by J. Rae Chipera

Most photographers have heard at least one of these questions before. Regardless of how harmless they seem, they really hurt a photographer's soul. We all have our way of reacting to these questions. Here are a few funny (and a few serious) suggestions for those photographers who haven't heard them before. I hope you don't get caught off guard.

<<Disclaimer. This is intended to be funny.>>

QUESTION: Are you really a professional, though? You don’t have a degree.
ANSWER: No... me so stupidz me thinky four plus four is seven.
ANSWER: Actually, I just like taking pictures of naked people. Art school rejected me for that.
ANSWER: I fit into a unique group of professionals without a degree. Other members are Katy Perry, Halle Berry, Michael Dell, Michael Jackson, Rachel Ray, Steven Spielberg, and Henry Ford.

QUESTION: Your camera takes really nice pictures! Will you give me some advice on my photos? 
ANSWER: That pen in your pocket must write some great novels. Will you give me some advice on writing best-sellers?
ANSWER: Yea all you have to do is point and shoot.
ANSWER: Sure. The best advice I can give is that the lens goes forward.

QUESTION: I want to learn how to use Photoshop. Will you give me your RAW files?
ANSWER: Sure. I can give you the RAW files I took of my dog pooping.
ANSWER: What's a RAW file? Is that like a negative?
ANSWER: I sell my RAW files for $1000 each. It is probably cheaper for you to just pay for one of my workshops.

QUESTION: Can’t you just photoshop that? 
ANSWER: What's Photoshop? Is that like Picasa?
ANSWER: Yea, as long as you're willing to pay for the added time that will take. It might take up to 13 extra hours.
ANSWER: Unfortunately no. Photoshop can only fix dust spots and pimples.

QUESTION: Can I have all the reject photos too please?
ANSWER: I don't take reject photos.
ANSWER: That's what my parents said about reject kids, but they lied. They never wanted me.
ANSWER: Actually, they're all reject photos.

QUESTION: I wanted to invite you to my event. Can you bring your camera?
ANSWER: Sure, I'd love to. Tomorrow, I can give you an invoice so you know how much I charge for event photography.
ANSWER: What camera? I don't have a camera.
ANSWER: Why? Are there going to be any people there to take pictures of?

QUESTION: Isn't it just the camera? I mean if I had a camera like that, I could take the same photos you do.  
ANSWER: By all means, use my camera. Let's show the world what you get.
ANSWER: Oh no. You've discovered my secret. Please don't tell anyone about this ripoff of a business.
ANSWER: Which way do the Canon balls go into this thing?

QUESTION: Is it easy to run a photography business? 
ANSWER: As easy as it is to run any other type of business. 
ANSWER: Wait... this is supposed to be a business?
ANSWER: No. It's really hard. The voices in my head keep telling me to click the shutter at different times. It's a constant war over art.

QUESTION: Isn't your job easy? I mean, all you do is click a button all day, right?
ANSWER: Yes it's really easy. In fact, I'm looking for an assistant next week when I go to ___________ (name of remote place requiring lots of physical strength to get to). Do you want to go with me and help carry my gear so I can click the button better?
ANSWER: That's not cool. I have a disability that makes it really hard to move my fingers. Except my middle one.
ANSWER: I guess the same could be said for those people who set off the dynamite with the push switch. I think I'll go do that for a while.

QUESTION: Which is better? A Canon or a Nikon?
ANSWER: Actually, the best camera on the market right now is an iPhone 6.
ANSWER: Well not this piece of crap camera. You need the most expensive one on the market if you want good pictures.
ANSWER: I prefer ________. They're the only camera you can completely submerge in water.

QUESTION: Can you post your photos onto Facebook without the watermark? My mom wants to print them out.
ANSWER: No, but I can print them without a watermark for your mom for the price of $______ , my going rate.
ANSWER: Sure. Should I put up the naked ones too? I'll make sure to send them directly to her wall.
ANSWER: Wait, which ones were the ones of you? Were they the ones in the strip club, or the ones at the nude beach?

QUESTION: Can I pay you in three installments over a year? My wedding took a lot of money out of my pockets.
ANSWER: Sure, I can let you pay in installments, but like any other business, I have to charge you interest. Most people end up paying at least 10% interest, depending on their credit score.
ANSWER: This is not a furniture store or a car dealership.
ANSWER: Only if I can take your images in three installments over a year.

QUESTION: I only need a few photos taken. Is that cheaper?
ANSWER: If you go to a restaurant and order your cheeseburger without pickles and onions, is that cheaper?
ANSWER: Your mom is cheaper.
ANSWER: If you can convince my cable network to only charge me for the seven channels I watch and not all of them, then yes.

QUESTION: Why is the background blurry like that?
ANSWER: I think you might need glasses. You seem to be nearsighted.
ANSWER: I didn't notice that before. There must be a ghost haunting you in the image.
ANSWER: That's a rip in the fabric of space. We were lucky to get out of there before we fell into hell.

QUESTION: Will you edit the selfie I took for my Facebook page?
ANSWER: Well that depends... do you still have the negative?
ANSWER: Sure, as long as you don't mind my making you look like a zombie.
ANSWER: Sure, as long as you want to look like an alien. I've been meaning to get more familiar with the blur tool.

QUESTION: Is there a discount if I edit the pictures myself? I have Picasa.
ANSWER: No, in fact I charge more for that because of added legal fees.
ANSWER: You use Picasa too? Best editing software ever!
ANSWER: Sure. Does Picasa read a RAW file?

QUESTION: I don't have to give you credit when I post your photo on my Facebook page, do I? 
ANSWER: No, it's not necessary, as long as you don't mind me putting a giant watermark in the corner. 
ANSWER: No you don't. I'll just make sure to take terrible pictures of you so that I don't mind not getting credit.
ANSWER: No, as long as you are willing to pose next to my cat.

QUESTION: Is it okay if I crop your watermark off the photo?
ANSWER: Sure, as long you're willing to pay an invoice for a photo without a watermark when I send it.
ANSWER: If you bribe me with enough alcohol, then still no.
ANSWER: Oh you can't crop off my watermark. It's made of real water, and it stains the picture like blood on white carpet. Oh... speaking of blood on white carpet, I need to go to the store.
Recently, there were some photographs stolen from female celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton -- nude photos. And now, people everywhere have been talking about what is essentially cyber rape.

Some people blame the victims, saying they shouldn't have photos taken if they don't want them leaked. I have met very few people who have never taken a naked photo of themselves or had a photo made of themselves while they were naked. Whether that photo is for a spouse, a prospective date, for yourself, or for some sort of industry (modelling, glamour, porn, etc.) everyone deserves the same amount of privacy. 

Some say "well if you don't want them on the internet, don't put them on the internet." Well let's discuss that. The images were stolen off iCloud. Cloud storage is something many photographers use. It's cheap, and it affords a lot of storage space. The storage there is safe from fire, flood, dropped hard drives, etc. Therefore, photographers love it. Many people in the modeling / fashion photography industry use the cloud (though, I do not unless it is for people who have consented to have their images stored there). Many photographers and models live on the road, and therefore, use of programs like Dropbox are much more convenient for photograph delivery.

In what other ways can a photo be delivered? It could be mailed through the postal service, but it could get bent. It could also get stolen through those means, scanned, and put on the internet. It could get stolen out of a safe at home, scanned, and uploaded to the internet.

You don't actually have to have nude photos of yourself to be at risk of having them on the internet. Do you remember the scandal where a French magazine published images that were sneaked of British Princess Kate Middleton?

I've also seen "well then, just never be naked if you don't want others to see." For those humans who take showers and / or want to reproduce some day, that is simply not an option. And blaming the victim for the crime is an act of misogyny that must stop if we want our women to have any thread of self esteem, and if we want our society to progress at all. So what, exactly, can be done to protect yourself from having photos of you on the internet?

The fact of the matter is, no matter what opinion you have, the display of naked photos of celebrities (or anyone else) over the internet without a model release from the star and without holding the copyright of the images is illegal. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects image theft. Therefore, if the images are selfies, the actresses have complete and total control over where the images are shared, by law. Period. 

Say the images are not selfies. That means they are not the intellectual property of the stars, and therefore, the photographer or owner of the images will have to file the DMCA violation. What happens if the photographer doesn't want to do that? I would then hope that Lawrence, Upton, and the others had contracts and model releases with the photographer where it is discussed where the images can and cannot be used. If you are new to having nude photos taken (so, if you're not a famous model or something), make sure there is a model release signed. If the photographer refuses, they are not a professional photographer.

Chances are, the photographer wants to stay in business. Therefore, if the images are stolen from them and used in a way that is contrary to how a client wants them to be used, they will be right on board with filing that DMCA complaint at the federal copyright office. I will definitely do this for any client (AND I have done it in the past for a client whose clothed image was stolen off my social media account and altered for use in an advertisement without consent.)

Here is how to file a DMCA complaint (you can do it even if it is a selfie taken with your mobile phone):
                           <<<<<<<<<<I am not an attorney>>>>>>>>>>
1) Check to see if your data is date / time-stamped. Chances are, it is. If it's not, you want to start doing that.
2) Create a letter of demand. Include the following: "This is a NOTICE OF INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT as authorized in § 512(c) of the U.S. Copyright Law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This content is an unauthorized reproduction of the copyrighted material originally found at (insert authorized uses here). Remove the content immediately, or the owner of this copyrighted material will file an official complaint with the U.S. Copyright Office, Google, and other pertinent parties. I am the copyright owner of this law, and the use here is illegal, and my exclusive rights as the owner are infringed. (Your full name, contact information)"
3) Search by image for any other unauthorized uses. If you find some, insert your notice into any comment lines underneath the stolen work.
4) Do a whois search to determine the web host from where the pirate rents server space, and ask them to take it down immediately.
5) If they don't take it down, ask your lawyer to help you draft a letter to the U.S. Federal Copyright Office or equivalent agency.

Moreover...... you want to do something about the infringement IMMEDIATELY when you see it. Copyright Law is complicated, but (last I checked with the Copyright Office), you have 90 days after the theft of a work to register it. If your work is registered, you can collect more money than just damages. (In other words, you can get awarded a penalty fine paid by the thief.) You want to register your work as soon as possible. You can register copyrighted works online here.