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Top Ten Things Photographers Say That Have Hidden Meanings

Professional photographers have dealt with a lot, especially when they’ve been in this business for a decade or more. Because of this, we’ve come up with workaround phrases that we all use from time to time. Some are to save us from explaining ourselves over and over to different customers, and others are to make us look like we know exactly what we’re doing when, in reality, we’re still figuring it out. I’ve used all of these at least once, and some of them I still use all the time because they make life in this industry easier.    

1.  “Just one more shot.”

This is the most infamous thing we say. To a person who isn’t a photographer, this literally means one more click of the camera button. Oh, but they would be wrong.  “Just one more shot.” means that we have a specific shot we want to get, and you’re going to sit/stand there and let me take pictures until I get the one I want, even if it takes all night.

2. “I think we’ve got those, now lets try something a little different real quick.”

This means that we’ve taken the standard pictures you wanted, but the real reason you’re here is to be a test subject for my latest photography vision.  The “real quick” part is a lie, by the way.

3.  “Yes, we can make that photo edit. Are there any other edits you want? If there are, I’ll make those too. While I do that one.”

If you hear this, it probably means your photographer has already made edits for you, and now you’re asking for another one, and you’re trying his patience because he knows there’s more to come. All photographers loath opening the same picture day after day to make micro adjustments that nobody cares about, except for you. Making your eyes a shade lighter, then a shade darker, then lighter again is enough to make us want to vomit. Unless you’re paying for those adjustments, but you aren’t. If you’re asking for minor edits, that means the touch up fees for your photographers time haven’t hit. Once the meter starts running, magically your picture will be perfect without the changes.    

4.  “I need to expand my portfolio with some edgier, artsy shots.”

If you’re a female model, you’ve heard this a million times, and it means that you’ll hardly be wearing any clothes in the photos.  Photographers, especially male photographers, feel weird asking you to come in and take nude/naked pics, so we replace it with “edgy” and “artsy”.  

5.  “I was going to use a beauty dish for this shot, but I don’t think we’ll need it.”

That’s short for “I forgot to bring that piece of equipment, now let me figure out how to move on without it.” It happens to the best of us, from time to time.

6.  “Yes, that’s a good idea, but it would look better if we did this instead.”

That means your idea is bad and/or impossible. If your photographer has been around the block, he knows more about limitations than you do. If you’re wearing a yellow shirt, a yellow background isn’t a good idea, so how about we go with a grey background instead…  

7.  “We can do it there, but our studio would be good too.”

Clients think the locations they have in mind for their photos will be awesome, but a lot of the time they aren’t. Photographers don’t like hauling all of their equipment all the way across town to shoot on the blue wall in your office. They have a blue background in the studio, and there’s already lights sitting in front of it.   

8. “We’ll send you your photos through Dropbox or Google Drive.”

Buying Blueray’s and thumb drives, that we then have to mail, is a huge pain. We hate doing it. It also adds to turnaround times, and since no customer likes being charged extra for discs or a thumb drives it comes out of our pocket. We live in a digital age, so learn how to use the tools that have been made available and your life will be easier.  

9. “Don’t worry about it, we can take care of that in Photoshop.”

What photographers really mean is “I’m being lazy so I’ll just try to figure something out later in post, even though I probably won’t because it’ll take forever.” This is a major pitfall in the photography world, and one of the things that we here at Spectacle really try to avoid. We take great pains to make the photo exactly as it should be in the raw photo, because using photoshop as a crutch rarely ends well.

10.  “I only shoot with natural light.”

This means your photographer doesn’t know how to use strobes and other lighting techniques, and he quakes in fear at the thought. Natural light is the first thing any beginning photographer learns how to use, so if that’s all he/she wants to work with, he/she probably never expanded their knowledge beyond that. Lighting with strobes and other advanced lighting tools is tricky to learn, but any photographer worth their salt can do it.  

If you have anything we missed, leave it in the comments on whatever platform you’re reading this through. If we get enough of them we’ll do another list. Now, who’s up to take some edgy, artsy photos?

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