Mom With A Camera

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by jackieclayton, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. jackieclayton

    jackieclayton TPF Noob!

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    a spin off from another thread going on in the beginners forum, I wanted to get your feedback on this MWC (mom with camera).

    I don't know this girl personally, but I came across her blog on another military support forum. I really enjoy her work and stalk her blog frequently, so I sent her an email asking about her background. She is a young mother who has no formal training, she is self taught... (similiar to other MWC's).

    Do you think her work is credible enough to be taken seriously in the professional community? She seems very business savvy, she seems to have a dedicated clientelle, and *personally* I think her photos are outstanding.

    I wanted to get the forums opinion on whether or not someone with pictures and a self owned business like this would be considered just another MWC in the photo community or is this a photog to look out for?? I certainly think this is someone to watch out for, but then again, i'm just a MWC myself, so what do you guys think?

    Tara Staton Photography - Sequim Washington Photographer, Port Angeles Photographer, Port Townsend Photographer
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Don't worry so much about what the 'professional community' thinks. ;)
     
  3. mom2eight

    mom2eight TPF Noob!

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    She didn't have a lot of photos on there right now due to maintance, but what I could see was really great. I love this style anyway. All of the pros that I know are also self taught with no formal education. My friend is a sports photographer, she has a wonderful business with a staff of 3 people. She prints her stuff too. She does this full time and is making a good living at it. The best part is its what she loves.
    I think some people are just born with the talent it takes. This girl seems very smart in both aspects of photography with shooting pics, and pp. She has taught herself well.
     
  4. The few pictures I saw are great, she should be very proud. The website needs a speed upgrade.
     
  5. jackieclayton

    jackieclayton TPF Noob!

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    I'm not worrying about it... its just there is just so much criticism about stay at home moms that start up photography businesses... but what about those who are actually really good. It's gotta be discouraging to MWC's who have the creative and technical ability to take it further but afraid of being judged as just another mom like the one mentioned in this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/business/yourmoney/15cameras.html?_r=1

    I'd like to know that if one day I happen to get really good one like Tara Staton, I'd be taken seriously by fellow professional photographers. It's a hypothetical discussion I know, just curious on what others think... do those who are in the business care how they are perceived by their collegues? I'm sure this photographer is respected by fellow photographers, and rightfully so. I would hope someone with this quality wouldn't be hindered because of the new stigma going around...
     
  6. This has nothing to do with photography, this is basic psychology. You don't need the approval of others, or "mwc"... it's not a mom with camera any more than it is woman with camera, banker with camera, plumber with camera or lesbian with camera. Take pictures, and if they are good the work will speak for itself. Pros are a lot less picky than hobbyists. Pros are people who makes a substantial part of their living off their work, that doesn't mean they're actually any good. Hobbyists (like me) can ramble ad nauseum about arcane details of imagery, and fanboys will talk about nothing but gear. Just shoot, post, print, and repeat.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2010
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Some measure success by how much money they make or the lifestyle that it affords them.
    Other might measure it by how satisfied their clients are.
    Some might crave the admiration of their peers (or the general public).

    Some people consider it a failure if they don't have these things....some don't.

    Quality of your work will be a factor, but also the way in which you conduct yourself. Act in a professional manor, be honest and trustworthy in your dealings with clients, suppliers, peers etc.
     
  8. jackieclayton

    jackieclayton TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, I think when I wrote this thread I had a different meaning of the term "professional." i meant it in the term of not just someone that does it for a living, but someone who is extremely knowledgeable and lives for the industry, stays current with trends and exhibits, reads reviews and attends workshops if available... i'd assume that someone who is a true professional does these things. I guess you could consider these stay at home moms professionals because they make money off their work, and thats what I was trying to find out through this discussion. Is a photographer like this just part of the "growing trend" of moms with a DSLR, or would the photo community consider her a true professional photographer?

    I agree 100% with both of you... and I didn't intend to make it sound like a discussion of feeling the need of approval from a community to feel good about yourself and your work... because thats the obvious. But acceptance in the professional community does matter if you plan to take your work to the next level... Van Gogh was never considered a great artist during his lifetime because "the art community" didn't accept or appreciate his style of work... however his work later became a masterpiece after his death. I could have a theory the earth is flat but if the scientific community doesn't accept that I can forget about it ever being published in a journal... So it goes both ways... on the small spectrum, ya who cares... this girl is good and obviously books a lot of clients because they like her work so she more than likely runs a nice little business... but on the larger spectrum... would someone with talent like this be passed over as just another statistic in the news article?

    There's no right or wrong answer, and not sure if there really is an answer, but just wanted to discuss this news article (perhaps I should have posted that in my first thread) and whether or not more knowledgeable and updated photographers on the forum (because I'm so not one of them!) would agree that this photographer is not just one of the "moms with a camera" that the "pros" criticize. I think she does great work and would LOVE to see her go a lot further because her pictures are beautiful... but i'm not a professional... its like asking the fat lady if the cake is good vs asking the food connoisseur if the cake is good... kwim?
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I went to her web site and blog, in which she also sells her graphic design work, and noticed numerous misspelled words, as well as apologies for her inability to take on additional work, as well as apologies for recent computer problems as well as apologies for the lack of photos due to ongoing web site updates. Her web site has lots of frilly graphics, plus graphics and Photoshop actions or backgrounds for sale. She also sells web design services. From the web site and blog, it is clear that she is a single proprietor with limited resources. I would guess, by looking at her style and web site that she is no more than 32-35 years old, if that.

    Not wanting to sound harsh, I usually try and overlook spelling and grammatical errors, but on one's "professional" web site, errors in spelling, like the word "Cleints" in a headline, followed within a few words by body copy with the word clients spelled correctly, shows a real lack of attention to detail. Even the best editors can sometimes miss the spelling on a word in body copy, but headline errors scream out. I understand that computer resources can be limited,and that any site can have computer problems, but the impression the words on the page give is: I am a single proprietor and I am undercapitalized.

    The whole MWAC or MWC issue is one that has become a reality in the family photography business. What constitutes a "professional" is a subject open for debate, but I would argue that there are different levels of professional, and varying levels of professionalism; the level of professionalism is where many younger professionals fall flat, in my opinion. The ability to handle mixed lighting situations, the ability to pose subjects and the skill-training-knowledge to photograph refined, complete poses, and the ability to avoid basic photographic boo-boos are some of the areas where young, new,self-taught professionals often fall flat compared with the final RESULTS that more-experienced, and better-trained professionals consistently can produce.

    There are many pretty well-known aspects to the craft of photography; things like background control, reflection control, and the proper orientation of the camera in relation to the pose and background/location. I looked through the site linked to above, and what I see is a young professional,and one who is rough around the edges, and who uses heavy post-processing,and who is still learning how to use location lighting. My pet peeve would be the use of horizontal camera orientation and butchering traditional poses like half-body standing by composing the shot as a sort-of-halfway head and shoulders shot, with the subject often square-on to the camera, thus turning what should ostensibly be a half-body standing pose into a poorly-composed head and shoulders shot. The lack of training or even familiarity with basic posing ideas refined over literally centuries of painting, sculpture, and photography is pretty evident in the work of many beginning shooters--whether they call themselves professionals, MWC's, part-timers, semi-pros, or beginning professionals.

    It's easy for some people to take offense when others negatively evaluate work they consider to be good or even excellent, but the standards of "professional photography" are pretty high, and frankly I see more and more people who do not know the first thing about posing shooting God-awful poses with the camera held the wrong way, and post processing the daylights out of the results, and then selling the work to young families who themselves are not sophisticated consumers of photography. Among family and portrait photographers (and other specializations like wedding-commercial product-outdoor-sports-PJ,etc. ad infinitum) there are Master, Journeyman,and Apprentice level photographers. There are those with 40 years, 30 years,20 years, and two years or as little as six months in the business; the vast majority of "professional photographers" in the family photography business these days are what I think of as apprentice-level professionals, whose time on the job and whose level of knowledge,training,and understanding does not qualify them for the journeyman level. And yet, these apprentice-level shooters make most of their money off of photographic work that they produce,and yet that earning status does not guarantee that they are highly-skilled photographers,nor that their work is really what "used to be" called fully professional work.

    It's a different world today,and there are many new shooters with web sites, business cards, and price sheets. Some are very talented, while most others have a long way to go to be considered even medium-level in skill.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  10. jackieclayton

    jackieclayton TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Derrel, you make some great points!
     
  11. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    If you can take great (subjective) photos, it doesn't matter who you are, or how you learned it. People don't buy your diploma in a frame, they buy photographs.

    Moms, cousins, grandpas... It's all unimportant, it just comes down to the your "professional abilities" if you are acting in that capacity.

    If you CAN take consistently great photographs but no one knows who you are, you limit yourself. If you market, but you come off as someone who is not reliable, or credible, you lose. If you do get past of all that and have a shoot, but your client relations aren't professional and courteous, you are self destructing your word of mouth marketing.
     

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