Photography Clients: The Good, the Bad, and the Photoshopped

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I haven’t blogged in awhile because I’ve been extra busy with my photography business this fall.  I can’t complain, though.  The money I make from my photography business each year is the money we use to take our summer family vacation.  Last year we were blessed to be able to go to Disney World.  This year?  Well, this summer the money will probably already be spent.  In fact, most of it already is.  Part of it went towards fixing my husband’s front tooth that got knocked out by Little Man’s big noggin, and the other part was used to pay for a $2200 car repair bill after a recent incident I had involving ice and horribly maintained concrete curb.  “Sorry kids, no Disney this year, but we can have fun driving around in the car with its brand new tires while looking at Dad’s radiant smile”.

My favorite part of my photography business (besides making extra money for vacation, hillbilly teeth, and/ or car repairs) is the chance it gives me to meet new people.  I have met so many great families and made many new friends over the past 5 years of my business.   Of course as with any groups of people, there are bound to be those that are, shall we say….. interesting.  And then there are those that simply test my patience and tick me off.  I will be describing some of the ridiculous, nervy, and just plain crazy requests and people I have encountered in my business.*

*The following accounts are purely fictional dramatization.  Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental.

No, that’s bull… I can’t make this shit up… it’s all real.  I’m fairly certain that those depicted do not read my blog.   I hope.  But, if you’re reading this, rest assured, I’m not talking about you.  We good?  Okay, here goes:

A few of my most memorable clients in no particular order:

5.  The Weather Worriers:

There are many clients who inaccurately believe that, in addition to being both a school psychologist and a photographer, I have also earned my meteorology degree along the way.   I only shoot outdoors in natural light, and, living in the Midwest, this can turn any photo shoot into a crap shoot when it comes to the weather.  I get asked more times than I can count what the weather forecast will be, do I think it will be too cold two months from now?, is it going to be sunny? rainy? cloudy? foggy? Will there be a wintry mix?  Here’s the deal, people…. I have no freaking clue.  I can look at a 7 day forecast just as well as you can, but we all know that those things aren’t worth a darn.  My guess is really as good as yours.

My favorite was the dad who contacted me about 17 times before his family’s photo shoot to ask me about the wind.  Did I think that the pictures would turn out okay if the wind was blowing his hair?  Well, I don’t know, Fabio, I guess we will have to wait and see.  When the day came, it was, in fact, extremely windy, and I was anxious to see how we could get his flowing locks to look decent in the photos.  When he showed up, however, it was a moot point.  Dude was bald as a cue ball.

4. The Perfectionist Photoshop Requesters:

Yes, I edit the photos with a Photoshop-like program.  Yes, I have the ability to remove minor blemishes from photos if need be.  No, I do not have the time nor the desire to remove every freckle, wrinkle, fat roll, grey hair, mole, logo, ex-spouse, tree, errant eyebrow hair etc. from your photos.  I have been asked to make a child’s shirt a different color because it didn’t match the family’s color scheme.  I’m sorry, but if you can’t match your own damn clothes, I’m sure as hell not going to spend time changing the colors of your clothing in Photoshop.  I’m happy to give clothing advice if needed before the photos are taken, but I will not make fake clothes for you in Photoshop.

Speaking of fake, if you want totally fabricated photos, feel free to contact the Kardashians’ photographer for all your photo needs.  If you hire me, expect to get real photos of you and your actual family, looking just as beautiful as the good Lord made you.  I will not make you look thinner, I will not endow your bosom area, I will not make your hair fuller, longer, or blonder.  I will not “shave a bit off your nose”, nor will I make your booty more bootylicious, that is not the kind of photographer I am.  You can ask, but I will respectfully decline.

One of my very first clients was in October of 2008.  The weather on the day of our photo shoot was freezing and rainy.  I let the client talk me into trying to do the photos at an indoor location.  When we arrived, the mom picked a place she wanted her family to be for the photos.  It was in front of a brick wall that had a bunch of flyers and posters hanging on it.  I pointed those out to her and suggested we find somewhere not as “busy”.  She was adamant that we use that wall.  So I relented and took the photos there.  When I showed her the photos she asked me if there was anyway I could “edit out the posters and flyers”.  I was naive and hadn’t yet developed the difficult but necessary art of saying “NO”.  I really wanted my new clients to be happy, so I did it.  I spent HOURS painstakingly cloning out posters and redrawing a whole freaking brick wall.  Ridiculousness.  I am happy to report that I was a quick learner and am very adept at saying no these days.  I no longer draw brick walls in Photoshop.  Now I just hit my head against them when I encounter the following:

3. The Panicky Procrastinators:

These are the clients that call me in a panic and say things like “Hi, you took my pictures 7 months ago?  I haven’t had a chance to order any yet, but I am ready now.  Oh, and I want them for Christmas gifts, so can you order them right away?  Like last week?  Yes, I know that it is Christmas Day.  Oh, you’re having dinner with your family?  That’s nice.  So… do you think you can get those ordered and delivered to me?  Like right now?”

Sigh.

2.  The Second Step-Cousin Twice Removed:

I received an email once that went something like this “Hello, I don’t know if you remember me?   My name is ______ and I am friends with your neighbor and I think we go to the same dentist?  We may have seen each other at the mall once?  And I think my mom may have met your great aunt a few years ago at a dinner party?  I would like to schedule a photo shoot with you but your prices are too high for me.  Is there any way I can get a ‘Friends and Family’ discount?  🙂 ”

Um….. so here’s the deal.  If you have to explain to me how you “know” me in a two page email, then (a) we are obviously not related, and (b) we are clearly not friends.  So, if I, indeed, had said ‘Friends and Family’ discount, which, in fact, I do not, I highly doubt that you would fit into either of those categories.  And your use of a 🙂 smiley face does not negate the fact that you brazenly asked me to charge you less than I charge every one else.  Because we’re such good friends.  What did you say your name was again?

1. The Porn Star Wannabes:

Last, but not least, there are these.  I’m not even kidding, I have had some seriously disturbing encounters with couples who believe that disgustingly engaging in a round of tongue wrestling is a good way to have their photos taken.  While their three children surround them.  I am not that kind of photographer either.  Not sure who is.  I do not want to take photos of you grabbing your wife’s ass or holding your husband’s crotch.  Seriously.  I also am not going to use your photos as my “advertising” because you think you and your family are “smoking hot”.  I’m glad you think highly of yourselves, but I get to choose what photos I use and when.

That being said, I do have some gorgeous clients.  I also have some of the most respectful, kind and considerate clients around.  I am so blessed to have been able to meet those wonderful people who make my job easy and rewarding.  I also am glad that I have had clients that fall into the categories above.  They keep my job interesting.  Most of all, they make me appreciate even more the wonderful clients who don’t piss me off with ridiculous requests.

Thank you, thank you to all the families that have allowed me to photograph them over the years.  My family, our teeth, and our vehicles greatly appreciate you, too.

http://www.jenniferchristensenphotography.com

 

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