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4 more things you should NEVER say to a photographer!

4 more things you should NEVER say to a photographer!
(Image credit: YouTube: Justin Mott)

As photographers, we all know that there are some things guaranteed to annoy us. Like when friends ask, "Can you bring your camera?" to their wedding, hoping that you'll shoot it for free. 

Justin Mott, a photojournalist and commercial photographer (and fast becoming one of our favorite YouTube personalities), has had enough of the cheeky requests and outrageous suggestions – and he's back with part two of his brilliant "HOW TO ANNOY PHOTOGRAPHERS" video.  

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The first installment was a cathartic release for a lot of our shared frustrations as photographers, but the second part takes things to another level as he fires both barrels at those clients and customers who don't know when they've crossed a line.

We highly recommend that you watch the whole video below, but here are the highlights of even more things you should never say to a photographer…

1) "Oh, do you have any shots of…"

"Let’s take a commercial shoot, for example. You’ve got a structured shot list, you’ve got your client with you the entire time… Okay, if the client wasn’t there, this is the exception, but this happens all the time when the client is there. 

"They’re asking me, or asking my team, ‘Oh, I didn’t see any shots of, like this room category?’ And you know clearly it’s not on your list. Or, ‘Do you have any shots of this restaurant?’ And you know clearly that’s not on the list. Or, ‘Do you have any food shots?’ And we’re like, no, we didn’t do food photography, that wasn’t on our list – you were there. You were next to me the entire time. How would I have it? 

"What do you think happened? Do think after we had dinner, and I went back and backed up all the photographs, and everyone was in bed and I snuck out and went and took a bunch of food shots?"

2) "The last photographer did it THIS way"

"What they really mean is, 'You should be doing it this way because the other photographer did.' And when a client says that to you, it’s insulting. Because we all work differently, we all have our own process. Guess what: this is the process that gets me the images that you hired me for, the images on my website. 

"And the last photographer you worked with for your shoot, if you like them so much, and you like their process so much, why are we doing this shoot? Why aren’t they doing it? Right? Think about it. The assumption that we don’t know what we’re doing or the way that we do it isn’t the right way is ridiculous."

3) "It doesn’t have that 'wow factor'"

"Okay, first of all, does whatever we shot for you have the wow factor? That’s the first thing to think of – does your product, or whatever you hired us to shoot, have the wow factor? Give that a thought for a second. 

"Second, and most importantly, that means absolutely nothing to me. What does it mean? Describe it, what are we missing? Do you not like the mood, do you not the composition, do you not like the color – these are things we can work with. If it’s a video we can edit it in a certain way that’s different if you didn’t like the flow of it, didn’t like the narrative of it, whatever… 

"But if you can’t describe it, when you just say these buzzwords like wow factor… Be descriptive. Give constructive feedback. talk about stuff that’s tangible, things that can be changed, things that can be fixed, things that can be done. Just saying something empty like that is absolutely ridiculous."

4) "Can you make me look skinny?"

"This one’s gonna be sensitive, and I don’t know how to say this right, but maybe I’m allowed to say it because I’m not skinny. But this is the one you get… the model or the bride or the groom saying. 'I don’t look skinny, can you make me skinnier?' 

"And yes there are little tricks we can do, shooting different perspectives… I’m talking about the clients that like, it’s a wedding shoot, when you’re delivering 500 images, or 1,000 images, and they’re like, ‘I don’t like the way I look,’ or ‘I don’t look skinny,’ or ‘I look sweaty’. Like, sorry, but especially when you hire documentary photographers, guess what: how you look in the photographs is how you look. That's it.  

If you’re just not happy with the way you look, and weren’t happy with the way that your body is or the way that your suit fits or the way that your dress fits – that’s on you. And I don’t think you should be mad at yourself, but if you are angry at anyone, be mad at yourself – don’t be mad at the photographer."

For more of Justin's insights, techniques, presets and of course, more opinions, be sure to check out his YouTube channel.

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show. An Olympus (Micro Four Thirds) and Canon (full frame) shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a particular fondness for vintage lenses and film cameras.