The Shocking Truth: 14 Things Photographers Hate About Photography

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The Shocking Truth: 14 Things Photographers Hate About Photography

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.

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.

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The Shocking Truth: 14 Things Photographers Hate About Photography