Questions Photographers Hate
As a photographer I've worked corporate, small business and personal jobs which have left varying after tastes but something that is fascinating is the conversation that can occur about your role or passion as a creator. People are generally interested however some of the questions asked can be a little ... forward and are framed in a way that don't always get the message across eloquently. Here are a few questions that sometimes get my back up and they could be worded a little differently to get a more accurate answer. What questions do you find a little harder / annoying to answer?
W H I C H C A M E R A S H O U L D I U S E ?
Possibly the worst question to open with and one that fills me with dread every time, don't get me wrong I'm incredibly flattered that people can ask this question as it means that they trust (at least) some of what I'm saying but that fact is there is not one camera that fits all people or purposes or even budgets. I wholeheartedly believe you do not need the biggest, baddest and most expensive model on the market to make images you're happy with - in fact in this youtube 'P R O P H O T O G R A P H E R , C H E A P C A M E R A C H A L L E N G E' playlist it gets professional photographers to create brilliant imagery using less than conventional camera models and some of the results are astounding. In all honesty it depends what you shoot, for example the requirements of a nature photographer will be different to that of a vlogger even more so if you want to specialise in a certain area of visuals. A big factor for some is the size of their intended budget as some cameras can reach over a thousand pounds (the lenses are where the money lies and depending on what you want to achieve with your imagery can cost a pretty penny). What you shoot can influence your decision but it's also what you're comfortable with.
What you could ask is? :
I like to photograph .... what would you suggest as suitable equipment ?
W H I C H B R A N D I S B E S T ?
This is another loaded question that will have many answers, 2 of the biggest brand leaders in terms of photography who have fought each other for years has been Canon and Nikon (it certainly caused a few arguments in my photography college course) however there are some strong contenders who are trying to knock them off their pedestal such as Sony, Pentax & Olympus. Once again it purely depends on what you're looking for in a camera, be it how it looks, ease of use and importantly how it feels for you as a creator. For example a couple of years ago now I wrote a blog post on some of the very basics for both Nikon, Canon and some things to consider if you're thinking of starting out or upgrading which you can find H E R E. One brand of camera may not suit another person, I once taught a student who bought one of the most up to date cameras and after 2 years still didn't know how to use it properly, make sure you research and definitely play, plus who said you need to use 1 brand forever? You can mix and match for your best results.
What you could ask is? :
Why do you prefer ... ? Would it be a good fit for me and my work?
W H A T S E T T I N G S / L E N S / E T C A R E Y O U
U S I N G ?
Now this one for me isn't annoying to answer but it can be repeatitive and a little misleading. I generally know what I want from my images and have developed a style that works for me and my camera however the same settings on a different camera may churn out a different aesthetic - which could be down to those inbuilt settings (like I talked about in the above post) that each camera possesses, for example Nikon models generally have a slightly higher contrast than Canon but alternatively Canon tend to capture slightly softer colours. Settings are very much dependent on light, your surroundings and how you react to it - are there shadows? Are you capturing reflective surfaces? Is it sunny? Is it dark? Is the subject far away? Do you want everything in focus or just part of your image? These are just a very few questions to ask! Another things with settings is that you can purposely throw them so that you inject your personality and get the style you want. Over time you'll discover how you like to construct your images be it with a longer shutter speed or bigger aperture or shooting flash in daylight - it's a matter of taste.
What you could ask is?
I'm planning on shooting .... in .....type of light how would you go about it technically?
H O W D O Y O U M A K E M O N E Y / H O W
M U C H D O Y O U M A K E
This is another question that is hard not to roll your eyes at, whilst many folks are simply interested, discussing finances in such an abrupt manner can cause a few feathers to ruffle in an instant. If you don't follow the traditional 9-5 path then of course others are curious but putting a monetary value on your work when perhaps people don't truly understand what you do / the work that goes into it can make for an awkward conversation. I've had folks ask why do photographers charge so much when they only 'stand there and press a shutter' - *insert my unimpressed face* at a glance yes it can seem that way but taking an aesthetically pleasing photo takes time, consideration and skill. Plus there's editing, equipment, software and possible outside costs e.g. travel. It all adds up and that's just snapshot. The fact is the field of photography allows folks to make money from so many different avenues that it can be hard to pin down what we do in a succinct fashion and that gives a coherent answer when this question is asked. Talking about money can seem a little crass but then again opening up that discourse can hopefully change how society sees the value of less 'traditional' job roles. Personally, discussing finances in-depth is something that I only save for family and very close loved ones (or the bank) partially because I'm not yet confident in eloquently getting my point across but currently I'm still finding my way with my photography in that regard. For some their photography does not make them any money but it doesn't devalue their work it just means they get something different from it.
What you could ask?
Read the situation, other people simply may not like discussing their numbers or finance specifics out of the blue
Do you enjoy it? What is your biggest earner job wise (without asking for details)? Talks? Commissions? Selling products of your work?