“Don’t bother taking too many pictures, we’re having our portrait taken by a professional photographer later.” The Mother says as she herds in her perfectly dressed and groomed family.
“I know it’s hard to believe, but they do pay me to do this.” I say as I pose them.
“Well, you know what I mean, a Real photographer.”
Assemble Line Portraits are, for the most part, still professional portraits. We are paid-often not as much as we would like, but we are paid-so we are Professional Photographers. The fact that many people feel fine taking our work home for free and wasting our time to boot doesn’t help the belief that our business is giving stuff away. All businesses have stupid people that walk in the door, but sometimes it seems that nothing but stupid people walk into Assembly Line Portrait Studios.
Another popular question is if I can take a professional portrait-yeah, I think I can do that. I’ve taken uncounted thousands of portraits, every one of them a Professional Portrait. Do the people in these portraits look like Clint Eastwood or Marilyn Monroe? A few of them, yeah, but most are pretty average looking. Do they look like an Insurance Salesman on a Billboard? I’ve done a few of those shots. My images have found their way to ads, business cards, and websites. But the people who walk into my Studio and say-Hey, this is our Sunday School Classroom! don’t see anything but a Mickey Mouse outfit in their room.
The Photographer in an Assembly Line Portrait Studio takes a handful of well tested shots that have proven themselves as sellers. We don’t examine each face and make subtle adjusts to flatter their individual features. We don’t care what clothes you wear. We don’t care about your hair or your jewelry. Most of the time we only care about your expression, but if you don’t want to smile, I’m not going to force you to.
I will make sure the lights are in the correct position. I’ll make sure the background looks good and that it changes two or three times in a sitting. I’ll change the poses, the cropping, and the composition of the portrait. All of this will be done in a matter of a few minutes. If The Subjects do what I tell them to do, these will be good, solid, professional portraits. Some people won’t like the images because I didn’t spend an hour taking them. Some people will hate any image in which they appear.
Assembly Line Portraits is one of the few businesses where people come in with the full knowledge that they don’t want the product being created specifically for them. They then have the balls to say that as long as they are dressed up, they might as well go somewhere and have a Professional Portrait taken. This is like going into a restaurant and saying you don’t want to eat anything as you have dinner plans later, but you do want to sit around the table and talk during the evening rush.
The people who say these stupid things act amazed that we are offended by their comments-these are usually people who don’t have jobs or have not had a job is so long that it is nothing but a warm fuzzy memory. Our business is selling portraits, and if we don’t sell portraits, we don’t make any money. If you don’t want to buy portraits and know that you don’t want to buy portraits-Stay Home!
Your best shot at getting slapped in the face at an Assembly Line Portrait Studio is saying I’m just here for the Freebie. We hate people who are just here for the Freebie. Not only do the Nonbuyers not buy anything, they are the first to bitch and moan that they were not treated like gods for coming in and wasting our time. If we offended you, please remember this and Stay Home the next time you are ask to be a part of a pictorial directory or the next time you have the urge to get a Free Portrait. We don’t care one whit about your Book, we only care about selling portraits.
And buy the way, every Real Professional Photographer in the world wants your money, too.