Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Upsetting Lunch (a warning to photographers)

Hey everybody,

I had a really UPSETTING lunch with a fellow photographer Friday. This particular photographer was a friend of my dad from when he had The Photo Place, the lab I worked at throughout college. She's a very sweet lady with a great sense of humor. However, she hasn't fully made the jump to digital.

About a month ago she emailed me, told me who she was (she didn't realize I was me) and asked if I had any advice for her. Now, for those of you who read my blog daily, you know I'm CRAZY BUSY; however, I invited her to lunch to talk about her questions and concerns. That's not breaking news, I have plenty of these every month.

During our lunch, she explained that she had tried to approach a couple photographers who had recently led a "Shoot-out" she attended. These two photographers (I know both of them - they're both within 2 hours of my house) encouraged the attendees to ask follow up questions in the coming weeks if they came up. Unfortunately, when she tried to follow up with these photographers she didn't receive help. Because I know these photographers, and know that they have benefited from others, it really disappoints me that they were not willing to share when it didn't benefit themselves. In my opinion, they just wanted to be "famous" when they led the shoot-out, and didn't want the responsibility that comes with being a leader.

Photographers... are you afraid that you're "training competition"? I don't get this... I only take on 25 weddings a year; there are plenty of weddings for everybody. Instead of the cold shoulder, I would rather make friends and create a referral system between photographers. Besides, it just feels good to help. Do you not enjoy helping people?

Lastly, here's my warning: if you don't change your frame of mind, two things are going to happen to you: 1) everyone is going to think you're an ass. Assuredly, you don't want this. Wouldn't you rather be respected? and 2) everybody else is going to build each other up with support and referrals, and when you want help, you won't find it. So, stop being jerks.

Sorry that I had to waste a day of blogging on this matter, but hopefully it will create some change and do some good.

As always, if you're a photographer and need help, feel free to contact me!

Talk to you soon,


  1. I really appreciate this blog, and all that you have helped me with. I know that if I have a question you'll help me out. You're my go to guy when I need answers on ALOT of stuff! It's a shame there's not more people like you and Mere around! :)

  2. This is why you are one of my favorite photographers. I love that you like to share the love...whether it is great pics or great advice. I have had that same situation with some photographers and I don't get it. BTW, I am still waiting for my advisor lunch/dinner hehe! Christy S.

  3. Dale you seriously rock! I love how honest you are and you are one of the most sincere helpful people I have met! You are right, karma will come back and bite them right in the booty!

  4. You rock and I whole heartedly agree!!!

  5. You are freaking awesome! I have never met another photographer out there like you! I have had something recently happen when I asked if I could shadow someone. She responded to my first e-mail and then NOTHING after my response. I'm not going to BEG someone so I will just find someone else.

    Anyway... you are right... they look like a HUGE ass!

    Hugs - Tiffany

  6. I can't agree with you more. There are too many photographers out there from the "old school" that don't want to share any information like it's all a secret. I say if they are that afraid of losing clients, then they aren't confident in their own work to even be photographers. Every photographer has their own style and it is up to your clients which style they prefer. There are plenty to go around!! Thanks for setting a great example to other photographers. Your a pioneer. :-)

  7. Yeah, I don't get that mindset. The more we can all help each other out, the more we can elevate each other's work and enrich each other's lives as friends. So glad that I have my pals from and am fortunate to have met photographers like you and them. What a lonely world it would be if all photographers were closed off. Very good blog post...

  8. I don't know you and Mere and Eli face to face, but I've been reading your blog since you began, and check in to see what's new atleast once every other week, so I definitely feel you've been a part of my growing experience, and appreciate this post and to know that there is help out there if I want to ask for it. I know how much time it takes to do what you do. I also know the equipment you pack and many other things about your business because I read and adhere what I believe makes you successful. I'd love to shoot fultime, but it takes money to make money. I agree with your philosophy and think you have a lot of good Karma coming your way! I also think you are positive and willing to work hard for the life you want, and therefore you will get it. I'm no where near where I'd like to be as a photographer and there are always areas to improve and new equipment to buy. Although, I belive a GREAT photographer that is willing to do EVERYTHING it takes, has nothing to fear.

  9. Took the words right out of my mouth! So glad someone blogged it. :)

  10. Dale, this is exactly why you are a classy guy. I have asked questions many times to local [successful] photogs and in the end felt as if I was bothering them.


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