FAQ – Round 8

As photographers, we all deal with difficult situations at times. Some are small; others make you want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over your head! Here are a few questions I’ve received about how I deal with these “fun” times!

Tara asked: Do you ever just get tired of taking pictures or lose your drive and excitement for your job?

Yep. Sometimes. It’s usually when I’m over-stressed. I have to take a step back and take a break. But I’ve found that it happens a lot less now that I don’t book as many shoots as I did when I first started out. I also try to only take jobs that sound fun! It makes a big difference.

Aimee asked: Do people ever steal photos from your website? Do you feel the need to do something about it? What about if they post them online and don’t give you credit?

I can see when pictures get downloaded from my blog (through a tracker), but I don’t do anything about it. The pictures are low-resolution, so they can’t be printed. Maybe people just want them on their screensaver or something. If so, that makes me happy! When I see them posted on Facebook without linking back I get a little annoyed sometimes. Mainly because ALL clients sign a contract saying they won’t do this. But honestly, at the end of the day I’m just glad that I’ve provided them with pictures they love enough to share online. And most of my work comes from referrals, so clients are definitely doing their part to help me!

Lauren asked: How do you deal with unhappy clients? Have you had any?

That’s such a downer, isn’t it? I did have one a few years ago. She wasn’t happy with anything — Didn’t like the outfit she chose, thought her daughter looked “weird” in some of the pics, thought she was going to get to look at every picture I shot, etc… it went on and on. I was mad at first, but I realized that part of the problem was that she didn’t know what to expect. That was my fault. I hadn’t talked to her on the front end enough, and her expectations were unrealistic. It was a great learning experience, because right after that I developed a detailed Portrait Guide and Contract. I send the Portrait Guide to prospective clients, and it insures that they know exactly what to expect and when. If they decide to book a shoot they have to sign the Contract. I haven’t had any issues since then!

Julie asked: How do you deal with overbearing parents when you’re working with kids? Sometimes they make me so nervous and frustrated that I can’t even think.

Just remember that they are trying to help, and they feel like their kid is being bad if he isn’t sitting down and cheesing for you. Try to help them relax, and ignore them if you can. Sometimes I’ll have the parents walk away from us just a bit and kind of ignore us. That always helps. Just interact with the child until he warms up to you. Usually the parents will relax too!

Several people asked different versions of this: What do you do when a client has horribly cliché ideas for their shoot? Think “pregnant woman wrapped in a sheet”. Ahhhhhh!

Ha! That’s a tough one. If it’s a big deal for me I just explain that what they’re asking isn’t my style. Be really honest with them and let them know that you will be happy to help find another photographer who’s style will mesh better with their ideas. Other times (if it’s just one cheesy shot they want) I’ll suck it up and pray the image never sees the light of day! The more work you post the less icky requests you’ll get. People will start hiring you for your distinct style and will know what to expect from you.

Emma asked: How do you feel when you see another photographer blatantly copying your work? Do you confront them?

It used to REALLY bother me, but not so much anymore. I was very insecure about my work when I was starting out. We probably all are. I guess I thought other photographers were going to come in and “steal” my clients or something. But it just doesn’t make me mad anymore. And I honestly don’t know about it unless someone else mentions it to me, because I don’t visit photography sites/blogs much anymore. I do feel a bit frustrated when I do see someone copying me or another photographer, because it shows that the person doesn’t have any of their own ideas or style. And that stinks for them in the long run.

These pics have nothing to do with the post, but how cute are those little baby arms in his muscle shirt eating a Gatorade Popsicle? Ha!!