Rant coming....

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by beckylynne, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Here in the U.S., there aren't any standards, certification boards, licensing requirements, testing, et cetera to determine a level of photographic proficiency which is used to anoint a photographer as "Professional".

    Therefore, as previous posters mentioned ... anybody can claim to be a pro ... anybody can 'con' others out of money ... and unfortunately, much of this happens, in the wedding photographer arena.

    Tireiron hit the nail on the head when he referenced that a bad 'professional' photographer affects the reputation of all professional photographers.

    Other than that ... who give's a rat's ...


     
  2. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I know wedding photographers, some are good, some are better and some are great. They are professional photographers, they work this way, treat clients with respect and produce images. I don't know any crappy wedding photographers, it's not my field. I know sports, I know good, bad and just plain picture producers. I've offered suggestions to some, even the ones that are beyond hope because they already think they are good enough at it. I had a guy give me suggestions on how I should shoot football a few months back, I wouldn't have said anything to him, but he knows who I am and has for near a decade. I have stopped being concerned what other people do, unless they get in my way, or they step out of line.

    Photographers get painted with the same brush far too often. Seems that we have become the favourite target of crime shows as well, I laugh every time some photographer turns out to be the serial killer on Criminal Minds. Mind you, I do shoot lots of people.
     
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  3. JacaRanda

    JacaRanda Hobbyist Birdographer

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    "I have stopped being concerned what other people do, unless they get in my way, or they step out of line."

    Bingo.
     
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  4. oFUNGUSo

    oFUNGUSo TPF Noob!

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    this is exactly how I feel, and what i say.

    Course, this is coming from a relatively inexperienced hobbyist with low end gear....so.....I've been told my opinion doesn't matter :1251:
     
  5. Jim Walczak

    Jim Walczak No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I know this thread is over a week old now, however I would like to add my own .02ยข worth in here, but it's a topic that I also have some strong feelings about. Do be aware that I have only skimmed thru the responses here, so if I add anything terribly redundant, please forgive me.

    I think that one of the biggest issues I've had with many so-called "professional photographers" is actually the quality of their work...as in "lack of". I can't speak to the rest of the world, but here on the North Coast of Ohio, I've seen work from a few folks who call themselves pro's, a few who charge rather exorbitant fees, where, in my own personal opinion, the work is well beyond sub-par...in other words, it just plain stinks. A while back for example, I was at a local photography club meeting where a local pro was a guest speaker and did a slide show of a wedding he had recently shot; while I can accept that "posed shots" are often stiff, there seemed to be no sense of symmetry to the arrangements of the subjects (the shots were REALLY unbalanced), the exposures were all over the place and with a several of the reception shots, the whites/highlights were SERIOUSLY blown out...this guy seemed to have no concept at all of how to use flash. In fact, with one of the shots, the bride's face was sooooo washed out, she really looked like a freakin' vampire! Yea...sure...a lot of wedding's often come of as being somewhat generic, but at the risk of being horribly brutal, this one really ended up looking like stills for a Steven King novel! LOL! Likewise, I've seen a lot of the so-called pros who have done some nature photography (something near and dear to my heart) where the "subject" (bird, deer, etc) was essentially this tiny little dot somewhere in the center of the image....it makes one wonder how a "pro" can't even afford to buy a longer lens. Then of course there's "portrait studios" where it's hard to even consider the work as photography, as much as "assembly line work"...the camera never leaves f/8, the flashes are always in the same position, with the same power setting, the same 4 or 5 backgrounds are always used, etc....the ONLY challenge seems to be in tryin' to get someone's kid to actually smile while looking at the camera!

    Conversely, I have seen a GREAT many images from novices and amateurs that is often great, if not just truly amazing! I no longer have the URL, however one of my former college professors a few years back had shown me a website from a guy who used nothing more than a camera phone (yes, I said camera phone) and his work was...wow...totally spectacular to say the least. The images were not only crisp and sharp, the compositions were almost surreal in their beauty. Regardless of his choice of "gear", it was clear this person has a true passion for this thing we call photography...and thus, I think this is perhaps were the single greatest issue lies...passion.

    While I mean absolutely no denigration to the work or efforts of anyone here at TPF, it's been my experience that there really are a lot of so-called pro's out there who have simply lost the passion for the art. Perhaps they're simply more about the business aspect or maybe it's just due to a given individual having done this for soooooo long, that it's become "just a job".....for the amount of passion they have (or lack there of), they could just as easily be working the counter at Payless Shoes or dropping fries at the local McD's. This is just my own not-so-humble-opinion, however whether it's photography or brain surgery or food service or car sales, any time an individual looses their passion for what they do, their work ALWAYS suffers as a result.

    On that note, personally I do freelance work as a photographer, graphic artist and even as a musician because it's what I LOVE to do. If I don't love doing it, I do something else instead. For example, -NO- I do NOT shoot weddings...I did that for a bit and ABSOLUTELY HATED IT. That's not intended as a slam for those who do like such work, it's simply my own view point...I suspect the sun will go cold and every star in the night sky will burn out before I EVER shoot another wedding! For myself, it's NOT about the money...money is nice, but it's NOT the reason I became an artist. And perhaps that's the other big issue...money.

    Ok...call me "un-American", however I've never really seen money as the end all, be all priority that many others often do...and maybe that's one of the reasons I have seen so much sub-standard work. I don't mean this as a slam to the OP (or anyone else), however as others have already suggested, most wedding photographers (decent or otherwise) can make some pretty decent coin. I have no problem at all for someone who charges a fair and reasonable fee for their work...it's expected...however I think that it's possible that there's perhaps more than a few folks who do in fact do it for the money and not because of any sense of love or passion for what they're doing.

    Then of course there's the subjective use of the term "professional". Again this is my very own not-so-humble opinion here, however I do truly feel that the term professional is vastly over used these days...or at least over used for the WRONG reasons. Perhaps this is debatable, however I think there is still a tendency to associate the term professional (regardless of the profession) with a the sense that said professional actually knows what they're doing. Indeed it should suggest or be indicative of a certainly standard of work regarding quality. If you think about that carefully however, that's not always the case. I've known doctors for example who really have absolutely no business at all practicing medicine (I could tell you horror stories about one doctor we had to deal with when my wife went thru chemo a few years back...). It's unfortunate, but I truly feel the definition for the term professional has indeed changed over the years and, more often than not, often just means "someone who runs a business".

    Perhaps this is more than a bit jaded, but with something like photography, I think the truth of the matter is that there ARE people who've gone out and started their own businesses...and perhaps they're even "successful" with said business. However I strongly feel that one should also ask the question, is it really because their work as photographers is that good, or is it simply because they're just proficient business people? Let's be honest here - I think the reason a lot of these HACKS get away with it is because they can sell themselves to an otherwise ignorant public. To use a music analogy here, something I learned a long time ago as a musician is that when I'm up on stage on a given Saturday night, the vast majority of people in my audience are NOT musicians. They really do not know the difference between a Strat and a Les Paul (Nikon or Canon) and they certainly don't know the nuances between a Fender amp and a Marshall. The -ONLY- thing they know is whether they liked my music and enjoyed themselves at the show. Likewise I think the same is true for photography...I'm sure that well over 95% of my customers are NOT photographers themselves and the majority have little art training at all. The ONLY thing they know is whether they like my work or not. I do personally take a great deal of pride in that work and I always strive to provide my best at all times, however because of this lack of education on the part of the general public, I think it makes it A LOT easier for "business people" to get an upper hand, DESPITE the quality of their work.

    Finally...and again I mean no offense to anyone here, however I also strongly believe there is the rather unfortunate belief on the part of many in the old adage "you get what you pay for". Perhaps it was true at one time, however today such thinking leads to the belief that "if it's expensive, then it MUST be good" and conversely, "if it's inexpensive, it MUST be garbage". The rub however is that's not always the case...particularly with something as subjective as "art", just as often as not, it's more about "perception" than it is about any sense of "quality"...it still rather amazes me really. In my earlier days as an artist, I tried to keep my prints and such reasonably affordable. Again I'm not greedy at all and I just don't like to rip people off just for the sake of making a buck. The sad truth however is that I've found that I do in fact sell MORE prints, simply by raising my prices. Same artist, same quality of work...hell, in some cases, the EXACT same prints, but by charging more, there really are more people willing to buy them. Stupid if you think about it, huh? I think this is why a lot of people who really are little more than hacks do in fact flourish...it's not because their work is superior in ANY way, it's because they charge a lot of freakin' bread and unfortunately a lot of people buy into that hook, line and sinker. Ideally I truly believe a person's work should be judged on the quality of that work and NOT what they charge for it, but for many that's not how their world works...and it's a cryin' shame in my opinion.

    In any case, yea...again a subject near and dear to my heart. These are, as always, just my own opinions. Please use them for what they're worth...
     
  6. otherprof

    otherprof TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Sorry - or maybe glad - but there is no such consensus. Most of the great photographers I can name were or are professionals who got paid for their work. I don't know anyone who looks down on them because they were paid for their photography, but do know a lot of "mailbox" shooters, including myself, who are inspired by them and would love to deserve some of the recognition they received. I've seen great wedding photos posted on this site by professionals, and don't look down on the work or the photographers because of the subject matter. There are great photos of brides and grooms, just like there are great photos of ducks and daisies and, yes, mailboxes. Some of my favorite photos were taken as commercial environmental portraits, etc. And then there's National Geographic, etc.
    I once - one time - worked as an assistant to a wedding photographer. I was just holding a light, not even working as a second photographer, and I was a nervous wreck by the end of the shoot. As you pointed out, you only get one time to get it right, and I was worried I would create a problem for the photographer.
    When I use the word "professional" as in "professional wedding photographer," e.g., "professional" is an honorific term, and doesn't just mean they charge for taking pictures.
     

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