I’m sure there are more, but here are 10 things artists hate to hear, especially photographers.
While working in the various art galleries and shows, I have overheard so many commentaries on my artwork and the work of fellow artists.
- “Hey Jimmy, you can take a picture like that”. I have heard this many times while working in the art gallery. Customers walking through the gallery stop to admire my horse photographs. Occasionally one will turn to another and say they can take a picture like that.
Occasionally I will explain everything that went into that particular photograph. First I had to scout out the location and determine the best time of day to be in that spot. In many cases I travel to my photo shoots, so I had to get on a plane and get to that location. If I didn’t get to scout out in advance, I certainly had to hope for perfect weather. The horses had to be groomed and the handlers had to get the horse in the perfect spot. We had to wait and sometimes really wait for the perfect light to create just the look I was going for. Then after I sifted through all the various photos I took in those few seconds of perfect light-I had to bring the photo into Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom and size the photo. Then it’s off to the printer (which I have researched and done color matching profiles) to become a gallery wrap canvas. After that it’s wired, signed, tagged and brought in to the gallery for presentation. So, it’s usually more than just a “lucky” shot that anyone can take at any given time.
2. “This must be a fun hobby”. I just heard this the other day -it was directed to another artist friend. Most of the artists I know are not hobbyists. They have put in years and years honing their craft. They pour their heart and soul and sweat and tears into creating their art. It’s not just something to take up time when they retire.
3. ” Can’t you do better on the price?” or “Can I get a discount?” Ouch, this one really hurts. I know we live in a discount society with Walmarts on every corner. When you ask an artist for a discount- take into consideration all the work as mentioned above that has gone into creating the art. Not to mention the supplies. Another thing to consider is that in most cases you are purchasing artwork from a gallery or art show. All art galleries take a percentage of the sale before the artist is paid. All art shows charge the artist a fee to exhibit, regardless if they sell a single item. If it’s an art show, the artist most likely has traveled to that location, setup their booth, paid for gas and hotel accommodations too.
4. Even worse than a discount, is asking or expecting it for free. I had to laugh at this video spoof of asking other types of businesses to give away their work. Watch this on Youtube.
5. “Wow, you must have a good camera”. A photographer can have the best or worst camera in the world, but the camera does not make the photographer. Again, years of learning about lighting and proper photography techniques have helped a professional photographer to create an outstanding photograph. I don’t have top of the line professional equipment but I do have an eye for capturing that special moment of emotion and action of a horse.
“Complaints can get us from here to there, dissatisfaction to action, action to innovation,” the Wolfsonian writes in its curatorial statement.
6. “What’s your real job?” Many artists aspire to create and creating art is something they are compelled to do. Artists typically love what they do – or at least the creating portion of it. Not necessarily the selling of it. Many artists have indeed taken a non artist job to make ends meet but still weave creative time in their life.
7. ” I have a friend that makes that kind of stuff”. It’s okay to comment that you know another artist that does similar style work, but it can be insulting when you are being compared to a hobbyist.
8. I get this quite a bit. “I just need a quick shot, it won’t take long”. Well, if you just need a quick shot, don’t ask a professional, just take out your iphone and get your quick shot.
9. “Can you just give me all the photos on disk”. No explanation needed here if you’re a photographer. People, we can’t just give it all away.
10. ” I wish I could afford your artwork”. It’s hard not to be sarcastic here. Artists typically have a broad range of pieces to fit anyone’s budget. The consumer has to decide they would rather have a piece of art or a few Starbucks coffees. You just have to decide if art is priority in your life.
I’m sure that these statements are not meant to be insulting to the artist, but next time you’re wandering through a gallery or an art show-be aware of your comments and be respectful of the creativity and design and ingenuity that is before you. An artists skills and pricing structure is subjective, it’s not a one size fits all world when it comes to art.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at Arts Prescott Gallery, AND NOW Sedona’s Village Gallery in Arizona.