Pet Peeves of the Photographer


Amy Forbes Winebright is a good friend of mine from college.  Actually, both she and her husband Matt are both my friends from college.  Isn’t that fun?  They now live in Austin where she’s an amazing mom AND a talented photographer.  Her company is called Photobrights and her photography is fantastic. In today’s post, Amy is going to share with us what her top “pet peevees” are as a photographer. (Don’t worry – really, they’re just tips on how to get the best photos taken.)

Pet Peeves of the Photographer

Maybe pet peeves is too strong of a phrase, but I thought I would let you in on a few things your photographer would rather you not do.  Even if you are guilty of one of these or all of these, don’t worry, the good photographers can always work around challenges in their elements.  And, actually, in my opinion, its sometimes these challenges that make the job more fun.  More, um, challenging!


How many of you have booked a photo session, then immediately asked, “What should I wear?”  It’s probably the number one asked question I receive.  I don’t mind answering it, that’s not it.  It’s when I answer it and the family shows up dressed in exactly what I did not recommend.  Sometimes its just too hard for people to stray from the all white shirt / blue jean matching outfits.  That’s fine, they are their pictures anyways.  My preference, however, would be to see coordinated outfits, not matchy-matchy.  My philosophy is that your family doesn’t walk around everyday in perfectly matched outfits, so why should your portraits convey something that isn’t true to self.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying you should rush out to the nearest department store and break the bank on new clothes.  But remember why you booked this portrait session in the first place.  My guess would be to preserve this time and these memories of your family.  So let your kids wear their favorite shirts, just coordinate with them.  So what exactly does that mean?  It means choosing two to three colors throughout everyone’s outfits with maybe one splash color that shows up in the baby’s shoes or the little girl’s hair ribbon.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so check out what I mean by these examples of great coordinated outfits below.

Winebright Photo 2


Scornful Scowls

It never fails.  I get that great, natural smile or laugh from the little one and in that one particular image, the parents have scornful scowls.  What are scornful scowls? It’s that disapproving look parents give their children during a photo session that says, “Remember, if you listen to Ms. Amy, you get a special treat.” or “I told you to behave or ELSE.”  It’s not the sweet look of adoring love toward their kiddos, it’s the rather unflattering disapproving frown.  I tell my clients every time, don’t worry about the little ones (or the dog in some cases), you just keep smiling, I will take care of the little ones.  I’m a mom, I get it, it’s hard not to keep an eye on the kids making sure they are listening to the photographer.  But getting the kids attention, making them smile (naturally) and making them laugh (genuinely) is my job. Actually it’s one of my favorite parts of the job.  And believe me, I put forth quite an effort (i.e. make a fool of myself) to get those smiles and laughs.  So parents, don’t ruin my shot and look at your kids with the scornful scowl.  Just smile and relax.  I don’t want to have to switch your head from another image!  But I will.

Plugged In Events

You know who you are.  You hold up your phone above the seated guests to grab a picture of the wedding kiss.  Sometimes you even stand up to get your shot, on your phone.  You know why they are seated guests?  So that the hired professional photographer or videographer can get a clear shot of the special moments, not to mention for the other seated guests to enjoy the moment, free from obstruction.  I understand, nowadays, everyone wants their own shot of the special event so they can be the first to post to the photo sharing app of choice.  I get that, believe me.  I just photographed a wedding recently where the bride and groom both had two teenagers of their own they were bringing to the new marriage.  Between those kids and all their friends, I was managing a technological obstacle course all night to get my clear shots.  The thing is, we photographers/videographers extend a great effort to go unnoticed during the ceremony, to NOT interrupt the event.

So it cracks me up when someone just stands up during a ceremony to take a picture with sound on and everything.  Apparently, now it’s not just the photographer or videographer that are fed up with the tech interruptions, but the bride and groom are fed up too.  You know, the ones paying the bills for the professional help.

They are tired of getting their images back, only to see Uncle Stan’s iPad in half the image.  So now, the new thing is for brides and grooms to request unplugged weddings.  They are actually putting the request in the invitation itself.  So let’s be respectful, let the professionals do what they are hired to do and you, as a guest, sit back and enjoy the special moment.  Don’t worry, we’ll get the shot.  Just like in the image below.

Winebright Photo 3