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The Hidden Occupations of Photographers


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While it’s a photographer’s job to take amazing images and edit them beautifully, sometimes the demands from customers make photographers feel like they are doctors, magicians, and even plastic surgeons.  

If you’ve ever had a customers request that you make them thinner, younger or alter their appearances, you’ll enjoy this sharable graphic we made just for photographers.

Please PIN and SHARE if you enjoyed reading it.  Comment below and tell us which resonated with you – and tell us what other occupations we should add to the list in the future.

occupations-of-photographers The Hidden Occupations of Photographers MCP Thoughts Photo Sharing & Inspiration


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  1. falon on April 28, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I’m wondering how other photographers deal with these constant demands? Do you do them or what do you say to the customers? Should we have to do all these endless demands? I’m constantly fighting myself with this issue, I down right refuse to alter anyone’s weight or change there looks besides a little whitening of teeth and maybe brighten their lipstick. But the rest of demands really tick me off sometimes, why is it my responsibility to remove the food and dirt from your kids clothing and face if you couldn’t take the time to clean and wear clean clothes.her…love to know what others think

    • sonia on April 30, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      The secret is to tell them your hourly rate. I fixed a bride’s teeth. Granted it only took me 15 minutes, but multiply that by however many photos; the conversation changes really quick. She changed her mind just as quickly.

    • Mary on May 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Well, as a retoucher none of the photographers I work with want to deal with this work, and that’s why they hire me! 😛

  2. M. Thomas on April 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    The problem with expectations is prime time television. They make it look like you can, with a couple clicks, manipulate photos magically. If a couple of police officers can use an ATM camera 3 blocks from the suspect, catch an image of a face in a reflected car window at an odd angle, enhance the image, show what the suspect looked like 30 years ago under water, and run it through facial recognition for an instant hit, all in under 2 minutes, surely you ought to be able to touch up my photo, right?

    • Susan on April 30, 2014 at 9:08 am

      hahahaha well said M.Thomas!! I laughed my pants off!!

  3. Jeni on April 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Don’t forget the other body parts that get plastic surgery too! I had to switch out half of a woman’s topside just today.

  4. Don Best on April 30, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I photograph the new local city counselors from time to time and most are elderly men and women. I have to do what I call, “Digital Makeup” because of all the age lines and crows feet aquired by the passage of time…. after showing my client her “youthful look”… her first comment was, “YOU TOOK OFF MY DIMPLES !!!” So I had to put her dimples back on.

  5. Don Best on April 30, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I was asked by a local TV reporter if photoshopping my photographs was “cheating”? I said “NO” because my professional camera was limited on what it can actually capture in a photo… Some areas are too light with areas that are too dark for the camera to record.. and by making adjustments with anediting software overcomes the limitations of the camera.

  6. Karen on April 30, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I often think of myself as a bit of a plastic surgeon when I shoot women bc I’m always asked toTake weight off and everything else (skin,arms etc) and it’s as if they just expect me to be able to make them look like models so I had to learn how to do all of it but I do charge for the extra time surgery takes lol.

  7. Miguel on April 30, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Well definitely we have this request by our costumers, but we just simple dont do any retouching based on our style, unless is absolutely necessary, once we got a request for a bold groom that wanted hair in his pictures :-)Another job is hair implanter.

  8. Stephanie on April 30, 2014 at 9:06 am

    One of my bride asked me if i can remove her mom from the background. =))))i don’t know – it’s killer job? ;))))

  9. Dar on April 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Whenever I do a boudoir session, I get almost all of these comments and then some from ladies trying to look like flawless VS models when we start. It takes a lot of confidence and willingness to be vulnerable for this type of shoot, so I think it is a natural response for being nervous with how they look exposed. As a professional, I reassure them that is it my job to make them look good with lighting, framing and angles so that we don’t have to do a ton of retouching in Photoshop. Explaining that I do not have the desire to change their own unique beauty and that I promise they will look fantastic post production, major reconstruction requests seem to dwindle and they are satisfied with standard retouches upon image delivery. This list is great – thanks for sharing! 🙂

  10. James Pharaon on April 30, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Shared in the Photo Lounge on Facebook… article. Thanks!

  11. Sherri on April 30, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Wow. That list is hilarious. I’m just stating photography and really unaware that people would request anything more than a minor fix. How would you deal with this? At minimum it’s an extra cost.

  12. Stephanie on April 30, 2014 at 9:29 am

    I always photoshop my clients to look thinner if they need it, less lines, brighter eyes etc. I want them to see a beautiful photo of themselves. I know I always look at my flaws and my lenses capture every tiny line. No one wants to see all that. I want my clients to love their photos and be happy looking at themselves. I rarely get requests to do this or that because I’ve already done it. Am I exhausted? Absolutely! Do most of my clients come back to me? Yes! I over work myself I know but in the end I think people will treasure their photos. That’s the bottom line for me.

  13. Crystal on April 30, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I once had a bride who didn’t like that she was taller than her husband. He was fine with it, so she sneaked in to the office without him one day, telling us that she has a friend who uses Photoshop and assured her we will be able to make the following changes in all of her wedding photography: shorten the bride by removing part of her neck, lengthen the groom by stretching his forehead. And while we’re at it, the bridesmaids pantyhose aren’t the same shade of tan, make them match. We dealt with her coming in several times for two years following the wedding to request changes, even when we told her we wouldn’t be stretching foreheads.

  14. Cheri on April 30, 2014 at 10:11 am

    As a graphic designer, I hear many of these requests and more. Eye color changes, hair color changes. I’ve even had folks ask to have me change body positions! “Can you make him look like he’s looking up at the ball?” Ummmm, no. There is a limit to the magic of photoshop. I once was asked if I could make a caucasian team member look more “ethnic.”

  15. Jacquie on April 30, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I photograph show dogs for dog show people. You would not believe the requests I get to correct a dogs coat color, pigmentation, topline, movement, or various other structural faults. Some requests are pretty hilarious. I will correct minor cosmetic things (like hair blowing, etc) but I won’t do anything to change their structure. After all, the judge will find the fault anyway, right?

  16. Ray on April 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I used to do everything, but over time it became evident that it was unappreciated. For example, If i slimmed and trimmed a bride, or removed extra arm skin, etc, the bride would inevitably view the pictures and complain that they were too fat. They had NO IDEA THAT I HAD EDITED THEM! and at that point, who wants to be the one to show the before photos, yikes! Since then, i prefer to be the photoshop superhero on the back end. I do minor work on the front end, then I Retouch the photos they want, and deliver whatever level of perfection they wish to hang on their wall or share with their family.

  17. Luiza on April 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I am looking for an action to make my images rich in colour

  18. Evangeline M on April 30, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    I am strictly a hobby photographer, but I took photos of my husbands family which was over 30 people at Christmas time. I did some minor head swapping to get all the little ones facing the camera. But I was floored when my sister in law asked, “Could you please turn all these horizontal images to vertical, because I have piece of furniture with vertical frames?” Yeah, sure I can, by cutting out half of the family’s faces…Not sure how you professionals put up with this!

  19. natasha on April 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I have had some pretty strange requests, but i generally find its because the client just doest understand the limitations, having said that my most loyal clients do not ask for the impossible as i am quite frank and find that honesty is the best way to deal with outlandish requests (-:

  20. didi V on May 1, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Just because we can….doesn’t mean we should… I do basic skin smooth/eye pop on the photos selected by my client, (MCP workflow is an everyday tool here) but think perhaps my strangest request and it’s by a client I adore- so I didn’t have the heart to tell her no… was to remove the hair extensions that she had put in for the session….

  21. dot sikorski on May 1, 2014 at 11:10 am

    “Can you make me look pregnant to freak out my mom on april fools day?”

  22. Bill on May 2, 2014 at 4:50 am

    “Can you put a leg on my husband?” He was a vet, and yes, he didn’t have one…but he did when I was finished.

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