This week a post went viral. Every photographer longs to “go viral” but this was not the good kind of viral. I can’t count how many times I saw it posted. A woman posted family photos she had had done. She posted them publicly & made the post shareable.

The problem was, these photos were badly edited. And what’s more – they had the name of the photographer on the photos.

I am heartbroken for this photographer. Now, it’s possible these aren’t the photos she delivered. Someone might think they’re playing a prank. But even if they are the photos that she took, edited, and delivered – now her name is blasted everywhere, and any chance of a career she might have had has likely been ruined. And I can’t being to imagine how she’s feeling.

Not only was this post shared thousands of times, but people made spoof business pages and have them filled with posts making fun of her.

People, we need to do better. Photographers, we need to do better! Almost every photographer started somewhere that wasn’t great. I’m so thankful I’ve been surrounded by other photographers who have poured into me and encouraged me. I still have a long ways to go. There are many times I have a vision and I’m just not quite able to capture it the way I want to.

I remember years ago when I took some photos of a friend’s brand new baby. I was having trouble getting his skin to look nice, and sent the photo to a photographer friend to ask her for some pointers. She gave me some, and I implented them – I thought. Turns out, I took it a little too far and the photo ended up looking a little silly. And I didn’t notice how silly it looked and posted it on Facebook before what I had done was pointed out.

Goodness, I’m so thankful no one took that photo and blasted me all over Facebook. Granted, I hadn’t charged for the photos, and I hadn’t made quite the obvious mistake this particular photographer did, but even still.

We are constantly hearing about bullying among kids and teenagers, and we shake our heads, and we “tsk-tsk” and form anti-bullying committees and campaigns. Our hearts hurt when we hear of yet another child who has hurt or killed themself because of being bullied. Yet what I saw happen yesterday was nothing short of bullying. When something like this happens online, we forget there is a real person out there, being hurt by the posts and words being spoken.

I’ve been so fortunate to be surrounded by photographers who are about “community over competition.” I share a studio with another photographer, I am friends with photographers who share ideas and props and equipment and more. Lesa, if you are out there somehow reading this, I would love to come along side you during this time. I know other photographers, too, who would do the same. I hope you have some real life support right now through this, but I certainly hope you’ll reach out and allow me and others to help you on this journey. kindness, bullying, albany oregon photographer