If you know me you will know one of my sayings is ‘There are no stupid questions” but sometimes people say things that cannot be explained as being anything other than really strange. A couple weeks ago another photographer stopped in and we got discussing some of the strange things that people have said over the years. Seeing that it is so cold outside here are a few laughs to warm you up….
Wedding customer, after trying to get me to drop my price on a package not by a few dollars but by almost 75%. “If you do this for me I will tell all my friends about you and they will come to you”. My response was “if all your friends are as cheap as you are I will be out of business in a week”. As it was they went to every photographer in town trying to get packages from $1000 to $5000 and they only wanted to pay around $200 and every photographer turned them away. As it was I saw them on their wedding day when I was shooting another wedding at Henderson Lake and they had someone with a point and shoot camera taking pictures.
Another wedding customer came up with “If you do my wedding for free people will see that you did my wedding and they will want you to shoot their wedding”. I asked why was he famous and his response was “No but my wife and I are the best looking people in southern Alberta” and he said this in all seriousness!
A nature photographer came in a number of years ago wanting me to do all their printing. He did some nice stuff and I was looking forward to printing it till he came up with “You can do all my printing, more than likely it will be $2000 to $6000 a month to print and frame, I will put the work in various galleries and stores and then when I sell a piece I will pay you for the printing on that piece”. I must have had a weird look on my face as he stopped talking for a second then came out with “All printing companies do this for photographers, it is how business is done”. I started laughing and stood up and told him “You are welcome to leave and find such a company and when you do let me know”. He came back a couple times for me to print pieces that he had sold, probably less than $300 worth of printing and he no longer does photography as according to him “Nobody would give me a break and do my printing and framing for free”.
I had a person call one day to pick my brain and find out things about my pricing and my business. I knew right off that something was up as the questions were really aimed at things that a regular customer would not ask. I had time and I answered the questions but without a lot of information. Then one of the questions was “So where do you do most of your advertising”? After that I knew it was not a customer but another photographer and so I asked who it was? They told me their first name and would not tell me their last name, we talked a while longer then I mentioned that I should go and do some work and the next statement was the best! Without cracking up and sounding really serious he said “So how about this, why don’t you send me some of your clients? That would give you more time to spend with other customers and help us both out” I paused for a moment trying to process what he said so I asked “You mean you want me to send you customers that I cannot help because I am already booked or do you want me to send you my regular customers”? Without pausing he said “Both”. I politely excused myself and hung up the phone shaking my head! As it was I bumped into that photographer a couple years later at an event, I was shooting the event and he was there as an employee of the organization I was shooting for. He came up to me and asked my name and then explained that his business never did get off the ground!!
It is funny what people will ask for and what they expect. Many questions I do not mind but there are some that really confuse me, if you don’t want to do the work, or pay for a service why would anyone else want to do it for you????