Question for pros

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by volleysnap, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. volleysnap

    volleysnap TPF Noob!

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    To any pro out there: I have a question

    I would call myself an "advanced amateur" in photography. About a year ago, I started a website advertising myself as a photographer. I've had moderate success in finding clients (probably 2 a month in the winter, more in the summer), and done very well on every job I have taken. I've never had any formal training and as you can see from my signature, my equipment is not exactly top of the line. I never advertise myself as a pro, and in fact am pretty forward about my limitations as a photographer (i am in high school after all)
    Recently, I received recognition in a well publicized contest, resulting in over 15,000 visitors to my site in about a month. I received hundreds of emails, but one left more of an impression on me. It was from a professional photographer basically stating that I was doing my clients a disservice because I am not educated highly enough in photography and do not own the nicest equipment. It obviously hurt my feelings a little, but it made me wonder if most pros feel this way. I don't feel that I take business away from pros as I advertise myself as a budget photographer for people who usually couldn't afford to go to a professional studio.

    These weren't directed towards me, but another example I found on craigslist were some angry posts by photographers directed towards people who perhaps unwittingly took a job that was too difficult for them. The response was along the same lines.

    I would love to hear the opinion of some other pro photographers. Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject? I'm not looking for reassurance... just curious about the topic in general.
     
  2. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Everyone starts somewhere. As long as you are up-front and don't claim to be what you are not, I think you will be fine. As you grow your experience base, you will be more accepted and your equipment will improve if that's what you want. I started shooting in-house baby portraits and weddings in my teens. That was in the late 1960's. As I said, we all start somewhere. BTW, a few evening classes at the community college is well within your abilities. Any education you can pick up is a plus.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    As long as you are running a legal business...I have no problems. If you are taking client's money, you should be paying taxes and have a business license etc. Otherwise, you would be doing business illegally and I can see why established pros would be upset.

    However, nobody has the right to be mad at you for being successful with no education and lower level equipment. (well maybe they have the right to be mad...but it's their problem, not yours) :er:
    Photography doesn't require accreditation like a doctor, lawyer or engineer.

    If they are wasting their time and energy on harassing you...they probably have problems of their own.

    As John said, everyone has to start somewhere.
     
  4. MichaelT

    MichaelT TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike made a very good comment, that if they are taking time to harass you, they probably have big problems of their own.

    I've been a professional for 30 years, and one of my favorite things is teaching others to do better photography. If one of my students got recognition, I would be their biggest fan!

    One thing to consider, that one of the most important decisions a professional photographer makes is the quality of the education they pursue. In other words, it's something that continues for life and a percentage of your photography income should be set aside to pay for the best education you can find.
     
  5. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Education in photography is not always necessary but education itself is important. It is interesting when people recognize you as being well-educated before they are even aware of your background. It is also quite important if as a photographer you are also dealing with professionals as potential customers. It helped when I was script writing and editing for television, doing photojournalism, and writing voice overs for my multimedia work and then translating them into other languages as well as for many other projects.

    However as has been said, everyone started somewhere. I was a school kid who was asked to take a group photo of the Board of Trustees for a large urban area and later to do photos for a textbook as well as illustrate the Phd thesis of the Director of Education. From there the variety of work increased exponentially.

    I certainly did not have the time nor the interest in what other photographers were doing in their businesses and would certainly not condone any comments from them about my business. Ignore them. They are the ones with problems.

    skieur
     
  6. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Take it with a grain of salt. All you can do is your best. Sounds like it has been good so far. Keep in mind that you are at the beginning of your photo journey. Education and better gear will come soon enough.

    Criticism comes all the time. Use it to your advantage.

    Love & Bass
     
  7. Saint-Brown

    Saint-Brown TPF Noob!

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    There will always be people who want to knock you down when you have something they don't. Don't listen to them. Don't worry about your equipment, like the others have said better equipment will come, so will the desire to "get educated". Sometimes expirence is the best teacheer.

    Keep doing what you are doing and just work to make your clients happy.
     
  8. petey

    petey TPF Noob!

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    Depants the rude professional.:thumbdown:

    The next time he looks at you with his smug, condescending eyes grab him by the nose and punch his lights out.:meh:

    Then take him out for lunch and ask him lots of newbie questions.:D
     
  9. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Jealousy.......

    You got the credit and he didn't!!

    If you posted here I might say that you need better equipment but to be fair equipment does not make a good photographer. Does help make otherwise impossible shots though.

    I say hold your head high.
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Personally I am one who agrees with the gear sentiments. When I was first getting into wedding photography I waited for some time before I statrted till I could afford what I (and the guy I was going to work for) thought was the right gear for the job. I do have some photograpy education but I do not necesarrily think that is so important but there is no substitute for the right gear.
     
  11. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Most pros don't feel like that, but there are a few. And, this attitude is not only directed at part-timers like yourself, but also attacking others working pros in their market area.

    Don't give it a second thought.

    And, you CAN'T take any business from others. Our clients are own to keep or loose. If a client goes somewhere else, it's because I lost them.

    Good luck!

    -Pete
     
  12. nossie

    nossie TPF Noob!

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    It's just his opinion. You'll find some here that will give you the same point of view and obviously as you see in this thread some that don't.
    That's life in general.
     

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