Sadly one of the realities of living in a small town is that misinformation spreads like wildfire. I’ve caught wind of enough inaccurate information being spread about my business (or myself personally) that I think it is necessary to address the issues. I assume that most of these have been spread due to honest misunderstandings and only a few have potentially started with malicious intent. I was voted the “most chill” by my classmates at the Hallmark Institute of Photography so this post comes with some reluctance, but I think things have gotten to a point that several issues need to be addressed.
Rumor 1: I Live in (insert anywhere but Clare, Michigan). Fact: I live in Clare, Michigan.
One of the most common things I hear is that I live somewhere I don’t. To clear up any confusion I live in Clare, Michigan and have most of my life (excluding when I lived in Greenfield, Massachusetts when I was in college). I was considering moving to Grand Rapids for a period of time but that plan never worked out. Since graduating from college I have always lived in Clare, Michigan. Many have misunderstood and thought I currently live in Western Michigan or that I live somewhere on the east coast (I get Boston and Brooklynn a lot for some reason) but neither of these are correct. I do in fact still live in Clare, Michigan.
Rumor 2: I don’t give clients photos from their session. Fact: Clients receive a private gallery with the images from their session within a week of their shoot.
A more recent (and what seems to be more malicious rumor) is that I don’t give clients the photos from their session. I have never once NOT given clients the photos from their session. In 2017 I did change up how my session process works. In the past I have used different models that more heavily emphasized print sales before digital files became more popular but at no time I have refused to give clients photos. I now give clients a link with a private gallery with the photos from their session within a week of the shoot. Clients can either order prints from this gallery or get their prints made elsewhere using the digital files I’ve given them. The other rumors stated in the post all seem like honest (and sometimes humorous mistakes) but this one is one of the few which comes across as intentionally malicious and is the main reason for me writing this post.
Rumor 3: My second shooter and I are a couple. Fact: We are friends and work together.
This third one I actually think is kind of funny. I have had several people not read the About the Ryan Watkins Photography Team page very closely and assume that my second shooter Nikki and I were married or at least a couple. In fact we are not. We’re just friends and work together. We are both currently single.
Rumor 4: The girl in the large print at Art Reach is my daughter. Fact: I don’t currently have any children.
This is another rumor that when I caught wind of it made me chuckle. There was some misunderstanding after a piece I created for Art Reach was put on display. The piece is a large composite print with the main subject being a little girl (the granddaughter of the client who commissioned the piece). There was a misunderstanding and several people thought that photo was of my daughter (which is problematic since I don’t have a daughter).
Back to a more serious note. The somewhat silly misunderstandings don’t bother me but the (ones that at least seem) intentionally malicious do. Over the years I’ve gotten to work with a ton of great people but every now and then your come across some dishonest folks. I see no need to discuss the particulars in detail. If I did I’d just be falling into the same gossipy slander I’m ridiculing them for. One of the most important things I’ve learnt running my own business is the importance of working with the right people. I’m incredibly thankful for the honest people I’ve been able to work with and am more discerning now to avoid working with the dishonest. As I’ve stated before I was voted “most chill” by my peers at the Hallmark Institute of Photography but at some point you do need to put your foot down. If you are prone to making threats, spreading slander, or constantly asking for money/favors this will get you banned from all of my personal and professional pages. I have experiences will all of the aforementioned. If these descriptions fit you I’d recommend going to Lifetouch instead of wasting my time (and reputation).
P.S. After revising this post I think I just coined a phrase for the greatest insult a photographer could tell someone. “Go to Lifetouch.”