Photography Blogs

Dealing With Flakes


As photographers we all know that dealing with flakes is part of the job. Dealing with flakes is a part of regular life as well. It stings just a bit more when your source of income and creativity falls prey to these dreaded flakes. As photographers we sometimes expect the worse from a new client but hope for the best depending on initial interaction. Being from New York lots of my clientele are from out of town. Whether they are here to make it as an actor, actress, or model, or have moved here for work – they have all come to the city that never sleeps for an opportunity. Now, in order to capitalize on any opportunity you have to seize it. You never know what is behind a closed door unless you open it and that goes double for photographer and subject.

I know we will never get an inbox completely full of serious, committed, well written emails all day every day, but when we do get that one gem out of ten or twenty poorly written emails that are loaded with errors and vagueness – it’s the best feeling. Why? Because you WANT to work with that person. You KNOW they will be on time. You KNOW that you may learn from that potential experience in an extremely positive way. You also KNOW that their commitment will make for a well oiled shoot.

We need to value serious clients that know what they want.

What I don’t value are those clients that set up a shoot, say how much they are looking forward to it, or that they can’t wait to start their career, send you emails and texts to confirm, and then either no show the day of without so much as a text, email, or call. Or when you follow up with them and they have a pretty piss poor excuse like “I was hungover.” “I forgot.” “That was today?” Or the ultimate “I found someone cheaper.”

“I found someone cheaper?” Jeez, now that’s a real let down. But, you cannot let it get you down if you have not dealt with that excuse before. Why? Well, that excuse is never preceded by “I found someone better.” It also doesn’t mean you should change how much you charge. With anything and sometimes especially in photography – you get what you pay for.

There’s a saying that can apply here on occasion; “Cheap things aren’t good and good things aren’t cheap.” This doesn’t mean you should gouge your customers. All it means is that you should justify your pricing with great work.

Usually I would politely say: “Oh, no problem, do you mind if I take a look at their website?” Nine times out of ten “cheaper” is the RIGHT word.

In this business you will get lied to; “I have shot with magazine photographers around the world and have been modeling for many years.” Really? Well, can you show me your professional photos? I would love to check em out! “I don’t have them right now.” Because THAT’S something someone who is serious about their career would say. Note the sarcasm.

People will try and scam you:

“Come and shoot me because I am an up and coming model and the photos you take will help your portfolio.” No thank you. I have been around long enough to know who I want to shoot and when, and who would be a great asset to my portfolio.

“I cannot afford to pay you now but when I get famous I will.” Thank you for remembering.

“The credit you get for these photos will MAKE your career and lead to more work.” We have all heard that one.

People will try to undermine you while price shopping:

“SO and SO does it cheaper.” OK, and? That’s like being mad at me because my neighbor likes tuna salad and I don’t. Different strokes for different folks.

The best you can do is kill everyone with kindness. Be super awesome and chipper all the time.

We can never stop the flakes. We can only deal with them. We should also take a 25% non refundable deposit up front!

You are going to get mad but don’t stay mad. It’s part of the job. It also has no bearing on who you are.

 It’s not you – it’s them. Well, unless you are a big weirdo and no one likes you. Then, it’s you. All you.

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You Can’t Please Everyone

You Can’t Please Everyone

Welcome to another one of my photography blogs. You work hard and play hard. The harder you work the better the rewards. That is a true statement. When you work toward something you will find yourself building something that is fulfilling as well as creative. That being said sometimes you cannot please all of your clients through no fault of your own. People are people and as photographer we have to remember that. ESPECIALLY as photographers we have to remember that everyone is different and that we are not mind readers.

Client satisfaction is the number one goal for all working photographers. We have to take great photos and deliver a high end product so that we get repeat business, as well a referrals, and establish a great reputation. Sometimes photographers will come across people that do not know how to be people and or polite. It happens. Most people are completely awesome and if you work hard they will give you that pat on the back and a “Good job, kid.” Sometimes clients assume that because they are paying you it means that you are their slave and can be yelled at or talked down to.

Others will just try and tear you down. Why? Because they have nothing better to do or because they are just unhappy with themselves.

Photographers: Do not let these people get to you. You have to remain calm and professional at all times and show the bad apples that you are better than that. Be firm.

Clients may on occasion issue you a complaint about something that could have easily been remedied with proper communication (on their end). When you offer services it is of the utmost importance to be clear about exactly what you do and what you CAN do in post work. This also means that you may have to hold certain clients hands through the entire photography process so that they can suss out exactly what they want. This can be a daunting task because it’s very easy to be dismissive. Be a pro and hang in there. No one is a mind reader.

It’s really easy to bitch and moan about other people but in the photography profession ALL you deal with is people so sometimes you have to take attitudes with a grain of salt. Don’t be a pushover but establish yourself ahead of your shoot so that nothing unforeseen pops up. Sometimes you may have to remind clients that when you order food at a restaurant you can’t talk the waiter or chef into giving you free grub. If someone gets mad that you are charging for extras then let them get mad. It’s not a poor reflection upon you as a photographer at all as long as you tell them ahead of time.

Again, this doesn’t happen all the time but if it does just stay cool and be cool.

Now, bring the ruckus.

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Yoga Photography

Yoga Photography NYC

I have always wanted to do Yoga Photography and have found the perfect model for it. Candice is from out of town and has only been in New York for a couple of weeks. I feel honored and privileged that I was the photographer she chose for her brand and requested my services for some yoga photography that she would use for networking and of course yoga! She is a certified yoga instructor and an extremely wonderful person as well. We put together poses and photos that we would like to showcase and being the great subject that she is also posed for some more pinup style photos (that will be featured on an upcoming update) This session concentrates on her ability to strongly pose without faltering and shows the strength of her will, mind, and body. Yoga is an extension of your being and it’s proof to the universe that you are one within it and one with it. Yoga Photography can be an extension of the photographer’s quest for knowledge within a subject. In a city that can at times be a clenched fist I commend her efforts to spread positivity through her practice and am extremely happy with the results of the yoga photography that I captured of her practicing her art.

I decided to use mostly black and whites for the post production on this session. I feel it showcases her strength and definition while fading into a universal constant. We employed a Valeo Yoga Mat, Purple and I used my Canon 60D with a Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens , Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras , 85mm, and 50mm as well as a Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash for Canon Digital SLR Cameras to capture Candice’s yoga photography. Photoshop and Lightroom were also used in the post production for this session.

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Shoot What You Love

Shoot What You Love

If you take photos for  a living, are trying to, or just shoot around constantly as a hobby ; chances are that not every single photograph comes out the way you want it. There are photographers out there that will spend an endless amount of time setting up and gearing toward that one perfect shot, which is fine and amazing on its own. But, a lot of us are not like that. More power to you if you shoot that way. Most of us kind of go for broke and shoot anything that comes our way or anything we see that we like. Again, not every single picture comes out perfect but sometimes in those imperfections you find a nice little nuance that you really dig. Accidentally amazing shots can sometimes be a photographers bread and butter.

Shoot what you love. Love what you shoot. You can take those two sentences as literally as you want or as figuratively as you want. There have been jobs where I have cringed do to circumstances BUT I will always close my eyes for a second and remind myself that this my chosen profession and I DO love what I do. Sometimes photographers need to remind themselves of that. At the end of the day we push a button that takes a snapshot of a moment forever frozen in time. It’s a beautiful thing if you think about it. We are massagers of the optical nerve and sometimes our photographers will break hearts, create joy, bring laugher, or awe and audience. We are magicians. Do not forget that. Shoot what you love.

Like any profession or hobby you have to take the good with the bad. Whether it’s bad client attitude, a bad day, or just a general lack of energy, you have to learn how to take your lumps and make the most of the situation. You can’t run away from a “bad day” every single time. You need to make the most of what is being presented to you and it’s your job as a photographer to work within your situation and take the best photos you can no matter what.

If you aren’t in love with your subject then be in love with your craft and you will always take better photos than you would have otherwise.

If you are in love with your subject and it makes you realize why you love photography so much, then by all means shoot for the stars and come out ahead of the game with some wonderful images.

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