Four Things You Should Never Say to Photographers

Four Things You Should Never Say to Photographers

A video of a little boy getting an injection while in his father’s lap is making rounds on social media.

The boy screams as two doctors pin him down to prick his little biceps. The father, whose laps the boy is on, does nothing. Obviously, it takes two doctors because the dad’s arms are lifeless at this point to harness his own boy. Like when you wake up in the morning with a numb hand because you slept on it for God knows how long.

The needle breaks the child’s skin, he starts to cry. In a muffled manner, the dad hysterically weeps too. To guard his honor, he does it behind the son’s head. A son shall never in his lifetime witness his father cry. At least not William Ruto style when it finally dawned on him he made it to state house. When baby is in pain, daddy is in pain. There is nothing unnatural about a grown man crying because his baby is going through pain. Especially one who tries hard to hide his tears. Not funny.

Men too feel pain!

Creativity involves thinking, lots of it, and painstaking planning. Some argue it is among the things you are either born with or without. Others hold that you develop it with practice over time. Whatever the case, creativity is beautiful but hard!

Photography goes a long way than just aiming a camera and clicking the shutter button. It is a journey of creative creation that involves vision, conceptualization and actualization. Now and then luck will play part especially for wildlife and landscape photographers who at times are at the right place at the right time. But to to be able to capitalize on good luck, hours of preparation are essential.

Unfortunately, photographers are put through some of the most agonizing remarks ever out of what seems to be unappreciation of the craft.

I will not weep behind heads but state some of the most exasperating comments photographers wish not to hear:-

You must be using a very good camera!

This takes the crown!

Roger Federer is one of the best tennis players around, does anyone ever ask whether it is the racket he uses or the shoes he wears that make him good? Lewis Hamilton keeps bagging Grand Prix races by the day, is it the cars he uses?

If you come across photography that you find beautiful, appreciate it for what it is. Do not connect the amazing work photographers do with the gear they use. To them, it does not matter whether they use the most expensive camera or just a phone. It is years of experiences and the skills cultivated over times that bring about the photographs you see in front of you.

In case you did not know, photographers do not take photos, they make them.

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Are you a professional photographer?

The world has a million and one quack doctors but no one bothers asking doctors whether they are professional.

Asking photographers this question often feels as an attempt to establish the amount of money a photographer makes.

Being professional is holistic and extends way beyond the level of skill and amount of experience a photographer has. It starts with a photographer listening and articulating solutions towards a project at hand. It goes to how customer centric he or she is if indeed offers value for the money you pay. And much more.

If a photographer’s work interests you, engage him or her as you would any other professional. Let it be proven to you through actions under what you would normally consider as professionalism. A simple yes or no answer will not suffice.

The next time you see an accountant, start off by asking whether he is a professional!

I have an event, may I borrow your camera?

No, you may not!

You know a ton of taxi drivers, I am sure never ask to borrow a taxi even if it was idle and you would fuel it yourself.

The gear you want to borrow is the photographer’s life line. It is an investment guarded like a baby, rest assured. There are people who hire out gear at a fee If you have the need for it. Do not assume that a friend who does photography will benevolently lend you their gear. We hate lending gear!

You will probably be unable to operate it in the first place.

How about a free shoot and I give you exposure?

This is an insult!

To photographers, exposure is the amount of light per unit area. It has to do with shutter speed, aperture and ISO! That language we understand. Otherwise, please do not offer to promote our work in exchange for a free photo shoot. You stand a better chance asking for pro bono.

Also, having a friend or a relative that does photography does not necessarily mean they will cover your wedding or graduation. Do not shove it into their agenda if they have not offered.

And please do not ask us to bring our camera along every time you invite us to your events!