For a long time, our photography business was a side hustle for us. It was not where we made our livelihood and we were not supporting our family with the money we were making from photography. As much as we cared about our photography endeavors, it always took the back burner when it came to priorities. Everyone praised us for being able to do this as a side hustle and it felt so good to have our hard work be recognized.
But when we decided to pursue our photography business full-time, that praise turned to questions, criticism, and insults. Now, we want to make it clear that we had a handful of people who completely supported us and provided us with positive encouragement! But not everyone was able to grasp the fact that we were pursuing this full-time (I mean, trust us, we had a hard time too!).
We wanted to take a second and air out some our frustrations with the comments and questions we receive. This is absolutely not meant to be a dig at anyone in particular and please do not take it personally if you have made any of these comments. We’re only here to educate and if we can help shift your perspective a little bit, we’re happy to do so! That’s all we want! If you’re a past client and made any of these comments, do not feel bad for doing so! Without you, this business wouldn’t be here and we are forever grateful for this!
So without a further ado, here are our Top 5 Biggest Pet Peeves as Photographers:
I seriously cannot tell you how many times Aaron and I have received an email with this line. When we do, it’s gotten to the point where we can just look at each other and laugh out of frustration!
Now, it’s not the fact that this person wants to schedule a time for photos with Aaron and I! We will never EVER complain for the fact that we have people who want to support us and our business. But as business owners of a growing business, there is just no possible way for us to squeeze everyone in.
When we took our business from a side hustle to a main hustle, a lot of things changed. One of the main things that changed was that we had a ton more availability to take photos than when we were working our 9 to 5’s. This was amazing and the possibilities were endless. It was like of our dreams were coming true! But with that new availability, we were now our own bosses and in charge of scheduling ourselves however we wanted. As I said, this was amazing and it was such a liberating feeling! But we also learned quickly to tread lightly to avoid burnout and overworking ourselves.
One way we learned to avoid those feelings is to stick to a schedule. When our couples reach out for us to shoot their wedding, they are most often looking to book us for anywhere from 9 months to a year out. In between those wedding days, we are booking family sessions and newborn sessions and maternity and senior sessions. By the time fall rolls around, our schedule is almost to the point of having a session every single day in order to fit everyone in.
And this is great! We will never complain for an overabundance of work. However, it becomes difficult when people think we can squeeze them in for a family session one week in advance. Due to the nature of our business, we need some sort of notice to schedule a session. That way, we can coordinate all the details including timing, location, and outfits.
For us (and many other photographers), our busy seasons come in waves. We don’t want to say that we will never be able to squeeze you in! There are times in February and March where we may only have two or three sessions for the entire week. In times like these, we would be more than happy to work something out because we have the resources to do so!
Additionally, we are a family! We have three kids and a dog! Fellow business owners can understand when we say that having a family is almost as much work as running a business. Our business deeply affects our family! When we squeeze sessions, we are most often sacrificing time we could be spending with our kids. In the fall (our busiest time), it can be difficult because the kids come home from school and almost right away, we have to leave for a session. And when the kids are off of school on the weekends, we are usually at weddings all day. We do our best and keeping to a schedule helps us make sure we spend as much time as a family as we can!
In sum, there is absolutely no harm in reaching out to schedule a session! But it’s important to be mindful that we may not be able to squeeze you in every time. We’re busy people with a busy family and we do our best!
This next one ties into the first one a bit. Many people don’t understand what we do as photographers. So many people are under the misconception that we simply show up, take pretty pictures, and dip! That couldn’t be farther than the truth…
When you email us asking to set up a time for pictures, we’re the ones responding to you. We’re the ones handling all communication with clients. When you see a picture of ours, we are the ones taking it, importing it, editing it, and uploading it for your viewing pleasure. When you see a post on our social media, we are the ones working to spread the word of our business to serve more people.
Sure, we definitely have help in some of those areas! There is no way we would be able to do the amount of sessions we do and still handle of all that on the other side that you may not get to see. But we still play large roles, if not the entire role, in all of these areas.
Our weekends are most often taken up by weddings where we are shooting for 8 to 12 hours. Weekdays are filled with all of the tasks of post production while coordinating details about future sessions. Our evenings are often occupied by photo sessions with clients. In our busiest season, we have gone weeks without having a day off. We wake up and are at the computer from 7 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. We give our business our all: all day, every day!
And like I said, this isn’t to complain! This is what we love to do! We get as much joy from your photos as you do! But it hurts when people make comments like these when we divulge so much energy into doing what we love. We can’t make it so everyone understands but, hopefully, being transparent will help more people understand what it is we do.
This comment can be very irksome because it really comes down to mindset. When people make this comment, they make it so they are saying, “If you enjoy your job and have fun at your job, it’s not really work.” Pardon my French but FUCK THAT!
As much as it may not seem to some, this is a business. A business that operates just like any other business: we provide a professional service to a large group of people. Just because we get to do something we enjoy doing does NOT mean it is not a job. We keep a house over our heads, feed our family of five, pay for the cars we drive, and sustain ourselves entirely off of the income from our business. That, my friends, is a job!
Additionally, just because we get to work from home does not mean we don’t work. I think this is a misconception a lot of people who work from home receive. Our workplace has a lot of faces. It’s at home where we process your photos, respond to emails, and host sessions sometimes. We’re working at the various locations we shoot at whether that’s nature preserves, client homes, public parks, or wedding venues! It’s in the car when Aaron and I discuss future plans for our business. It’s at the coffeeshop where we get a nice cup of joe to boost our energy. Just because our workplace looks different than yours does not invalidate the work we do.
One last thing about this comment. I think a lot of people think the luxuries that this job offers us makes it so there is no such thing as a bad day. I firmly believe there is not one job that doesn’t entail a bad day! The luxuries that this career offers us are amazing and we are forever grateful that we get to do this as a job. But with those luxuries come other sacrifices that most people don’t know about unless you’re living it. Needless to say, we have bad days! There are days where we have so much fun that I am exhausted from laughing and smiling all day. But there are also days where I wait for the moment my head hits the pillow so I can start a new day.
In sum, we refuse to feel guilty for doing a job that allows us to bring smiles to faces, including our own!
Now, this comment is a bit more specific to Aaron and I than the rest. For those that don’t know, Aaron and I run this business together as husband and wife. Photography was a passion that we started together and continue to indulge in as a couple.
That being said, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that working with my husband is the best thing in the world all the time. There are days when I am already frustrated with him for something completely not work-related and it seems that everything he does during the work day is just wrong. There are days when we are on two completely different pages (eg. I’m in a motivated mood where I want to turn on music and crank out some work while Aaron wants to talk, fidget, and make jokes while working.)
We learn something new about working with each other every single day. It seems every time we conquer one obstacle when working together, another comes along. But we really wouldn’t want it any other way! We wouldn’t want to run this business with anyone but each other. Everyone has certain issues with their coworkers. Thankfully, we work together to communicate those issues and constantly improve in our relationship as spouses and coworkers.
Another layer to this comment comes when people think that because both Aaron and I run the business, our workload must get split evenly, increasing our efficiency. And we do not disagree! Two surely is better than one! But we do want to make it clear that just because there are two of us does not mean we have any less work to do. Each of us has our strong suit where we thrive and are able to work more efficiently. It’s important to keep in mind that just because a job doesn’t subscribe to your personal perception of what a job should look like, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a job or that it’s any easier than another job.
With our final point of commentary, this one is a dig that we’re sure a lot of professional photographers encounter. This is a comment that we’re sure a lot of people who use technology in their jobs receive. It can be very easy to assign a lot of the weight of a job that uses technology to the technology itself. Technology has so many amazing advantages that can help with workflow but that doesn’t mean there is no agency behind the machine.
When we take your photos, we do not shoot using any auto settings on our camera. Manual is just how we roll! We find this is the best way to make our camera work for us and not against us! With us shooting manual, it’s taken a long time to learn what we have to change to manipulate a particular variable in a photo. To us, the camera is an extension of ourselves; it’s not just this piece of technology that we pick up and shoot with aimlessly. It’s a tool that we use to amplify the quality of our photos.
Just because you are shooting with an expensive camera, it doesn’t mean that you are an awesome photographer! There are so many other aspects when it comes to shooting photos with a professional camera. For example, posing people is a huge part of shooting people at weddings or family sessions. And we don’t mean posing in the sense of getting that awkward prom photo on the stairs! We mean posing as getting everyone in frame, making sure there are no dead arms, checking the background to make sure there are no distractions, and so much more. Additionally, you have to make people feel comfortable in front of the camera. I’m sure you can already tell, that’s not always the easiest task to take on!
Beyond this, taking a picture is only a quarter of the battle. After we take your pictures, we take them back to the office and process them. This includes culling, editing, and uploading them into a digital gallery. All of these actions include a certain level of expertise and training. In order to do perform these tasks, you have to know your way around a computer and it’s not always easy-peasy.
Basically, we just want to make it clear that taking pictures on a professional camera is not all that goes into working as a photographer. It’s fair to say that the technology we use helps us immensely but we are still the ones who have to handle and effectively utilize that technology.
We truly do not mean for this come across as a negatively-charged, “woe’s me” kind of post. We try to always choose gratitude over negative emotions. That being said, we are so grateful that we are able to even receive comments like these to be able to make something like this and educate people. Our only intention is to get some of these comments off our chest and raise awareness, hopefully becoming more understood for what we do in the process.
If you can take one thing away from this blog, we hope you walk away with the intention of being more mindful. We don’t exactly know exactly what’s going on in every one’s lives at any given moment; Perhaps social media can give us the illusion that we do but we truly do not.
Instead of hauling negative comments towards people when you don’t understand or comprehend their job, try having a healthy, informed conversation instead! That way, you can at least say you made your judgement with some education under your belt. It never hurts to learn a little bit more about something we are unfamiliar with!
Alright! That’s all we have for y’all! We know it’s a lot to process so maybe take a minute to absorb what you’ve read and begin thinking about how you can implement what you have learned into your life. If you’d like to read more about the story of us, you can read a blog post all about it here! Wanna check out some of our stuff? Check out our portfolio! If you like our stuff, reach out here to set something up!
Let us know what pet peeves you encounter in your job down below! Stay beautiful, people! xoxo