Thursday, December 6, 2012

An iPhone Camera And An Instagram Account Does Not A Professional Photographer Make

Dear Tazi:

I have a friend who has a bad habit of posting every picture she takes to Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  I would not mind if she only posted every now and again, but she is constantly taking pictures and posting them, and then mass emailing to let everyone she knows know that she has posted more pictures to her account pages, and demanding that we check out and "like" her pictures.

"Abby" thinks that with enough  "likes" she will eventually be able to launch her own business as a professional photographer - freelance or for a large newspaper.  This is in complete disregard for the fact that she has no professional training or equipment; she uses her iPhone to take and upload pictures.  I have tried to explain to her that professional photographers - like all professionals in a field - have learned their craft through years of study  and training; that you need to know things like lighting, angles, lenses, shutter speeds, and a whole bunch of other stuff before you can be a professional photographer.  Abby, however, will not listen and has accused me of being jealous of her dream.

Tazi, I have a very fulfilling career that allows me to express my creativity while bringing home a sizable paycheck.  I graduated one of the top art schools in the country, and have the student loans to prove it.  I have several friends that I met while in school who are working as professional photographers, and I think that Abby's attitude is insulting to the hard work and sacrifices that they have made in order to work in their field.  I have reached the point where I am sick and tired of Abby's incessant demands to "like" her mundane photos.  I would like to remove myself as a friend/contact from her social media accounts, but then I would have to explain to her why I did it.  You seem pretty good at giving advice, kitty; got any for me?

Becoming Photo-Phobic

Dear Becoming Photo-Phobic:

I can completely understand your point of view.  When Mommie first helped me to start this column, she had a few acquaintances who said that it sounded like fun and that they should start an advice blog, too!  These people had no writing skills, no background in Psychology, Communications, Cultural Anthropology, or any education even remotely connected to human behavior.  Mommie advised me to keep my temper and not do my scratchy-bitey thing, that some humans don't realize how foolish they sound sometimes.  I now give you the same advice.

As difficult as it is to ignore Abby, try for the sake of your friendship.  Ignore the pleading emails; don't bother to "like" her photos unless you actually do like them; and turn a deaf ear to her when she starts vocalizing her dream of becoming a professional photographer without any education, training, or equipment.  Eventually, she will see that her dream is actually fantasy (which is a dream that has no hope of coming true without some major planning and effort) and either move on to something new or make the investments required to reach her goal.

As much as you would like to delete Abby from your social media contacts, this is probably not a good idea.  As sensitive as Abby sounds, this may cause irreparable damage to your friendship.  Simply limit the number of updates allowed from Abby or ignore them altogether.  If she asks why you are not commenting on  her work, tell her that you are very busy with your own (paying) work and have little time to peruse all of her photographs; encourage her to cut down on quantity and go for quality - you will be doing her (and those who view her stuff) a big favor.  Last of all, remember that nobody can take advantage of your time unless you let them.


P.S.  This video came to my attention just before this article was set to publish.  I hope it gives you a laugh!  [Ed. Note: Email subscribers, please click here to see video].

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.


  1. Actually, on Facebook, you could put Abby on your 'restricted" friends list. That means she can't see what you have on your wall (unless you make it public) and at the same time, she sees that you are still "her frend" on her friend's list. I do the same to many people.
    Also, I think choosing what you want to see from her on your newsfeed is also a better idea as well. Good luck.

  2. What a wonderful idea! Thank you for suggesting it!