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Old 04-23-2014, 09:57 PM   #1
klitteral2009
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Just needed a place to rant for a second...not really Disney related...

...but I just cannot stand the sheer number of people in my area who claim to be, and charge for, professional photography. I love my camera. I love learning from websites, books, tutorials and hands on trial and error. When I purchased my first DSLR four years ago I was taken in by the new hobby. It was shiny, heavy and made me feel important lol. I recently upgraded my gear and my hobby has grown into a real passion. I take any opportunity to shoot my kids, vacations, and of course Disney (although I've yet to have a successful photo trip at WDW as I always seem to be chasing my 3 DD's from one ride to another). All this being said, as decent as I may think my images may be at times, I could NEVER present myself as a photographer and attempt to charge people. I'm just not a professional, and no matter how many years experience I may end up getting, it'll be a real stretch for me to ever charge someone for a photo session. I see dozens and dozens of pages locally...I'm talking within a 30 mile radius...on Facebook and some of them are great, while others...well, I just can't believe they're even proud of what they call 'their work'. I guess I find myself wondering if these people actually believe they have any talent or if they are honestly too blind to see that what they're presenting is no better than a 10 year old with a point and shoot and Picasa.


Anyway, I just needed to put that out there in hopes that someone else sees this trend in photography and is as aggravated by it as I am. Someone tell me I'm not expecting too much from those who charge people for photos that are embarassing.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:28 PM   #2
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First off, many great photographers can be self taught. So one can become a true professional by combining raw talent with self-education.

That said, you are correct. Many people think they can hold themselves out as a professional simply because they own a dSLR and a few people like the smiling kids in their pictures.

Access to high grade equipment for the masses has really changed things. Any consumer with a decent budget can buy some professional equipment. Even with a limited budget, even an entry level dSLR can provide a quality that matches or exceeds professional equipment of just a few years ago. 10-20 years ago, there was no comparison between professional equipment and amateur equipment.
Unfortunately, just because you can buy the same equipment as a professional, doesn't mean you have the skill to use it.

On the plus side, this has really spread enthusiasm and excitement for photography. To some extent, with everyone trying out photography on their smart phone, it has increased the appreciation for better photography.
On the downside, true professionals find themselves competing with total amateurs. For many events, where a true professional photographer definitely would have been hired 20 years ago, now the event host figures they can save money and "Uncle Harry will just bring his dSLR."
20-30 years ago, families went to Sears for annual family portraits... Now people do those themselves.

I don't hold myself out as a professional, but I have recently been offered the possibility of some paying jobs. I'm honored to be asked... and if someone wants to pay me for doing something I enjoy, I won't object.

The lines between professional and amateur have been blurred. It is harder than ever for a moderately skilled professional photographer to make a living.

But unless you are a professional who is being squeezed out of your profession, just enjoy the ride. Enjoy that you can go on a photo sharing site, and see so many thousands of images from amateurs ranging in quality up to truly outstanding. Enjoy the fact that you have access to the tools to better your photography, and learn to shoot at a professional level.
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Old 04-24-2014, 04:53 AM   #3
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I had a friend who picked up an entry level DSLR and decided she was going to start a "photography" business with the only knowledge she had was with a cell phone camera. She did end up with a few clients, mostly family relatives and friends of course and all I could so was SMH when people would comment on how great her pictures are. I seriously doubt she ever shot out of auto, not saying that is a bad thing but to go from a cell phone camera to a DSLR and call yourself a pro photographer with a web site and everything the very next day with zero to no experience is just mind boggling.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:19 AM   #4
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I see both sides. I mean this is the USA and it's great that someone like pp mentioned can go start a business if they want to without any knowledge (although as dumb as that sounds) and possibly be successful. But if they aren't and their business fails, they have no one to blame but themselves.

And consumers have to be aware of what they are purchasing. Don't just hire a photographer without looking at their shots and seeing what they can do.

I do see the trend also, and have been for a while. I guess I just don't let it bother me, because like the other pp mentioned, you can be self taught, and be a great photographer.

I'm like you, I love photography. I am a complete amateur, I could never think of myself as a professional and charge people. I've even done a few "sessions" (if you can even call it that) for friends and family that have offered to pay me something, but I don't accept it. I couldn't.

ETA... Hockeyman... LOVE your quote. Not at the table, Carlos.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:55 AM   #5
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Follow the link...

https://www.facebook.com/DanCollinsPhotography

Is that what the OP is talking about?
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:00 AM   #6
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I completely agree that there are some who are or have been self taught and take perfectly wonderful photos with beautiful composition and proper lighting. And I totally agree that with the availability of more professional equipment to the masses it has had an impact on photography as a whole. While I'm happy that there has been a surge in interest and people taking it up as a hobby, I wish everyone would realize that a dSLR and Lightroom do not a proper, pay for talent, photographer make. Its not something I lose sleep about, nor am I a professional who is losing business, but its just a personal pet peeve more than anything I guess. I like to see other hobbyists work, but when its just plain awful and I see that they are charging money to people who just don't know any better or havent done research, it bugs me.

and as for an example of what I mean....https://www.facebook.com/FierceFotography/photos_stream

Anyone that would pay for these?
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisy14'sDH View Post
Follow the link...

https://www.facebook.com/DanCollinsPhotography

Is that what the OP is talking about?
This particular page is exactly what I'm talking about. What is interesting in his photos to me, is that while his portrait work is abysmal, the photos of nature and buildings etc are far better. So much of a difference in fact I wonder if they were actually taken by the same photographer. I see that a lot too in pages I come across. There is sometimes a great difference in some albums and it leads one to wonder if they haven't taken someone else's work and tried to pass it off as their own.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisy14'sDH View Post
Follow the link...

https://www.facebook.com/DanCollinsPhotography

Is that what the OP is talking about?
OH MY GOODNESS...NOOOOOOOOO! Seriously?

I understand when people start out they are going to likely have friends, family, etc. who will "book a session" with them just to avoid the complete awkwardness and hurt feelings. Hopefully none of those folk were expected to pay for those pictures.

I do crack up every time I see that E-card that says:

"Tax time! 10,000 new people have realized that Photography is their passion!"

My neighbor did the same thing as mentioned above. Had ZERO experience, knowledge, or ever even spoke of photography. She went out, bought a DSLR, a bunch of equipment (even a quad to drive out in our acreage) and made a makeshift "studio" in her basement and created a business almost overnight.
Granted, 99% of her "clients" are still to this day family/friends, but she still defines herself as a professional photographer who owns her own business. Said she wrote it all off.

I think for some people they simply aren't willing to pay what photographers charge - period. So, in turn, they find someone like her - who takes "good enough" pics for literally 1/3 of the price and get decent pics - just not "OMG who took those pictures...they are incredible" pictures.

I have been taking pictures of friends and family for years, but you'd never catch me charging anyone for it. I honestly enjoy using it as a "gift" for holidays. Only expense for me is my time - and for my friends and family it's easily worth it.

Last edited by threecrazykids; 04-24-2014 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klitteral2009 View Post
I completely agree that there are some who are or have been self taught and take perfectly wonderful photos with beautiful composition and proper lighting. And I totally agree that with the availability of more professional equipment to the masses it has had an impact on photography as a whole. While I'm happy that there has been a surge in interest and people taking it up as a hobby, I wish everyone would realize that a dSLR and Lightroom do not a proper, pay for talent, photographer make. Its not something I lose sleep about, nor am I a professional who is losing business, but its just a personal pet peeve more than anything I guess. I like to see other hobbyists work, but when its just plain awful and I see that they are charging money to people who just don't know any better or havent done research, it bugs me.

and as for an example of what I mean....https://www.facebook.com/FierceFotography/photos_stream

Anyone that would pay for these?

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Old 04-24-2014, 08:39 AM   #10
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I do crack up every time I see that E-card that says:

"Tax time! 10,000 new people have realized that Photography is their passion!"


BAHAHAHAHAHA! This is so incredibly true.

My neighbor did the same thing as mentioned above. Had ZERO experience, knowledge, or ever even spoke of photography. She went out, bought a DSLR, a bunch of equipment (even a quad to drive out in our acreage) and made a makeshift "studio" in her basement and created a business almost overnight.
Granted, 99% of her "clients" are still to this day family/friends, but she still defines herself as a professional photographer who owns her own business. Said she wrote it all off.

This is pretty much exactly what I mean. And to write it all off is crazy.

I have been taking pictures of friends and family for years, but you'd never catch me charging anyone for it. I honestly enjoy using it as a "gift" for holidays. Only expense for me is my time - and for my friends and family it's easily worth it.
[/QUOTE]
And I too usually use my family and friends for guinea pigs and then give them whatever I shoot and 'attempt' to edit Lol. And there are things I don't do well or completely understand still, like shooting indoors in a 'studio' type setting with flash. I've tried and just never liked the results I've gotten. Plus I don't want to invest in the money for softboxes, umbrellas etc. So I shoot mainly natural light or outside because thats what I'm comfortable with.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klitteral2009 View Post
This particular page is exactly what I'm talking about. What is interesting in his photos to me, is that while his portrait work is abysmal, the photos of nature and buildings etc are far better. So much of a difference in fact I wonder if they were actually taken by the same photographer. I see that a lot too in pages I come across. There is sometimes a great difference in some albums and it leads one to wonder if they haven't taken someone else's work and tried to pass it off as their own.
Possibly. There are definitely "pros" who will steal pictures to make their web portfolio look better.

But more likely in this case, landscape and nature pictures are simply a very very very different skill set than portraits. Dealing with live people who need to be posed, dealing with skin tones, dealing with changing expressions, studio or flash lighting...
A very different skill set than shooting a waterfall in day light.

So many pros really "specialize" in a narrow type of shooting. As a hobbyist, I enjoy getting a little taste of everything.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
Possibly. There are definitely "pros" who will steal pictures to make their web portfolio look better.

But more likely in this case, landscape and nature pictures are simply a very very very different skill set than portraits. Dealing with live people who need to be posed, dealing with skin tones, dealing with changing expressions, studio or flash lighting...
A very different skill set than shooting a waterfall in day light.

So many pros really "specialize" in a narrow type of shooting. As a hobbyist, I enjoy getting a little taste of everything.
Completely agree. Personally I prefer an outdoor setting...be it portraits or landscapes/nature/etc. I like being able to decide what type of photographer I'm going to be everyday (or at least every day I get to use my camera )

Not saying thats what this particular photographer did, but it just made me think of some that do that. I've heard stories locally of photographers representing themselves one way for family portraits and then the clients getting something TOTALLY different when they received their prints/CD.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
First off, many great photographers can be self taught. So one can become a true professional by combining raw talent with self-education.

That said, you are correct. Many people think they can hold themselves out as a professional simply because they own a dSLR and a few people like the smiling kids in their pictures.

Access to high grade equipment for the masses has really changed things. Any consumer with a decent budget can buy some professional equipment. Even with a limited budget, even an entry level dSLR can provide a quality that matches or exceeds professional equipment of just a few years ago. 10-20 years ago, there was no comparison between professional equipment and amateur equipment.
Unfortunately, just because you can buy the same equipment as a professional, doesn't mean you have the skill to use it.

On the plus side, this has really spread enthusiasm and excitement for photography. To some extent, with everyone trying out photography on their smart phone, it has increased the appreciation for better photography.
On the downside, true professionals find themselves competing with total amateurs. For many events, where a true professional photographer definitely would have been hired 20 years ago, now the event host figures they can save money and "Uncle Harry will just bring his dSLR."
20-30 years ago, families went to Sears for annual family portraits... Now people do those themselves.

I don't hold myself out as a professional, but I have recently been offered the possibility of some paying jobs. I'm honored to be asked... and if someone wants to pay me for doing something I enjoy, I won't object.

The lines between professional and amateur have been blurred. It is harder than ever for a moderately skilled professional photographer to make a living.

But unless you are a professional who is being squeezed out of your profession, just enjoy the ride. Enjoy that you can go on a photo sharing site, and see so many thousands of images from amateurs ranging in quality up to truly outstanding. Enjoy the fact that you have access to the tools to better your photography, and learn to shoot at a professional level.
Well said, and balanced points.

I have no formal education in art or photography, have never taken a class or workshop, and am not a professional by any standard definition of the term.

Does that mean I shouldn't charge for my photography or accept clients if approached about doing projects?

Back in 2009, shortly after I started in photography, I thought I was fairly decent and said to my wife, "I might be able to do this for a living!" Fortunately, no one tried to hire me to do any projects, but had they offered, I know I would have said yes. I look back on my photos from then, and cringe at many of them. I'm sure in 5 years, I'll look back at some of the photos I take now and cringe.

I guess what I'm saying is that, while I'm not a fan of the proliferation of people buying cameras and becoming "instant pros," I can understand why it happens. Much art is a matter of perspective, and the more you learn and practice, the more your tastes change and your eye develops. An advanced photographer may look at a novice's work and be able to point out tons of flaws that the novice never saw. Likewise, the less-than-novice client may not see them either--and might very well be happy with their photos.

Again, not defending the practice, just trying to give some additional perspective on it.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:08 AM   #14
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OP... I can totally relate to being frustrated by the pros who really shouldn't be calling themselves pros. It used to really bother me when I first started working. Honestly actually going back to school and getting a BFA in photography changed my whole attitude. The quality of work others do has absolutely no effect on my work. And if other people want to waste money on poor quality photographs then that's their choice. It's their money.

And yes, the guy linked to is really, really horrid. Don't kid yourself, the landscapes aren't even good. All of the portraits are probably his friends and family. Once he exhausts those options he most likely will not get paying work and will fade away. Unless he learns and grows as a photographer. It does happen. Not that often, but it can.

There's also a quote from a professor I think anyone who picks up a camera needs to keep in mind. "If everyone tells you your work is awesome then someone is lying." If more people sought out meaningful critique there would be fewer "pro" photographers.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:09 AM   #15
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I find it very difficult to call myself a professional photographer, even though others do. Those that follow me, know I shoot a lot of motorsports and am a track photographer at a major US motorsports complex. I do not do travel the circuit preferring to stay at my track and other local tracks in the Midwest. I was out of photography (other than a P & S) for many years before my retirement from the day job. The only reason I even created my website and took steps to protect my images, was that I found people using them for their marketing, business cards, etc., without even a mention of who took the photo. Photo credit should be the minimum that is given if you take someone's image for your own use. While I used to display online, post-processed high quality images, I now post low resolution pics with a large, obnoxious watermark right down the middle. Am I proud of the look of some of those images? Absolutely not, but its the only way I can protect them. My hope is that those that are interested in a photo will look at the composition or content and realize that things like slightly under or overexposed can be corrected in PP. Its kind of a double edged sword!

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