What To Do When You Don't Get Along With Your Photographer

Every now and then I love sneaking in these little "blogging tips" post. While I'll admit, sometimes I write them because they're the advice that I need to hear, but most often, it's because when I was first starting out, these are the things that I wish people told me.  Nobody tells you how much you should pay your photographers, or how you should pack your clothes for a shoot (which I will definitely tackle all these topics and more at a later date).  But one thing I want to talk to you about today, that nobody will ever tell you, is what do to when you don't get along with your photographer.  

Before I get into this, I just want to specify that this post is not meant to call anybody out, nor is it meant to bash anyone. The photographer who shot these photos was young and truly lovely as a person, we just didn't work particularly well together.  

But anyway, let's jump into it. 

Unless you have a husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/best friend who takes your photos, chances are, you'll end up experimenting with a ton of different photographers until you find one that you absolutely love.  And, chances are, you'll encounter some photographers who you just don't like working with.  Whether it's their shooting style or their personality, you'll come across people who you just don't vibe with, and that's totally okay

The first thing I recommend doing is to just get through the shoot. Push through. You made the commitment, and it's your job to see it through, especially if it's a collaboration.  If you're paying, that's another story, and as long as you cancel 24 hours in advance, then that's fine. But if it's a collaboration, it's really, really not good to cancel. Why? Because it screws over the photographer, who could have used that time to work with a paid client, rather than you. Sorry, but it's true.  

Be polite and courteous, and see out the shoot until the end. Whether that's a half-hour or an hour, just tough it out. Remember that after that session, you don't have to work with them ever again if you don't want to. Don't give your photographer attitude (unless they're giving you attitude, then by all means, clap back), just remain professional and try your hardest to work with them.  I know this advice may seem dumb, but trust me when I say that it's extremely important.  The worst thing you could do is be unprofessional and have that photographer blackball you. I've seen it happen before, and the smaller the city you live in is, the faster word travels, and the more likely it is that everyone talks to each other.  In the San Francisco / Oakland community, which is rather large, practically everyone knows each other and does just this. I've seen so many models, bloggers, and photographers alike get blackballed, and their careers go down the drain.

The next thing to do, which sounds really shitty, is to just not talk to them. After you receive the photos, say "thank you", wish them well, and don't talk to them. Now, this doesn't mean don't acknowledge them at all- if you post their photo, by all means, please still tag them. But if they ask you to shoot again, just don't respond.  Now normally I'm not an advocate for ghosting (I truly despise it), but in this instance, it's better than getting into an argument with the photographer. A lot of people in creative industries can get really defensive about their work, and calling them out, no matter how nicely you do it, can lead to trouble. So word of advice: if they try to talk to you, just don't respond. 

And finally, if you aren't getting along with your photographer to the point where the quality of the work is getting sacrificed, then just leave. Tell them, "look, maybe it's just best if we wrap things up early." If your photographer is being a dick, or being abusive in any way (verbally, mentally, physically) then please just leave. Ultimately you need to trust your instinct, and if you're getting bad vibes from someone or a certain situation, you have every right to pull yourself out of it. I know this may seem contradictory to the first thing I said, but if the situation is dire enough, just be an adult and remove yourself from it. Sure, you may get a little backlash, but if the costs of staying greatly outweigh the benefits, then you have every right to just pick up and leave.  

While photoshoots can, and generally are, extremely fun, it's important to remember that not everything goes swimmingly all the time. I hope this post helps you next time you find yourself in a situation with a photographer you're not getting along with. Or, if you're a photographer, these can most certainly apply if you're working with a blogger you don't get along with.  Everyone is different and not everyone vibes, and that's just okay and a part of life. The important thing is to learn, grow, and ultimately try to leave people, no matter how much you don't like them, better than when you found them.  


Photography by: Randall Gee

Location: Union Square, San Francisco, CA

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