blurry background is called Bokeh. It is achieved by having a lens that capable of producing it. I could get technical but let’s face it….that would be kind of boring and dry. You technically could produce a blurry background in photoshop, but I have never seen one done that way that looks realistic. Bokeh is a technical style that photographers can use for portraits. If it isn’t your cup of tea then please let your photographer know and he/she won’t utilize it in your session.

 

  • Asking for a black and white photo while leaving part of it color may sound and look really appealing at first, but I will be honest. When it comes to the test of time I really feel that it doesn’t hold up. If you really want a black and white photo with just your eyes colored, sure, I’ll give you what you want, but I will also insist in having either a full black and white or color version as well for when you have had enough of the other. I kind of feel that this particular rant is done in poor taste. My clients are important to me, and I want to fulfill their needs so if you have specific request I do take it to heart. I won’t replicate someone else’s image directly, but I will use it as reference to give you something similar within the bounds of my style. I feel that I have been hired because of my style and abilities, so you trust my judgement and I won’t lead you astray. Bottom line is, whomever wrote this one feels above this (yes I think this is just a fad type of style), BUT I feel that the client has a say in what they want. I know you hire me for what I have to offer, but I do ask for input to make sure you are satisfied with my work.

 

  • Ok, now to probably one of the juiciest ones in this whole terrible meme! First let me throw this one out there….. Places like Sears Photo are no longer in business for the very reason in question. When you pay next to nothing you get what you pay for. The person taking the photograph may like photography but they have no say in the session; the lighting, the gear, the props, the techniques, and the posing are all cookie cutter. They follow a guide for everything! Growing up, the walls of our house were lined with photos from there, Olan Mills, Walmart, and LifeTouch. While they did capture what we looked like in that moment they certainly don’t evoke memories. So, why am I not as cheap as that? Well I could give you a laundry list of reasons why. I could talk about the education I have invested in, the cost of running a business, the price of gear, the fact that this is my profession i.e. how I make a living, or even how you are buying a unique experience, BUT, let’s face it, those reasons may not register to everyone. When it comes down to pricing I try to make mine the most affordable without sacrificing the quality of work. Little things like, my photos are in focus, properly exposed, the colors are bright, vibrant, and natural, and they are put together well are all reasons why I charge higher than Tom, Dick, and Harry who advertise on Facebook saying they will do your entire wedding day for 300 bucks. I’m not trying to attack those folks, but have to ask this. Are they legitimate businesses that are registered, pay taxes, are insured, and utilize a contract to protect both YOU and THEM? Also, I want to have you ask this of yourself. Are your memorable moments worth the best? Do you want something that is “good enough”? Do you want to trust someone on a day like your wedding or the birth of your child, or would you rather have a contract that is giving you a guarantee of covering your important events? I could write pages of these scenarios, but when you dig for yourself you’ll find that you really do get what you pay for in photography. I have been told that I charge way to little, but I just want to be able to keep the business going and pay my bills not get rich quick… I just want you to be happy enough with what you have that you will show off those photos I made for you with pride and say “look how amazing this day was”.

 

  • Walmart….what more can I say…. If you buy a print from me you are getting a guarantee that it turns out correct. If it doesn’t I stand by it to do whatever I can to make the situation right. I tried prints at every box store print service and can tell you that you really get what you pay for here as well. I have seen everything from colors being messed up, heads cut off, and even lines in the photo. I use professional printing services and once again stand by the work. They work with me to make sure the image I see on my computer screen is the image you get.

 

  • They say “if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life”. Well allow me to be someone who says this in reaction to that…. I LOVE WHAT I DO, but it takes more work than I ever thought it would. When I first contemplated doing this for a living I thought exactly what you would think “I’ll get to sit back, take some photos, and call it a day”. Let me tell ya that that is the farthest thing from the reality. I am the web guy, the bookkeeper, the IT guy, the admin assistant, the planner, the advertising and marketing guy, the author, the customer support guy, and many others; oh and I also take the photos. I spend my days creating posts, editing photos, continuing my education (check out CreativeLive if you are interested in being an entrepreneur), working on advertising and marketing ideas, and the list goes on. I admit that those of you who are close know I also work an evening job part time because I am apparently an overachiever. Then I come home and keep creating because my mind just won’t shut down that easy. So, I can only wish that the job was that easy. I can say that I still love it and love capturing so many irreplaceable moments.

 

  • When you purchase my services you get finished images. I do not offer “raw” unedited images because of a multitude of reasons. I will spare you from the many and just say that I have never encountered someone who has asked this. Not sure why someone would want to do this. It is like hiring someone to build your house and as soon as they finish the foundation you say you’ll take over from there.

 

  • I see a funny side in this watermark controversy. I have seen photos printed from Facebook images and they are terrible quality. By design Facebook makes images poor quality so they can be stored on the site and brought up quickly. They are not designed to be printed. Now what this rant is really trying to get at is ownership. With every session you have with me you receive watermarked images. This isn’t because I want to be a jerk, it is because of copyright ownership. As the artist taking the photo I own the image. I have the mark on the photo to show anyone would view it that it is a product of my business. I won’t lie, I have had to go as far as to make someone aware that they are breaking the law and could be taken to court for posting an altered image that removed my watermark. Violating copyright is theft plain and simple. You can purchase print rights for your photos and then print as many as you want from wherever, but when you do that you are responsible for insuring quality. If the printed image isn’t turning out great then there is nothing I can do other than offer to sell you prints from my business. As a side note, having a watermark on the photos you post to social media is way for photographers to get their name out there. Doing that and/or leaving a caption referencing the photographer or their business helps us out more than any marketing campaign ever could.

 

 

So I know this was long, but I feel that clients should know where photographers are coming from with our answers and why we do things the way we do. I want you to know that I care about every photo I take and every customer I have. I know quite a few photographers that wouldn’t like my breakdown of this meme because it reveals the other side, but I am not in this for them I am in it for the people who want good quality images of important moments of their lives.

 

Sincerely,

 

Chris

 


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