The Naked Truth About Photo Developing

, , , , | Right | September 24, 2019

(It is back in the days when photos are developed on film. I am an 18-year-old girl working one-hour photo. A college-age guy comes in with his girlfriend. They’re both staring at the ground and acting very nervous. This generally means I’m going to get asked a particular question.)

Customer: “Do you, um, process… um… Do you do… pictures? Like, you know…”

Me: *brightly* “Nudes?”

Customer: *finds the floor even more interesting*

Me: *totally deadpan* “One person in the photo, no touching, no toys. State law. If there are any children or animals involved I will call the police.” *cheerful again* “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

(The boy shoved a roll of film at me and hightailed it out of the store without saying another word. I covered the print window with a paper plate and started processing the film.)

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Developing Important Skills

, , , , | Learning | May 2, 2019

(Back in the days before digital cameras are a thing, new housing is about to be constructed for most of the families in my village, and since this is one of the last Yup’ik — “southern Eskimo” — villages in our region to get them, I want lots of “before” pics of the old houses for historical reasons. Because I want my students to be able to play a role in this process, I acquire some used 35mm cameras and tons of cheap government-surplus film for them to use, and then teach them how to develop it. This works surprisingly well for the most part, but in some cases, I guess my instructions and earlier demos aren’t quite good enough.)

Me: *checking in with one of my third-graders* “Okay, good job on loading the film reel. Next, take the tank out of the bag and add the developer. For this step, make sure you move the tank around as I showed you every minute for five minutes before you go to the next step, which will be the stop bath. Okay?”

(At this point, I need to tend to some other urgent classroom business, which takes a few minutes to resolve. Upon returning:)

Me: “Okay, how is it going? Did you remember to agitate it every minute?”

Student: *nods proudly* “Yes, I checked the clock very carefully!”

Me: “And how many minutes was it in?”

Student: *noting the second hand on the wall clock and dutifully giving the tank another swirl* “Nine!”

(Unfortunately, she’d been so focused on agitating it on each exact minute that she’d forgotten the more crucial part about the developer staying in for ONLY five minutes — after which it continues to get darker until it’s solid black. But on the plus side, the film was cheap and she did a great job on all of her future rolls of film.)

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Photographers Who Expect To Be Paid With Exposure Will Often Over-Expose Your Photos

, , , | Right | December 17, 2018

(A past client reaches out to me stating that the florist who made her bouquets for her wedding wants to use my photos of the flowers for her own self-promotion. I think this is GREAT! I love supporting other businesses where I can. I email the florist asking for specifications on how they will use the photos.)

Me: “Hi! Thank you for considering my photos for your catalogue! I just need to ask a few questions, so I can create the licensing agreement and price.”

Florist: “I was under the assumption that [Mutual Client] would do this for me as a favour. I’m not paying for any photos. If you won’t do this for free, the answer is no.”

(I feel as if I dodged a bullet on this one. I can understand pricing to be daunting for some businesses looking for pieces to advertise with, but any photographer’s photos cost money. Advice to all photographers: never let anyone make money off of your work for free!)

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The Mother Of All Awkward Photo Shoots

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 29, 2018

(Due to circumstances, I end up as the photographer on the day two of my best friends get married. Since I have some experience with photography and they have an excellent camera, the photographs turn out pretty well. We are in the middle of a short shoot when suddenly the groom’s mother seizes the opportunity and gets me to take some photos of her during the end of it, quickly and smoothly. Afterwards, my two friends and I huddle around the camera to see how it all turned out.)

Groom: “So, how did it go?”

Me: “This isn’t something a guy should normally say to his friends, but I got some nice photos of your mom.”

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Photography World In Shock, As Image Conjures One More “Wow” Than Expected

, , , , , | Related | November 8, 2018

(I like photography, and I show my sister a pretty good photo I took and edited.)

Sister: “Wow.”

Sister: *slightly more amazed* “Wow.”

Sister: *very amazed* “Wow!”

Me: *pouting* “One more wow?”

Sister: *monotone* “Wow.”

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