Updated: Jul 19, 2021
While writing about the value of photography, I got inspired to write an article about things you shouldn't ask a photographer about. Here is my list of 8 things not to ask a photographer.
1) Can I send you photos of what I want?
Most photographers don't mind. But we certainly won't copy someone else's work. Please don't expect the photos you love to look exactly like that when we're done photographing. I encourage you to discuss with your photographer to see what it is you like about the photo (the set-up, lighting, etc). I would also add to this to trust your photographer. They have the necessary skills to come up with and push the creative boundaries of a photo. Most photos on IG and Pinterest that people interact with a light, bright and very commercial. As a photographer, so much can be done to make it more creative, dramatic, edgy, etc. The photographer will talk to you about their process. Trust their process and you'll walk away with photos that excite you.
2) Can you change your editing style to match this?
No. We photographers are artists and have taken time to master a distinct style that we like. If you have interacted with our portfolio, you should expect your images to look similar. If you want someone who shoots in a light and airy feel, choose your photographer based on that style.
3) Can I get the RAWs?
A big no. The RAW files are in their natural state and we photographers want to put our best foot forward. We want our photos to look like our style, so we only give you the edited image. The only case where we would give RAWs is if we are working for an agency where they have their own retouchers for commercial photography.
4) Can you do this? *insert photoshop request*
We probably could. But Photoshop will only allow us to alter the photo so far without it looking fake. Besides, do you want to see an unnatural version of yourself? Most of us like to show people in the best way possible while still keeping it looking like you.
5) Can I get a discount?
Depends on the photographer. Some do offer discounts and some don't. Most of the time though, you won't get a discount. We've priced our photography services to our cost of doing business. If we keep offering discounts we will run ourselves to the ground. The expenses of running a photography business are enough to deter anyone away.
6) Can you do it for exposure?
Absolutely not. Exposure does not pay for the expenses needed to run a successful business. A photo is worth so much in our visual world. That photo will provide you with more benefit than the photographer if we do it for exposure.
7) What DSLR should I get?
This is always a vague question when we get it. I always ask if you actually need a DSLR. Most of the time simple point and shoots are needed. If you are not taking that camera out of automatic and not wanting to do more creative photography, then you don't need a DSLR.
8) What's better Canon vs. Nikon vs. other camera brands?
Again, another vague question. I am a Canon shooter myself and can only speak to Canon. They both have their merits. But ultimately you are buying into a system. It's about what works for you, price point and so much more.
While there are questions you shouldn't ask. There are questions you should ask.
1) What is your process for photos?
Understanding a photographers process for photography is crucial so that there are no surprises on your end. Some photographers can deliver photos the next day, some 3-4 weeks and some much later. The process also tells you what work is involved and what the photographer is dedicated to and their skill level. These are all important factors to consider when booking a photographer. You want a photographer with skill and that can deliver quality images.
2) What is your style like? What inspires you?
While most of my clients interact with my portfolio before emailing me, sometimes I get the occasional call. With these calls, I have to discuss my style. As I mentioned in this post, photographers are artists and each artist has a distinct style. Most of your photos will look like that style. Booking a photographers style that you don't like would be a mistake. It's important that you walk away with photos you love.