So this may come off as a little bit of a vent but I feel like it is something that needs to be said.
I have mentioned before that I work part time as a restaurant photographer. Now I not only get to work some awesome people but I love meeting everyone who comes into the restaurant to dine. Some of my favorites has been a family that they used to work at Kodak and I got to chat about all things film photography, I also got to meet a daughter to a famous photographer during the 70’s, and on the daily I just get to be surrounded by some of the cutest kids around! Like seriously, their smiles and little waves just melt me.
If you’re wondering exactly what I do though, it’s pretty much this. I approach people like you who come in to eat and make some small talk to get to know you and see if I can help make your celebration just a little bit more fun. The restaurant has us there to offer every table a free gift of a postcard with your picture inside. I will take some pictures of you and your family and friends and when you are close to being done with your dining experience, I give you the gift as well as some optional framed pictures for purchase.
Most people are awesome and either buy or politely say no thank you. Either way is fine because no matter what you still get that gift and I just loved making you smile or laugh with those pictures!
What I do get asked a lot is “Can I take a picture of the picture?”
The answer is no.
These days, everyone as their phones so it is super easy to take a picture. This simplicity really has hurt the photography business as everyone starts to get it in their heads that photography is simply clicking a button and nothing more when in reality, there is so much work that goes into an image. Now I’ll be honest, maybe not as much work goes into these restaurant photos as I would a professional session BUT it is still work. I took the time to pose you, get you to relax, click that shutter, quickly process your image, frame it and bring it back to you. It is still work.
The second a picture is printed or displayed, it is merchandise.
We are all taught that we cannot go to a store and walk out with what ever we want right? Taking things from a store without paying is stealing. In the same way taking a picture of a picture is stealing merchandise from a store.
I created a product which you can buy. As a photographer I am selling you a framed image, a digital image, and a visual and tangible product for you to have as a memory of your time with us.
This isn’t just in my specific business either, this goes towards if you are viewing images of your professional session on a computer and you screenshot it. If you are getting Santa or Easter Bunny pictures taken and you try to take a picture of their computer screen. If you are asking someone to edit out a watermark from an image. Any time you are acquiring an image without paying for it, you are stealing and that is disrespectful.
I totally understand sometimes you don’t have the extra money to spend on an image. Trust me I’ve been there, and there’s even times I want to do it myself. BUT I know that if I take a picture of a picture, I am disrespecting that photographer and hurting their business and as one myself, I cannot bring myself to do so.
So please, if you are ever in one of these situations, please do not ask to take a picture of a picture. Don’t try to sneak it when they aren’t looking. If you truly love the image, pay the extra money. It will be an image that you will enjoy looking back on one day and that’s the best part about them.