This post is a truth bomb.
Maybe you’re a photographer who’s reading this thinking “OMG YES” or you’re an innocent friend of one who was sent here for the hard talk, but here goes:
Your photographer friend doesn’t want to shoot your baby shower.
Or your birthday party
Or your bachelorette party.
You get the idea.
And not because they don’t love you, but because sometimes we just want to be a guest.
Here’s a quick story- a photographer friend of mine was invited one year by a friend to attend Thanksgiving at their parents’ house. She’s got out of state family so is often a Plus-One at these kinds of things. She was grateful to be included until they said “why don’t you bring your camera!”
It was a holiday after all. She would be there with her family.
Think about it.
Have you ever seen someone ask a dentist “Hey! Why don’t you give me a root canal since you’ll be here anyway. It’s great exposure! All the other girls will probably want to book you for their dental work.
No, you haven’t. Because it’s ridiculous, right?!
But this type of stuff happens to photographers all the time.
Even worse? Sometimes it can make us feel like maybe that’s the only reason we were invited :/
Here’s the thing:
We know it comes from a good place. We know you’re not trying to take advantage of us, and that if the average person knew all that goes into photographing something they would understand that it’s not just a matter of “bringing our camera”.
So here are the top 5 reasons you shouldn’t ask a photographer friend to work your event for free:
1. Camera gear is expensive.
Like, thousands of dollars expensive. I wont even bring my professional camera out to document my own family events, it’s how I make a living so it stays safely in my bag for my paid sessions. I usually just bring my iPhone out to personal things. I’ll use my old backup dslr in the rare case my iPhone wont suffice.
2. Images have to be culled.
After we shoot, we have to go through those images and that takes a lot of time. Those clicks add up fast, and we have to sift through for “blinks, blurs and bads” (as I call them.)
3. Images have to be imported and exported through editing software.
Photographers shoot in RAW, which is french for HUMONGOUS PICTURES (just kidding, it’s not French, but they ARE huge.) So huge in fact, that we can’t even send them to you like that. Your email would have a stroke. So when we edit images we import them into our Adobe software as RAWs, then they export out as JPEGs. This way, you can actually open them. Importing to computer file>Culling> Importing to editing software>editing images> exporting to computer file>Importing to online image gallery>Sending= TIME away from our own families.
Oh, editing. Editing can be really fun when the shoot is an adorable engagement session in the desert sunset, or really tedious when it’s a group of girls eating h’ordervs in someone’s dark livingroom. Again, just keeping it real here.
5. Honestly, your phone is more than enough.
I’m going to tread lightly with this one, because I don’t want to sound rude, but there are just some things that don’t require professional images. Artistic composition, yes. A photo of two people embracing that will be printed for the wall, yes. Photos of you sitting cross-legged on the floor opening a bag to reveal a baby onesie, no.
BONUS- Phone camera images can be sent and posted immediately, making the whole process so much more efficient for everyone involved.
In conclusion, if you’re having an event and you’re tempted to ask your friend “hey, why don’t you bring your camera?” I hope this post might’ve shed some light on why your friend might be cringing on the inside. Let them be a guest. If they want the exposure or practice, they’ll ask you for the honor.
And if you happen to be a photographer who does want to shoot your friends’ events, you are a magical unicorn and I salute you.