Casually suggest we get a job at National Geographic.
The photographers who work for National Geographic have the best gig in the game, and they did not get it by casually dropping off a resume on Chris Johns’ desk. Most of them have been shooting for longer than I’ve been alive and they’ve got more connections than London Heathrow.
It’s not like these men and women are good. It’s like they are scary good. Sold your soul to the devil to take the world’s best pictures good. Suggesting that a photographer get a job at National Geographic is like asking a casual baseball fan why he isn’t playing for the Yankees.
Offer an opportunity to publish our photos but provide no payment, on the grounds that the exposure will be great for our career.
Exposure? If you don’t pay me the only exposure I’m going to care about is my body’s exposure to the elements from not being able to afford a place to live. This is a job. An awesome job, but still a job.
What it all boils down to is an understanding that being a photographer is not just about taking pictures. Understand that it takes hours, energy, and money to create images. If you’re respectful of that, you’ll probably not have to worry too much about being the victim of the best paid photographers out there: the ones with incriminating photos!
Tell us, “You have some great pictures, your camera must be really good.”
Have you ever stared at a beautiful painting and thought, “I wonder what type of paintbrush the artist used?” You would never assume the composition of the painting or the uniqueness of the subject was a product of a paintbrush. So don’t do that to photographers. A good photographer with a bad camera will always take better pictures than a bad photographer with a good camera.
This also applies to how you should spend your money on photo gear. Don’t go buy a camera for $8,000 when it won’t help you take better pictures than a camera that cost $2,000.