I know I haven't posted in such, such a long time, and trust me, I have some projects and stuff that I'm cooking up, such as the cosplay project and new developments in my actual job! I've been so caught up with my job (well, jobs now!), which is what I'm going to talk about in this post now. It's a mix of a post, with some ranting but a lot of praising!
It has been nearly three months since my college course ended, and loads has changed. Since finishing my course, my nightclub photography job has really taken off. I've started doing regular videos for After Dark, posting two or three videos a month to their ever-growing Facebook page (I woke up to 6,500 likes this afternoon!) as well as adding to their photos every night they're open. As well as After Dark, I've managed to snag myself some hours at Rewind, the place I previously worked at behind the bar. It's just so so good that I'm finally earning from what I love doing, now earning a decent wage from something that I'm so passionate about. In between all of this, I've also been taking on more and more other appointments, such as gaming events, parties, and portfolio building for models.
As well as beginning to finally make a career out of what I've been building up on for years, I also work with so many good people, from the management right down to the glass collectors. The manager of After Dark, Cerie, can't stop singing my praises enough! (I'm going to need a double door for my house soon, if my head swells anymore.) The staff at both venues provide me with the feedback that I need for my work, with constructive criticism everywhere. I love it!
Sexy Link at Next Level Gaming! (Tabitha Dreadful Photography - 26/07/2015)
However, everything good is not without it's downsides. And this is where this post turns a little bit rant-y. Obviously, working in a nightclub, the clientele is usually intoxicated. It's expected, as being a nightclub, we help them achieve their desired level of drunkeness (not completely, or some would just love to drink themselves into a coma..). On certain nights, we also get busy to the point of being unable to move effortlessly through the club. It makes for easier pictures, as so many people see me and they want some of themselves with their friends (or without in some cases!) and I end up standing in one spot and just snapping away. But there are some not so pleasant people out there, that anyone working in a customer service industry will tell you. I will say, though, that drunks are really not your average bumhead in a retail setting, as anyone in a bar will attest to. So here are some points that I've noted, and quite often have to explain to patrons of the club...
1. Don't touch the camera.
This one should be a no-brainer, but some people genuinely do not grasp this concept. Instead, they are grabbing at my gear like it's a Kiddizoom, and trying to pinch their sticky, alcohol-covered fingers on my LCD screen like it's touchscreen. If you want it zooming in, ask me. If you want to see it, ask me. Don't start throwing yourself around my kit, and then wonder why I get on the defensive when you touch it. Seriously, you break my kit and are unable to replace it, you've cost me my career. And I don't care about your "£10,000" watch, or how much you've spent on your crappy polo shirt. It's not a camera, therefore no good to me!
2. Don't touch me.
Again, this should be another no-brainer. I don't mind a hug from a happy customer who is just in a really good mood, and I certainly won't turn down high-fives or handshakes! I'm a happy person myself, and if you're in a good mood, so am I! However, what I mean, is when people think it's appropriate to 'casually' slide their hand across my backside like it's their own, or when they think it's okay to bite my neck in what I could only assume as trying to be sensuous (I'm not kidding, this happened once; a girl had a massive crush on me, and thought this would be a way to get my attention...). I'm not a single woman looking for love or lust to entertain me for a night, and if I was, I certainly still would not appreciate this sort of behaviour. If you find me attractive, thank you! Compliments accepted! But you don't need to physically touch me in such a slimy, sleazy way to get your point across. Speaking of points:
3. No, I don't want to see your dick.
For some men, a camera must mean a dick pic needs to be taken. Sweetheart, this isn't Snapchat, and I'm not some 'bird' you've been chatting up for weeks. A couple of times, I have punched men in the nether regions to get my point across. I will point out, though, that these men were regular offenders of getting their members out, with getting thrown out soon after. Some men motion to get it out, but a quip of “I haven't got my macro lens for that, mate!” quickly ends the affair and allows me to get on with my night with a small sense of satisfaction as his friends laugh at his failure of being 'impressive'.
4. Ask stupid questions, you will get stupid answers.
To some of the customers, I can be rather quick with. This, I have apologised for to some who I was unfair to, but when I've had just stupid question after stupid question, I just get so bored and frustrated. A few of my favourites are as follows:
"Do you work here?" No mate, I just wandered in with a camera, and now they can't get rid of me.
“Can you turn the flash off? It's too bright.” We're in a nightclub. As in, it's dark. No.
“Can you put a filter on it?” Does my camera look like Instagram?!
“Photoshop me beautiful!” Er, what?
“Do you get paid a lot of this?!” Yeah, lemme just discuss my financial earnings with you, a complete stranger.
“I don't like that camera, it's too HD!” I suppose it is better than your front facing iPhone 6 camera. But let me go put that filter on for you to make you feel better! (Not.)
“Can I get a keyring?” No, sweet, we don't do things like that. We put them up on Facebook for you as a freebie. “But I want a keyring!” I'm sorry for offering you a free memento of your night..
“My iPhone is just as good!” I'm sure, mate. And if you went for my job with that, they'll laugh you out the building.
“Don't take photos of me tonight! I'm not meant to be out! The girlfriend/boyfriend/work/dog doesn't know I'm here!” Fair warning, I will get you in crowd shots, just to annoy you and catch you out, you dirty little cheater.
Okay, I know some of them weren't questions, but the stupidity of some comments just leaves me mentally facepalming. In fact, I have physically facepalmed too, because I just couldn't help myself. I am crap at customer service.
5. Don't tell me how to do my job.
I know some people are just trying to help, and I do take things in like having a high angle shot if they request it. But some people are just so obnoxious about it, and think they have a better understanding of it than I do. I've been working as a nightclub photographer for nine months now, and I know roughly how to work both venues in terms of lighting, as well as 'reading' certain customers for what they want in their photo. So when people come to me for a picture, and then tell me where to stand, how to hold my camera and to not 'make them look ugly', I just get annoyed. Maybe I'm pretentious for this, but it is a pet peeve of mine. It's like if you were a cashier for months at Asda, and a customer was to stand there and tell you they've never worked a till before, but you're doing it wrong. Just bugger off, you annoying little thing! I have also no time for people who sneer at my camera choice. You know the type: the ones who don't actually do photography, but had a Nikon bridge camera for a bit, and suddenly they are the world's best camera expert. A typical conversation usually goes like this:
“You use Sony? Should have gone for Canon/Nikon/iPhone/Kiddizoom!”
Are you a professional photographer?
6. I won't send you the photos in an inbox/email.
I am paid to take photos/videos for the venues' respective Facebook pages. I don't want to be surfing through Facebook, looking for people who might have had a photo that night so they don't get in trouble or just want it on their own timeline. If you want me to send you the photo separately, I can do, but you better pay for my time spent editing and then sending you the image. I know that sounds petty, but I put effort into my work for it to be showcased as a way of advertising for the venue. To then send it to different patrons is just counter-productive to the whole process.
7. Do talk to me!
I enjoy talking to people and having a laugh! I know a lot of these have been quite negative, but honestly, they are the only downsides of my job, and I just needed to rant and get my point across in a way that I could process properly myself. And my friends get sick of me ranting.. But yes I love talking to happy customers! As I said earlier, I love hugs, handshakes and high-fives. And they normally follow a decent conversation, either just having a laugh about the photo or about someone in their group. I like to have a smile on my face and your happiness does add to my own, as corny as that sounds! Capturing happy moments with customers and staff is a key point in my job description, so helping customers achieve that is a good night for me!
8. Ask for a selfie!
I am pretty much the only photographer in my town that uses a monopod as part of her nightly kit. This helps me get high-angled shots of customers and big group shots for the page, because I'm a short arse. And if I can't get in the DJ box for any reason, then it helps massively to get those busy crowd shots. It also grants me the epicness of being able to take awesome selfies with customers who request them. Rather than just a photo of me and one, maybe two, others, I can fit whole groups in the picture! If you check both After Dark and Rewind's pages, you'll find every album of my photos pretty much full of selfies that I've had. I enjoy having them, and unless you've been a creepy ass beforehand, I will accept your request for a selfie with me!
Selfie! I’m the one in the middle, btw.
A quick revert back to my earlier negativitiy. And I mean a quick one. This will last like, a paragraph.. This goes out to certain clients, customers and any 'friends' that think I will lower my prices 'just for some pictures'. Saying you want to pay me less than what I'm offering, or would rather I work for free, is honestly insulting. What I am doing in all of my work is more than simply pressing a button. I pay for all my own equipment, insurance for said equipment, and having to pay any excess bills on top of that, such as living costs. You're not simply paying me to push a button; you're paying for my hard work, diligence, enthusiasm and passion, as well as my knowledge and dedication to learning. You're paying for a woman who wants nothing more than to reach a real professional level, a level which grants her the comfort of doing what she does for a living. To try and quash my already cheap prices is honestly a kick in the teeth. Saying you like my work is fine, but to then not pay what I ask for means you liked it when it was free. I’ve worked hard for so many years now, and I feel I am deserving of getting paid for the hours that I’m needed, as well as the high quality of work that I’m giving you.
Overall, I could not be happier with where my career has suddenly taken me. I'm grateful for the loss of my bar job at Rewind, because I was able to take my photography to the next level, with being hired by After Dark and then later, rehired by Rewind under a different position. And the friends and networks I've made along the way will help me for months, if not years, to come. I'm honestly so happy.
Thanks for reading my stupidly long post. If you got through all that, here's a picture of a sexy bloke blowing a dandelion.