Dear wedding and portrait photographers,
I know that maybe this letter will set off some bells and perhaps I will get a lot of backlash for even writing it. But after 10 years of being a part of the photography industry, specifically the wedding and portrait industry, I feel like it's time to say what I have been holding in.
Stop client bashing.
Stop. Stop. Stop.
The photography industry has lost all focus. I don't think there is a day that passes where I don't see a complaint about a potential client or an actual client on social media. How are you going to complain about people who have hired you to do a job that you are passionate about? If the catalyst for becoming a photographer was because of a little extra money coming into your bank account on the weekends, then maybe you shouldn't be a photographer. I know that sounds harsh, but I say it with sincerity.
The most common mistake that I am seeing more and more lately on social media is client bashing. This new shift in mentality among photographers is downright disappointing. In the photography classes I teach I make sure to repeat several times that it is our responsibility as photographers to deliver our best work and an amazing experience. It is our responsibility to choose the right location at the right time and even help with wardrobe. It is our responsibility to explain why originals aren't as good as the edits and what our processes are when it comes to selecting images. Clients come to you because they are not photographers. Plain and simple.
It is about them, not about you.
Not about your business model, not about how you don't give out originals, not about getting published, and certainly not about what other photographers think about you. Sure, there are clients that don't fully read their contracts, clients who would never use originals but want them anyway, clients who pick the worst time for a session, and clients who are dissatisfied. This is not reason enough to go behind their backs and bash them on social media. Do the best, give them what they are asking for or cut this client loose and move on with your life. I feel like now, photogs get too caught up in their "business" and stop putting their focus on what really matters: the people. Too much business and not enough attention on people. I understand that business is a component of doing photography professionally, but it shouldn't be the sole reason for being a photog.
With the ever growing digital age, professionally photography is still a huge influence in the world. Which is why clients still come back to us to photograph them, their families, and the most important day of their lives.
Let's regain focus. Let's make that shift in our industry towards what really matters: preserving life for people through a tangible experience. Focusing on our clients and what really matters to them. Helping them to understand why and how we do what we do. I hope that we, as an industry, can refocus our photography on what really matters most:
Making our clients, our people, the most important part of our business.
Who is with me?