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The Shocking Truth: 14 Things Photographers Hate About Photography


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I love photography.  But with any hobby or profession, there may be things you dislike.  I have a firm policy that “if something doesn’t bring me joy, I try to get rid of it.”  Photography is an incredible art, means of capturing memories, and documenting life.  But for photographers there are some drawbacks too. As people consider “getting into” photography, it’s helpful to learn what’s on the other side of the lens. At MCP we always discuss how amazing it is, but today we’ll look at the less exciting parts, as expressed by our audience and compiled by us.

This got me thinking… “what do other photographers dislike about their chosen hobby or profession?”  I surveyed on the MCP Facebook Page and got a wide range of responses. Based on these responses, I took the most popular and found common themes.

what-photographers-hate-600x503 The Shocking Truth: 14 Things Photographers Hate About Photography MCP Thoughts Social Networking

Here are the top 14 things photographers hate about their profession or hobby (plus a few sample comments for each category):

1. Pricing/Selling

  • People who want something for nothing.
  • Clients that agree to my prices, love their photos then throw a fit when they can’t afford everything they want. I even offer payment plans.
  • I hate taking money from people because I enjoy my job so much! I always value add my product though. (hey, I still gotta eat & pay the bills!)
  • The SALES Room….the one part as a Professional photographer that you need most. I hate walking into that room.
  • I get irritated when people compare your pricing to Walmart, Kmart and Sears portrait studios.
  • Trying to decide on the prices I should charge.

2. Business side of things

  • Bookkeeping/Accounting.
  • Any of the “business” side. I just want to talk to clients and take photos.
  • TAXES!
  • Answering emails.
  • When all the other business stuff gets in the way of just taking pictures for fun!

3. Marketing/Advertising

  • Building a clientele.
  • Advertising. I can’t seem to get it right and draw in clients.
  • Trying to get satisfied customers to spread the word about me.
  • Marketing. If only I could hire someone…. but don’t have the cash flow… and don’t have the cash flow because I’m still learning marketing! Sigh.. vicious cycle.

 4. Expensive or heavy equipment

  • Not having enough money for all the equipment I want/need.
  • $$$ for equipment.
  • Having to spend profits upgrading gear.
  • Weight of the equipment – hurts my back, arms, wrists, etc.

5. Time consuming/bad hours

  • Evening & weekend hours
  • Time consuming process from start to finish
  • The time I am away from my kids.
  • Trying to find your own style.
  • Anxiety that the client won’t like my work.
  • Worrying that I won’t capture that perfect picture.
  • The stress that I’m not going to please my clients. That’s the worse feeling and I get it every time!
  • The stress of wanting to do a great job.
  • I hate the anxiety I get before a big shoot.
  • The hour leading up to a session: trying to come up with new ideas, new poses, scouting new locations and worrying if they’ll work. What if the client(s) are stiff, not enough or too much make-up, what the weather is doing if we planned on being outdoors, if my studio is clean enough, etc. For that one hour, every doubt and every pang of unsure, nervous energy is something that if I could bottle and sell, would make me a millionaire.
  •  I hate that I can’t just enjoy a snapshot of my kids. Even if they are doing something really cute, if the technical side is lacking (bad exposure, blurry, focus off, comp, etc.) I just don’t like it!
7. Dealing with customers

  • Having needy clients.
  • Customers who expect the pictures back immediately..even though the contract has a time frame.
  • When customers tells you how to edit, what to cut and how you should take photos.
  • When shooting group pictures, being asked by people to take a picture with their compact camera as well.
  • When clients come back multiple times for a re-edit or don’t respect boundaries. I don’t want texts at 2am suggesting I put a rosy shade on their infants cheeks!
  • Moms. There I said it. I love working with kids. I love working with high school seniors. I love working with brides. The moms that get in my way or get over involved irritate me. I don’t mind when they are helping out and being good natured and patient. It’s the moms that try to do my job for me by suggesting angles and saying ‘this shot would be so much better if you move to where I’m standing.’ Hello! Who’s looking through the lens here, you’re not seeing what I’m seeing. Or when they are constantly stepping in the shot to adjust this or that.
  • When customers say “you can just photoshop that out, right?” or  “Can you make me look 20 lbs thinner?”
  • When you have 1-3 absolute favorites, and your client don’t choose them.
  • Competing with what shouldn’t be my competition! Mercedes does not compete with Ford and Nordstrom does not compete with Target. So why do people try to make me compete with a hobbyist? We aren’t in the same category. It doesn’t make me better it just means I’m in a different category and I want to attract those that want custom luxury photography not shoot-n-burn Walmart special. I just don’t like how clients group all photographers into one bucket and don’t recognize the differences in quality and experience that are out there. I charge what I charge because I am a business with business expenses and I’m qualified – I’m not a hobbyist do I don’t charge hobbyist pricing!
  • I hate when customers ask for a cd so they can print them off at wal-mart instead of getting a print package.
  • High ceilings! I’d rather have NO ceilings.
  • Clients who try to insist on photos at high noon.
  • People keep asking me to shoot in places with the worst lighting I’ve ever seen.
  • Everybody always is asking you to take their picture when your not working.
  • Friends and family expect you to shoot for free or very little money.
  • People think you photograph EVERYTHING, when you actually have a specialty.
  • The fact that you are always expected to bring your camera and shoot every minute at every family or friend’s event.
  • I hate the lack of consideration for my time and effort. The fact that people believe that this “hobby” doesn’t keep office hours…. calling me on a Sunday at 6pm or a week day at 8pm.
  • The lack of value placed on photography today.
  • People who think it’s your camera and not your talent. It’s both.
  • I hate when people compliment you on your photos then say, “you must have a REALLY good camera” or they see your camera and say “wow, nice camera, I bet IT takes good pictures.”
  • No one takes this profession seriously. Yes, it’s fun, but if you are using your talent for not only a creative outlet but for critical income as well, and pay taxes, and run a BUSINESS, yeah, it’s a serious thing and not some fluff job like people may think.
  • That people don’t respect how much time and effort we put into our work and they want everything for next to nothing.
  • People taking your photos and using them without permission, not giving credit where it’s due.
  • People using their own cameras when you are being paid to shoot a session.
  • The disconnect between my talent and what I wish I could create.
  • Taking a really cute photo and then realizing later that it’s out of focus. That’s the worst feeling.
  • Hitting a block with my creativity.
  • The technical stuff! Camera setting to be specific. I want to just point and shoot. All the other things about photography are what I’m in love with.
  • That I’m not as good as I want to be!
  • Not knowing the secret formula to working less on the computer and more with clients.
  • Making wedding albums.
  • Culling images. I can handle the editing part. It’s the culling through them that makes me burnt out.
  • Clients who want you to edit away every ‘flaw’ or body issue. I just don’t agree with that at all…. None of us are perfect!
  • Sitting at the computer… I really loved the darkroom, but don’t miss the smell of the fixer. Something about editing on the computer just kills it for me.
  • I became a photographer so I wouldn’t be sitting behind a desk.  Now most of my time is spent at a computer.
  • Editing takes too much time and is not good for the waist line.
  • Meeting other photographers who forgot what it was like to be starting out. I could do without the egos.
  • The competitive nature of other photographers who bash people for their differences. Why can’t we all just get along?
  • When long-time photographers don’t understand that I am the new kid on the block so it isn’t right to charge a sizable amount when I need the experience. For example, I can’t charge $300 session fee for the boudoir shoot I did on Tuesday since it was my very first one.
  • Comments about how new photographers are undercutting professionals with cheaper pricing.  I do not feel comfortable charging anyone upwards of $3000 for a wedding when I still have so much room to grow.
  • I don’t like is the seeming class system that has developed, and disdain for sharing your craft with other like minded individuals.  In a perfect world everyone would understand that we are all artists charging what we are comfortable charging and just trying to make the world more filled with love and memories and peace, because that is why I do photography, to give people a window into their own happiness.
  • I dislike when someone feels that since they’ve been a photographer for many years and have more experience, that nobody else is ever supposed to become a photographer.  I am proud to be a “newbie.”
  • I really dislike the other photographers who think you are getting in their territory. There’s enough room for everyone.
  • “Hell will be full of photographers”…seriously, some of the meanest people on the planet. For example: You Are Not a Photographer. Yup, this sums it up.
  • It just bothers me elder photographers bash newer photographers; keep in mind you were once new too.
  • I hate that anyone with a digital camera, Picasa, and a Facebook account can claim there a photographer.
  • I hate the so-called photographer who takes all pictures on auto and hand people CDs for $25 bucks.
  • Newbie photographers popping up like dandelions and undercutting those of us who are established. Working for basically free and ruining our legitimate businesses is not cool and will ultimately ruin the industry.
  • I hate when people don’t take the time to REALLY learn photography. Just because your new doesn’t make your time less valuable. I hate when people say I can’t afford classes or I don’t have time to study. Get a job and continue to learn before you start charging people. I hate when people copy and undercut experienced pros…I feel like newbies will understand the pros later when they learn more about the business of photography….You will know when your images are consistent and your comfortable with your camera. You will know when it’s time and not a minute sooner.There are several places online that will help anyone learn it just takes time and some money…if your serious about the business then of course you should invest in it. By the way I’m not a professional photographer.I have been working towards that goal for two and a half years and I’m so glad when I do start charging I will be confident in my ability.

Now it’s your turn.  What is your favorite thing about being a photographer?  And what do you dislike about being a photographer?  We are excited to hear from you.  Add your comments in the comment section below.


No Comments

  1. jaime on August 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I adore photography. It’s other photographers that are forever cutting down their competition that gives this profession a black cloud over it. Photographers ARE the meanest.

  2. miranda dejarnatt on August 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I will take a kazillion pictures to hear someone say, The picture was so beautiful that i thought it was the fake family in the picture frame Or ….i want to use this for my obituary.I absolutely love to make people realize how beautiful they really are.

  3. Kayla F on August 9, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I hate to say this, because I absolutely LOVE this site, but I had to stop reading this post half way down. Sometimes I feel like photographers (not excluding myself) feel like everyone should have the same knowledge that we have about our profession. Being annoyed that your client wants to shoot in a specific location that has “the worst lighting I’ve ever seen” or being upset with a Mom trying to make the picture perfect are not things to be upset about. Sure, it makes us have to work harder, but instead of being upset or annoyed about it, why not try to educate your client. Don’t you tend to offer up advise to your doctor when you go in for a check up (This is wrong and this is wrong, but I don’t think its this, I did some research and think it could be this)?? I bet they get pretty annoyed with that too!

    • Allen on August 26, 2013 at 11:57 am

      I actually had a doctor who started telling me his thoughts on what was wrong with my back and I started talking to him in medical terms because I’ve had so many years of trouble with it and been told so much by other doctors and chiropractors that he smiled and said “You’ve been to medical school, haven’t you?” and he was floored when I said no. Still talked to me on the same level though and respected what I had to say, so you have a valid point. I try to discuss the technicalities with some people of lighting, exposure, soft vs hard shadows, DOF, etc., when shooting them so they understand what we’re trying to go for.

  4. Andy H. on August 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I don’t feel that the “new photographers are undercutting the pros” argument is fair to all of the new photographers. I have three year old, a nine month old, and two jobs in addition to my attempt to start up a small studio, so going school for photography isn’t really an option at this point. Although not everyone is able to go to school to learn the “right way” of photography, there are books and the internet. I’ve spent hundreds of hours reading articles about exposure, aperture, lighting, tips, tricks, etc. and then trying things out. I’ve also started working with a professional wedding photographer with hopes of learning the wedding photo business. I’ve done a couple weddings by myself and they came out great. I’ve also successfully shot senior portraits and other events. I have a handle on the basics of photography and I have a degree in business and marketing. That’s my background; I’m “somewhat new”.Not everyone can take classes or work with another photographer to gain experience; I’ve been lucky. Some people get a camera, start taking pictures and call themselves a photographer. I don’t like that. A lot of people don’t like that, but I’m still somewhat new so i keep my mouth shut. The people that just grab a camera, throw it in auto, and take a bunch of pictures and charge without doing any research into photography are the ones who, I feel, are making business tougher for everyone. There’s a difference between those people and people who are doing what I’m doing. I’m taking the time to learn the craft on my own. I’m teaching myself how the camera works, how to expose a photo correctly, and how to edit properly. I’m looking at other photographer’s work and how mine compares to it quality-wise. I’m looking at other photographer’s prices, how much the average photographer’s time is worth, how much it costs to print and edit, and I’m basing my prices off of that. My work isn’t at the same level as professional photographers, so i can’t charge the same as them. I have high-mid level camera, if that makes sense. So, my prices are a lot lower than professional photographers’ prices, but they need to keep in mind that I’m charging for what my work is worth. I’ve been working on my pricing structure for the past few weeks. I know these things don’t happen overnight. I do some research, come up with some numbers, and go back to do more research. What bothers me is that some professional photographers feel that the “newbies” are stealing their customers and profits. I feel like they don’t see that our work isn’t on the same level as theirs. For the most part, they have a different group of clients than us. Some clients can’t afford the “top of the line, uber-professional” photography experience. I’m not saying they have to lower their level of work; i want to be at the high level one day. But, the clients who don’t want to pay for the high-end work come to the new guys. Most of the clients do their homework and know that our work isn’t on the same level as the pros but we’re still good. When I talk to clients, i show them my work and make sure they’re ok with it. One of the first things I ask is what they expect of me and what they want to see in their hands at the end of the whole process. This way we understand each other; we each know what to expect. Then there are people who say, “You want me to take photos of your wedding? Sure, I can do it. Give me $100 and I’ll give you a cd with all of the photos”. No offense to that type of photographer, but they are the ones the pros should be looking out for. Professionals shouldn’t be complaining about the photographers that are doing it the right way and charging for what their work is worth. You have to start somewhere and if i started by charging what the pros do for work that isn’t up to pro standards, it could end poorly for everyone.What I’m trying to say is that the pros shouldn’t be upset with all of the new photographers, just the ones who think they can make a quick buck by taking some photos and charging next to nothing. If you want to be upset with new photographers, fine, but make sure you target the right group of new photographers. I’m putting in the time and the hard work to climb my way up the photographer “rankings” and I know there are tons of other photographers just starting out who are doing the same. We’re not all in the same boat, that’s all I’m saying.

    • Allen on August 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      I think some of that goes more towards the clients not comprehending that we are all at different levels and our services and product are not all created equal. If someone is just having a simple backyard wedding on a limited budget and only wants a CD of them getting married and not a fancy photo album, they should have the right to purchase that service without having to pay $1,200 for it, but at the same time if someone is having a serious wedding and party and all the frills, for someone to try to be sly and sell themselves as a professional photographer to scoop up that job for $100 and deliver a cd of snapshots with only the bare minimum of retouching for color correction or something, ya, that is just wrong, and the client is going to regret it.At the same time, there are SOME clients who I’ve had who deserve no better, because they won’t listen, won’t discuss details, want to get the lowest price they can beat our of you, etc. I’d be quite happy to let those customers go deal with a snap shooter than have to shoot for another myself!I had one client try to change the price on me when I FINALLY got her to sit down to discuss details of an event shoot, called her on it politely, and she started ranting that this was the price I’d quoted her and saying “I may have to just find another photographer if you’re going to be that way…” at which point I got up from the table and said I think that’s probably best for both of us and left her sputtering. she had to pay twice what she was trying to pay me in the end and was not as happy with the shots as she’d been with her last event shoot which her daughter had hired me to do.So all these people who think they are “real photographers” who don’t want snap shooters in the game should really be considering how many of the troll clients those snap shooters take out of our hair so we can have more time to shoot for “real clients”, I think.

  5. Chris on August 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I have a bumper sticker that say: “HONK IF YOU ARE NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER.”

  6. Petrus Keyter on August 10, 2012 at 1:02 am

    What got me into photography is the end result. I just love looking at great images. It gives me an insight into the ‘other’ photographer, as well as what types of photography I like and dislike.Looking at your list above, in some or other way and at certain stages of my photography, I can associate myself with all of them. I believe because most photographers do have a high creativity level in them, things like the business side of things do not appeal to them and would therefore be the thing they hate the most.Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy.Petrus – PiKs Photography, Alberton, Gauteng, South –

  7. Lisa on August 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I am an art director, web developer and have been for 20 years — you could replace “photographer” with my profession in any one of those sentences. I also worked as a professional performing musician for years and still do on weekends. You could replace “photographer” “musician” as well. I think that is the rub for any profession that also includes hobbiests —

  8. Margaret on August 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I went from “yeah!” to “oh, that’s me…” as I read these comments. I have always enjoyed photography and began taking pictures for Christmas cards last year. Since I knew that I was learning, there was no question about charging anything. Then came the situation where someone insisted on paying me. So, I came up with a minimal amount that was comparable to what I had paid someone similar to me in skills. I have had the fortunate experience to talk with really, really good photographers and that certainly keeps me humble about what I am about! I am grateful for the action sets, freebies, blogs that are offered by those of you out there with generous spirits and promise to never compete with you!

  9. Warwick on December 1, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Photography is a game of commerce. It is not an art. The tools used are expensive and the results are generally more successful when having purchased more expensive tools. Photographers egos are built on this notion, anyone that undercuts this standard threatens the tower of cards they have built.Art on the other hand is a process built on human error, or the ability to appreciate imperfection. The results from art are priceless.Photography is no longer an art form when software such as Lightroom and Photoshop are deployed. This is nothing more than a digital computer skill, a mathematical pretense.Yes we are all a slave to post process perfection and have lost the essence of humanity in our photography. If you disagree with this, then why use the undo button, or the image preset buttons, or image layers.Oh what feeble minded addicts we have become.

  10. Angelos Ballao on January 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    You know what I don’t like? People ALWAYS saying to your photos, “Hoooo, that looks cool. Was that photoshopped?” WHAT IN THE WORLD, MAN? I don’t add elements to a photo, you–Argh…Lucky I’m a positive guy.Being told to photograph in SUPER-DUPER bad lighting conditions where flash is NOT ALLOWED! What the fudge, man?! When another photographer thinks he/she is better than me…Seriously, I don’t care if you’re better.When people judge how good you are based on the size of your camera and lenses. “Oh, hey, look, that photographer is better because his lenses are bigger.”…….*Facepalm*”I want sharp, clear images.” How the fudge am I supposed to do that in SUPER-DUPER bad lighting conditions with NO FLASH allowed?! “Looks photoshopped.” *Facepalm*….*Sigh*….So many irritating moments.

  11. Tom E on March 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    It’s a strange strange industry…So many photographers are up their own backsides it’s unbelievable. I don’t know what it is about photography which make people arrogant, but their is an unusually high proportion of people out there who think they very special.I’ve always marketted our busniness on being efficient and nice, down to earth type people who do everything with a smile on our faces – seems to work nicely with the bookings over the years thank you very much!Running a successful photography business i s hard work and the hours I have to put in are staggering – Anything up to 80 – 100 hours per week on occasions. But you still get the comment from guests at weddings… ‘So mate, what do you do in the week when you aren’t taking photographs at weddings?!’I smile and walk away…

  12. Liesbeth on August 25, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Wow, it was a long list! I’m trying to learn more about photography and sites like yours have been helping me a lot. I would love to take nice pics of my daughter. I would give my reaction as a costumer here. I know that photographers (newbies or not) spends lots of money with training, equipment, etc and that it is not their hobby but a job. Tne thing I think it is a pitty is that a photo section (studio or not) is damn expensive and very elitist! Ordinary people can hardly afford for a photo section. And I understand that a photo book from a photographer is way down better than a wallmart one but again we only want to have nice souvenir but the thing is that sometimes we really can’t afford it. It is the same when u want a very expensive objectif and you buy the one not the very cheap price but u try to make exceptions, conceptions here and there…(sorry for the mystakes in English, it is not my first language) That’s just sth I wanted to say about photographying being so elitist…..

  13. Allen on August 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I think there needs to be room for “semi-pro” in the industry… Part timers who make a little money on the side doing photography without being subjected to arrogant full timers calling them GWC’s! Many people shoot nature scenery for use as fine art wall hangings, be it cityscapes, waterscapes, landscapes, or whatever, and occasionally will shoot a senior photo, a family sitting, or a wedding to make some quick money, but it is not the bulk of our work. There are many types of “photographer”, none more “real” than the next, just different. There are clients I’ve shot with who I’d have been happy to let a snap shooter selling CDs of SOOC shots take off my hands, because they were more of a headache than it was worth for what they wanted to pay for images of their event, and there are shoots that I don’t think I’m up to par for and would rather see them have a much more experienced photographer shoot for them as long as they understand the value of what they are asking for and are willing to pay that more experienced photographer what he’she is worth. I’m seeing a LOT of the same mentality in this industry as I saw in the tattoo industry when I considered getting into it, but it just doesn’t fit this industry the same! You’re not “stuck” with a bad photo the same as with a bad tattoo, and there is no risk of infectious disease transmission from a bad photographer like from a scratcher tattoo artist, as a couple examples. Learning photography and becoming a good photographer can be accomplished without having to apprentice under another photographer the way you need to apprentice under a good tattoo artist.Yes, as more photographers come into the game, competition gets harder, but photographers need to find their niche, shoot what they are good at, and sell their potential clients on why THEY are the photographer that should be hired for whatever needs shot. Talk to your client and explain the differences in your style and service that they will not get from a snap shooter. When you tell your client that you have been shooting weddings for 7 years as opposed to the guy who has shot 7 weddings, the difference in value for your work and his should be apparent. If they can’t afford you, then at least they have the option to hire the guy who has only shot 7 weddings. If they CAN afford you, but go with that guy anyhow, was it really the type of client you WANTED? If you shoot for them you are bound to just get referrals calling you later wanting you to shoot for the same price the snap shooter is charging as opposed to if you only shoot for the people who don’t balk at your prices sending you referrals who also will not hesitate to pay you what you are worth.If you were selling a Porsche you would not complain about there being too many VW Bugs for sale at the same time making it harder to sell your car, right? Should be the same way with photography, and it’s up to us to educate clients about the difference in quality. Trashing the people selling their work for less isn’t going to make you look like the kind of friendly personality people want running around at their wedding though, so why do it?On the topic of those friends and family wanting free or ridiculously priced work though, ya, major pain in the backside!

  14. Jonathan Taphouse on October 2, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Great post! Definitely the best part is anticipating the moment to take the photo for me… Editing can get tedious, but every so often you find a gem ^_^

  15. Kelmag on December 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Warwick,You’ve got to be kidding me. The definition of art is not limited to any medium. It’s all a matter of interpretation. Your comment is beyond ignorant. Just because someone might use software such as lightroom or photoshop does not take away from the fact that it all starts with a vision in someone’s mind. Whether something is perfect or not, does not define whether or not it is considered art. A brush in someone’s hand takes the same involvment perhaps on a different level, but it takes someone’s hand to move the virtual brush. It’s not just clicking a button. The equipment can’t take photos on its own or set up its manual functions to create an endless stream of possibilities for the final result – a photo. Comoposition, lighting, also known as “painting with light”, knowing how to use a camera, preferrably in manual function, a combination of skills and the application of a the person’s creative vision all play into what is definitely an art. You must lack any sort of photographic creativity to say such a stupid comment.

  16. Anna on September 18, 2014 at 3:53 am

    I understand that pro photographers HATE it when people (like myself) take photos on a Time for Prints basis – they believe it under cuts them!!!! Pants to that. I am in no doubt whatsoever that the people who use my TFP will not be the paying customers of my future. There is no way these people will use a pro photographer as they cannot afford one. They are using me for freebies and I am using them to gain experience. These same people don’t ever use pro photographers – they simply cannot afford to and can’t believe their luck when they get a TFP opportunity. My TFP base are NOT the people I will be targeting when I go pro… I will be targeting people with expendable income. Yes, cheap photographers will gain clients, but not the clients that are going to spend the kind of money that it takes to maintain and remain in business 5 years down the line. I do not intend to be such a photographer. These cheapo photograhers set themselves up for failure. People with expendable income and who want excellence will pay for such regardless of the cheaper photographer. Maybe the disgruntled photographers are actually undercutting their prices and underestimating their value if they have this attitude towards the likes of TFP.

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