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Ok, so as I do on a regular basis, I was surfing the ads at newyork.craigslist.org last night. I came across THIS Ad.

I had no intention of bidding on this job, but it struck me as a bit rude, I guess. The way it reads, I'm envisioning "Mom" (who knows a little about photography, but wants a pro) wanting some portraits of her kids dressed up in the living room... So I'm not sure why I bothered, but I sent this email thinking I might be helpful...





Hi,

Just a thought about your craigslist ad...

You might consider rewording it a bit. You've established right off that you need someone with experience - why not let them decide what the best method of lighting a scene is? An experienced photographer probably won't need 2 hours either, so dictating that's how long it should take is a bit "bossy" sounding.

My suggestion is to look at portfolios, then ask questions - Have you lit this sort of scene before? Experience with kids? How long do you think it will take? Etc. I'd let the photog. decide what the best tools for the job are. Besides, you can always negotiate upfront something like paying a deposit, then full payment upon reciept of satisfactory photos. You both win that way!

Just thought you'd care for some feedback, and sorry if this is unwelcome.



Granted, email doesn't allow for tone or inflection, but I really don't think this reads as being obnoxious - or does it?
Here's what I got in reply:

I know what I am talking about when it comes to this
shoot. I am an art director and I am looking for
something specific. The room in question gets very
little light and because it's 30x60', an on camera
flash won't give you the right type of light. Lastly,
I know the shoot will take about two hours because it
involves several costume changes and a few set
changes. I am only telling you this because in the
media industry if you are looking for work on Craig‚s
list, you haven‚t earned the right to be arrogant with
people. I can only imagine what you might be like to
work with in person. Good luck in your endeavors.



Needless to say, I'm more than a bit annoyed by this. I wasn't about to be told that I must be horrible to work with:

No need to get defensive. I was simply offering a suggestion or two.

Being an art director doesn't mean you know better than the photographer. Are you going to tell him what brand of camera to shoot as well?
No experienced photographer is going to shoot with just the flash on thier hotshoe anyway - you'd be better off describing the room size and conditions. Any good photographer would show up with MORE than what they need in order to allow for any possibilities.

"Looking for an experienced portrait photographer to shoot 2 small children ( ages 2-3)"
What you described in your reply - 2 hours, several costume and set changes, etc is not what most people are going to think when they read this. You're bound to get mostly replies from people who've never even seen a setup like you're describing, nevermind lit one.

" I am only telling you this because in the
media industry if you are looking for work on Craig‚s
list, you haven‚t earned the right to be arrogant with
people."
Wow. Who's being arrogant here? Not me!
There are two HUGE things wrong with this statement - One is that you've decided that if you're looking for work on Craigslist, you're new/dumb/inexperienced/or whatever... You're making huge assumptions about who uses Craigslist and its that attitude that keeps CL swimming in scams, porn, and people out to take advantage of someone else.
Second point - I've earned the right to DO or BE whatever I like.

"I can only imagine what you might be like to
work with in person."
That's the funniest thing I've read in a while. I'm assuming you mean that I must be difficult... Ha! I've never had a shoot where the client didn't tell me what a joy it was to work with me. Tons of repeat business, and plenty of referals.

I think you're the one who's gonna need the luck with your endeavors. I've got skill, patience, and a wait list of people who want to shoot with me.


So I imagine I'll come home this evening to an email telling me where to go... whatever. At least I've learned not to make unsolicited suggestions. I really wish I could be a fly on the wall for that shoot though - IF he's actually able to find someone...


So I think this brings up some interesting points to consider:
DOES posting or replying to ads on Craigslist and the like indicate "amatuer" status or lack of skill?
WHO should determine what tools are used in a job? (This brings to mind all the wedding photo issuses - brides who wouldn't know the difference, yet insist that you can't shoot digital - because they heard digital isn't as good a s film.)
Discuss....