You can't work in the photography industry for any length of time without developing a few pet peeves; it's only natural. Surround yourself with anything for 8-12 hours per day, and a few things are bound to get on your nerves. So, what is it that drives photographers up the wall? A lot, it seems. A few brave photographers and other industry professionals shared what makes them crazy. Is your personal pet peeve on this list?
Pet peeves are interesting things. They have an almost innate humor to them when viewed from the outside (who doesn't get a kick out of watching someone else squirm), but they also give little clues about the person who struggles with them. One of my personal pet peeves is when people ask me, "What were your settings?" when they see my photograph, as if, somehow, just replicating those numbers will help them take the same photo. That pet peeve gives a bit of a clue about me as a photographer: I share images with other people, and I teach. It's a question I get a lot, and one that grinds my gears after a while. It's not the only thing that makes my eye twitch, though.
When I asked photographers for their number one industry pet peeves, I got answers that ran the gamut from style and editing to client interaction and pricing. What I found interesting about the responses on the whole, was that very few of them were trite or humorous; most had to do with things they thought degraded the integrity or value of the industry.
With so many genres and specialties, it's guaranteed that there is a fount of material out there just ripe to make photographers' teeth grind. This is what industry professionals had to say...
- "I hate when potential clients are looking for a photographer 'that doesn't cost an arm or leg,' but what's worse is when a photographer advertises themselves saying they 'don't charge an arm or a leg' in such a way to imply that other photographers are ripping people off. Charge what you're going to charge, but don't advertise by implying that others in the industry are bad or wrong." Trina Heppner
- "I hate when people under price themselves, especially when they are good! I want to smack them and yell 'YOU CAN'T DO AN EIGHT HOUR WEDDING FOR $250!!!'" Sierra Haber
- "The audacity of clientele feeling as if they have the option of having an alternate value on your work." Charan Ingram
- "Sadly, many companies assume that because they are using photos 'just for social media' that the work put into creating the image (both shooting and in post) become irrelevant. In my industry (motocross photography), a single event typically takes us 30+ hours of work (over a less than 48 hour period of time). I can't imagine any other industry or job where someone would be asked to work 30+ hours in less than two days without a single dollar of compensation. My guess is that you'd immediately be searching for another job because both your time and talents are valuable." Krystyn Slack
- "I hate the grungy, on camera flash look of some editorials. Like they took the image in a back alley with a pop up pointed straight into their face." Olga Tenyanin
- "Only shooting natural light and acting like studio photographers are beneath them. It's all light!" Jessica Drake
- "The uber cheesy descriptions on blogs/sneak peeks... like 'I could just feel the love emanating from this couple, and their ceremony was the single greatest event I've ever photographed in my entire life!' kind of thing. I suck at it, we know it's sugar coated and bordering on insincere, and I read it and roll my eyes. Every. Single. Time." Kellie Horrocks Barner
On Attitude and Work Ethic:
- "People complaining about other photographers doing well." Kristian Dale
- "People thinking there is a fast track to success, they want all the glory without putting in the work and effort for it." Gerry Kingsley
- "The notion that if you don't have work on the internet, you're not a real, serious, or credible photographer. Often, in discussions with people, as soon as I have a contrary opinion about business or photography, they want to see my social media presence. It's as if they don't believe I'm a successful full time commercial photographer because I just post fun smut or street photos on my Instagram of 500 followers." Rob Timko
- "When photographers put other photographers down. I had a friend that judged others' work, lifestyle, and effort they put into their work SO HARD yet didn't work on her own portfolio. Anytime I'd talk about investing into my business she would talk me out of it or try to. needless to say, we aren't friends anymore." Hannah Earhart
- "People working for likes and follows rather than for art and passion, then using said likes and follows to prove their talent. Not that I don't like likes and follows, but I feel like everyone on the IG space is copying everyone else because it's a trend train." Aakaash Bali
- "Over smoothing of skin, it drives.me.crazy. But I am also a makeup artist." Kat St.John
- "So many of my friends get photos done where the photographer clearly used the Lightroom adjustment brush and didn't clean it up and there'll be a huge halo of light around their subject. Makes me sad laugh (and then wonder why they went to anyone but me?!?!)." Sam Czeh
- "Bad sky overlays due to un-matching lighting, depth of field, or proportion." Eden Bao
- "Over whitening the eyes! It makes them look all freaky. Blech." Jennifer Mitchell
- "I hate the words 'pics.' Like a lot. It feels like it's demeaning artwork in some weird way...'photos' or 'photographs.' Pics are like selfies, not the photos that I pour my heart into." Halsey Hendrickson
- "When people have assistants do all the lighting and set building, and the photographer comes in snaps a pic but can't actually do shit." Pat Black
- "When team members of a TFP magazine submission shoot post all the photos before the issue is released!" Ella Grace Bell
Considering how much photographers value their work, it's not really surprising that the two biggest categories of pet peeves were pricing, and work ethic, and attitude. After all, if you spend hours, weeks, years, and decades of your life learning to perfect your craft and using it to pay your mortgage, watching someone devalue what you do can be understandably irritating. Unfortunately, these irritants won't be going away any time soon. It looks like it's up to us to either learn to deal with them or to fight the good fight to raise industry standards and rid the world of bad masking, photo-leakers, and over-whitened sclera.
Was your personal pet peeve anywhere on the list?
Images Used With Permission from Roy B, Jesse Watson, Theresa A Johnson, and Noah Berg.