Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why I'm not a Photographer

When I was younger I used to want to be a photographer. I don't anymore. Some people find this odd, or strange, since I am such an artistic person, so I thought I would explain in depth.

5 Reasons Why I Am Not A Photographer

I'm sure many photographers out there will relate. 
from the first wedding I photographed :)
  • You charge how much? In college I shot a few weddings. Brides, couples, or whoever always seemed shocked at how much money I would quote them for their event. I know this can be a sore point for many photographers. Many people seemed to think since I was "just starting out" I should photograph their event for free. I only charged about 50-300$ depending on where I was. I thought this was reasonable, given I a) drove to their event b) spent time photographing and editing their photos and c) put up with, what I shall call "the Rose-Colored Glass phenomenon", which I will explain in a later point. 
  • I had a girl whose wedding I photographed stiff me 200$ that she said she would pay me. She sent me only 50$ and I was very upset. Apparently she didn't like the photos I took so she thought I didn't deserve to get paid. I was a new photographer and I didn't know how to handle the situation then, so I mostly cried about it. 
  • There is a lot of pressure in photography. I love doing self photography because I can pose myself without any awkwardness and take my own photos without worrying about my client being critical of my skill or of their outward beauty. There are no conversations in self-photography. I don't have to cater to anyone else's creative dream.
from the first photo shoot I ever did. I was 17
  • I don't like having restrictions placed on my photography. A client would tell me "I want this picture, exactly like this" That's a lot of pressure. I am not that photographer who took that picture. I have my own muse: don't expect the photos I take to look like someone else's work. If you want their photos, hire them. I love suggestions, but telling me exactly what you want removes not only all my creativity, but also sets you up for a large disappointment.  
  • I hate the "Rose-Colored Glass phenomenon" Let me explain. I take your pictures. I work really hard on them, pouring a lot of my spirit and time into the shoot. The client has this "idea" of how they look in the photos. I give them the pictures, and they hate them. I am crushed. I know people that have received photos from me that exclaim that I made them look ugly. The rose color glasses phenomenon is kind of like the above point, but instead of wanting my work to looks like another photographer's, they want my work to mirror the inner picture they have of themselves.
another shot from my first session. I think these
are the only surviving photos
I guess when it comes down to it, I love creating photography. I just don't like catering to other people's whims. I can't see what is in their head, and I don't want to be put in a box. I think real photographers really have to have tough skin!

I still do photo-shoots for friends, but I make sure to do it just for "fun" with no money involved. That way I feel completely stress free, and they are free to love or hate the photos at will. Because they received them for free they seem to have a more open-minded approach to the process--they don't feel like they are owed a service from me and they don't have the expectation a wallet adds to the session. And we have fun together, which is the most important part of photography, after all.  

5 comments:

  1. i couldn't be a photographer if i wanted to. not only do i not have the eye for it, but i just couldn't put up with all the criticism that you mentioned. and people thought you should be working for them for free? psh. lame.

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  2. I thought of doing photography as a job but explaining people how much money thex need to pay and why would be a huge problem for me. I do photograph my friends sometimes but I don't do it as a job just a hobby..or now :)
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    Lejla <3
    http://ladybug4sunflower.blogspot.com/

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  3. One of my friends who is a great photographer went to school for it and everything because she just loved taking photos but then once she started getting clients she went through many things you did and just didn't like it so now she is a nurse and like you takes photos still cause she loves it.

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  4. Oh I totally hear my friend photographer here indeed.
    it's sad because most of photographers can't work on weddings like - 'just shoot us or tell what to do but we won't pose for hours'. we ended up with your photographer and paid her 150$ for wedding (we asked for 50$ in fact) and she also did a try out shoot for us with around 50 good shots (edited and etc) in the forest with dogs and at home

    Lyosha
    Inside and Outside Blog
    P.S. I'm hosting an international 2 friendship bracelets giveaway on my blog here check it out
    p.P.S. I'm your newest follower

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  5. I think photography would be a really challenging career--it's really hard for both you and your clients to have the same vision. That's why I like using my little brother as my personal photographer because he knows what I like and what I want, and we pretty much work together to get the shots I like. I just got really lucky with my wedding photographer. I picked her based on price and the photos on her website, and we met for the first time at the wedding--and I was thrilled with all the photos we got. There really is such a variety of expectations--and I can only imagine that it's crushing if you don't get the pictures you want for something as important as a wedding or other large event! That's a lot of pressure on the photographer.

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Thank you so much for commenting! Your thoughts bring smiles to my face :)