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Author Topic: So would I need to do weddings?  (Read 2971 times)
michswiss
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« on: October 04, 2010, 09:27:41 AM »
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Did HCB do it? Capa?  Other "Masters?"

There's so much discussion about the difference between a professional and amateur, I figured I'd ask a marginally hypothetical question.  If I went fully professional, would I need to shoot weddings?  More to the point, what options and avenues exist today for someone just starting out and how does this differ from someone that might want to start a second career.  I'm not really talking about the wedding or senior-shot photog, but something related to being out there.  Lay out a roadmap.
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mahleu
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2010, 10:59:59 AM »
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Shooting a wedding is a lot like shooting a war. And lots of famous photographers have done that including Capa :p
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Joe Behar
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 11:30:21 AM »
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Would you do something that you might not particularly like just so you can tell people you're a "professional photographer" ?

I guess if you really feel that doing photography that does not excite you is better than what you're doing now, you should do it.

Do you really give a rat's behind if HCB or Capa or anyone else shot weddings? I don't.

I've been working in the photo industry for over 30 years. I've met thousands of pro shooters in my time and I can tell you one thing the overwhelming majority that has stood the test of time has in common. They love what they do. Almost without exception. Do they ocassionaly do a job where they hold their nose, just to pay the bills? yup. Would they do it all the time? Not the ones that stay in the business. I have yet to meet a reasonably successful wedding/portrait shooter that does not love what they do. Your post seems to imply that you would be doing this because you have to not because you want to.

If ever there was a reason NOT to pursue a career in a certain field, that would be it...IMO
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michswiss
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 10:23:54 PM »
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Would you do something that you might not particularly like just so you can tell people you're a "professional photographer" ?

I guess if you really feel that doing photography that does not excite you is better than what you're doing now, you should do it.

Do you really give a rat's behind if HCB or Capa or anyone else shot weddings? I don't.

I've been working in the photo industry for over 30 years. I've met thousands of pro shooters in my time and I can tell you one thing the overwhelming majority that has stood the test of time has in common. They love what they do. Almost without exception. Do they ocassionaly do a job where they hold their nose, just to pay the bills? yup. Would they do it all the time? Not the ones that stay in the business. I have yet to meet a reasonably successful wedding/portrait shooter that does not love what they do. Your post seems to imply that you would be doing this because you have to not because you want to.

If ever there was a reason NOT to pursue a career in a certain field, that would be it...IMO


Apologies for the slight tongue-in-cheek demeanour of the question.  But the question about options for both a younger person and someone considering a second career later in life was meant in earnest.  For me, there are a few things I'm passionate about of which my photography is one.  I will be going through a process over the next six months that will entail almost daily considerations of "What's next" and I'm truely interested in gaining a better understanding of various patterns or portfolios of work for photograpy common today.

I've been asked more than a few times to do commissioned events.  While they makes me nervous, I'm happy to do them and ultimately it's enjoyable.  But what really floats my boat is documentary and series work, short essays and longer studies. 
 

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Joe Behar
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2010, 09:21:58 AM »
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I've been asked more than a few times to do commissioned events.  While they makes me nervous, I'm happy to do them and ultimately it's enjoyable.  But what really floats my boat is documentary and series work, short essays and longer studies. 

If you enjoy it, then there's no issue...go ahead, have a great time, and make some money while you're at it. I suspect that you're going to need the income to fund your documentary work.

I recently attended an evening with a group of photographers involved in a long term project called "Photo Sensitive" These men and women are full time working pros that generally make their living in commercial work, but have a passion for documentary and community service. They have travelled the world for this project, published a book, have gotten international recognition and have donated both their time and money for this. None of this would have been possible if they did not enjoy their "day jobs".

Take from that what you will.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2010, 11:14:02 AM »
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Jenn

I spent around five years working in an industrial photo unit where I learned all I ever needed to know about photography (the technical, not the business) and then a further one messing about in employment. In the end, I realised that if I was ever going to make a decent living out of the business it was going to be on my own.

I had enough to keep us alive for six months. We eventually got work and by the end of the six-month period we were almost bust: not because we hadn't got work, but we hadn't realised how slow businesses can be to pay you for doing their work. That was '66. I wonder how much has changed, other than most of the early companies I knew have vanished off the face of the planet.

Weddings. Those for a month or two, as well as passports. Then, one rainy afternoon on the steps of a grim Glasgow church, I had my epiphany: I imagined David Bailey driving slowly past in his Rolls, slowing down to a halt, looking at me and breaking into a grin. I never did another one: I vowed it was fashion or die. I didn't die. According to his own legend, Bailey did a single paid one, for one of the Krays, London's toughest mobsters of the day. As he said, it was an offer he couldn't refuse.

Rerun? I would not do any more of anything I didn't want to do. (In photography.)

I think that one lesson you learn as you think time runs short is this: if you can't do what you love, don't prostitute it or yourself with substitutes.

Rob C

« Last Edit: October 05, 2010, 11:17:21 AM by Rob C » Logged

Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2010, 03:57:43 PM »
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You have to strike a compromise between what you want to do, what you can do and what people are prepared to pay you to do.

The problem with weddings is the pressure ... żbut if you have done event photography this would not be a problem?

I Want to do some speculative freelance landscape work before I do much with the customer breathing down my neck... yes I have been there, done that, with MF film, but the customers were very undemanding, in the 1970s, 80s...
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2010, 05:32:44 PM »
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I have noticed quite a few Nature Photograhers hve their hand in many pots.   in addition to fne art they sell at galleries & and do shows,  Magazines (Outdoor Photographer and regional magazines among others), workshops, sell cards & bookmarks   I could go on.   but basically it appears, at least for the majority, Nature/landscape just isn't enough on its own.

I did weddings years ago and did not like it at all.

Make yourself a business plan, visit or at least communicate with other successful photographers and find out what they are doing to make it.

I believe that one can still make a living but you will need to be very pro-active in marketing and selling yourself.

Good luck in your future success
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2010, 04:02:00 AM »
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An acute observation, Larry, which I think says it all.

And for Jenn, if it's going to be photoreportage, I think she has picked herself the steepest calvary of all.

Rob C
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michswiss
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2010, 07:31:45 AM »
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If I did do this it would be a part of a broader transition over a couple of years to move away from management consulting into creative areas that I trained for before I fell into my current career.  Photography would be a portion of the "new portfolio" but probably not the only component.  It would probably also entail a move back to Europe / UK as a base but with frequent travel within Asia.  I can't say that I'd specialise in photo-reportage, but I would be eager to take freelancing / assignments.   I'd probably also continue to develop my own stories as well as figure out ways to monetise a back-catalogue as it grows.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2010, 07:03:44 AM »
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I have noticed quite a few Nature Photograhers hve their hand in many pots.   in addition to fne art they sell at galleries & and do shows,  Magazines (Outdoor Photographer and regional magazines among others), workshops, sell cards & bookmarks   I could go on.   but basically it appears, at least for the majority, Nature/landscape just isn't enough on its own.


Aren't all those aspects of selling Nature Photography? No business can only produce; it also has to sell.

IMO, a Nature Photographer who sells his work at art shows, at galleries, in gift shops, who writes for magazines, and who conducts workshops ... is still acting and serving as a Nature Photographer ...

Jack




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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2010, 10:12:30 AM »
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Literally, yes, you could say that; but I think Larry probably had another interpretation in mind. Somehow, doing all those things you list isn't quite in the same bag as normal photographic marketing in the general run of the business. Somehow, there's a slightly sour taste hidden within the mix. I'm finding it very difficult to articulate without offending, but the gut feeling is very clear to me. It all smacks of crawling on one's belly - somehow: see, see, love me, please?

Were it possible simply to shoot the stuff, hand it in to stock or to an editor and collect a cheque through the post, then yep, pretty good. Even better, Mr Client rings you up and asks you to go to wherever and come back with whatever. Now that's nice. And that's what happens in some other realms of the fine art we call photography. All the messing about with a string of egos is not all right at all. On the other hand, I'm quite willing to accept that that's no more than my reaction, that others lap it all up.

But, in the end, I think Larry right.

Rob C
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 10:14:19 AM by Rob C » Logged

JohnKoerner
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2010, 11:07:55 AM »
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Literally, yes, you could say that.

Which should be the end of the discussion.

But, since you want to elaborate with emotive (and not rational) "feelings" ... I will address them as frankly as I can.




but I think Larry probably had another interpretation in mind. Somehow, doing all those things you list isn't quite in the same bag as normal photographic marketing in the general run of the business. Somehow, there's a slightly sour taste hidden within the mix. I'm finding it very difficult to articulate without offending, but the gut feeling is very clear to me. It all smacks of crawling on one's belly - somehow: see, see, love me, please?

Well, that would be your own insecure and jaded view of things.

I don't know what "normal" photographic marketing is, but everyone has to start somewhere. No one starts at the top of the heap. And, considering there are thousands of photographers in each genre, the only way to get noticed among the throng is to get out there and market yourself in any way you can.




Were it possible simply to shoot the stuff, hand it in to stock or to an editor and collect a cheque through the post, then yep, pretty good. Even better, Mr Client rings you up and asks you to go to wherever and come back with whatever. Now that's nice. And that's what happens in some other realms of the fine art we call photography. All the messing about with a string of egos is not all right at all. On the other hand, I'm quite willing to accept that that's no more than my reaction, that others lap it all up.

Sure, it would be nice to be the center of the world and to have everyone else call you. It would be nice if everyone would just ask you where they should send the money, and leave you to your photography, but it takes awhile for anyone to "get" to a position like that.

So, really, your perspective has more to do with a fragile ego and insecurity.

There *are* some nature photographers who are in this kind of position, but I can truthfully promise you they had to work their a$$es off to get there. No one, who is starting out (really in ANY photographic genre) can reasonably expect for top publications/galleries/clients to be ringing their phones off the hook for work.

Therefore, a person who is starting out is either willing to bust their ass and get out there and market themselves, over-and-over-again, until they "make it" ... or they can sit around with false pride and wait for a miracle.

Anyone who is afraid of hard work, or who is waiting for the world to plop into their lap, is most likely headed for disappointment. Furthermore, some people actually enjoy writing articles, and actually enjoy meeting people at shows, actually enjoy teaching people at workshops, etc.




But, in the end, I think Larry right.
Rob C

You can think what you want, but not everybody has your cynical perspective. In the end, I think the only part you got right was when you admitted this was no more than your own personal reaction; that others really do enjoy these different aspects of their work.

Jack




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Joe Behar
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2010, 12:34:58 PM »
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Which should be the end of the discussion.

Jack,

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I'm pretty sure you have never actually been in the professional photography business, have you?

It might not be "rational", but it is the way it is....

I understand your desire for logic and rationality, but I really think in this case you need to defer to people that have had a lifetime invested in this industry.

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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2010, 12:48:02 PM »
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Jack,
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I'm pretty sure you have never actually been in the professional photography business, have you?

Hi Joe. There's only one way to take what you've said, and that is for the truth that it is.

I am just "getting into" the photography business now, and so have no longstanding tenure at all at this point.




It might not be "rational", but it is the way it is....

Could you please define the "it" to which you are referring?




I understand your desire for logic and rationality, but I really think in this case you need to defer to people that have had a lifetime invested in this industry.

I will always defer to people who either (a) have more experience than I and/or (b) to people who have already said something better and more accurately than can I.

In this particular case, however, Rob's experience comes from the perspective of a dinosaur in the industry and is not "fresh" information, and therefore I think is irrelevant. I think, in today's photographic climate, for anyone to start out thinking he or she is just going to have work/money dumped into their laps, without having first do put in the time, do the work, and self-promote like crazy is just unrealistic.

But I am always open to an easier road than that, if it's realistic.

Jack




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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2010, 01:23:21 PM »
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"In this particular case, however, Rob's experience comes from the perspective of a dinosaur in the industry and is not "fresh" information, and therefore I think is irrelevant. I think, in today's photographic climate, for anyone to start out thinking he or she is just going to have work/money dumped into their laps, without having first do put in the time, do the work, and self-promote like crazy is just unrealistic."



Believe me, Jack, not even in my Jurassic period did work fall off the trees; temptation, yes; work no.

But I appreciate your attempt to rewrite history or, perhaps, even the present. But remember, Dino had a pretty thick skin and still, probably, has. Even better: no axe to grind and nothing to lose.

Rob C

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2010, 01:46:18 PM »
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... your own insecure and jaded view of things... your perspective has more to do with a fragile ego and insecurity...

Oh, no... yet another self-appointed shrink on the forum!  Wink

As for the other stuff you said, I can agree with most of it, if for no other reason than for the fact it represents simple truisms, and not necessarily a rebuttal of what Rob said. Note that Rob prefaced his paragraph with a subjunctive form ("were it possible"), typically used to denote a a hypothetical situation, i.e., what is imagined or wished, not reality.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2010, 01:52:19 PM »
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... In this particular case, however, Rob's experience comes from the perspective of a dinosaur in the industry and is not "fresh" information, and therefore I think is irrelevant...

The same was said by young hot-shot stock traders about the stock market for dot.coms (i.e., "this time it is different", "old rules do not apply to the new economy", etc.)... just before the bubble burst.  Wink
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Slobodan

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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2010, 02:10:13 PM »
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Oh, no... yet another self-appointed shrink on the forum!  Wink

I didn't appoint myself as anything.

So, really, what we have is yet another example of you jumping to conclusions and saying things that were not said.




As for the other stuff you said, I can agree with most of it, if for no other reason than for the fact it represents simple truisms, and not necessarily a rebuttal of what Rob said. Note that Rob prefaced his paragraph with a subjunctive form ("were it possible"), typically used to denote a a hypothetical situation, i.e., what is imagined or wished, not reality.

Of course you can agree on most of what I said, because in point of fact what I have said is based on the truth. Correct principles, after all, are what make "simple truisms" true Smiley




The same was said by young hot-shot stock traders about the stock market for dot.coms (i.e., "this time it is different", "old rules do not apply to the new economy", etc.)... just before the bubble burst.  Wink

No, the same was NOT said by hot-shot stock traders. In point of fact, it was they who wanted to "get rich quick" and not work hard to get there nor follow time-proven principles of evaluating the true worth of companies before investing.

It is actually "the old truths" of being willing to work and applying correct principles that I was espousing, which you had previously admitted I said.

It is Rob who seems to have an aversion to hard work and sustained effort, not me, so you seem to retain your characteristic trouble with staying on point ...

Jack




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Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2010, 02:11:47 PM »
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The same was said by young hot-shot stock traders about the stock market for dot.coms (i.e., "this time it is different", "old rules do not apply to the new economy", etc.)... just before the bubble burst.  Wink


Slobodan

Loved your New York Moment/Pizza! Very quick reactions and eye.

Rob C
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