Professional Photographer Craigslist Post

We wanted to share this amusing craigslist post with you guys. It burns fauxtogs, made us chuckle and even mentions yours truly. Check out the original post HERE!

Professional Photographer Seeking Actual Breathing And Paying Clients


Am a professional photographer in the Rio Grande Valley and am searching for serious clients who know the value of an amazing photograph. A photograph can capture a moment in time that otherwise could not be replicated, whether it be from a wedding, a pregnancy, birthday party (Quinceañera), or other special event that occurs in one’s lifetime. A photograph can also help market a business in ways that some business owners simply cannot comprehend. Consumers are visual. Heck, people in general are visual beings, and sight is the bodily sense we depend on the most. It should be obvious that the visual aspect of your campaign would be one of the most important. Photography and Videography can be one of the most meaningful investments you make in your lifetime. Why risk those special memories just for a cheaper rate to a photographer whose quality and experience is sub-par to say the least?

These are a few things that I can promise that I can or will not do as a true professional:

Things I promise to do:

I promise to use actual professional grade equipment (well over 10k) that is well worth your investment, and not some entry level camera I picked up at Wal-mart along with some groceries, socks and toilet paper that was also on my shopping list for that day.

I promise that I will be honest about my experience or schooling. “I have been shooting since I was twelve-years-old with my disposable Kodak or Ashton Kutcher inspired Nikon Coolpix point and shoot,” is NOT an acceptable form of experience.

I promise to have each and every one of you sign a contract that protects not only you from the photographer skipping out with your $500 deposit (Yes, this does happen.), but also protects me from those of you who try to skip out on paying me. (This happens more often.)

I promise to dress appropriately for each photoshoot or event that I attend and not like I am about to head out to the gym or worse loose like I am about to steal away the Maid of Honor/Best Man away for as secret rendezvous when I should be capturing the bride throwing the bouquet.

I promise that I can cough up whatever legal documentation you need that can prove that my business is legitimate. (IE: Tax ID, Business Paperwork ect…)

I promise to always charge you sales tax for anything that I provide because that’s the law. I can’t keep taking amazing photographs from prison for tax evasion.

I promise that I can actually take amazing photographs of women that does NOT require them to be nude or in a bikini.

I promise to use all anti-duckface filters that I have at my disposal.

I promise to always make sure you sign a model release.

I promise to always have a backup plan for when the shit hits the fan. If my camera breaks, no problem, I have a backup. What? My batteries are dead, no biggie I have extras… you get the picture.

I promise that ALL of the photos that are on my online portfolio and Facebook page are actually mine and that I didn’t steal another photographer’s photos or pull a ‘copy and paste’ from Google Images.

I promise that any music I use on any videos or slideshows for your event contain royalty free music and not a Billboard top ten that will probably land the both of us in court for copyright infringement.

I promise that I will always shoot in ‘M’ or Manual mode. Despite what others have told you… ‘P’ mode isn’t short for ‘Professional’.

I promise to always shoot portrait and commercial sessions in RAW for the best quality images. JPEG is for events. Then again you probably have no clue what I just said.

I promise to respect you as a client and your time as I expect to be respected, as well.

Things I promise NOT to do:

I promise never to charge you a ‘friend rate’, unless that is you’re actually a close friend or family member. ‘Facebook friends’ need not apply for this service.

I promise never to desaturate or color grade your photos to give it that ‘antique look’. Please give your photos at least forty years to age.

I promise never to use Instagram. EVER…

I promise never to over-tilt the image to the point that I land your great-aunt Mildred in the hospital for vertigo when she walked by your framed engagement photo.

I promise that I will never overuse a vignette or ever use a white vignette period.

I promise to never use selective coloring (spot color), textures, poor typography (text) on any of your photos.

I promise that none of your photos will ever end up on (Very Important!)

I promise never to force your family to hold up a picture frame for a photo. That’s just plain stupid.

I promise never to over-soften your skin and make you look like a Barbie doll reject. Example: HERE.

I promise that I will never overdo HDR. If I do use HDR, you’ll never even realize it.

I promise never to force an engaged couple to pose in front of an abandoned, burnt out, decrepit building where a family of four perished the winter before. That’s just in bad form.

I promise never to hang your newborn baby from a net. I don’t remember signing up for a newborn fishing expedition or a resulting lawsuit when that net breaks.

I never promise to Photoshop something that I know that I can’t. Just because I can Photoshop that little extra budge in your tummy or arms doesn’t mean I am required to. (Unless I’m getting paid to do the extra editing, and in that case Photoshop away!!!)

And lastly, I promise never to use my pop-up flash!!!
And to finish…
All satire aside, the honest truth is that if you are looking for a quality photographer who will give you great images then Craigslist is NOT the place to be looking for them. Google, research and word of mouth are your best bets when looking for a photographer. There is nothing wrong with being an amateur or a hobbyist photographer, but amateurs shouldn’t be charging clients to begin with. If you see a price that is too good to be true, then it probably is, as the saying goes. If you cannot afford a professional photographer, my advice to you is to step away from Craigslist, take a few months to save up and then book an actual professional, your wall and Facebook page will appreciate it. The question that I get the most is why professional photographers charge so much… Here is the answer: My time, my cost and most importantly… my talent. It takes several hours to not only shoot, but to take those images home and to edit them in Photoshop (or whatever other editing software people use), if it’s several hundred images (like in a wedding for instance) we can end up making about minimum wage. It also takes time to learn new software and techniques used to create your images. My equipment on a whole is rather expensive because it is professional grade equipment, I spend thousands of dollars a year not only buying gear, but maintenance on said gear, as well. Talent cannot be bought, it sometimes can be taught, but more often than not a great photographer has a natural talent that can’t come from any book.

So, the next time you try to hit up a photographer for some free images or a ‘try out’ session or to try to get a few free prints thrown in, remember you don’t go up to a dentist asking them to throw in a free cleaning. You don’t go to a restaurant and try to get a free meal. You don’t visit a doctor and expect them to hand over a discount. We don’t expect you to do any of these things either, just like in this example: HERE. Now, that would really be in bad form. There are a ton of great photographers in the Rio Grande Valley. So stay away from Glamour Shots in the mall, the convention center (where every amateur photographer under the sun seems to be), and downtown and spend some time instead looking some of us up online. The Valley has photographers that are versatile and some who specialize in certain types of photography (wedding, quinceañera, maternity or commercial). I promise you, there is someone out there who fits you and your budget.

Yours sincerely,
A Rio Grande Valley Professional Photographer

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  1. skynigurl

    Well, I am impressed.

  2. Many great points, almost all I agree with, a couple I don’t. It is sad to see the junk that’s out there. I have seen some awesome photographers on Craigslist. Unfortunately, a lot of consumers don’t know the difference.

  3. That. Was. Great!

  4. I promise to never swipe the above said and put it on my website. I promise. I really do promise.

  5. Ashley Taylor

    heres what i hate. when photographers think that because they’ve spent 10k in equipment that is what makes them a photographer. yes you should have a manual DSLR a point and shoot is not acceptable. but you don’t NEED like a 5D mark III to be a professional photographer… although it would be nice. also notice they did not post any of their work… seems fishy.

    • My god wouldn’t it be nice to have one… I shoot from an old Nikon D40x that I got back in 2006. Still works, aside from the camera’s built-in flash. (Only use it for casual photos of my cat or chickens…) I think this is the only key point this guy made that I took offense. I can’t afford 10k of photography gear. I’ve found a lot of equipment on Amazon Prime that is cheap and has been used effective.

      • Heather

        I loved it until that one little part too. People ask me all the time how much my camera cost.. I tell them that’s not what’s important but it was much less than the money I spent on College to learn how to use it. If you know what you are doing you can take professional pictures with a Camera Obscura. Your equipment doesn’t matter (although I am very against instagram, I even tried it.. hated it) it’s how you use it. I have several pictures that were taken with a 2mp Nikon point and shoot camera that have been shown in galleries. I display them right along side my 35mm DSLR pictures and you can’t tell the difference between the quality. That to me is a huge red flag when you have to boast about the cost of your equipment because it is truly unnecessary to spend 10k on it to be a professional.

    • actually, i hate to say but it does (depending on the job). If you’re doing a commercial job and the print is going to be large (several feet wide) then YES YOUR EQUIPMENT MATTERS. If you want to get a proper detail shot of rings (Wedding), then YES you do need a good macro (you don’t have to spend thousands, but YES there is a difference in quality). If you’re shooting high end fashion, then its pivotal that you use a medium format. That’s a standard in high-end fashion. If you’re shooting architecture, then YES you need a tilt-shift, and they’re not cheap.

      If you’re doing events, then no, you don’t need thousands in equipment. Just sayin’.

      • actually this isn’t true. Terry Richardson and keiichi nitta are highly paid fashion photogs that use point and shoot cameras—-Alex Majoli points and shoots and has submitted to Magnum Photo..Ming Thein has done billboards with and submitted to Getty with his iPhone4…granted it is standard for people to get high end equipment it isn’t entirely impossible,

      • of course that’s not to say that I wouldn’t love a RED camera or a Hasselblad..just saying people can be creative with what they have. They key is the photographer. Those expensive pieces of equipment help but if you suck you suck no matter what you carry.

      • Yea, Terry Richardson also photographs complete crap with an on camera flash, pin lights and terrible shadows on the wall. All in the name of fashion.

      • Gary Darer

        Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.
        That being said, you don’t need a steak knife to spread butter.

        The key takeaway here is: Know your skills and the limitations of your equipment. Don’t take a job shooting professional sports on a point and shoot. That being said, if the user (read: average user) can’t tell the difference between your point and shoot photos and your $10k camera photos, you wasted $10k.

    • Brittany "Evie" Fiechter

      I’m a professional photographer (went to college and everything) and I rarely post images of my work. Instead, I offer to meet with my potential client before scheduling they shoot so that they can see my portfolio. There are a lot of Thieves out there that like to steal professional work and use it for their own purposes.

  6. darrelltwo

    At least the didn’t forget to promise their usual homogenized approach to photography where expense of equipment trumps artistic eyes, proper moments, and originality. However, the promise of inflated prints, because the skill of the shot doesn’t earn anymore, and best of all, a giant ass watermark right through your kids’ foreheads, were both absent. Pretentious cheers to the author, for making stereotypes universal for the faux and the pro. 🙂

  7. OMG! I’m from the RGV too! Hello fellow valley man.

  8. y0y0master

    But I use my popup flash to trigger my speedlites.

    Im surprise they didnt mention crop vs full frame and how all their bodies are full. All their lens have red rings. haha

  9. y0y0master

    I promise to never go above ISO 100 because one speck of noise will make your picture look like crap!

  10. y0y0master

    I promise to only edit your photographs in an 18% gray room and recalibrate my monitor after each picture have been touched up.

  11. I use film and scan it, whats that make me??? Bwahahahahaha aha

  12. This post was originally done as an “in-joke”, but seems to have touched a nerve or two.
    The author is actually one of the staffers over at f-stoppers, you can read more behind it (and the author’s comments) here:

  13. RioGrandePhotographer

    I know this photographer that posted this and she is sub-par as well Rebecca you like to criticize other photographers but yet your work is just as sub-par you to do meaningless graphics and don’t know much as well you criticize photographers that get accredited as Certified professional photographers from PPA and yet you promise not to be like the rest girl you are like the rest

      • Rebecca

        I also didn’t realize that I magically turned into a graphic designer like he says, because apparently graphics are embedded in my photos.

    • Really?

      Where is your portfolio? I checked her’s out and was impressed, and I don’t impress easily.

    • Heather

      I have heard this several times.. what on earth is a Professional Photographer Certificate? I have seen several so called photographers use this term. I want to know if that is what you get from these “learn photography online schools” advertised all over Facebook and such. I really wish I would have known about these Certificates I can get before I spent years in College and a ton of money to actually get a degree.

      As for criticizing people what are you doing RioGrandePhotographer? The fact of the matter is that everyone has their own style and their own specialty. Throw someone into a place where they aren’t comfortable they aren’t going to shine.

  14. Lots of commenters here that are as set in their thinking as some of the fauxtographers here.
    Although equipment north of 10k doesn’t guarantee a good photographer, it cuts down on the entry-level gold-diggers. And really, 10k isn’t all that much if you count all the lenses and auxiliary stuff that comes with the job.
    Crop vs full frame? In portraiture that wouldn’t make that big a difference. (and hence it wasn’t mentioned in the original article.)
    Abiding by artistic guidelines doesn’t mean the image automatically becomes a bland commercial-type shot. But to realise that, you must probably understand these guidelines.
    Shooting at ISO 100 is exactly what a fauxtographer would do, as he read up on photography on internet forums. (and induce horrendous blur.) Professionals know the capabilities of their tools, and are comfortable at high ISO under the right conditions.
    Real photographers also know that a colour cast can add life to an image, and may even be desirable to get the atmosphere.

    • Portraiture is EXACTLY where full vs. Crop makes a difference.

      • what is this, 2003? even if it was, portraits are just as fine on a crop as on full frame. your subject ism’t moving, you make sure you have decent light, if not you make sure your camera isn’t moving and that your subject isn’t moving. this isn’t rocket science, and you are kidding yourself and anybody else if full frame was ever better for portraiture – when you should be shooting at low ISO to start with.

  15. Sadly this entire site is run by fauxtogs and the majority of the commentary comes from the same.

  16. It’s a fun read, and from my interaction with professional photographers, they hold the same views. I am not a photographer, I just like photographing things. It’s a hobby with me, and I would never be so arrogant as to pretend to be a real photographer.
    Besides, my Nikon D1x is a tad out of date 😉

    And to LB: I think someone’s feeling got hurt here, do you need a hug?

  17. I was sold at “anti-duckface filter”!
    I feel scammed now I realized it doesn’t exist.

  18. Well written and extremely entertaining! Love the “I promise never to use Instagram. EVER…”!
    I’m a little confused by why so many seem to take it personally, as it looks like it was posted to entertain. If you don’t have $10k in equipment, then use what you do have to make the best images you can. Learn the craft and upgrade as needed. My impression, not that it matters, is that it’s pointing out the idea of amateurs advertising themselves as professionals. I am all about hobbyist photographers and some of the great work they create, but what is your full-time job? What employment pays your bills and supports your family? There is nothing wrong with working retail(as an example) full-time and having photography as a hobby, or part time gig.
    I personally was an amateur photographer for 5+ years before I felt myself ready to even be a semi-professional, and another 3 years before making it my full-time profession(EIN, insured, ect) and opening a studio. Maybe, that’s a little overkill, but I believe in hard work, patience, and education provide the best products/results. I believe it is our responsibility as the artist/photographers, to educate those who are not. My experience with the general public, is they don’t know what to ask for before hiring someone. They think all “professional photographers” can create the same amazing photos they saw in their favorite magazine. If you don’t have the experience, equipment, or skills for a certain shoot, don’t book it and provide sub-par images. It puts a sour taste in peoples mouths, makes them think “if that’s what professional photos look like, I can do that with my camera”, and makes us all look bad. Take your time, learn as much as possible, and grow.

  19. “remember you don’t go up to a dentist asking them to throw in a free cleaning. You don’t go to a restaurant and try to get a free meal. You don’t visit a doctor and expect them to hand over a discount.”

    Sadly, some people do try to do these things. And they’re the same people trying to get free services from professionals.

  20. I promise to never ever ever put an ad on Craigslist.

  21. disturbed

    loved it!

  22. This was my favorite…
    “I promise to always shoot portrait and commercial sessions in RAW for the best quality images. JPEG is for events. Then again you probably have no clue what I just said.”

    Then promptly says…

    “I promise to respect you as a client…”

  23. The one thing that always pisses me off is the “I only shoot in Manual mode” crap. Shooting in Aperture and Shutter priority isn’t the sign of a amateur, it’s a timesaving technique. Hell, if you’d bother to even learn what features your camera has you’d know the even in “P” mode you can change the shutter speed and aperture, Nikon calls this Flexible Program, I’m not sure what Canon calls it, but they have it too. It IS possible to use semi-auto exposure modes and STILL retain full control over your exposures.

    I’m so sick of people thinking that just because they shoot Manual they are somehow better than everyone else. I guarantee you I’d get more keepers than you in a head-to-head competition photoshoot using A and S than you would using full Manual. In any shooting situation.

    LEARN YOUR CAMERA, and stop being a Manual snob.

    On a side note. I looked up your website. There’s a lot of bad HDR portraits on there.


    Superman’s severed limb smacking him in the face?

    The 70’s called, they want their senior portrait reflection photography back.

    You’ve only shot ONE wedding????

    I don’t even want to waste anymore time dissecting your half-assed portfolio. Before you go criticizing others TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR OWN WORK. In a word, it’s WRETCHED.

    • Rebecca

      Okay, you sir, have a ton of anger.

      Actually I have never shot a wedding. Those were favors for a few friends that needed some portraits on the fly. I believe weddings are the hardest things to shoot. I have a lot of respect for talented wedding photographers. Second, that’s not HDR, it’s a normal sky… The rest of the stuff you criticize on is crap that I shot a long time ago when I first started. Everyone starts off as an amateur and that’s okay. I only criticize those who don’t want to improve on their craft, is all. I’m just too busy to update that website. I don’t use it anymore to be honest, I haven’t freelanced in half a year or so. Not that it matters, because you’re not the one who pays my mortgage, my boss does. As long as he’s happy with my work, then that’s all that matters. If clients are happy with selective coloring and bad composition ect… then that’s their God-given right, as well. This was meant to be humorous, if you can’t take a joke, then don’t read it and move on… I’m afraid that stick up your ass might be loged a little too tight.

      Now that I’ve had you ream my ass, let me dissect your port and I can see how nit-picky I can be.

    • charlene772

      #pow lol

    • First of all.. her post was satire. About photographers like these:

      Second point: the “bad HDR” is not actually HDR.. it’s either very strong strobe burn/shutter drag (the shadows on the ground do not appear to match the direction of the sunlight, so I say it’s a strong strobe burn as the strobes had to fill any shadows cast by the sun and cast specular shadows in a different direction), or it’s compositing – either one with a bump in contrast. My money is on strobe burn/shutter drag (here’s a tutorial for anyone who may not be familiar with the technique: ), but then I’m just an undergrad photography student, so WTF do I know, right?

      That being said.. when you’re done kissing your own arse, grow a sense of humor. The manual mode bullet comment is a tounge-in-cheek commentary on the fact that many amateur photographers who try to pass themselves off as professional don’t know how to use manual mode (not always the case – my father was an amateur photographer, and now I’ve taken to shooting with his old Mamiya C330.. no mode BUT manual with that!). Professionals know how to use it, AND know how to use aperture- or shutter-priority modes as needed/appropriate for a given shoot. Auto-modes (be it in aperture or shutter-priority, white balance, JPEG compression, metering, etc.) can be appropriate, but it is up to the photographer to know when and why it is appropriate.

      Just my $0.02.

    • I agree with your point on manual mode. Other modes are tools in your camera, there are right modes for certain situations. Manual is not not better in all situations. In event photography – I prefer (as a photographer and as a client) whatever is fastest which yields a properly exposed photo. In those cases speed is important (assuming you are in a mode and setting that also gives you a proper exposure). I see that comment also as a manual-snob

  24. the dude

    I think that this should be posted in every local kijiji and craiglist market. Why? Because it’s true. Pretty much every word. I see wedding photography ads on kijiji all the time and I know some of the people posting. Some have one camera and one lens. How f’n stupid would you feel if while shooting someone’s wedding something happened to said camera or lens? So yes absolutely if you don’t have $10000 worth of gear and make your primary income from photography than you should not be advertising as a professional. $10000 is actually probably a little shy.

    Do you know why the market has shifted to the point where it is difficult to earn a living as a photographer? It’s because people are pissed off that amateurs are taking their money and giving them shit.

    Seriously, would you go buy a tattoo gun and charge someone a crapload of money to etch something on their skin that will be their for life without taking the time to learn the trade as an assistant or apprentice? Probably not because someone would kill you.

    If you are looking to get into the bus, I would suggest proper training/schooling or working as an assistant, or ask people if you can take their picture and give it to them for free. Would solve a lot…really.

    Same shit applies.

  25. Photographer is not about equipment, it is about personality of the photographer, personality and good business contact, you CAN impress customer with your equipment, poeple who are not creative are easily impress about equipment, often, photographer who have a lot of equipment are just not a good photographer, they pay a lot to convince t hem they are great, in fact, there are very bad photographer, you CAN drive a porsh, does’n meen you are a good driver…
    Stop bying some heavy camera and light and expansive equipment, just Bégin to shoot whig tour peeling and heart, be spontaneous, equipment is for bad photographer.
    I speak french and i made a lot of alphabet mistake, sorry about it,

  26. Sounds like an elitist jerk to me…

  27. Lol. Dude I think ppl just want a photo session not a court hearing. U just scared away 66% of ur clientele. And I think ppl are smart and whether they understood ur lecture on computer programming we all know GOOGLE!!! I left off somewhere around there reading what I thought it was going to be a great photographers influence in hiring for services. Oh and also it doesn’t matter if it’s a $10k camera or a point and shoot, it’s how good u r at taking pics. Have a good rest of the night!!!!!

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