A lesson in honesty

Why you shouldn’t bullshit people

Here’s an interesting experience I want to share with you.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an inquiry from… Kay, let’s call him Kay for the purpose of this post. So, Kay inquired about a 1 to1 food photography session to which I replied yes, it could be possible but first I needed to know his experience handling a camera and his relation to food so I could design a training session based on his needs. Kay sent the following reply:

 I will brief you about what I want exactly and I will attach some pictures that I find nice. 
I am very interested in food photography and want to gain this skill. My interest is mainly in salads, sweets, juices, smoothies and sandwiches as my friend will be opening a healthy restaurant with these main products and I would like to take photos of her menu. 
Photos will be shared on social media mainly. 
I need to ask you what is the best camera you can recommend I buy before our session? I have never bought a professional camera before and my experience I would say is very minimal, so I need a mix of an introduction and photography session. 
Please find attached some pictures of what I believe is nice and of course I would like to hear your feedback on them.
I would appreciate it if you can tell me what are you going to bring with you in terms of lightings and lenses and other stuff. 
In terms of budget, if you may please tell me how do you usually do the one to one classes how much it would cost.”
Interesting, my first reaction was what the hell?!  But then I thought about it and instead of turning it down and saying why don’t you just hire a professional instead (ME) I replied the following:
“Hi Kay, 
I had a close look at your inquiry, thanks for all the info. I’ll be very honest with you. Food photography is a beautiful thing to do but like any other form of art and photography, very challenging to get right.
The pictures that you sent are a mix of styles, some are shot and styled at a studio, others are shot under natural light by;  in both cases, the photographers have years of experience in commercial and lifestyle food photography and I include myself here.  We didn’t learn the craft overnight.
I appreciate your enthusiasm and if that’s what you want to achieve, from my heart I tell you to go for it but be prepared to start a long journey learning tons of things and skills before you can produce an amazing picture. 
I’ll be more than happy to train you, teach you the basics of photography, help you find the right camera for your needs which many make you believe you need a professional camera but in fact, anything would do nowadays and set you on your way to start taking pictures. The rest is practice and a trained eye.
This is the most honest reply I could have given him and I’m happy I did that because it breaks the current standards of photography and business.
See, nowadays most people offer something in exchange for a profit, in exchange of numbers and figures and they would bullshit anyone just to secure their money.  The easiest thing for me would have been to say yes, secure £1000, tell Kay to buy the latest camera and the most expensive lens and tell him after my workshop, he’ll be ready to shoot pictures like the ones he attached.
I see this behavior day in and day out and I hate it! Then you look at these people’s work and it lacks soul and has no value whatsoever. It’s disposable.  It’s not in my nature to bullshit people, especially potential new clients and people I want to work with. I did it selling wine and specials at restaurants and it’s not cool.
Rant aside, I love teaching and passing on my skills to people who wants to learn, so if you’re like Kay wanting to know how to take a picture or improve your skills, read this article or  get in touch and I’ll come up with the best option for you.

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