Are ethics a thing anymore [in photography]?

(That’s my daughter in these pictures… felt like doing a nod to Rainbow Brite in this blog post ;))

I’m an ISTJ.   If you don’t know what an ISTJ is, here is an excerpt….

“ISTJs are very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are “good citizens” who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun….

ISTJs tend to believe in laws and traditions, and expect the same from others. They’re not comfortable with breaking laws or going against the rules. If they are able to see a good reason for stepping outside of the established mode of doing things, the ISTJ will support that effort. However, ISTJs more often tend to believe that things should be done according to procedures and plans. If an ISTJ has not developed their Intuitive side sufficiently, they may become overly obsessed with structure, and insist on doing everything “by the book”.”

I’ve also read that ISTJs have a standard of ethics and they will take in everything around them and weigh it against their ethics.   Yep, that’s me.  I draw a line in the sand, and when something encroaches upon that line, I demand that it freeze and back up.

What I have failed to realize over the years during my internet and social media rants concerning the photography industry is that not everyone holds the same ethical standards.

Is that wrong?  Well that begs the question, what is right or wrong when it comes to ethics?  Just because I believe something doesn’t mean that it is “right”….. Whoah… that’s a realization.  I guess I’m quite arrogant to think the rules that I live by are the only rules.

So yes, I am riddled with flaws.  I get it.  My ethics aren’t your ethics….. and that….. is okay.


However, I want to be able to step into the shoes of others.  I want to understand where they come from and why they do what they do.  I seek truth.  I seek to understand.

There’s an ad that keeps popping up in my newsfeed on Facebook.

“Is your Photography Marketing not working? Learn how to create marketing that works. Free Webinar – 10 reasons why your marketing is not bringing in clients.”

First, let me warn you – when you see Free, that means that at the end of the webinar, you are going to get a sales pitch.  If you are strong, by all means, take your free and walk away.  But this is a typical marketing ploy.  The bait is thrown out there.  You are curious…. you watch the bait dance around and tell you how amazing you will be if you just try it……. After you bite, you will feel you are  listening to the authority on the subject of marketing/business.  You will then allow yourself to be reeled in.   That’s the idea, anyway….

But let’s get back on subject.  the people that advertise in this way – they are using tactics.  Your business is sucking?  I will tell you how to market and bring in clients!”  They know your business is not doing as well as you want it to.  That’s no secret.   You are the little fish in this big pond of photography.  What you may not know isthat although she is telling you that she will share these incredible unknown secrets to bringing in clients – she is not using these marketing tactics to bring in her own photography clients because SHE HAS NO PHOTOGRAPHY CLIENTS.

*gasp*  Yes.

My question is….

How can this person, a modern photographer in the current state of this industry, who is selling these marketing techniques and is not using these techniques to bring in actual clients, look at herself (or himself)  in the mirror every day?

I always believed that you teach what you do… what you have experience with.  If you do not have experience marketing and bringing in actual cold call REAL clients in the current state of the industry, how are you okay with teaching others what you DON’T do yourself?

I don’t understand.  I will never understand.

We all don’t have the same ethics.  We all don’t have the same ethics.  We all don’t have the same ethics.  We all don’t have the same ethics.  We all don’t have the same ethics.  We all don’t have the same ethics…….    This… this is what I keep telling myself so my head doesn’t explode while I try to understand.  There is no sense in even trying to understand.  This ISTJ is obsessed with ethics, and ethics…. don’t really exist.



Psst… I really don’t want to have to disclaimer every single time I post my thoughts.  Yes, there are some people that teach and have legitimate things to teach… the problem lies when there are those who are teaching things they don’t do themselves and they are selling a false dream.

About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.

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