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“Everybody lies” said Hugh Laurie in the popular series Dr. House. It actually is scientifically true, so people who are into photography are no different. Lies can be divided in categories. Some are mean and hurtful, others are white lies, and some can be funny, like the ones told by fisherman and hunters.
Photography lies have a bit of everything. They can be used to build up the photographer’s image, to get a date with someone they like or to reach a goal otherwise unachievable. Some are plain funny.
Here are some of the most common lies told by photographers. I trust you will notice the humoristic flavor of their presentation.
I have over ten years of experience
This is a lie often told by senior photographers who got into photography after they retired from their normal day job to make an extra dollar. You can’t blame them entirely for that, especially since they already have a credibility problem. Some of them can be caught without basic knowledge of exposure, using their cameras on auto-mode. How’s that for a slow learning curve?
I have won x photography contests
Have you? How about showing some awards or contest catalogues with your photos in them? So many cheap photographers turn to this lie in hope of attracting clients and attention, it’s almost sad.
I will take better photos once I have that camera/lens
This is a special lie because it is one that photographers tell themselves. The problem is they don’t even know they’re lying to themselves. They imagine that all their creative ruts, their entire lack of imagination and all the laziness will go away on the special day their order arrives.
I don’t use post processing
It takes a lot of guts to tell this lie, in this day and age. Even if it were true, it’s still hard to get people to believe you. Almost every photographer out there uses a little post processing. It’s almost inevitable and digital photography works best with a little “help”. The photographers who tell this lie usually target a purist audience, one that isn’t educated well enough to acknowledge the state in which photography is today. If you do come across a photographer who you know for a fact uses post processing, tell them it’s ok to do it and that it’s just as old as photography is.
You are so photogenic!
This is one of my favorites. Most often it is used as a pickup line or to impress a potential client. It takes a certain charm to be able to say it and make it sound real, so the photographers who turn to this lie used to be car salesmen in a previous lifetime.
I am a top rated wedding photographer
Ok, first of all top rated wedding photographers don’t have to tell anyone that they are top rated. People who seek them already know that. Second, this kind of photographer usually stays away from clients or situations that require him to explain his status. These are just some of the red flags to look for when talking to a suspicious photographer.
My assistant is very qualified to shoot that
A photographer who sends an assistant to shoot a job for him does so because of two possible reasons. Either he doesn’t care about that client at all, or he is so bad that his assistant is actually on the same level or better than he is. Also, you might hear a photographer tell this lie because he wants to project the image of a company for his small time photography business and he wants clients to think that all of his crew is very well prepared.
It’s natural for the assistant to be able to shoot a few frames after the primary shots have been taken, but it’s never ok to see an assistant shoot the big job instead of the photographer who was hired for that.
Of course I’ve photographed in that place!
This lie is most commonly told by event and wedding photographers who are at a talk with a client and don’t want to make it look like they haven’t got local experience or they haven’t been to any events in a certain location. They can get away with it, but if details or questions pop up, it could backfire in a very messy way. And that’s what happens most of the times.
This is just a part of my portfolio
Some photographers try to save their selves with this lie when presenting their portfolio to a client who doesn’t seem impressed at all. It’s kind of a desperate measure and I personally believe you shouldn’t have to do it. What will you do if the client actually wants to see that missing, inexistent part of your portfolio? And what are the chances for still signing that contract after a poor first impression?
Of course I’ve done food photography before!
Much like the lie about the location, this one gets told when a client is showing interest in a kind of photography that is different from what the liar is used to doing. But, to be fair, it’s understandable. A lot of pros adapt to the harsh market and expand their genres in order to get new clients. Just don’t ever do it if you are not sure about the outcome.
I own this studio and everything in it
This lie is an ace up the sleeve for some photographers who are looking to get a little bit more from a model than just posing. It can actually be an elaborate scam, but a pricey one nonetheless. What they do is rent a studio for a day and pretend it’s theirs. The studio has to be intimate enough to allow nude photography, or at least that’s what they say when they rent the place. Then they take the model and act like everything inside is proof of their success, all in hope of some less professional gratification. Watch out girls!