Friday, August 6, 2010

Event photographer needed

My buddy emailed me yesterday with the following message:

"i am not sure if you had received my email regarding our event tomorrow night at Royal/t and not sure if you can attend. i am actually needing a favor, of course if you are attending. There will be a good number of media people there and we will need a photographer for pictures used for press material as follow ups. i wonder if you have time to attend and if you could do us a favor to take pictures at this event if your time permits."

Here's the thing... sometimes people don't seem to understand that not all photographers are event photographers. Sure, I make exceptions. For friends, I will shoot events but not pro bono. People seem to forget that I do this for a living. That kind of implies that I ought to be paid for services rendered. Oh and those "media people" aren't in the right industry to further my career along so I'm really no benefitting from the "coverage". Also, if you need a photographer you don't ask the night before. It's just rude. Unless you don't care much for the pictures. Truth be told, a Canon Powershot will suffice for that kind of photography/coverage anyway.

On another note, my wife's aunt asked me to take a picture of her front door the other day so she could frame it on her wall.



My favorite analogy thus far is this:
You don't go to the gynecologist for a root canal.

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Am I crazy?


  1. Hello Charles,

    No, I don't think you're crazy. I get these kinds of requests every once in a while, especially from my family... and they're in Texas!

    If you're a fashion photographer, I can understand how shooting an event or shooting a door (???!!) wouldn't be your sort of thing. But this points toward a larger picture, if you'll forgive the pun :P

    A lot of people I know think of professional photography is simply a function of how expensive your equipment is. The greater the cost, the more professional the photography. Implicit in this line of reasoning is the idea that anyone can become a professional photographer if only they have better, more expensive equipment. And we all know, this is simply not the case. Photographers spend years learning and perfecting their craft; all of which requires time, energy, commitment, on top of a certain je ne sais quoi in artistic talent.

    As a matter of fact, many people sending these nonsequitor requests tend hold the opinion that they could do the job just as well... with the proper equipment of course. :P Consequently, most of the people holding these opinions figured that you'd do the job for free because, well, it's just a picture.

    I don't know if this is the case with your wife's aunt or your buddy, but this seems to be the case with a lot of people I know.

    So, no, I don't think you're off your rocker :)

  2. -I was asked to shoot wedding all the time, I should have done it, if the camera bag is not over 20Lbs and I have to carry it over 8 hrs on the wedding day....I'm too fragile for that rock ;)

  3. haha that sad thing is people will whore themselves out and do something like that for free just so their pictures can be in some sort of "published" medium

    Good job for not being one of those people.

  4. Well, don't get me wrong... I'll whore myself out if I get to be published in an industry publication, but my buddy makes knick-knacks and little things that have nothing to do with fashion/editorial/beauty. So I'm SOL as far as "press and coverage".

    It's insulting to me. Perhaps I'm easily insulted because I have a chip on my shoulder and breaking into this fashion/photography game isn't easy. It's insulting to be asked to do something you could easily do yourself with a point-and-shoot. Tommy, you're absolutely right. They don't think there's much skill involved. They believe it's merely a matter of having better equipment. Yet they are in a way, correct. Because the type of photography that they're asking for does not require a Hasselblad... no. Therefore they're correct if they believe that the equipment is all that separates us. But they're incorrect in their belief that that's my area of expertise or that I would fathom to want to shoot such a thing.

    Hence, a dentist is not a gynecologist (and vice versa).

    What's worse is that the same "friend" laughed when I told him I was going to become a photographer. He has the same mindset that most narrow-minded older Asian people have, which is "you're wasting your time by trying to be a photographer".

    Funny, you seem to need me a lot more than I need you.