Educating Your Client: why it's essential

Blog post from your local professional photographer

By Kristen Miller, Photographer November 11, 2020

People often ask photographers what the hold up is in getting their images back. Why does it take 2-6 weeks turnover time to get your pictures back when “all you’re doing is clicking a button?”   I’m here to answer this in the kindest, most informative way I can. I’m probably ranting a bit more than I normally would, because this is the busiest season for photographers. Like busy busy. Like getting three hours of sleep and still working busy. Like April for accountants.  Read on…

Firstly, the clicking a button part.

Nope. I wish it were that easy. When I take (or I should, and often do say, make) your picture, I am evaluating the light, the angles, the background, the way you look, making sure there isn’t dust or debris on your outfit or on my lens, trying to get a good and natural expression out of you while still being professional AND clicking the button. I’m also checking my ISO (film speed), shutter, exposure and aperture (the depth of field that gives you that creamy, bokeh look). And when I click that gosh-darned button, know that it took me 20 plus years of practice, experience, failures, bumps in the road and more practice to get where I am now.

Secondly, it’s not just clicking a
I wissssssh. Honestly I wish it were that easy. In these days of iPhones (the 11 pro camera is fire, not going to lie), SnapChat, TikTok and Instagram, digital photography is now available to the masses. This is a good thing! It’s a great thing. But it also allows a lot of people who truly think/say they are professionals to oversaturate the market and charge you double what I would for a less than desirable outcome. This includes your Uncle Bob or cousin Christine shooting your wedding. Don’t do it. Don’t mix the business with family/friends, firstly and don’t expect professional results from someone who is charging you less than professional prices. Do your research!  Ask your photographer how long they’ve been doing what they do, why they do it and if it’s their sole form of income. Educate yourself to get the best results. I would urge anyone to do this in any industry. I’m not going to go get my hair cut and colored and pay $900 to someone who learned how to dye hair from watching a YouTube video. (Granted, YouTube is a wonderful way to learn and grow, but again, it widens the market and leaves the client thinking that everyone is as qualified as a true professional.)

And to people starting out in photography, that, too, is great! Awesome! The more the merrier. But know your place, pay your dues before you pay your rent and please don’t act like a business if you’re a hobbyist making a side hustle, because if that is the case, you’re screwing over the people who do this for a living and who would love to teach you how to become a professional photographer and have you on their team.

Thirdly, professional photography is NOT a cheap business. By no means. Think of how much an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy with a good lens costs, then upgrade that to a real life, life-sized normal camera with interchangeable lenses, gear insurance and cleaning/calibrating costs.

All this being said, I totally think people should photograph as a hobby, as a business, for fun. Because it is fun! 
But please, just know your place and when you need help, ask for help.  Know where you stand.  And don’t overextend yourself.

During quarantine, I took a ton of free online classes, because I felt like I was going insane and needed goals to aspire to in, what was, at the time, a very scary germaphobe-a-fied world.  I highly recommend Seeing Through the Photograph at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, taught by Sarah Meister, who is just an all around astoundingly cool professor and curator–her IG is great too.  You can tell her I sent you! ;-)

xx km

Kristen Miller is a very talented Pittsburgh Photographer, artist, writer, and so much more. She has taken some of my favorite family photos to date (that I refer to as For the Love of Candy Land) and is currently working on some amazing photos she took for me and my giant family that I can't wait to show you. You can read more about her on her blog or follow her Kristen Miller Photography or kmppaint page on Instagram. Kristen is currently booking holiday mini sessions for families & kids but ALSO booking holiday boudoir mini's! Book now before they're gone!