Archivi categoria: lessons

4 Lessons for Photographers from the Story of Desiree Genera

On Wednesday night, a developing story kept popping up on my feed featuring Katrina Ortiz (a photo client) and Desiree Genera (a photographer). Initially, Katrina posted positive feedback regarding her hired photographer after receiving an edited image in digital format.

Like most clients excited about their most recent professional photography session, she made it her profile picture and couldn’t wait to see the rest.

Desiree had posted on Facebook that the rest of Katrina’s maternity session would be complete and available for viewing on Tuesday (3/14/17), 2 weeks ahead of the photographer’s initially-stated timeline.

At 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Katrina checked in via Facebook messenger to see if her photos were complete.

Clearly, from the exchange, Desiree was not happy to be interrupted while trying to do the editing. For her, this meant Katrina would now have to wait the full 4 week turnaround time instead of receiving them 2 weeks early.

Despite this news, Katrina politely backed off and apologized for the interruption. Katrina thought it was over until just a short while later she noticed she was a topic of discussion on Desiree’s personal Facebook page.

Desiree was openly discussing the altercation with her audience and even went live on Facebook, expressing her annoyance with the interruption. In these live videos, Desiree described the need to fix her client’s wig, stretch marks, fat, cellulite, etc. You can view the videos below (warning: there is plenty of foul language):

After seeing this happen right on her own news feed, Katrina’s opinion of the quality of service offered by Desiree changed. She began recording the live videos and sharing them on her page, as well as explaining to her friends what took place.

The story then quickly spread across Facebook. Some people expressed sympathy and suggestions to Katrina given the rudeness she had to endure, others began attacking Desiree’s photography business.

Desiree seemed to welcome the traffic, spending the day uploading new videos, as well as sharing old ones related to her business. Perhaps she was holding on to the adage, “all press is good press” because, despite the incoming negativity, her videos and posts were racking up views and interactions.

She went as far as to suggest that she would soon be “cashing in” on all the viral attention.

Katrina then requested on her Facebook for those following the story to report the images on Desiree’s page to get them taken down.

Many went a step further, leaving nasty messages, comments, and negative reviews on her brand’s marketing accounts. Others were tagging local and national news outlets in an attempt to bring an even bigger spotlight on the story.

Now, I didn’t bring this story up to tell you that it’s not a good idea to conduct business in this manner — if you were considering doing so there probably isn’t much hope for your business’s future. However, I found so many things in this story that have huge implications on our industry.

#1. Mixing Business and Personal Life is Dangerous

Whether you are deciding to go live on Facebook, or determining if you need 2 separate Instagram accounts for the various aspects of your life, it’s always worth considering your audience.

Most importantly, who you choose to discuss the quirky and infuriating intimacies of our industry with can always come back to bite you in the butt. This is most dangerous on social media, where…

#2. More than Just Your Friends are Watching

Curated feeds are designed to promote posts that get the most interaction. All of Katrina’s phone videos on this altercation now have tens of thousands of views. Even Desiree’s videos completely unrelated to the exchange have had a dramatic increase in traffic.

If it’s interesting enough, your message (positive or negative) can quickly spread around the world. Despite the fact that all the live videos Desiree shared are now deleted, along with many of the associated posts, screenshots and other people’s recordings live on. Remember, every time you post you are starting a fire that you may not be able to put out.

#3. Beware the Tribe Mentality

Katrina has every right to leave a negative review if she is dissatisfied with the photography service she paid for. Like all of us, Desiree has to accept the possibility of negative feedback with every image she delivers. This is all part of a single transaction.

However, as soon as the story spread the tribe mentality took over. When people are acting as part of a large group, they are far more likely to exhibit hatred. One commentor even offered to push this story to her Facebook group of over 20,000 mothers to help punish Desiree’s business.

While I find Desiree’s response and videos unprofessional, I do not think she should be at the mercy of a massive group that was uninvolved in the transaction.

At the same time, her continued defiance and traffic-relishing tells me she’s not very upset by the negative attention. After all, our society has been known to catapult people to fame simply by hating them enough. How bout dah?

#4. What’s Obvious, Isn’t.

In this instance, Katrina felt she had every right to stop Desiree from using the images to promote her work. Some commenting even suggested that “if you already paid for these (photos), they don’t belong to her anymore”.

While the photographer here may have made some questionable decisions, she does still retain the right to the images she captured.

When our entire day-to-day is based around a specific industry, we tend to assume that the standards of our industry are glowingly apparent to the public. Back when I waited tables at Chili’s, I scoffed when a guest was unaware that the salad garnish in the Quesadilla Explosion Salad had onions in it. Those guests were not chefs.

Your clients are not professional photographers. It is our job to educate clients on all aspects of the photography service, as well as outline it within contracts. Failure to do so leads to incorrect assumptions by those hiring us, as well as the general public.


It’s never a good idea to go off on the struggles of our industry on a social media platform, regardless of how infuriated you are. Be wise to any message that you put out to the world, even if you think just your friends are listening. Educate your clients on the specifics of both the industry as well as your brand.

As photographers, we are trusted with people’s memories, personalities, and passions. We also carry the weight of their imperfections. It’s best to treat them all delicately.

About the author: Robert Hall is a wedding, portrait, and commercial photographer based in Michigan. You can find more of his work on his website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

10 Things I Learned at Fashion Week 2017

Every Fashion Week I learn something new. This is my tenth or so New York Fashion Week by now and I’m still forgetting memory cards, wandering aimlessly trying to find the backstage entrance at Skylight Clarkson, getting kicked out of areas and wondering why Dropbox doesn’t sync faster on Starbucks WiFi.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally written for Adorama Learning Center.

My kit this NYFW included my Nikon D800, 16-35mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 24-70mm f/2.8, and 70-300mm f/4-5.6G Nikkor lenses, Nikon SB-910 Flash and multiple trips to CVS for AA batteries. I rented a Sony a7R II with 85mm f/1.4 from Adorama, which I loved so much I shed a little tear when I returned it today.

As a photographer, you are always learning and this fashion week was my biggest learning experience to date.

1. Having more than one camera makes a difference.

This was actually the first fashion week I used more than one camera body. I don’t like to feel overwhelmed by gear and gadgets so I like to keep it simple. I added the extremely lightweight Sony a7R II with 85mm/1.4 to my kit. My 24-70mm on my Nikon is great for runway and first looks, but doesn’t compare to the beauty that is the 1.4. I elevated my beauty work alone with the Sony, a personal goal of mine during NYFW.

2. Some things aren’t worth biting your nails over.

This was actually something another photographer said to me while I was backstage waiting for first looks at Jason Wu chewing on my hot pink nails.

Fifteen plus photographers were crammed in a hallway at the St. Regis Hotel waiting for models to bolt down the hallway in gowns and stilettos. I’m disappointed with the lighting in the hallway and my inability to move around. My back is pushed up against the wall leaving only 3 feet away from the models when they line up. My nerves kicked in and I started biting my newly manicured nails.

She [the photographer] was right. It wasn’t worth stressing over. I couldn’t change the situation. I just would have to make it work. Make a beautiful shot out of a difficult situation. But isn’t that what fashion week is all about?

3. Celebrities are people too.

I know, shocker! Prabal Gurung’s show emphasized femininity with a finale that left viewers speechless.

Bella Hadid led the pack down the runway to a cover of “Imagine” by the John Lennon in a white tee with the text “The Future Is Female.” Matching black and white tees with other sayings quickly followed. I watched Sarah Jessica Parker hug Prabal Gurung post show. They both turned their backs to the cameras as they shed tears.

SJP posed for a couple shots after wiping away tears. She turns to the photographers and says, “He’s all yours gentlemen.” The pauses and turns to me and says “and ladies.”

4. Welcome to “Photographer Humiliation Month.”

We often get told we have access to one thing and then it changes or that we only get 15 min backstage and nothing more. Pushed and shoved in tight quarters all day to get THE shot.

I learned, however, that photographers have each other’s back during fashion week. We might all be kicking each other out of the way to get the photo, but when push comes to shove [literally] I can count on the backstage vets to have my back.

5. Don’t shoot just to shoot.

I use to photograph everything backstage. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you need to shoot it.

6. Eat the catering.

I always forget this one. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but when no one is looking I sneak some of the leftover snacks and drinks into my bag on my way out the door. Essential fuel for editing. (Coach had insane chocolate chip cookies with salt on top and Thakoon had cute Rosé in a can).

7. Take on personal projects.

Just because your editor doesn’t want you to shoot runway, doesn’t mean you can’t. This fashion week I made GIFS for clients. I always have fun making them because they showcase my images in a new way and break up my coverage by adding movement.

8. If you see Anna Wintour, immediately click the shutter.

I try to shoot and not think during this one because the more I over think it the more I panic she will say something to me. So I shoot then run.

9. If you can’t find moments, make them!

Ask models to twirl, hold up the bag, and make a silly face. Talking with the models and getting to know them will help you know their personality and as a result know how to direct them in images to get the photos you want.

10. Have a little faith.

I have always been a half glass empty kind of girl. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me always striving to do better.

Three days or so into NYFW, I was over it. Ready to quit. I hated the photos I was taking. They felt repetitive and old. I was striving for something fresh. Even though I was getting lots of “likes” and “regrams,” I wasn’t happy. I was trying to stay away from the “chaos” and makeup/backstage photos I tend to crutch on.

It wasn’t until Proenza Schouler’s show that I felt like I was producing the work I wanted. Black cords lined the dingy floor of Skylight Clarkson with brick white walls. My face lit up instantly. Sometimes I need to remind myself that not every show will be amazing. I won’t love everything I shoot. But if I leave fashion week with at least five great photos I am proud of, then I’m golden.

About the author: Alyssa Greenberg is a New York and Boston-based fashion photographer. To see more of her work, head over to her website or give her a follow on Instagram. This article also appeared here.

7 Lessons Learnt from Photography by Photographer Jimmy Nelson

Photographer Jimmy Nelson has spent over 3 decades traveling around the world and taking photos of people and places. He’s best known for his portraits of the disappearing tribes of the world. In the 6.5-minute video above (note: there’s a bit of nudity), Nelson shares 7 lessons he has learned from his years of photography.

Here are a few photos showing Nelson in action:




And here’s a selection of Nelson’s incredible photographs:








We previously featured a TED Talk by Nelson and a larger selection of his photos in 2015. You can find more of his work on his website.

Image credits: Video by COOPH. All photos © Jimmy Nelson and used with permission.

The Top 8 Pitfalls of Shooting Weddings and How You Can Avoid Them

Here’s an 8.5-minute video in which wedding photographer Susan Stripling shares her top 8 pitfalls of shooting weddings, and tips that can help photographers overcome them.

In case you’d like to jump around, here’s an index of the 8 tips and the time at which you can find them in the video:

1. Not managing expectations (0:55)
2. Finding out who’s in charge (2:00)
3. Schedule changes (2:49)
4. Running late (3:50)
5. Broken gear (5:05)
6. Not having a system (6:12)
7. Awkward situations (6:57)
8. Not having the skills (7:40)

You can check out Stripling’s wedding photos on her website and her writing on her blog.