10 Things NOT to Say to Your Photographer

In this era of the digital world, photography is more and more accessible and photographers are popping up everywhere. Chances are, you’re acquainted with photographers in your friend or peer group already. Today I’m letting you in on a few “secrets” that photographers pretty much agree on (though not everyone, for sure). No matter their genre or location, these are the top 10 things NOT to say to your photographer.

“Can I have the unedited photos too?”

It wouldn’t be the list of things not to say to your photographer if it didn’t start with this gem of a question. I mean honestly, as photographers, we have to educate our clients, to some degree, to avoid this kind a question. It can be offensive to your photographer to ask for the unedited photos, especially after the delivery of your final images. By asking for unedited images, you’re saying you aren’t happy with roughly half of the work we’ve done for you. Photographers often shoot in RAW format anyway, and good luck dealing with that without the necessary software. If you aren’t happy with your final edited images, you may want to have a heart to heart with your photographer about your feelings. They might just surprise you and re-edit exactly to your taste so everyone is happy!

Before and After photoshop post process from Charlotte Photographer Carrie Allen 10 Things not to say to your photographer

“You can just photoshop that out.”

Depending on what it is you’re talking about, it might not be as simple as you think. So please don’t assume we can change your hair color, remove braces, or remove 492 individual dog hairs from your clothes without an additional turnaround time or fee. Depending on your photographer’s experience with Photoshop, what you’re assuming they’ll do may may not even be possible! Instead of assuming what they will and won’t alter in photoshop, try asking your photographer what they typically edit out and where they draw the line. If you want something major changed in every photo, please let us know at the time of your shoot or beforehand so we can do our best to accommodate or at least manage your expectations. We want you to love how you appear in your images.

“I don’t need to buy any, I took screenshots.”

Ouch. This one really hurts. Not only is it offensive in every sense of the word, it’s downright illegal. There is never a good reason to steal commissioned artwork, no matter how “easy” it can be. Do better, be better. Don’t steal from your photographer.

“I can’t pay you right now but I can give you credit!”

This one comes from a good place a lot of the time. It often comes from friends, family, or local instagram celebs. While sometimes a photographer may actually love the opportunity to collaborate on a project, bear this rule in mind: If you approach the photographer for their services, expect to pay their rates. Don’t ask them to work for free. Credit doesn’t pay our bills, and this is how we feed our families. If you want to reach out about collaboration, it’s totally okay to ask if they have any collaboration opportunities at the moment. If the photographer has a styled shoot in mind and you’re actually a good fit as a model, you may just have a deal! But don’t ask them to do you a favor for free.

“My dad/friend/uncle/sister is a photographer so they can edit the photos”

Oh, they can? Please don’t assume you’re doing us a favor by assigning editing to someone else. It’s like taking an artist’s painting you commissioned them to do, and telling them “that’s good enough I’ll take it from here. My dad is an artist and he can just finish your painting.” Photographer’s don’t like this, it’s illegal, a lot of times it’s specifically in their contract not to alter photos. Just don’t say this or do this.

“I hate the clothes I wore to the session, can we have a reshoot?”

Ideally your photographer will have guided you on what to wear to your photo session to be sure your clothing will photograph well and flatter your shape. But regardless, after the session is not a good time to decide you wore the wrong clothes. A photographer will often offer a reshoot for you if they are partially or fully to blame, or if inclement weather spoils the session. If you decide you don’t like your clothes, we still have already fulfilled our services to you, and you aren’t simply granted a new (free) session.

“It’s just an instagram filter”

A lot of people add filters to their instagram as a reflex. They find the photo, add a filter, add a caption, and then post. But did you know adding a filter is significantly altering the artists work, which is illegal? Not only is it a violation of copyright–it’s an insult to your photographer. Warping your body shape into a Kardashian silhouette or turning brown eyes light blue might be what comes to mind when you hear us say “Don’t alter these photos in any way,”  but we’re looking at you too. Please, don’t add filters to our work. We will notice, and it does misrepresent our work. If you would like something edited a bit differently, let the photographer know! They might just be able to re-edit to your liking.

“I brought my friend, can you take pictures of them too?”

Don’t put your photographer on the spot by bringing someone unexpected along and asking for photos involving them. We spend a lot time preparing for your session with the necessary contracts, conversations, session fees, and more. It puts us in a difficult spot to turn your friend down, but it isn’t as simple as you might think. If you want to bring someone along, just ask before your shoot to avoid any uncomfortable or awkward situations.

“I just need a few pics, can I get a discount?”

Whether your photo session comes standard with 3 photos or 50, we still have to follow procedure the same way. We still need to cover our overhead costs like any other session, so the price is the same. You might have better luck finding a photographer offering mini sessions instead, where the cost of doing business may be adjusted by working at high volume.

“Your camera takes great pictures!”

Oh no. Just don’t say this, ever. A photographer might have a “fancy” camera, but it takes even “fancier” knowledge to master it. But don’t take my word for it, try using a professional DSLR and coming up with the same results 😉 Try this instead: “You take great pictures!”

Well, that was my top 10 things not to say to your photographer. Did you learn anything, have anything to add? Or did you at least have a laugh? Let me know in the comments below. And for the benefit of all the photographers in your life, don’t forget to share to spread the word!

If you want to learn more about me, head over to my about me page or browse my homepage and blog archives!

  1. Candy Rowe says:

    Thank you for some very helpful tips for a photo shoot.

  2. This One Goes Up to 11!!!
    When the Photography Shoot concludes, don’t hand the photographer your mobile/“cell” phone to ask, “Can you take a few more with my (phone)?”

  3. Angel says:

    What if your photographer edits out scars or birth marks you are actually proud of? It feels like your photographer assumed your skin marks are not beautiful, or undesired. How do offer feedback then? Also, what if you notice that the edits for photos seem to work on lighter skin people but look weird or unnatural on darker skin people?

  4. r1ch says:

    I agree with all but one. People want photos they can put a filter on then post them wherever. Photographers are going to have to accept this and not take offense. They need to charge more or change their licensing verbiage to allow customers to do this. Use it to make money. If not customers are going to do it anyway, especially younger ones who were brought up in this digital age. Adapt, or die. I am a photographer, not professional. I just bought 4 pictures that another photographer took at 4 dirt motorcycle different events . Instead of getting the paper pictures I chose the .jpg images and they were emailed to me. I did not get any license agreement, no TOS on the site. Just got the images and I can do anything I want with them and I paid $50 for 4 images as part of a Christmas special price. I wish he shot raw. He did little adjustments if any. If he would have had a license that restricted me for editing, printing, or posting pictures of me. I would have never bought them. That is the reality of the industry and we can thank cell phones. I have seen people take screen shot of proofs with the photographers name, print them and put them on their fireplace mantle with the photographers name boldly printed. Photoshop and apps are so sophisticated now it only take a little bit for someone to remove the photographers name of the proof, use gigapixel to blow it up, Sharpen AI to make it sharper and make a poster to hang on their wall. Which is sad.

    • Sarina Gito says:

      indeed..some people simply have no class.. and do not respect us photographers for our hard work. what to do .lion should not lose sleep over sheep. this is why . i ensure i am paid and paid well. if i will be abused anyway.

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