It wasn’t until recently that I have started considering myself a professional photographer. With a senior photo shoot and a wedding under my belt and payment for both, I think it’s also appropriate to call myself that. And in my years of photography I’ve learned a number of photographer rules. For example, no bride wants a photo of herself shoving food into her mouth, so during dinner it’s ok to take a food break and eat while the bridal party eats. Another big rule, a professional photographer NEVER releases their unedited photos because they have a reputation to obtain.
So I’ve had this marketing job at my university for almost two months now and have gone to a number of different events to take photos. Thus far I’ve only ever received very positive feedback and everyone is excited to have me on board. I recently took photos at an award ceremony for third grade authors. It was a very small event with not many in attendance. I chose my favorite 20 or so and edited them. A woman in alumni relations sent me an email asking for some of the photos for the event. So obviously I sent her the collection of edited photos. She wrote back demanding more. I explained that all the other photos were very similar to the ones I sent her, but from different angles or at slightly different times. She then proceeded to demand all the photos, and when I asked what she specifically wanted them for, she made the effort to call the office to get me on the phone. I was polite, but regardless of my kind tone she went as far as to casually threaten to talk to my boss (the dean of the school) to give me the “green light” to give them to her. She also boasted of her “photography background” so she would “know what she’s looking for.”
Clearly she doesn’t have a photography background. Because every respectable photographer would never ask another photographer to give up their unedited photographs because they would know the golden rule. Now my reputation is on the line. And being new to this position, it’s obvious I would only want my best work out in the public.
Needless to say I’m pissed. Pissed that she went as far as to threaten to talk to my boss. How did she think that would end up? I’m likely to be at other events taking photos and with this experience plaguing our relationship I’m not going to be as eager to produce exceptional work for her. I’m considering going as far as keeping my not-so good photos in a completely different location so no one can ever demand them and strong-hold me into giving them over. If I know people like her are just going to ask to see the photos that end up on the metaphorical cutting room floor I’m going to have to keep my photos under lock and key.
I understand that she was hoping to find something specific in the photographs from the event, but she was incredibly disrespectful in the way she went about interacting with me. This whole experience has only served as a lesson to keep my unedited photographs closer than ever before.