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Home » CHFWeb Forum » TitusTwo » Awkward situation
Awkward situation [message #819370] Mon, 16 January 2017 22:09 Go to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
I'm needing some advice on how to handle a situation. My best friend's husband is a photographer. He does it part-time on the side and he has done photos for my family for several years. He used my kids as subjects when he was teaching himself how to take pictures. At that point he did it for free, but he now charges us (which I understand).

However, he has sort of plateaued where his skills are concerned. I see other people's family photos on FB and I am a little jealous. None of our photos are that good. This is compounded by the fact that he always seems a little rushed and distracted during shoots. I'm not sure if it is just us or everyone. My sister only had about two usable photos of her girls from their last session. I was there during the first 15 minutes of the shoot (to do my sister's make-up) and he had as many pictures of my kids just hanging out as he did of her girls who were actually part of the shoot. The pictures that he did get had cars in the background and shadows across their faces. I ended up having to touch them up.

I would like to get some family pictures done this spring. But, I honestly don't see the point if he were to do them. I think I could do almost as good of a job myself for free. I would love to hire another photographer to get some really amazing pictures.

However, I really don't want to hurt him or my friend. She is like a sister to me and we love him like a brother-in-law. Plus, I know they need the money. I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I don't want to hurt them, but I'm unhappy with the photos he does. I really don't know how to handle this situation. Should I just not get photos? Can you please give me some advice?


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: Awkward situation [message #819372 is a reply to message #819370 ] Tue, 17 January 2017 08:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tracy in Peru  is currently offline Tracy in Peru
Messages: 7973
Registered: April 2005
Location: Trujillo, Peru
Senior Member
I would show some examples of what you are looking for and maybe why you were unhappy with the last ones. The only way through this gracefully is with some loving, constructive criticism.

And when you schedule the time, say *you* don't want to feel rushed and that with the littlest guy (Jack?) you need the photographer to be relaxed too, so no one picks up on any stress.

You are right...tough situation.


In Him--Tracy
Re: Awkward situation [message #819373 is a reply to message #819370 ] Tue, 17 January 2017 08:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barbara K (NC)
Messages: 1864
Registered: April 2005
Location: North Carolina
Senior Member
Stacy (sp?), I'm a photographer and I have some very specific thoughts for you and very specific things you can talk to your friend about. Right now I'm rushing to get out the door and won't be home or able to be on the computer until much later tonight but I would love to brainstorm with you on this.


Barbara K (NC)

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8


Re: Awkward situation [message #819442 is a reply to message #819370 ] Thu, 26 January 2017 11:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
I'm bumping this back up.


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: Awkward situation [message #819445 is a reply to message #819370 ] Thu, 26 January 2017 13:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Glad you bumped. I forgot about this, as I was waiting on Barbara's words of wisdom. I'll go ahead with my thoughts, however.

First, I think simply not getting photographs of your family is not a good decision.That is giving this man far too much control of your life. So there's that.

Second, if you don't want to deal with the situation, it's fine to just go to another photographer without saying a word to the man. However, since this is your best friend's husband, and you're likely to see him, or he may be in your home to see that you have family photos that he did not take, you may find that far more awkward than talking to him before the fact.

Which, IMHO, leaves you with the hardest, but kindest, option. I think you should talk to him. Tell him gently what you've told us here. "Bob, you know, we've been having family portraits with you for several years now as you've grown in your business. In the beginning, you did our shoots for free so that you could develop your skills. As you reached a true professional level of skill, we began paying you for your efforts, as is right and fair. However, at this point, I've seen some things with other photographers that have inspired me to try some new ideas with our family. I'm wondering if we can talk about whether we can achieve what I'm looking for or not. Would you be willing to sit down with me and look at some photos to see if it's something you could achieve? I'm also hoping that we can schedule a time and place where it's easy for us all to focus on the shoot, because little Johnny struggles to stay focused when you are distracted."

Something along those lines is not terribly critical or hurtful, and leaves it open for discussion of what you like and what you don't...and also gives him the opportunity to make an effort to up his skill level. If he really doesn't want to discuss things or feels a proprietary artistic view of his own current photography style, then you are free to say, "I understand how you'd want to keep your own style, but for now, we're going to look elsewhere because our family is looking for something a little different this year."

I know I personally hate those conversations, but honestly, if done with grace, it will be easier in the long run for you both.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Awkward situation [message #819450 is a reply to message #819445 ] Fri, 27 January 2017 00:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barbara K (NC)
Messages: 1864
Registered: April 2005
Location: North Carolina
Senior Member
Argh. I knew I was forgetting something.

Lisa has great things to say.

I want to address your inclination to just not say anything. If this guy is trying to do this professionally, it is MOST kind if you can give him honest feedback. Like Lisa suggested, you could share some examples by other photographers that you like. If you see a particular style that really captures your imagination, show him that. Most photographers develop their own style, but if they even have mediocre skills, they can probably copy the style of another photographer if that's what you want.

Photographers need feedback. It's a kindness to give that feedback. It's a greater kindness to give it gently and sensitively. BUT GIVE THE FEEDBACK.

I also would suggest looking over your previous photos (since you indicated that you're a little disappointed with them and a little jealous of other photos that you see) and see if you can determine what it is about them that you're dissatisfied with. If you want email a photo of a couple of them, I might be able to help you identify what you're not happy with. Sometimes it can be posing; sometimes skin tones are off; sometimes a photo ends up looking flat; sometimes not all the people in the photo are actually looking at the camera. Sometimes the setting is meh. Most of those things can be easily changed with some intentional effort of the part of the photographer. If you can give your photographer specific things you'd like to see improved, he might be able to meet your expectations.

Let me know if you'd like to send me an example or two of pics that you aren't really happy with. I'll give you my email address if you want it.


Barbara K (NC)

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8


Re: Awkward situation [message #819452 is a reply to message #819370 ] Fri, 27 January 2017 10:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
Thanks, ladies! I really hate this kind of thing! I will try and talk with him. I'm going to try to plan a spring session, so I'll have a few months. Barbara, I would love if you could look at a couple pictures.


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: Awkward situation [message #819457 is a reply to message #819452 ] Fri, 27 January 2017 23:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barbara K (NC)
Messages: 1864
Registered: April 2005
Location: North Carolina
Senior Member
Okay, Stacey, send them to me at bkATkelleyboysDOTcom. (of course you need to replace the words with the symbols in the email address....this is just to prevent spiders to grabbing my email address as they crawl the pages.)


Barbara K (NC)

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8


Re: Awkward situation [message #819505 is a reply to message #819370 ] Mon, 06 February 2017 18:23 Go to previous message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
Barbara, I was able to email you some examples. Please let me know if you have any trouble seeing the photos. Thanks, again!


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
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