What NOT to say to your photographer but what you CAN say instead

A few weeks ago I shared this post on Instagram listing these very common questions that you keep getting if you’re a photographer but that are better left unsaid. BUT I wanted to elaborate on that a little in this post:):)

Sharing why I consider it inappropriate to ask these from your photographer but ALSO what you can ask instead if you have genuine, curious questions!

1- “Why can’t you give us raw/unedited photos ..”

>>>> When you hire a photographer, you are paying for the final, fully edited images. You know how you purchase a piece of artwork and are paying for the final piece? It’s just like that, which means asking for “raw images” (their unfinished artwork) is not right. Giving them to you would mean as a photographer, we lose control over how it reflects on our brand/work when you edit yourself & share. Most photographers like myself also shoot “in raw” which unlike jpegs is a format you most likely won’t be able to view even without a particular software or plug-in.

Instead: Always choose a photographer whose editing style you like as well. If you aren’t satisfied with anything in the final edited images, you should let them know that. Professional photographers are very open to adjusting what you feel is lacking. I mention this in all of my final emailing & am totally okay making any adjustments if needed. (One exception is for brand photographers where clients might need to keep a certain aesthetic to their photos. As a photographer you totally understand the situation & have a different agreement).

2- “Why do you have to charge this much ..”

>>>> Just like other professionals, artists and creatives are also here to earn a living and “make an income”. Just like it isn’t considered appropriate to ask other professionals to justify why they charge what they do; let’s stop asking creatives, artists & small businesses too. If you can’t afford to spend a certain amount of money for something, that is totally okay – making them justify what they charge, is not:)

Instead: If you have a genuine question about something in their pricing, that is definitely okay to ask, as long as it’s done respectfully and coming from a place of trying to understand. Let them know your budget and they will let you know if they can offer you something or direct you to someone else (also read 3).

3- “Only need a few photos; can I get a discount ..”

>>>> Whether you need a few photos or not, the time & effort it takes a professional is usually not much different, which is why giving you a discount for fewer photos isn’t feasible for them. I have to also mention that haggling on price reflects really badly just generally & as we learn and grow, this is one thing to just not do!

Instead: You can ask them if they have any promotions or mini sessions coming up and book in advance for those. There are usually photographers you can find in every budget so maybe reach out to someone who fits yours. Do realize that you can’t have a boutique experience at the lower end of that budget (also read 2).

4- “Can you make me skinny..”

>>>> While I know most of us say this jokingly let me still explain why I think it’s best to avoid:).

First: Photoshopping someone’s body is a photo-retoucher’s job and not a photographers’. While some might offer this, I personally want for my photos to be beautiful but authentic to you & your family; so my edits are always flattering but real. For photographers like myself who take natural, lifestyle photos, photo-retouching is not a part of our packages. As a mom & a woman, I also think these things are better not said in front of younger minds.

Instead: Chat with your photographer about any body insecurities you may have and they can help suggest clothing or colors that can be more flattering for your body type. They can also shoot with that in mind. One more thing that I personally am learning is becoming aware of the effects of images & messages us women are surrounded by that make us so critical of ourselves. When I step in front of the camera and find myself being critical of any part of myself, I’ve now started using it as a chance to accept and embrace my own flaws.

5- “I need my photos today/tomorrow..”

>>>> Every photographer has a fixed turnaround time that should be kept in mind when you’re booking your session. Once your session is done, it’s unethical to expedite one client’s photos over another for whatever reason. Even if you know the photographer personally, if they are truly professional, they will try their best not to favor anyone’s work over the other..

Instead: If you need your photos for a certain deadline, you need to have that conversation before booking your session. If anything comes up later, you can always ask if it’s possible for them to send you a couple of photos for a special occasion but do understand that they might have other work to focus on until they can start working on yours. Sometimes photographers might be able to offer expedited delivery options that you can purchase for so there’s no harm in asking & paying for that if you really need the photos for any reason.

6- “Can you recreate this Pinterest photo/pose ..” >>>> Some photographers might not mind this but here’s the thing : Any photo we see is not just a pose; it’s the lighting, the outfits, the time of day, the comfort level between the subjects; so many things together make that photo happen. Trying to re-create something without having all of those factors, to me most times feels like wasted time instead of doing my work the best way I know how to.

Instead: When you book your photographer, you can ask them if it’s okay to share images that are touching your heart & feel free to share. It helps us understand what really touches your heart and helps us create photos with a similar vibe. That instead of exact poses is okay with me personally.

All of these photos : Muqu Javed 🙂


What did you think? Have any comments, follow up questions? I’d love to chat more.

Lots of love, Nataliya