It’s funny how that once you buy a camera and people start find out that you’re into photography you find yourself being invited to parties or weddings and being asked to bring your camera. Now because you have a camera you’ve become the official unofficial photographer for everyone’s grandparent’s anniversary party or kid’s birthday party. In reality being that type of photographer was what you never intended to be and because of that your should be the the photographer you want to be.
Just because you enjoy photography doesn’t mean you want to be bringing your camera to every party or social gathering. And especially if you’re not being paid to shoot. Do you invite Tim, the local tax guy, over and tell him to bring his latest version of tax software so he can do everyone’s taxes and little Billy’s party? Of course not, so why is that people feel the need to ask every photographer to bring their camera and shoot for free?
Honestly it comes down to two things. One, people are trying to take advantage of us and our enjoyment of photography; on purpose or not and two see number one.
Maybe your bought your camera to photograph hummingbirds or to shoot landscapes. That doesn’t mean you now enjoy shooting a kid’s first birthday party. And if you do, good for you, but there are plenty of people who do not. They secretly resent being asked to bring their camera to a wedding to get some shots because the bride is too cheap to pay for a wedding photographer. And mind you, you got invited as a guest and not paid for as the main photographer. Again did she ask Tim to bring his Quickbooks software?
Be the photographer you want to be. I’m primarily a sports photographer and wedding photographer who thoroughly enjoys landscape photography. That is who I am and I know this; however, this doesn’t stop people for asking me to shoot baby showers or birthdays. ( times out of 10 my answer is no because that is not who I am or what I do; especially if it’s for free.
Do I make exceptions? For some people yes, but I have no joy in taking any of those types of photos. More often that not I’m just counting down the minutes until I’m done. It’s not enjoyable for me and we as photographers should not be guilted into taking photos that don’t interest us just because we have a camera. Photographing those type of events makes photography feel like a job to me and it makes me not shooting events like that at all.
Moral of the post is to shoot what makes you happy. If Tim can’t bring his tax software then you don’t have to bring your camera. Do what makes you happy and not what is convenient for others.