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Ten Things Your Photographer Will Never Tell You (But Wishes You Knew!)

You guys… it’s the middle of the photography busy season, and let me tell you… the behind-the-scenes photographer forums are BUZZING with chatter.  There’s squealing about all the amazing, dreamy sessions, but also quite a bit of talk about all the things photographers desperately wish that their clients understood.  As I was reading through it all the other day it dawned on me… a lot of parents just don’t know some easy little things that could make a WORLD of difference in both their relationships with their photographers and their annual family pictures.


And so, without further ado, I bring to you the ten things that pretty much all photographers in the history of EVER wish you knew…


10. Your pictures will turn out better if you let me be in charge.

  • Hopefully you chose me to be your photographer because you like my images.  When you try to micromanage the shoot by telling me how to pose you or continuously ask to see the pictures in my camera, it makes me feel like you don’t trust me and instantly kills the mojo. I took ALL the pictures you see on my website without any help or direction.  I know what a real smile looks like, I know where the light is best, and I know that you don’t want that fire hydrant to show up in the background of your picture. I’m good at this. Trust me.

9. All kids are crazy.

  • Nothing winds up parents faster than seeing their children misbehave or get a little crazy during a photoshoot, but I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: they ALL do!  I need to excite and play with them in order to establish an authentic connection, but I am also great at calming them back down and centering their attention onto the camera when it’s time for pictures.  There’s no need to stress that your children are being “bad”… they’re being kids and I honestly love the challenge!



8. Sweet Mama… please relax. You are not the exception.

  • I’m as guilty of it as anyone: I assume that No Person in the History of Ever could make me look beautiful in pictures. But guess what? I am not the exception. When I listen to my photographer and do exactly what she tells me to do, I often find that I LOVE the way I look when I see the final images. A good photographer knows how to position her subjects and herself to capture the most flattering pictures. If she tells you to put your chin down, for heaven’s sake, DO IT. She knows how to pose you so that you look as photogenic as the rest of ‘em.

7. Dad… I’m praying you will be kind to your family… and to me.

  • It’s one of the most common topics on behind-the-scenes photographer forums: fussy, grumpy dads. So let me give it to you straight: Dad, I already know that this is not on your Top Ten List of Favorite Things To Do on a Saturday Morning, but it’s one hour and you’re here, so why not make the best of it? I’ve always found that the dad’s attitude can make or break the shoot… if he’s low-key and showing a little love, Mom inevitably relaxes and the photos reflect a genuine family connection. If he’s uptight, cranky, and critical, Mom is stressed and the tension trickles down to every last child. No one wants to look back at their family photos and remember how everyone was walking on eggshells around Dad. I promise to make the shoot as painless as possible… I’ve got your back. 

6. I know the shoot means a lot to you. It means a lot to me, too.

  • I think the majority of photo session anxiety stems from the assumption that your pictures couldn’t possibly be as important to the me as they are to you, but let me make a case for why that’s not necessarily true: When I photograph your family, I’m in my purest state of “flow”… creativity and passion connect to create something beautiful.  I can get downright giddy when I capture a beautiful shot, and am driven like no other to do it again and again.  If that doesn’t convince you, consider the fact that the images that I take of your family represent my work when you show them to your friends and family… I want it to look AMAZING!

5. I will spend hours reliving your shoot, image-by-image.

  • Culling is the process in which the photographer goes through the pictures, image by image, and chooses which pictures will make the final cut. If the shoot was light-hearted and genuine, this process makes me smile and laugh out loud.  If the parents were cranky and strung-out, my stomach will be in knots as I walk back through your shoot, image-by-image. PS… If you think you might need to trim that nosehair, the best time to do it is before the shoot.  I will be up-close and personal with ALL of your faces in every last picture.

4. I get butterflies before your shoot.

  • Bet you didn’t know that, did you?  I’m nervous before every. single. shoot… it’s not just you!

3. It hurts my feelings when you joke about my pricing.

  • When you imply that my prices are getting too high, it feels like you’re saying that my work isn’t worth what you’re paying. I’m quite sensitive about my pricing and it feels incredibly vulnerable to have to put a price on my passion and art. There are so many parts of running a business that I can’t expect you to know about: taxes, a studio, equipment, website fees, a salaried studio manager… these are just a few of the things I’m desperate to tell you about when you make a joke that “this hour had better be amazing because we sure are paying for it…” I can’t, of course, so I try to remember that you probably don’t understand all the costs involved in running a small business and continue on with your session.

2. I’m a highly creative person, which means that I struggle with organization.

  • I may arrive at your session five minutes late because I’ve lost my keys, phone, or left shoe. I may have no idea where my camera is when it’s hanging around my neck. I may have your pictures finished and in your gallery a few days after their due date. I’m painfully embarrassed about this part of myself and have been working for 35 years to correct it, to no (or very little) avail. On the bright side, the creativity that keeps me from excelling in organization is the same trait that is able to see and capture beautiful, heartwarming images of your family. Please be patient and gentle with me!



1. I’m waiting on pins and needles to hear your feedback about the pictures from your session.

  • By the time I’ve chatted with you about your session, spent an hour with you, loving on your kids and capturing your family, and relived the shoot through culling and editing, I’m invested. I keep your specific hopes and dreams in mind through the entire process, and I am literally DYING to know if you’re happy with the finished photos. A short little email saying, “We got them and we love them!” or “These are beautiful” or even “I love most of them… just wish we had gotten the three kids walking away!”… it fills in the silence in my head that wants to jump to conclusions about your reaction to the pictures.


And just to point out… the images you see throughout this post are of a family who, year after year, follows ALL TEN points to the letter. I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’…

;)

……………………………………………………………………….

Finally… how excited are we for ShootAlong this year!!!!! Not sure what ShootAlong is?

ShootAlong is a year-long photography project led by Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters for parents who want to take better pictures of their families.  The project has members from all over the world and includes weekly instruction and inspiration, editing videos, and a private member board. We’re so thankful for our amazing line up of Spotlight Photographers! Each week, one of them will inspire us with a photo of their own families!!!

Check out the website to learn more!!!

 


73 comments
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  • dewainOctober 27, 2015 - 3:10 am

    how true all ten points are. i mainly do nature shooting, but have done many for the boy scouts. one of my my faverit types is the hidden item picture.ReplyCancel

  • Beth MonsonOctober 27, 2015 - 7:26 am

    YES YES YES! All of it! Great article. Would you mind if I shared it on my business page?ReplyCancel

  • AmyOctober 27, 2015 - 11:14 am

    LOVE THIS ARTICLE! Well Done! And Amen sister!ReplyCancel

  • julie kuhlmannOctober 27, 2015 - 1:12 pm

    Can I share on my pageReplyCancel

    • Amy Tripple PhotographyOctober 29, 2015 - 7:34 am

      Yes of course!!! :)ReplyCancel

      • sarahDecember 11, 2015 - 11:40 am

        I would love to share this to my page also! Great article..and beautiful pics. Glad I found your article on Pintrest! ( Wichita, Ks)ReplyCancel

  • Penny McNabbOctober 27, 2015 - 3:52 pm

    I loved your blog!ReplyCancel

  • lisa goddardOctober 27, 2015 - 4:25 pm

    you are awesome amy!! we love you because of these 10 things!ReplyCancel

    • Amy Tripple PhotographyOctober 29, 2015 - 7:35 am

      Lisa… you are the sweetest!!! Love you! Miss you!ReplyCancel

  • cindy knightOctober 27, 2015 - 8:10 pm

    i once had a boy climb a small tree. he was certainly old enough,capable, and in no danger. He jumped at the chance. mama freaked. climbing a tree in khakis and a sweater vest! i just said, “it’s so fun to see boys be boys. look what fun he’s having!” mom settled down (nervously) and her son proved me right. he had a blast in that little tree and in the long run, it was one of her favorite pics. put this under the “i know what i’m doing” category.ReplyCancel

  • allen e andersonOctober 27, 2015 - 8:45 pm

    very good points should be required reading for everyone who is going to hire a photographerReplyCancel

  • MirandaOctober 27, 2015 - 11:02 pm

    Do you know this is going around like wild fire? Anway, you go! This post is spot on for me as the photographer. Nailed it.ReplyCancel

  • carlaOctober 28, 2015 - 8:01 am

    photo tipsReplyCancel

  • JenniferOctober 28, 2015 - 9:26 am

    Very well said.ReplyCancel

  • Kate MontagueOctober 28, 2015 - 10:22 am

    amen, sister. Very well said.ReplyCancel

  • Dan ClarkOctober 28, 2015 - 1:35 pm

    My wife is a photographer, too. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard her mention most of these points! I think the biggest thing I hear the most often is the feedback. Great points! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie MasseyOctober 28, 2015 - 8:16 pm

    LOVED reading this post…and we miss you…;)ReplyCancel

    • Amy Tripple PhotographyOctober 28, 2015 - 8:40 pm

      And I miss YOU guys!!! Love you each so much!ReplyCancel

  • Karen MorneauOctober 28, 2015 - 9:04 pm

    Love this….as others have asked do you mind if I share on my business page?ReplyCancel

  • NicoleOctober 28, 2015 - 9:58 pm

    I liked all your comments with the exception of #2. To me it sounds like your using your creativity as an excuse to be disorganized. As part of running/owing a business you should be on time, have photos delivered by their deadline, etc. — this is part of the service and expectation that people are paying for. What if your child’s teacher was always late to class because she considered herself “creative”? What if your employee didn’t deposit your paycheck into your account on it’s due date because they weren’t organize—would that be acceptable? Something to consider….ReplyCancel

    • Amy Tripple PhotographyOctober 29, 2015 - 7:38 am

      Nicole… such a wonderful point! I will never stop trying to improve in this area… it just seems that my progress comes EVER so slowly! My hope in including that in the points was to at least let people know that I am aware of the fault and always working on it… never an excuse, simply a bit of an explanation, and a plea for grace! :)ReplyCancel

      • SarahNovember 10, 2015 - 5:37 am

        Such a gracious reply Amy! Creative souls are not always understood! Thank goodness for the world that there are such people as yourself. And the fact you can see your vulnerabilities is a lesson that perhaps some of us more organised, and dare I say less creative souls, could do with. If you were my photographer I would certainly forgive what you call disorganisation but I prefer to call creating space for the creative!ReplyCancel

      • JillDecember 22, 2015 - 12:49 pm

        Great response, Amy! My hubby (who is 34) also deals with being an extreme creative and with that lacks complete control over being organized most of the time. He tries so hard, but he’s also a one man organization. With booking shoots, meeting with clients, photographing sessions, editing sessions, delivering sessions & all the while updating his numerous social media sites, blog, paying fees and not to mention being a dad & husband(!)… He’s very often run a little ragged and is left feeling more discombobulated than his normal “creative” self. I feel for him, mostly because I can be a very type A personality (which I find helps balance us out, he mellows me while I help keep him alive (hehe)). Anyway, all that to say, I find it very awesome that you can see this in yourself and continue to work on it as well as making sure your paying clients know this and you’re not trying to take advantage of their time or money. ????????ReplyCancel

      • NatalieMarch 13, 2016 - 8:51 am

        People who aren’t creative souls or highly sensitive people won’t understand the disorganization. I too struggle with organization hard. I have two children
        One with special needs and the other with add. I am a HSP feeling, add having, special needs mom with a warm creative spirit. Be kind to yourself even if others aren’t. You are the light of the world sweetheart!ReplyCancel

  • Patti MurrayOctober 28, 2015 - 10:15 pm

    Amy. I know I have reason to be a “little” partial but your photos are the best and most amazing I have ever seen! You capture the feeling of the people in the picture and not just the things around them. You are the best! Love, PattiReplyCancel

  • Kerensa SheenOctober 28, 2015 - 10:57 pm

    Really interesting article and valid pointts which I’ll remember.

    By the way, the expression is “without further ado’ not ‘further adieu’ .
    KerensaReplyCancel

    • Amy Tripple PhotographyOctober 29, 2015 - 7:39 am

      Kerensa… oh my goodness! I truly do learn something new every day! Corrected… thanks for the tip girl!ReplyCancel

  • Heather OwenOctober 29, 2015 - 6:34 am

    Thank you so much for this article. I am a photographer who’s spent the past year transitioning from hobbyist to professional. I couldn’t believe how you hit thee nail on the head in all 10 points you listed and explained. It was like you were reading my mind. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who goes through things like butterflies before a shoot, ect. I’d have to say one of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t trust me to do my job well and efficiently. I try to tell them .. relax, I know what I’m doing … I may not know what you’re thinking but you’re not seeing what I’m seeing through my camera lens at that very moment. In closing I’d like to say .. wonderful work … I love your photography.ReplyCancel

    • Amy Tripple PhotographyOctober 29, 2015 - 7:40 am

      Thank you Heather!!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura LangOctober 29, 2015 - 7:02 am

    Amy, This is great and right on! Thanks for sharing these important secrets!ReplyCancel

  • LisaOctober 29, 2015 - 10:21 am

    Thank you for writing this and sharing too! You nailed it!ReplyCancel

  • JohannaOctober 29, 2015 - 7:52 pm

    I think I love you, Amy Tripple! Your articulation of the delicate subject, considering your audience, is genuine and spot on. Your art – these images are so beautiful and I know that because I don’t even know these people and I feel like I would hang their images on my wall! Thank you for the support as well as the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • AngieOctober 29, 2015 - 10:55 pm

    Absolutely love this article, and how your outstanding photography exactly illustrates your points. I see many friends’ “professional” shoots on Facebook and usually wonder two things: “why would anyone let you pose so awkwardly?” or “what’s with the poor lighting/overexposure?”

    It makes sense now that perhaps some of these photos were shot by folks without your level of experience or skill, but perhaps it’s also too much “interference” on the part of the client?

    Nevertheless, I don’t have children and never considered doing a “shoot” after our engagement and wedding photos, but your pics are so genuine, so authentic in what they capture, not to mention beautiful and flattering, that I’d hire you in a second if we lived in the area.

    Total love for what you do!ReplyCancel

  • My feelings about #3 … |November 2, 2015 - 11:47 am

    […] over on Wendy B Photos I shared an article by the amazingly talented Amy Tripple Photography. It’s a list of things photographers want their beloved clients to understand. It’s one […]ReplyCancel

  • CelestinaNovember 4, 2015 - 9:21 am

    Wow…this was like reading something right out of my own head. lol. I also struggle with organization. Always losing my flash, or reflector, keys, lenscaps….lol. Awesome post! Will share!ReplyCancel

  • Katie | Honestly NourishedNovember 4, 2015 - 9:42 am

    Very insightful post! I think it is brave of you to share so openly like this and I hope your future clients find this post! ;) XXReplyCancel

  • AmiliaNovember 4, 2015 - 10:12 am

    Yes to all of these! Except for #2. I’m too type A for my own good!ReplyCancel

  • JessicaNovember 4, 2015 - 10:26 am

    Amy, these are such amazing points! Would you be okay if I shared this with some of my wedding planning clients when it’s time to schedule their photographer? I feel like the points are still quite valid, even if kids aren’t in the picture (no pun intended ;)) just yet. Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • BriannaNovember 4, 2015 - 7:26 pm

    Great post! I always wondered this with my wedding photographer and I’m sure I could have done better working with her!

    http://www.artofstyleblog.comReplyCancel

  • GenevieveNovember 25, 2015 - 6:09 pm

    I love this post, I saw it on another photographers page, and I see you have given others permission to link to it, so I hope you don’t mind if I do also? Great tips. I’m more of a part time photographer w/ a non-photography day job so I don’t have a a studio manager or any of those expenses (maybe someday), but I still agree with pretty much everything you’ve said!ReplyCancel

  • Ava PetrosaDecember 7, 2015 - 9:14 am

    I can’t tell you, in so many words how great it was to read your article. Truly inspired!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer DentonDecember 8, 2015 - 4:07 pm

    Amen Amy!!! Brilliantly said and heartfelt….all of it is true! I see that others have asked to share this. I would love to as well. May I?ReplyCancel

  • CourtneyDecember 8, 2015 - 10:41 pm

    I agree with everything and I will never understand why people don’t give feedback! It baffles me every time!ReplyCancel

  • Jenner JenDecember 9, 2015 - 8:37 pm

    beautifully said!! your images are amazingly beautiful!!!ReplyCancel

  • Eva PollickDecember 11, 2015 - 2:51 am

    I am curious about your settings. Your pictures are beautiful. Trying to establish my photography business. I’m very disappointed in how my pictures come out. Especially when kids are running and parents are in different focal points. So fustrated!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn DavisonDecember 15, 2015 - 10:49 am

    Fantastic viewpoint from the inside looking out! Thank you so much for all of this!! ESPECIALLY the butterfly part!!! Nice to know it is NOT just me! I was wondering if I could share on my FB page. Hoping it will help me but on the flip side not upset my customers.ReplyCancel

  • LinDecember 15, 2015 - 9:32 pm

    I agree with you but for one exception; number 2. To be a professional photographer you should consider yourself professional above all else. Using your creativity as an excuse for disorganization implies a lack of discipline. As a creative myself (quilter) giving an excuse gives credence that my work isn’t worth the price I’m asking. I’ve seen photographers work. If you were paid by the hour, never mind the cost of equipment, it would probably fall in the $1.00 an hour range.ReplyCancel

  • Joseph KilgusDecember 18, 2015 - 2:46 pm

    Amen, sister! My wife and I feel all of these ALL of the time! We’ve been taking professional photos for five years now and I *ALWAYS* get the jitters before a session. Give me a minute or two into the session, and I’m good, but beforehand, I’m nervous! It doesn’t matter if I planned out every pose. I always get butterflies.

    Many clients simply don’t understand what goes into producing a quality image – especially when the photographer shoots RAW like we do. We don’t just click the shutter and “there you have it”. You hit the nail on the head that the photographer will spend HOURS reliving the session. It’s common for us to spend 15-20 minutes on an image. When you multiply that by the number of images we provide for proofing, it can take a staggering 10 hours in post-processing.

    The one that gets us the most is #1. It means the world to us that we produce images our clients love and adore, and it means just as much to hear our clients say so. When we don’t hear anything, we feel deflated and wonder if they like them. Some moms are over the top with gratitude and awe, which we LOVE, but others simply say nothing at all. That’s always a let down.

    Thanks for the fantastic read!ReplyCancel

  • AmyDecember 19, 2015 - 2:49 am

    THANK YOU for posting this! I’m 20 years old and have started my own small photography business. Photography has been a passion of mine for years and I love being creative. I recently had a shoot where I felt like everything went wrong. I had let the family know what my costs were and all seemed great with them… but then when it came to paying, the mom said she was shocked at how much I charged (Which actually was not that much as I’m just starting out). Anyway they got a huge discount but I can honestly say the feeling in the pit of my stomach was horrible. And to top it off I never heard if the like the pictures or not. Thanks for posting!ReplyCancel

  • TaceyDecember 19, 2015 - 9:41 pm

    II could’ve cried when I read how you admitted to not being organized. Most of my clients (I really hope at least) don’t notice it but I’ve had a couple people write me viscous nasty reviews over simple things like delivering their pictures the day of the deadline rather than sooner like they would have preferred. It shatters my heart. If I was a mean lady or a giant money-pumping cooperation maybe I wouldn’t care what they think, but much like you, I hand them my heart, soul and boundless creativity with each session and a little patience and basic human kindness would go a long way.ReplyCancel

  • Jason VolcansekDecember 23, 2015 - 5:28 pm

    I hope you get all the marketing windfalls from this article because not only does it give a glimpse of another person and their unique skill set and mindframe, but this also shows the compassion and ownership you take with your clients. This is one of the best reads in months…if only as it depicts a story of which I would never know. BravoReplyCancel

  • K.KellyDecember 31, 2015 - 10:32 am

    I definitely can appreciate this post – thanks!. Just shared this in my Facebook status. Great insight for clients to understand the perspective of the photographer/videographer.ReplyCancel

  • MelanieJanuary 3, 2016 - 4:55 pm

    I don’t normally read blogs to their full capacity but this really caught my eye and I read through to the last full stop. Very well written and truly inspiring. Thanks Amy!ReplyCancel

  • MollyJanuary 5, 2016 - 2:09 pm

    I completely feel everyone of these! Love from Minnesota!ReplyCancel

  • […] A few months ago in the midst of busy season, I read this blog written by a fellow photographer that was titled “Ten things your photographer will never tell you (but wishes you knew!). – by Amy Tripple Phot…“ […]ReplyCancel

  • AmandaJanuary 26, 2016 - 7:47 pm

    Very well said!!!! I have to agree with you on all ten points.ReplyCancel

  • KirstenJanuary 27, 2016 - 5:39 pm

    Love everything on this list. SO true.ReplyCancel

  • TiaJanuary 28, 2016 - 6:17 pm

    Omg!!! I relate to 10 and 2 so much! I can be pretty shy at times, so I sometimes have difficulty with putting my foot down. Also one of my greatest challenges as a photographer and retoucher is organization :P

    Great list!!

    -Tia
    http://retouchingblog.comReplyCancel

  • KarieFebruary 17, 2016 - 4:38 pm

    Very well said!!!!ReplyCancel

  • HeidiFebruary 26, 2016 - 7:36 am

    Can you please come to NC? I love this post so much. Wish I had an Amy Tripple photographer down here. :)ReplyCancel

  • Em RoseMarch 13, 2016 - 10:41 pm

    This is beautifully put together, and I LOVE #4 and #1. I struggle so much with those all the time, so I’m glad I’m not alone.
    Your photos are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart ????ReplyCancel

  • Tony MurphyMarch 17, 2016 - 10:50 pm

    I enjoyed reading your story, wishing you great success in your photography business.ReplyCancel

  • ElaineMarch 23, 2016 - 11:43 pm

    Great pics and great advice!! Love it….ReplyCancel

  • OliviaApril 24, 2016 - 11:03 pm

    This is absolutely spot on!! A great read :)ReplyCancel

  • DavidMay 12, 2016 - 5:27 am

    Great food for thought. ..ReplyCancel

  • Mary Beth BuenoSeptember 3, 2016 - 4:37 pm

    This is written incredibly well- so true! Amy, I love that you are able to kindly illustrate the inner-workings of the “photographer mind”… as a parent, I’m sure these tips are super helpful/eye opening :DReplyCancel

  • Candace BrintonOctober 15, 2016 - 9:19 pm

    I could not have said it better myself. SOOOO spot on! Ditto to everything said.ReplyCancel

    • Candace BrintonOctober 15, 2016 - 9:21 pm

      By the way, these pictures are beautiful! I love the vibrant Fall colors and the crisp subjects. My favorite is the image of the two sibling’s faces. Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • FredOctober 31, 2016 - 1:58 pm

    Holy cow! I just stumbled on this and I love it! You hit the nail on the head for all kinds of sessions! In fact, do you mind if I link to this article from my blog? I’ve been sort of the default sports-dad-camera-guy-who-does-family-photos too dude…decided to get my website up and running and go legit–your piece is right on the money!

    Thanks again,
    FredReplyCancel

  • MindyNovember 16, 2016 - 10:43 am

    Beautifully written and ALL TRUE. Can I share this, please?ReplyCancel

  • […] the parent that can’t stop apologizing for their child’s behavior. In Amy Tripple’s article Ten Things Your Photographer Will Never Tell You (But Wishes You Knew!), she […]ReplyCancel

  • Jodi MajorFebruary 23, 2017 - 8:02 am

    So very true! Togs, tell your peeps these things! Educate them!ReplyCancel

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