The One Thing You Should Never Tell a Photographer

Jenna Kutcher 

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March 12, 2017


We’ve all been there before, we pull out that big, intimidating DSLR and people automatically take notice. With one click of the shutter, people are curious: what did you take a picture of, what did it look like, how did this magnificent camera with the pretty sounding shutter perform? I get it, really, I do. Rarely do we see these cameras in action, far too often we never see the results. But as the operator of these beautiful pieces of equipment, we know what really goes into making an image spectacular… we know it’s not really about the gear, it’s about knowing how to use it.

You wouldn’t comment to a five-star chef and tell them how great their stove is or compliment a carpenter on his “awesome” hammer. It’s not just the tools, we all know that. Yet it’s easy to forget it when it comes to photography! We often look at the gear as magical instead of understanding all that goes into a simple image. It’s knowing, refining, learning and perfecting how to use what we’ve got. Can I get an “amen?”

Never, ever tell a photographer:

Wow, you have a really great camera!” Yeah, we do, but we also know how to use it (and a million computer programs) well. I’ve never shared an unedited images before, especially on here but I saw this and thought it might be a cool way to share all of the tweaks, edits, and corrections that go into a finished photo. This image was captured in harsh noon day sun…

As a photographer we have to know how to use the light we’ve been given (even if it’s crappy!) we have to set our cameras, choose the right lens, the correct angle, we have to pose and direct our subjects, then we have to go home, upload it, cull it, edit it, retouch it, deliver it, back it up and put the finishing touches on it. Usually using multiple softwares to simply get one finished photo a finished heirloom for you.

Why crediting matters to us:

When photographers asked to be credited for their images, it’s because we believe each photo is a work of art and we treat it as such. Editing isn’t always just a few quick clicks, we often don’t just slap on Instagram filters and call it good: we tweak and perfect, spend time of making it the best representation of that moment in time for you (this photo is proof!)

If a photographer has taken the time to shoot, upload, edit and share an image of you or for you, do them the service of not editing it, of not slapping Instagram filters over their carefully presented work, and shout out the credit. A simple little tag can help support us chasing our dreams and it takes just seconds to do. If people like what they see, they just might like us, and that little tag suddenly isn’t so “little” when it leads to another job for us! I can’t tell you how much it means to us as the artists!

If anything, acknowledge that it’s not just the camera, it’s the person using it well and next time you want to say, “Whoa, your camera is awesome” maybe say, “Wow, you sure know how to use that thing well!”

Not sure how to credit or why it really matters? I’ll leave this blog post right here: Why Crediting Matters

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  1. Belinda says:

    This is amazing. So well written but still managing to make a really valid point for all photographers out their who bite their tongue when they’re told “yeah, but you’ve got such a good camera of course your photos are going to be good”. Thanks for writing this Jenna!!

  2. Great post Jenna!
    It’s so true about cameras and photography.
    It’s one of the professions, that I feel, is taken less seriously. Thank you for your insight! 😀

  3. Lailah says:

    a few days ago I thought of writing a post on “things you shouldn’t say to a makeup artist”. I started writing it but thought no one would be interested. After reading this one I think I’ll give it another try.

  4. James says:

    I was at a tourist location witha couple people I know. One was a friend and one was someone with this friend. He had an I-phone and was taking a photo of this marina light hanging outside a building. So far so good. Then he turns to me and tells me how to shoot this light wall light fixture with a particular angle.I guess he thought this was a 5000.00 dollar paper weight hanging off my neck. Some people are just experts in their own minds.Things you should never say to photographer.


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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