So today I found this:
A photographer had shared a post on his own public Facebook page and then shared it to a group asking for Photoshop feedback. For the sake of the client, I have censored all names.
Whatever he did in Photoshop is not very interesting as it is his approach to the clients that is the problem.
The issue is obviously that this was done without the consent of the couple. As shown here, people were not exactly all too thrilled about this event.
Now, we all do things without thinking about it, it’s perfectly fine to make mistakes, it’s part of what creates our identity and helps to improve us. …But only if you are willing to improve. I’m sure that it wasn’t the photographer’s intention to shame this pregnant woman by displaying her insecurities online, but the problem arises when you refuse to acknowledge your mistake and keep the photo and post up because of pride.
. Let’s take a look at the reaction to the backlash and see if we can reflect a bit over this to avoid becoming the same type of person.
First lesson we can learn:
We’re humans, and humans are fragile in many ways. We break easily, can’t drink a smoothie fast without brain freeze, and our egos are just as fragile. In order to protect this fragile ego, we will create what psychology calls a “Belief System”. It’s basically our brain trying to protect you from stuff it doesn’t want to hear because it will make you sad. Which is really cool, but we also have to be aware of when this happens, and that can be hard as it is really effective as camouflaging itself as common sense when it is anything but.
One of the many safety nets your belief system can throw out below you is “everything is subjective and therefore nothing matters”. This thought is hard to invoke in fields like mathematics because 1 + 1 does indeed undoubtedly give 2, but it’s real easy to invoke that principle in something like art and media because there is no definite answer. The photographer certainly feels that there is no right or wrong answer.
When we look at early movies they seem quite ridiculous and tacky because our guidelines for what “should” and “should not” be in art and media was not very well developed. We were straight out just bad at knowing what to do.
Luckily over time we’ve learned collectively and can now get closer to what “probably” is the right direction to go in.
If you do like our anonymous hero of the day, you are in some way wasting hundreds of years of collective learning by dismissing the general opinion as being “subjective and non-relevant”. And that’s a big shame, considering we’ve spent millions of man hours trying to get closer to an answer.
Second lesson we can learn:
People are nice. This is a problem.
We all got that one crazy client who’s more than happy with letting us know everything that is wrong with everything
*cough cough *
…But the truth is that most people are far too nice to be vocal about their concerns. In the case of our mystery photographer, he’s convinced that it is proof of concept if no complaints have been raised yet.
For me, if a client is quiet after receiving the order it is often times because they wished that something was different but they might not be the type to “stir up trouble”, but I never see those clients again. This is of course an inconvenient situation as you are not sure what they might have wanted to be different, but it’s at least enough for you to take a closer look at your conversation with the client and see if there are any potential discrepancies between demand and final product.
Third lesson we can learn:
Everyone is different
Just because you aren’t the sensitive type doesn’t mean everyone is going to be as cool with things are you. Photographers get hundreds of clients and some of them are definitely going to have vastly different personalities and vastly different values, and it’s part of your job to just respect that. No going around it, no “aww you’ll be fine”, but just straight, unconditional respect for what a person might be hurt by. All it takes is one bad client to have your reputation ruined, especially if you don’t just own up to your mistakes instead of letting your Belief System take control.