As a professional commercial photographer for the past five years for an established company in Fort Worth, I have seen a lot of things I have liked and disliked. Here are five guaranteed ways to annoy any working photographer.
1. What we at work call the “over the shoulder shot.” This applies the most when an organization has contracted us to bring our studio with lights and a backdrop to photograph an event, and people stand right over the camera with their camera to take the photo at the same time. People argue, “Well, that’s my kid, dog, cat, whatever, and I want that photo.” Great, that is why I have brought all of my equipment to get you a photo that you like. If you don’t want to purchase this photo you are more than welcome to take your photo over there not in front of my equipment while I am trying to make a living.
2. When someone who has been photographing for three months calls himself or herself a professional. The term “professional photographer” is so watered down because people who have taken a one-hour course in the basics call themselves a professional. Personally, I do not believe someone is a professional unless they are hired on a regular basis for photography jobs or completely supporting himself or herself with photography.
3. When someone looks at a photo I have taken and says, “Oh, wow, that’s such a great photo. That must be a really nice camera.” Yes, I have paid thousands of dollars for a photography education and spent countless hours honing my craft. The only reason I can take a nice photo must be because of my camera.
When people say this, I am very tempted to hand them my camera, pull out my cellphone and challenge them to a photo contest. A nice camera does not make a photographer; it’s just a great tool.
4. Tablets and cellphones. Yes, I love my cellphone for taking photos. It does a great job of it, and I use it all the time. But what bugs me is when I am photographing an event such as a wedding, and people are holding their cellphones in the air photographing the event themselves. I have been hired to photograph this event, and I guarantee the people who have hired me do not want to see the screen of your phone. What’s worse is when people hold up their tablets. Not only are tablets larger and even more distracting, but it doesn’t even have a better camera than an average smartphone. People assume since it is bigger that it has a better camera, but this simply isn’t true.
5. Easily, the thing that makes me the most angry is when people take a screenshot of their photo on a website for purchase. Not only is this one of my biggest pet peeves, but it is also illegal, if you didn’t know. Taking a screenshot of that photo is no different from stealing something from a store. You are making it that much harder for professional photographers to support themselves.
While some of these things are nothing more than annoying, some of them will put professional photographers out of business. Take my word for it: If you take care of your photographers, they will take care you.
Richard Hirst is a senior journalism major from Durant, Okla. He is the Photo Editor for the Lariat.