If you know what Shoot & Share is….then you probably have seen the latest craziness that has come forth from their leader’s mouth, David Jay.
And guess what? I won’t. So I wanted to write this. Not because I think it will help get through to the leadership, because we have tried to get through to them many times. I want to give other photographers out there something to chew on. It seems as though we are watching the slowest moving train wreck ever for a while now. Since then, we decided to leave all things Shoot & Share, including the group we lead here in South Jersey.
A few years back, I found the PASS community. It was such a breath of fresh air. A place for photographers to learn and grow together. It was such a blessing. I didn’t even know that helpful photographers existed, since every single one I had ever asked for help from had basically looked down their nose at me. Apparently me becoming a photographer pissed off…ya know….everyone who was a professional photographer before me. Until I found Shoot & Share. So I became the biggest PASS cheerleader on this side of Jersey. I defended it in the never ending revolving door of drama because I truly felt like it was a huge catalyst to my growth. It opened me up to a world of friendly togs everywhere, new people to be inspired by, and mostly, hope that I could one day be in place where I could help others. Because a positive community is a powerful thing. Belonging to something is a powerful thing.
We loved leading S&S South Jersey…because we love other photographers. We love learning, and growing, and offering what we have learned to those starting out. We believe that we all should be lifting each other up in order to better the community. But recently we quietly pulled away and sat back watching the crazy unfold. We announced that we were no longer going to lead the S&S group. We felt as though the beliefs of one man were being shoved down people’s throats, and we wanted no part in it any longer. So instead, we teamed up with other amazing photographers across the country to start other local groups.
In that transition we have gotten TONS of messages asking us why we left.
So here you have it! 5 things that I would like to say to David Jay.
1) My clients hire me for my vision and talent.
If they wanted Instagram filters, enough of their guest at the wedding have phones…save money and have them shoot it! Do people who buy a fine art painting for thousands of dollars pick up a paint brush when they get home and add some of their own touches to it? Or do they honor it by mounting it on their wall where people can admire all that the artist put into the final product? My clients know that their final images took me a lot of hard work. They know I put a part of myself in it for them. What I strive for is a final product that is exactly what they expected, that they don’t need to do anything else to them. But more than that, it’s the fact that you suddenly claim that photographers are old fashioned because they prefer their clients don’t funk up their images.
2) Did you forgot that we are business owners, not hobby photographers?
Hi. My name is Laura, and I am a professional photographer. To dumb that down a bit, I use my skills to make money. Much like you, DJ. Why are you so outraged that people want to be able to control their own businesses? You can’t add the ability to print, but then tell people that they have no say in what they charge and that you are going to make that decision for them. I personally don’t have a business model set up to make money off of prints and sales…but I know plenty of people who do and that is their choice! I have a feeling you will eventually cave in this area, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the change came at a cost.
3) The business model you preach to all of us, you ignore in your own business.
You stand by your claims that “Shoot & Share” believes that we serve those who hire us, and serve them well. We figure out what they need, and go above and beyond for them. However, I see the exact opposite in how you run your business. Instead, I see your customers coming to you and begging for things to change and your admins (under your instruction) just boot people from the group that don’t agree with you. You claim that you want us to give our clients “freedom” yet you don’t give that to yours. Since I guess your business philosophy is that people should be able to dictate how you do business. I would like to formally request that you stop being so dang selfish and make PASS completely FREE. That would TRULY serve me well. Oh, you can’t do that? Oh….well can you at least allow people to charge what they want to for prints? No. Okay. Umm…can I have a pretty landing page? Yay! Thanks!
4) I’m going to go out of business if I don’t follow your business model?!
Oh homeboy, you better take a seat. I’m not doing anything of the sort. Seriously…sit back and watch me prove you wrong. However, I can say that about you, unfortunately. One of your “Freedom” announcements was that our events won’t expire for 10 years. Let’s be honest….PASS won’t be around that long. Oh snap!! Where do I get off? Unlike yours, my claims are substantiated. If more than half of my clients came to me and said “Laura, you’ve got to change this, it’s not serving us well.” I would walk through fire to make them happy. You on the other hand have had thousands of YOUR customers tell you the same thing over and over again…and….oh good, you deleted them from the group so that they can’t be heard.
…you’re gonna hear me roar.
5) If I hear one more time that I don’t care about my clients if I don’t agree with you…
I ADORE my clients. I spend most of my time thinking of ways I can be a better version of the person they hired so that I can exceed their expectations on their wedding day and their overall experience with LuRey. My clients are very close to my heart and they keep me going. I find that being the best version of ME is serving my clients. But that’s just it….they are MY clients. Not yours. I run a business, not a ministry. I would love to be so well off that I could just do what I LOVE for free. I would love to gift my photography every single weekend to couples that can’t afford a photographer. But I can’t. Because, like most people, I kinda need to make a living. My husband and I do this completely full time so this is our only income. Like most businesses, I really like making a profit.
Here is the bottom line. It would be one thing if you stopped at, “This Shoot & Share business model isn’t for everyone.” I could totally respect that. But you go on and brainwash thousands of new photographers with your insults and judgment on those who chose to run their business as they please. You train them to look at those of us who don’t agree with you as “old fashioned” and “out of touch”. You had me going for a while, Shoot & Share. You suck in new photographers under the guise of “community” and “friendship” and “free hugs” and “Rockstardom” then you quietly and sneakily sell them PASS…and they eat it up. Because to them, you guys are a big deal. New photographers get a little blinded by all of that stuff to notice that you guys are not just a group for photographers out of the goodness of your hearts or desire to be around other photographers…you are a software company who wants their money. The jig is up, kids. We’re callin’ you out. You can’t have a mass exodus and not perk up the ears of most of your following. DJ, please…don’t be so deafened by all the “Yes Men” around you that you can’t hear what the other 99% of your customers are saying. A little humility goes a long way.
I will truly miss how things used to be. I cherish the friends and relationships I have made along this crazy journey. But it’s time for us to be moving along.
If you are a new photographer, please know that there are tons of people in this industry who truly care about your success & education without having some kind of other agenda. If you are a professional photographer (seasoned and new) in Central/South Jersey or Philly and wanted to join us in another local meet up group, please send us over a request to join the Speakeasy South Jersey group on Facebook. We’d love to have you, because we love photographers…not their cash money.
*None of the images/gifs on this specific blog post are ours*