Did Our Post On ‘Morning After’ Photography Go Too Far?

Did Our Post On ‘Morning After’ Photography Go Too Far?

Earlier today Lauren wrote a humorous, opinionated, post about ‘Morning After’ Boudoir Photography. This post was met with great hostility and inappropriate personal attacks towards Lauren. Is Fstoppers too big now to have a voice? Are we only allowed to report news stories without expressing opinions? Did we go to far or did commenting get out of hand?

I started Fstoppers with Patrick less than 3 years ago and since then we have grown to something much bigger than I had ever hoped. We now have a huge team of talented writers and receive over 2 million page views each month. Patrick and I have given our writers freedom to basically post about whatever they like whether that is a standard re-post or a entertaining original opinion piece.

What started all of this?
If you didn't read Lauren's post, she basically claims that she is against 'morning after’ photography because people are sharing these pictures on Facebook and then hanging them in public places around their homes. She specifically says she doesn't have a problem with the pictures in general, she just believes they should be private:

"In this video from Good Morning America, the bride states she plans to have the images framed and put up all over their room. I honestly don’t see anything wrong with doing that – your bedroom should be your sacred place for just the two of you. The room and all its decorations are just for you and your significant other. What I can’t grasp is why you would want something so sacred to be strewn all over the internet for your coworkers, perhaps boss, friends, and relatives to see."

Whenever you write an opinion piece like this you are going to have some people who agree with you and others that do not. It appears that in the case of Lauren's post, the majority of readers disagreed with her. However, the most interesting part to me is to see how people respond to articles they don't agree with. Let's first look at an opinion piece that I recently wrote that the majority of people DID agree with: Why Bad Wedding Photographers Have Made The Industry Better. Aside from a few people on Facebook who claimed they would never come to Fstoppers again because I was being "mean" (I'm not sure they actually read my article), the majority of comments were very positive:

"Great post, Lee. One of the better ones I've seen on this topic/issue"

"Awesome post!!!", "Thank you so much for writing this Lee."

"Damn, you guys have been cranking out some seriously good reads. Thanks Lee."

Nobody wrote anything like "I don't come to Fstoppers for opinions, why don't you stick to news." Why? Because the majority of people agreed with me. Now let's look at the responses to Lauren's post in which more people disagreed with her. Here are a few of the comments that stood out to me:

"Can we please have more articles about photography and less op-ed pieces from the office manager?"

"Sorry but this article is total crap... People have eluded to this above but, I'm just going to come out and say it. This is NOT what I visit FS for."

"You are most definitely a prude. You are also being very judgemental of something that clearly doesn't affect your target market. Whatever the client wants, there will most certainly be someone willing to take pictures of it and get paid for doing so. For you to say that a bride is "vain and self-loving" for wanting steamy photos of herself and the one she loves is honestly horrible and downright nasty.As for some critique of your portfolio, I find out-of-focus, grainy, shots with crooked horizons to be more offensive since your clients probably paid you for your time."

I want to make it clear that disagreeing with a writer and making a comment about it great, we want you to do that. I LOVE respectful debates and also appreciate when someone can sway my opinion by making a great argument. I simply want to point out how quickly things can get out of hand when people disagree with something they read online. Maybe you thought that Lauren was disrespectful towards those who do enjoy this type of photography or she was unfair to the photographers who are hired to shoot these jobs, that's fine! I would probably agree with you. Writing that in the comments would make your point. Attacking Lauren personally or opinion pieces in general is not a way to argue nor behave, in my opinion.

Most people only comment if they have something negative to say
One of the most frustrating things about running Fstoppers (or anything on the internet) is that most people will not comment unless they are mad and have something negative to say. My post about bad wedding photography has been viewed 20,000 times now and has 28 comments. Lauren's post has been up for only a few hours and has been viewed 9,500 times and has 60 comments. The other unfortunate thing that you have to remember is that controversy sells. Lauren's post will probably become the most popular post of the entire week BECAUSE so many people commented negatively about it and then other people decide to comment to attack the attackers in the comments. Our most popular post of all time was The iPhone Fashion Shoot and the controversy of that post made it successful. People LOVE to tell me how terrible of a photographer I am and how I am lying to people about gear not being important and then there are others that LOVE to attack those commenters and stick up for me. The sad truth is that I bet the majority of people who read Lauren's post DID agree with her and then they moved on to the next post. In many cases it's only the people who take offense to an article that have the energy to write a comment.

All of that being said I want everyone to know that we really appreciate each of you being readers and our goal is not to offend any of you but with around 500,000 different photographers coming to our website each month, we are bound to ruffle some feathers. Please take 5 seconds and check a box in the poll below so that we can get a realistic idea of our readers opinion of Lauren's post.



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Chalk one up for the Trolls. Ugh. People just like to complain and live in this idealized world where they can do no wrong and have Gandhi like morals. If the Internet of all places became a sterilized voice what would I do with myself in between edits?

Tam Nguyen's picture

It's really not worth arguing about, keep up the good work Fstoppers!

Btw it's probably worth posting this: http://xkcd.com/810/ and this http://xkcd.com/481/

Any man who relates to the world through XKCD strips is a hero in my book. Screw this debate, Tam for president!

Mikko Tapionlinna's picture

I came here to say the same thing as Tam said. Only problem is that I was few minutes too late. His reply was better than mine, and got extra points for xkcd reference. So please listen him. :D

I remember when this site was about photographers doing what they do..and sharing how they did it. The odd gear review from "real and working" photographers combined with BTS Vids was great. Now it's a bit too much editorial OP ED nonsense. Get back to basics, KISS.

To be fair though we used to do 1 post per day. Now we do 5-15 posts every single day. We actually do more BTSV than we ever have before we have just added other content as well. 

Lee you have added more, but be careful as more can ruin the whole thing. 
I've recently been getting annoyed at the signal to noise ratio around here. The more noise you add the more your fans struggle to hear the signal.

Anthony Chopin's picture

I would like to add that i do miss the F-Stoppers originals. I learned a lot from them and i really wish you guys could bring them back!

They aren't gone, we promise. We will never retire FS originals!

Ya we totally agree and we need to get back to them soon. At the moment we are filming a massive project on all things wedding photography and it's taking up most of our time.

Tam Nguyen's picture

Any guestimate as to when we'll see the new iPhone 4S/5 shoot?

Quantity over quality works for some...but you guys started out very differently and now basically you are a revolving door of lesser quality posts. Understood that your working on something "big" but no regular successful business would sacrifice quality when "something" else more shiny comes up. Get rid of half of your contributors and force the remaining ones to post more quality stuff...I mean seriously, our industry isn't short of "I did this and this is how you can do it too" is it?

Agreed - quite often the same content pops up on a whole load of my feeds - Peta Pixel, PopPhoto, ISO1200 etc etc.

Fstoppers used to be largely unique with BTS only - but now it's becoming one of the crowd regurgitating similar filler articles.

Although I have sympathy with what you posted JR, I find myself coming back to the same quote more and more in my life: "The easiest thing in the world is to sit in the stalls and criticise the people on stage." I for one appreciate what these guys do, and although we've all seen a change in the ethos over the last year or so, who's to say what you or I would have done differently having to make the same decisions? The guys (and girls) ain't doing so bad, or none of us would still be here would we? Just saying...

Obviously I'm a fan if I stuck around long enough to see the gradual change to where they are at now...They had a formula that worked, and now there is a lot of noise distracting from that. Just saying...

I think the change might be that the BTS are not all of Fstoppers, and people, photographers etc, might not have the resources, business, capacity etc. to do as many BTS, refocusing on the core business. Thus, less to be shown and the guys are working hard on feeding us with something and I do believe the quest for them is getting much harder than before. what do you think ? 

Perhaps, though many BTS vids are not big budget. It's a matter of an interesting subject combined with a clear how-to that makes them attractive. Quality work always requires effort, but doesn't have to be expensive to do. They did it in the beginning  what's changed to make it harder?

Photographers are maybe focusing on their main work... photography, and a BTS, might be some kind of promo, but it's a big time/work/team investment. 

I think the contest of FStoppers made a huge bounce on the BTS, people were doing some because there was a prize... and it's a challenge. no pain, no gain... but no gain, why bother with pain... 

Even if you take a few hours to surf the net to find new BTS, it's rare, it's hard, and many are model focused and not BTS with the info and details focused. If FS would post that... the team would be taken down in fire for showing boobs or so... IMHO. 

I honestly read just first half of what Lauren wrote before seeing this. I immediately got her point, I laughed, in all honesty. Then I saw the comments. I was actually thrown aback. Opinions are opinions, now I did not read every comment, I actually found it rude that some people would attack her own work in that manner. 

professional or not, if you take everything too seriously (including anything internet) you shouldn't be reading half the posts on Fstoppers. I love this site, and a little humor thrown in gets me thru my day at work. I'm no professional, and I side with Lauren.

in conclusion... haters gonna hate.

Chris's picture

Lauren, full respect for your photography and your opinion.  Many of those comments were unfair, and the personal attacks were definitely unwarranted.  I think FStoppers should definitely continue doing op-ed pieces for those who enjoy them (whether we agree with the opinion or not) and those who don't like them can skip over the post. 

Dan Howard's picture

there's a lot of people on here who I class as gear-fags. all they want you to post is the latest tech news, who's bringing out a bigger camera yada yada yada... I actually really enjoy the art side, finding out about projects and learning tricks. The boudoir post wasn't my cup of tea, it's not the post just the idea of being a photographer and being asked to photograph something like that... yak!

great work Fstoppers, keep it up, post whatever you like cause it's all good.

I may agree with your point, but can we be adults and avoid homophobic epithets like "fag?" it's inappropriate and uncalled for.

I have noticed that this site seems to attract some pretty grumpy commenters.


Garrett Graham's picture

It's because no one wants to hire them ;-)

Keep up the good work.  The day you make everyone happy is the day you lose your soul.  Then you do something crazy like go onto a successful political career ;)

I would have been a quiet reader but seeing the comments and all the fuzz.. people take stuff way to seriously these days and especially photographers with theyr high pride.
Love Fstoppers and I laughed at Laurens opinion! great post, keep it up! :D

Nicholas Coppula's picture

I think you know you are doing the right thing when you cause a ruckus.  People always have gotten pissed at the media, but now with the internet they have an easy, usually anonymous, and instant way to bitch.

Thanks and keep doing what you are doing, Fstoppers.

I just posted a letter of sorts to Lauren on that article. Her article didnt go too far. Give Lauren a raise. Keep doing what you're doing. I value the opinions and people brave enough to form them.

I read the entire thread of comments from the "Morning After" piece and was reminded of a simple truth. If you're by and large too stupid to  attack the argument, attack the grammar. I was also reminded that getting your panties in a bunch apparently has an adverse effect on your ability to comprehend what you're reading.  I have five kids and am always having to block people from their facebook pages. I don't want to see pictures of my friends and certainly not my family this way.
       What's wrong with being prude anyway, the concept is passed around like its the black spot or something. The meanings and roots of the word are those of wisdom, etiquette, and looking toward the future with grace, integrity  and intelligence. All traits to look for in any working or social relationship. The word was made derogatory by jackals, rapists and dumbbahsses and is usually followed by an attempt to either physically or verbally   remove your pants, skirt, blouse, dress etc etc...
        I don't comment on here a lot, but attacking Laurens work, and attacking her rather than the her opinion  was chickenshit ignorance at its absolute finest level. I don't check out fstoppers for the opinion pieces, as it is a great place to find new technology, new techniques  and occasionally my own work.         

Don't let the bastards get you down
Steven Bailey
Blownapart Studios