This post is a little different for me. Usually you will see more of a photo blog of recent events I have shot or things I am currently working on. I do like the Happy Friday posts as well. This post is less of a photo blog and more one of an issue that a lot of photographers deal with that is currently stoking my internal fire.
When a photographer schedules a session with someone for any reason there are multiple steps and many hours of work that photographers put in. A lot of it is “behind the scenes” type stuff that I think people are not aware of. We scout out locations at various times, we check the lighting at different times of day, we watch the weather as well as the sunrise and sunset times. We spend time estate and consignment hunting to find unusual and interesting simple props. We spend money on equipment. Lots of money on equipment. 🙂 We talk with our clients to find out what they are wearing and make notes about their upcoming session. Then comes the day of a session. We drive to different locations and we spend an hour or so shooting. Personally, I shoot in RAW as do a lot of photographers. After the time spent at the session, we then download all of our images onto our computer. There are many hours of work involved with this step. Some photographers alter their images in creative ways and I love looking at their sites. That’s not the kind of photographer I am, but there still is editing. I organize the photos so the client will have ALL of their best images. I never say, “That’s enough. I gave them X amount of images so I’m finished.” If there are more awesome photos of your child, shouldn’t you be entitled to receiving them? I am into preserving the memory of that moment forever. This takes me hours and hours to do because I have to convert every single photo to a JPEG. I then burn the client’s CD and put it in a handmade CD case (thank you to Joyful Mama Designs for creating these for me). I have costs of the CDs as well as the fabric for the cases. I have notecards that I have created from my photos and I enjoy writing a handwritten note to the client, thanking them and giving them tips on printing. All of these things cost money and require a lot of time. This is my job.
Yeah, yeah, yeah you say. I know all of that. So why is your fire being so stoked? Please respect your photographer. Respect his or her time, talent, and creative work. There is a lot of temptation with our technology age that we live in. However, when you copy and paste and then PRINT a photographer’s photo you are actually stealing. All of that time that we put into capturing those moments for you are gone. How do you think we, as photographers, buy our thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment? It is never justifiable to ask for a “couple of free prints.” It’s not just one or two, what’s the big deal? It is never justifiable to scan and copy the photo and hand it off to anyone. As a photographer, my name is associated with that picture. Clear guidelines were given for copying and pasting. Did you know that when you do that you loose clarity of the photo each time you copy? It pixelates and grain is added. That is not a photo that I wish someone to see and then have my name mentioned in shooting it. That was not what I gave to each client. I keep my prices low so that the sessions and prints are affordable to everyone. It should not be a choice of whether you can buy a print of your beautiful granddaughter or buy groceries that week. So, when a picture of mine is scanned and printed, it is frustrating.
To everyone out there who ever hires a photographer. Please respect him or her. Respect that person’s time, talent, and creative intergriety. Respect that this is a person’s job. Do you go to your hair dresser and ask for a free haircut? Do you drop off your car at the repair shop and expect it to be free? Please respect all that goes into your photos. Look within yourself and your own integrity before you do anything that may compromise or steal the work of another.