I was at Walmart (Kittanning) yesterday afternoon to buy fabric. There was no attendant readily available to cut my fabric for me so the manager asked the clerk minding the photo lab to assist me. She was very helpful and we began chatting. She asked what I was making with the fabric and I explained I was a photographer and was about to attempt to create some newborn blankets and backdrops.
Instead of the usual "oh, how lovely! Newborn photography would be so fun...blah blah blah", the clerk got a scowl on her face and I thought "uh oh, what's up with this lady?"
And so it went....
"I mostly work in the photo lab. We get all kinds of requests to print photos. But, say, in the past couple of years, we have a large amount of customers asking us to print other people's work. I can tell that some images are cell phone pictures of an image on Facebook. They literally snapped a picture of their computer screen. Others have come in with a USB full of a local photographer's images without a print release. They want every image printed. I asked one customer if he really took the picture of the bear and he replied 'maybe'. But I knew it was an AP image. I had seen it on the news. Recently, a customer wanted me to print a screen shot of her photographer's website that contained her images that she could buy online. I saw the little shopping cart icon off to the side of the screenshot and the transparent copyright logo on each image. I turn all these customers away. I know how hard you photographers work. These people want to get your images for free. And there may be times they get away with it. I just wanted to let someone know. I am glad you mentioned that you are a photographer."
And there you have it. Until we, as photographers, educate our clients about color/monitor calibration, the importance of color space, the quality of paper, and the purpose of a professionally trained photographer, I am afraid we will lose respect and admiration from our communities. It is up to us to diligently provide a quality service that offers professional prints that will withstand the test of time and look fantastic displayed in a frame.
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