Had an interesting experience this weekend. I got a message from a photographer Ive known for a long time who wanted some advice, and being as busy as I am, I gave him/her the very best advice I could. I took a signifiant time of my weekend write a lengthy email back. The emailer didn’t agree with my suggestion and in return criticized me for not being more generous with my knowledge, in regards to doing the opposite thing of what I thought was a good idea.

I recieve between 50-100 email requests daily for a number of different matters, some of them are more pressing, others are more casual. I’ve even gone through tremendous expense and effort to preemptively put a lot of valuable information out there, on my blog, youtube, Ive set up a forum for photography questions, a special email account for customer support questions, yet still try to leave my personal communication door open to everyone. I try to regularly give advice when I can, although it might be very quick and to the point. Sometimes my advice is taken to heart, other times it isn’t.

The truth of the matter is, for the past 2-3 years, I have simply been unable to answer everyone and every time I get an email I have to make decision on whether or not it is an important enough matter or if the information is already available.

From the writer’s perspective, its just one little email, just a little moment of Michael’s time “surely it can’t be too much to ask?”

I can in fact see this point from the writers perspective, and I completely understand the desire to get a quick easy answer. My problem is that is being compounded more and more over time, and sometimes trying to answer as many as I can is like the “death of 1000 cuts”, trying to do many little tasks, over and over, just destroys the amount of time I have in a day, day after day, for weeks, months, etc. Indefinitely.

What I am learning, that when I am unable to respond, the authors of the emails take it offensively, like I am intentionally trying to be a jerk or arrogant. I’ve also run into the same problem with people who actually know me and want to socialize, I may be locked into an important production, not be able to socialize with them in person at a time and place of their choosing, they too are offended. To the point I am sometimes lectured about it. I have had strangers send me “gifts” and were offended when I didn’t take a picture of me with their presents and post them on my blog. These are things I have no control over.

The truth of the matter is, I am insanely busy. Im not trying to be a jerk to anyone.

I feel that when I don’t respond to emails, especially when I have already posted the information out there, people assume I am just a jerk and I often hear this from them.

When I do respond to emails and it isn’t advice they wanted to hear, they also assume I am being a jerk because I told them something they didn’t want to hear.

While I cannot respond to everyone, rest be assured, I do really appreciate everyone, their comments, questions, suggestions- everything, I just physically cannot answer everyone, and it is due to time constraints nothing else.

If you do not hear back from me, it’s probably because of one of the following reasons:

– You are asking for advice on which of 2 lenses to purchase (my lens suggestions are on every crash course video)
– You are asking a question about something I have already answered and posted that information on, be it a blog post or video, or can be found with a basic google search.
– You are asking for advice on something that I do not have enough information on to answer.
– You are asking a photography question that can, and should be asked on the forum.
– You are asking me to review your images or portfolio for critical feedback
– You are asking a question that is irrelevant, for example, if the “D600 and 6D preform similarly in a certain function, can you show us how similar”? Sometimes you need to just take my word for it. 😉
– Fanboy, Troll, Baiting, hate, threat emails (yes I do get them).
– You may have a very important, relevant question, but I may be very, very busy and simply unable to answer

I hate that my supporters and friends are offended when I do not answer them, but the truth of the matter is, I just cannot physically answer everyone for which I apologize. I hope you all understand and thank you for your continued support.