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A native German speaker once gave me the tip to always replace the word "machen" with a more precise word.

What verb could I replace "macht" with in this example:

Sie kontaktiert dann einen Fotografen vor Ort, der Fotos von der Veranstaltung für sie gegen Entgelt macht.

  • erstellt?
  • produziert?
  • knipst? (too informal)
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4  
Consider a different word order: "..., der für sie gegen Entgelt Fotos von der Veranstaltung macht." –  Jan Sep 29 '11 at 12:38

4 Answers 4

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Beware of hypercorrection and generalization :)
Your friend is right in the sense that it is often a good idea to do this, because we have a tendency in German to replace any verb we're too lazy to think of with "machen" or "tun"...
But there are several phrases that just contain "machen" - "Fotos machen" is one of them, also "Urlaub machen", "Kopien machen", "Theater machen" (= to make difficulties - oh yes, "Schwierigkeiten machen", too) etc.

I guess it is a bit like "nice" - we're advised not to overuse it in English, but sometimes it is the right word. ("a nice cup of tea" :))

To me, "knipsen" would be the only halfway acceptable one of your examples, but, as you say, it's a bit informal (similar to "Fotos schießen") - the other two just don't go together with pictures imo.

... Or you could verb it altogether: "...der auf der Veranstaltung gegen Bezahlung für sie fotografiert."

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+1 - "machen" is still a valid German word after all :-) –  Jan Sep 29 '11 at 12:39
1  
"Kopieren, fotografieren" liegen aber versandfertig im Wörterbuch vor, während "urlauben" eine Neuschöpfung ist, mit der ich mich noch nicht anfreundete. Theater -> spielen (oder schauspielern) und Schwierigkeiten macht man nicht - man geht ihnen aus dem Weg. :) –  user unknown Sep 30 '11 at 2:47
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"knipsen" would be an insult for a professional photographer. –  starblue Sep 30 '11 at 11:36
    
+1 Ok, true! :) –  Mac Sep 30 '11 at 13:35

Or you could simply rephrase the sentence and use "fotografieren":

Sie kontaktiert einen Fotografen vor Ort, der für sie gegen Entgelt auf der Veranstaltung fotografiert.

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Since it's a professional context, you could use fotografieren, as in:

Sie kontaktiert dann einen Fotografen vor Ort, der die Veranstaltung für sie gegen Entgelt fotografiert.

You could also use aufnehmen, as in

Sie kontaktiert dann einen Fotografen vor Ort, der die Veranstaltung für sie gegen Entgelt aufnimmt.

But aufnehmen without a specific context could also relate to recording something, either audio or video, so fotografieren is probably better. A variation of this would be:

Sie kontaktiert dann einen Fotografen vor Ort, der für sie gegen Entgelt Aufnahmen von der Veranstaltung macht.

There's your machen again, and there's nothing wrong with this one I think. If I had to choose one, I'd actually prefer the first one (fotografieren) or the last one (Aufnahmen machen), aufnehmen sounds a bit clumsy to me due to it's ambiguity. And if you're really concerned about the machen, in this context you could also exchange that for anfertigen.

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Sie kontaktiert dann einen Fotografen vor Ort, der Fotos von der Veranstaltung für sie gegen Entgelt macht.

This version of the sentence can be used. There is nothing wrong with using the word “macht”. You probably also want to captialize the second use of “Sie”, too. If you are targeting a group of people the lower case “sie” is correct, but when targeting only a single person, you'd use “Sie” instead.

Regarding your other proposals:

erstellt?

This is a good choice if a professional photographer takes the photos.

produziert?

This does not fit because it refers to the process of putting the picture on paper instead of taking the photo.

knipst? (too informal)

You can imagine this as somebody holding a camera half a meter in front of himself and quickly taking a bunch of photos. Usually you'd use “knipst” for party pictures but not for professionally taken photos.

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1  
Careful about the capitalisation of personal pronouns... only do it if you're actually addressing someone, i.e. in a letter or message. In the example that's not the case (Note also that you can do it, but you don't have to: duden.de/sprachratgeber/…) –  Mac Sep 30 '11 at 7:40

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