Last Sunday, I received a phone call from my friends, Rob and Lisa asking me if I’d be willing to get a couple pictures of their son for a high school function. They know I’m averse to taking pictures of people. It doesn’t mean I won’t do it, just that it’s not in my comfort zone. For friends as close as Rob and Lisa are however, exceptions can be made. The most important reason I avoid taking pictures of people is that it creates another layer of responsibility. I’m responsible for someone else and whether they’re going to like what I produce. I feel intimidated if I don’t know the group of people involved. I’m more comfortable having no responsibility other than to myself.
Since my friends were in a jam and they needed some pictures, I agreed to help them. They wound up beingimpressed. When Lisa saw the pictures, she said, it must be the camera. I believe what she was implying was that others had attempted to get some photos with less sophisticated cameras.
In one respect it’s true, having a higher quality camera will produce higher quality pictures. (By higher quality, I'm referring to image quality, higher resolution, not necessarily photographer quality.) It’s one of the side effects of everyone having access to cameras now.
I didn't take the comment as a slight, because I've known them for over twenty years and Lisa has never been anything but supportive of my photography. As I said above, I believe what she was referring to was the high resolution my DSLR produced.
Rob thought I should do more “people” work. He was duly impressed saying, that he wouldn’t be able to capture the same images I did. We talked about wedding photography a bit. He asked if ever did weddings. I’ve done a few weddings. I told him I won’t EVER be the primary at wedding again.
Too much pressure!
I don’t mind being a secondary photographer running around taking candids after the ceremony. There's no pressure in that. I enjoy doing that. But I can’t be the primary again. I won’t. It’s not just the camera that produces the high quality photos. It is also the photographer. And if you want high quality from your photographer, you have to ensure they are stress free. I enjoy helping friends because while they still expect quality, they know you and they know your work. So if friends need photography services, don’t hesitate to reach out.
And yes, Rob and Lisa paid me. I’m no longer offering my services for free. As I said in my Digital Downloads column, exposure never paid the bills. We can up with a fee that works for both of us.
In the meantime:
Focus on what's ahead of you.
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