Five worst pieces of advice you’ll get as a photographer

Sep 7, 2021

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Five worst pieces of advice you’ll get as a photographer

Sep 7, 2021

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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As a photographer, you’ll hear tons of advice on how to do your craft. They all come from a good place, but to be honest – not all of them are useful. In this video, Andrew Boey of Beyond Photography gives you five pieces of advice that he thinks are the worst. Would you agree with him?

1. Buy expensive lenses

There are no universal lenses for all purposes and genres. Some models will be cheaper, some more expensive, but the high price doesn’t mean a lens is perfect for your needs. So, buy the lenses that suit your genre. Also, buy vintage lenses: many of them are cheap, yet high-quality.

2. Use only prime lenses

Prime lenses are generally considered sharper and higher-quality than zoom lenses. And sure, you should use primes, but not only them. If you shoot in fast-paced situations like weddings or events, you’ll often have no time to change lenses. And we can all agree that it’s better to have photos or footage that aren’t perfect, than not to have them at all. So, use a zoom lenses in cases like this, and don’t worry, the shots will still be good enough if you know what you’re doing.

3. Upgrade often

You should upgrade your gear, but how often is too often? You shouldn’t just upgrade for an upgrade’s sake. Andrew suggests working with other photographers and learn from them, see what gear they use and what their workflow is like. And then, buy a new piece of gear only if it will make your workflow faster, easier, and more efficient.

Another way of determining whether you should upgrade is the return of investment (ROI). If a new piece of gear will help you earn more and it will pay itself off in a time frame that works for you, it’s also a good idea to upgrade

Finally, it probably goes without saying that you should definitely upgrade if an old piece of gear breaks after a few years of use.

4. Don’t return the deposit

As far as collecting deposit goes, many people feel ashamed to ask for money upfront. But it’s definitely something you should do if a client books you and your time. The amount of deposit can vary, from 20% all the way up to 70%. But in any case, its main purpose is to ensure you get some money even if the client cancels the shoot.

Now, some folks will advise you not to return the deposit if the client cancels the shoot on short notice. If there’s no pre-production (meaning that you haven’t started your work before the cancelation), Andrew considers that you can’t get away with keeping the full deposit.

On the other hand, if there’s any preparatory work, make sure that you notify your client that you’ve started working and what you’ve done. This way, you have yourself covered in case you need to refund a part of the deposit.

5. Just shoot good photos

This is actually what most people think is enough for being a good photographer. However, it’s far from the truth and we’ve discussed it already. If you want to make a career in photography, it’s not enough to just be a good photographer. You also need to know how to run a business and be kind and fair to your clients and co-workers.

Now it’s your turn. What was the worst piece of advice you got as a photographer or from other photographers? Let us know in the comments.

[TOP Bad Advices from Photographers | Beyond Photography]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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4 responses to “Five worst pieces of advice you’ll get as a photographer”

  1. Kay O. Sweaver Avatar
    Kay O. Sweaver

    What’s the point of a deposit if you’re just going to return it? That makes no sense, even if your prepatory work is minimal you’ve still booked off time when you could have booked another client or planned a vacation or whatever. I definitely keep deposits if I’ve blocked off my schedule for someone and they decide to cancel at the last minute. Once in a blue moon if it’s a normally good client or a really good excuse I’ll let it go, but not often.

    1. Inna Avatar
      Inna

      Agreed. In the finance world, it’s called “paying for the option.” Holding someone’s time, even if you don’t intend to use it, has a monetary value that can be sold (and is, in certain industries). Ideally the contract you signed with the client clearly outlines when the deposit becomes non-refundable, like 30 days out from the shoot date. If it’s a client I am fond of, then I will sometimes skirt the contract to their benefit as well. But hopefully the question of “is the deposit refundable?” is answered in the contract you have your client sign.

  2. Don Smith Avatar
    Don Smith

    There is something to be said for expensive lenses, they usually are really good. However some inexpensive lenses are really good too, especially when you buy them used.

    As for only using prime lenses, that sounds nice, and because they are usually really sharp, and a good idea on the surface. However, sometimes you cannot get the shot you want with a prime, it is just not practical.

    I do see on here some members getting new camera bodies very often, once every couple of years. I am mentally ready for a camera body upgrade right now. My Canon 760D(Rebel T6s) is from 2015 technology, but prior to that I had a 450D(Rebel XSi) that was 2008. I will go mirrorless on my next upgrade whenever my wife says I can :)

    Since I am not a professional I do not get deposits, but as a person that had dealt with customers in a both a sales and support capacity I can suggest what is “right”. I agree with the author that if no work has been done, then return the deposit. If you did some, calculate on an hourly basis how much work was done and deduct that from the deposit refund.

    The last one is just moronic advice. If we could only shoot good photos why would we not do that all the time? The advice to only show your good photos is wise, it shows what you can do and not how all photos turn out.

  3. siras Avatar
    siras

    I never take a “deposit”, I take a non-refundable “booking fee”. This keeps life simple and everyone knows where they stand – that said, if I manage to get another assignment (to replace the cancelled one) then I will consider refunding the booking fee if I haven’t lost out financially.