I’ve worked in a camera store now for about a year and a half, and I’ve been a photographer for about 7 years. I enjoy working in the camera shop, as it’s my one consistent form of income as a photographer.
In this camera store we are all directly trained by the camera manufactures, meaning Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fujifilm and all the others come to our store and train us directly. The whole team knows the in and outs of every camera and knows the practical application of all the things we say. That being said, some of the conversations I have with people are, lets say, interesting.
I thought I would share just a few of the exchanges that I and other team members at the camera store have experienced.
Customer: (early 30s male): Hey, do you guys have film here.
Me: Oh sorry, no sir, we stopped carrying film a little while back. Now there is a store up the road that…
Customer: What do you mean you don’t have film!?
Me: Well we are more focused on DSLRs and mirrorless and less film.
Customer: What? How do you use all these cameras
*Customer does a dramatic motion to all our cameras*
Me: Well.. None of these use film
Customer: Then… Then how do these work?
Customer: Okay, so the new Canon 5D IV is $3,500… How many lens does that come with?
Me: It doesn’t come with any lens, that’s for the body only.
Customer: Well that’s stupid!
Customer: What’s the best camera you have here?
Me: Well, there is no real answer to that, it depends what you’re doing.
Customer: Yeah, I get that, but like what’s the best one?
Me: What are you taking pictures of?
Customer: Mainly my family and vacations.
Me: Well, for travel we have the Sony a6300. That would do good for you.
Customer: But is that the best camera you have?
Me: … Yes… Yes it is.
Me: How we doing? What kind of camera are ya looking for today?
Customer: Well, I need a camera with a super fast shutter speed, really good in low light, has good colors, a lot of megapixels, light weight and is easy to use.
Me: Well, if you wanna go big and bad…
Customer: I do!
Me: We the Sony a7R II here
Customer: Wow! What the Heck!?
Customer: That’s almost $3,000 dollars!
Me: Yeah, it’s a big bad camera. What kind of budget are you wanting to stay around?
Customer: $500 tops.
Me: … Here’s a Canon Rebel T6.
Customer: How does that compare to the Sony there?
Customer: So I heard Nikon is going out of business!
In-Store Nikon Rep: Well, not really, they’ve had some rough times but things are on the upswing for them.
Customer: Yeah, I don’t think you would know.
*Customer walks out*
*Customer barges into the store carrying a Nikon P900*
Customer: You ruined my daughter’s graduation!!
Me: I’m sorry ma’am, what was the issue?
Customer: The person that sold this to me said I could zoom in all the way and see my daughter on the stage! And all my pictures came out blurry!!
Me: How far back were you, and did you zoom in all the way?
Customer: Uh yeah I zoomed in all the way! It has 83x zoom for a reason!
Me: Were you outside during the day? Did you use a tripod or monopod with it?
Customer: I was in the back of a football stadium and it was night! And why would I use a freaking tripod with a camera!?!
(This one involves my female coworker who has been doing photography for 8 years and is rep for Nikon)
Coworker: Hey sir, how can I help you out?
Customer: Yeah, can you get me someone who knows about these cameras?
Coworker: Yeah, I can help you, I actually work for Nikon and know all about these
Customer: does the D750 have GPS built into it?
Coworker: No, it doesn’t natively come with GPS built in.
Customer: Yeah, I think it does
*Customer walks over to a male associate and asks the same question*
Coworker: No, it doesn’t, just like she said
Customer: Okay, thank you
Customer: Wow! Why would someone pay $3,000 for a camera that only has 12 megapixels!? These Sony cameras suck anyways.
Me: How are we doing? What camera you looking for?
Customer: How many megapixels are in the Canon Rebel T5i?
Me: 18 megapixels
Customer: But this point and shoot over here has 24. Doesn’t that mean it’s better?
Me: Not exactly. You see, the sensor…
Customer: Wait. So like how many megapixels are our eyes?
Me: … Uh…
Customer: I need a new battery for my 7D II.
Me: Yeah that’s the LP-E6, they’re right here.
Customer: Thanks, I just wish I didn’t have to buy a new battery every few weeks when the other dies
Me: Sir, you can just recharge them…
Customer: Wait… What!?
Customer: I need a battery for my camera.
Me: Okay, what camera do you have?
Customer: Oh I don’t know, I got it like 12 years ago, like a Canon or Nikon.
Me: Uh, well I need to know the camera model to get you the right battery.
Customer: I just need a battery, whats the big deal? Just give me a f**king camera battery!
Me: Here… Here’s a battery.
Customer: I need a camera bag for my Fujifilm X-T1.
Me: We have all our camera bags right here.
Customer: No. I need one for this camera!
Me: We don’t have proprietary bags for each camera we carry.
Customer: Then how am I supposed to get a bag for this?
Me: We have these two aisles full of camera bags, and any will work.
Customer: But they aren’t for the Fuji, are they?
Customer: Digital isn’t real photography.
Me: Photography has evolved quit a bit.
Customer: No, photography is film! This digital crap is just a phase.
Customer: I need a vlog camera
Me: We have the Canon G7xii and the Sony RXV here that are pretty popular
Customer: Which one does Casey Neistat use?
Customer: Which camera brand is the best?
Me: There isn’t really a best, it’s more how you use it
*Customer leans in over the counter close to me and begins whispering*
Customer: Okay… But like which one is the best one?
These are just a few of the types of interactions I have with customers in a typical week. I don’t expect customers to know everything about the cameras — that’s why we are there — but it seems like we’re getting more and more of these type of customers as time goes by.
About the author: Michael Flores is a photographer based in Houston, Texas, and a multi-platform journalism student working with local newspapers and magazines. He works in a camera shop right outside Houston. You can find his work through his project 360houston, which can be found on Facebook and Instagram.