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Author Topic: The Changing Photography Industry  (Read 3178 times)
RSL
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« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2010, 11:46:28 AM »
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The type of person you describe, who wouldn't do anything for free, or who wouldn't devote some of his time/efforts for his own personal enjoyment, I would describe as "loveless," or "soul-less." Such a person might be a professional also, in that his income is generated by his photography, but his motives are 100% for profit and nothing else.

Jack, I'm sorry my description came over that way. I didn't intend to imply that a pro "wouldn't" donate free time. Until a few months ago my office was in a building where I had two pro friends down the hall, both of whom occasionally donated their time and work for good causes. I intended to imply that most pros couldn't afford to do the kind of street photography I do because they have to make a living. For both my friends, that's a real problem at the moment with the economy the way it is, even though both have exceptionally fine reputations in the community. I'm a retired Air Force colonel who, until a couple years ago was gainfully employed in software engineering. I neither need to, nor try to make a living at photography, and that's the difference.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 01:38:13 PM by RSL » Logged

JeffColburn
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« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2010, 12:39:45 PM »
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Yes RSL, they did hire me. Selling yourself is one of the facets of making a living as a photographer.

As for the rest of your story, I've seen that too, in many fields. I used to have a website design business, and about 30% of my work came from clients who used a friend or college student to make their website. They did it for free after all. Many times I had to recreate the site from scratch because the student didn't make a website that was what the client wanted, they made a website that was designed around their class curriculum. Recreating the website would usually add $1,000 to the project (finding original images, determining fonts, etc.) and I made sure the client knew this.

Have Fun,
Jeff
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2010, 04:20:57 PM »
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A pro knows his equipment, how to get the image he wants, and how to get that image every time.

So you're saying the professional takes no discard shots and only needs to press his finger once to get perfection? I think that is a bit of an overstatement.

It's pretty much this simple: the professional gets paid for his work; the non-professional doesn't.

Jack



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ckimmerle
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« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2010, 04:24:21 PM »
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...when people tell me my work is "very professional"... I feel insulted... partly because what they mean is "good for an amateur"

Still laughing over that one. Made my day.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2010, 04:25:54 PM »
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The word "professional" used to imply competence, but, when people tell me my work is "very professional"... I feel insulted... partly because I see a great deal of work by professionals that I do not think is competent, and partly because what they mean is "good for an amateur"

Feelings and facts are two different things.

Direct meanings and implied meanings are also.

The direct meaning of "professional" is that the man earns his living (i.e., gets paid) for his photography; the implied meaning is that he has enough skill to do so. As we all know, some amateurs have better photographic skills (and take nicer photos) than some professionals ... but, if they're not getting paid, they're still amateurs.

The implied meaning is what causes the confusion; but the direct meaning of professional is simply "paid." Another example is, there are many people who can cook exquisite meals ... but only the paid chef is the professional cook.

Jack




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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2010, 04:46:25 PM »
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Jack, I'm sorry my description came over that way. I didn't intend to imply that a pro "wouldn't" donate free time. Until a few months ago my office was in a building where I had two pro friends down the hall, both of whom occasionally donated their time and work for good causes. I intended to imply that most pros couldn't afford to do the kind of street photography I do because they have to make a living. For both my friends, that's a real problem at the moment with the economy the way it is, even though both have exceptionally fine reputations in the community. I'm a retired Air Force colonel who, until a couple years ago was gainfully employed in software engineering. I neither need to, nor try to make a living at photography, and that's the difference.

Well, I am sorry if I mistook your meaning.

As I said to Dick, a professional anything is simply one who earns their living doing "that" thing. The confusion lies in the implication that such a person has supreme competence in their vocational field versus a non-paid fancier of that same trade (who might be highly-skilled). Just because a person is a "paid professional" doesn't mean he is any more skilled than an equally-experienced avid fancier, who (for whatever reason) doesn't earn his living that way, but who through his own interests in that subject has his own acquired skills/talents in it.

As another example, I remember training in jiu-jitsu ~18 years ago back in California, when the UFC first came out. There were a couple of "professional" NHB fighters who trained there ... who were routinely submitted by "amateur" (non-paid) brown and black belts. The professional fighters were good, and trained in other discplines besides jiu-jitsu (such as boxing, muay thai, etc.) ... and they earned their living by entering real fights ... but this does not mean that they didn't routinely get their @$$es handed to them by non-professional, un-paid fighters, who (though they didn't fight for money) were damned good at what they did because they did it every single say for fun.

This same analogy could apply to photography ...

Regarding the amount of time one can put into recreation, aside from the time he puts into his vocation, this is a whole other subject. But I guess that would be a personal matter and option. Like you, I couldn't spend the amount of time I do taking nature photography, if I didn't have another income source established. If I had to eat based on my photography alone, I would starve, which makes me an amateur/semi-pro at this point.

Jack




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« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 04:48:33 PM by John Koerner » Logged
BFoto
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« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2010, 07:20:01 PM »
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Nass, I'm not sure what you take as the difference is between an "amateur" and a "professional," but let me assure you that there's nothing a professional can do that an amateur can't do. You're assuming that "professional" implies good photography. What it actually implies is paying photography. Sometimes that's very good photography since most pros are experienced folks, but sometimes it's pretty bad. Walk down your main street and look in your local photographers' windows to see what I mean. Experience often leads to technical competence but it doesn't necessarily lead to an ability to look and see.
Well said....technical ability does not translate to artistic eye.
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JeffColburn
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« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2010, 01:02:09 AM »
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So you're saying the professional takes no discard shots and only needs to press his finger once to get perfection? I think that is a bit of an overstatement.

Nope, I'm saying when the day is done, the professional has the image(s) he needs to have, because he knows how to get them, every time.

Quote
It's pretty much this simple: the professional gets paid for his work; the non-professional doesn't.

I don't look at a photographer's bank account to see if they're a professional, I look at their images. To have a successful photography business is 75% business skills, and 25% photography skills. I've seen photographers with amazing photography skills that couldn't run a successful business if you put a gun to their head. And I've seen mediocre photographs with successful businesses. It isn't fair, just the way it is.

Have Fun,
Jeff
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pegelli
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« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2010, 01:53:14 AM »
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I don't look at a photographer's bank account to see if they're a professional, I look at their images.

Have you ever tried a blind test with lots of images and pick the professionals from the amateurs?

I believe that will fail, just like judging someone's IQ or education level from their passport picture.
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pieter, aka pegelli
Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2010, 03:48:35 AM »
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I don't look at a photographer's bank account to see if they're a professional, I look at their images.
Jeff
What does it take to produce a good Image?

I would suggest (not necessarily in this order)...

Having equipment suitable (or ideal) for the task
Technical competence in using the equipment
Artistic skill
Man management /people skills (for pictures including people)
Being in the right place at the right time with the right equipment

żAny other suggestions?
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2010, 05:11:42 AM »
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For the pro:
The hability to handle pressure
The sense of responsability
A correct understanding of the client's need, the evolutions of medias and their implications
Understanding the balance between personal artistic orientation and the assignment involved
Dialog habilities
A high sense of self-marketing
Being ready to sacrifice familly obligations (at least at the beginning), or being involved with the right person...

For the amateur:
none of these things

Good points... convalescing, and not having had much experience of Medium Format Digital View Camera Photography, I will do some speculative landscapes etc. and portfolio work before I get into high-pressure situations.

...and I agree that there is a difference between having you own artistic ability and understanding what the client wants (artistically or commercially).
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2010, 06:45:43 AM »
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Nope, I'm saying when the day is done, the professional has the image(s) he needs to have, because he knows how to get them, every time.

You're being absurd. If you want to invent your own definition of "professional," then be my guest. Yet even your invented definition is absurd.

When the day is done, no one gets everything he wants, "every time." Why don't you make it even more absurd and just say the pro is the one who only has to push his finger once to get it perfect, "every time?" I mean, why should it take an entire day of shooting before the pro gets "exactly what he wants," every time?

You see, the trouble with your definition is I know of world class photographers that had to make 2, 3, and 4 trips to remote locations (where each trip took weeks), only to come back empty-handed from getting exactly what they wanted. Only through repeated persistence did these photographers finally get a perfect photograph of the specific rare, wild animal they sought. Another photographer comes to mind who had to had to spend months at a single location, until he finally captured the precise image he wanted. So these captures didn't happen from either the first finger-click, nor did they happen when the "day" was done: these captures took months and years to finally materialize. And the photographers to whom I am referring are a lot more widely-known professionals than yourself.

So, no, it's your definition of professional that's absurd, every time. No one gets everything he wants when the day is done, every time. Often it takes even the most consummate professional dozens of "days," and hundreds of "times," before he gets exactly what he wants. Furthermore, there are plenty of amateurs who show this kind of dedication also, and return again and again with dauntless persistence, until they get the image they want, which can be as good (or better) than a professional's. The only difference between the professional and the amateur isn't in the skill, nor is it in the dedication; the only difference is one sells his images while the other does not.

Again, it's as simple as this: a professional photographer generates a livable income from his images; the amateur does not. There really is nothing to debate: that is the definition of a professional.




I don't look at a photographer's bank account to see if they're a professional, I look at their images. To have a successful photography business is 75% business skills, and 25% photography skills. I've seen photographers with amazing photography skills that couldn't run a successful business if you put a gun to their head. And I've seen mediocre photographs with successful businesses. It isn't fair, just the way it is.
Have Fun,
Jeff

Have you been drinking Jeff? Because you just contradicted yourself.

The fact is, you can't tell a thing about someone's profession by looking at their images. Didn't you say you just sold your first photo the other day, and now you're saying you can just "look at photos" and determine whether anyone else is a "professional" or not. Again, this is absurd.

Out of one side of your mouth, you said you "look at the images" to determine if someone is professional or not. Out of the other side of your mouth, you admitted you've seen amazing photograpy skills from people who couldn't run a successful business. Thus it's not the image quality, it's the business (steady income) that defines the professional.

In the end, to run a successful photography business IS to be the professional. Not to run a photography business is NOT to be the professional. Regardless of image quality.

As I have said all along.

Jack




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« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 08:04:15 AM by John Koerner » Logged
larryg
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« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2010, 08:50:04 AM »
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Quality is quality. 
A photo of my granddaughter as an example:
My daughter took her daughter to a pro studio for portrait  the results (in my opinion) were really bad. It didn't even look like the one year old that is my grandchild.   

Another shot taken by my daughter (not a pro and with a point and shoot) which is one of the best images of her child I have seen yet.

If you want paying customers to seek you out, become the best you can be.  Create images that stand out (not a cookie cutter or run of the mill that everyone (including some pros) else is creating.

This goes for Landscape and stock photography also.   If you create images that stands out you would certainly have better odds of success.

Honestly there are a lot of very good non-professional landscape photographers around.
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2010, 09:03:21 AM »
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Quality is quality. 

Another shot taken by my daughter (not a pro and with a point and shoot) which is one of the best images of her child I have seen yet.

...reminds me of a photo (on the wall) of my brother-in-law.

He is shy and difficult to photograph... I handed the camera to my 9-year-niece and said:

"When Daddy looks hansom, press the button"

If you look closely, there is some camera shake, and I did take some of the weight of the 555 ELD + Macro-planar 120...
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