Ok- I’m going to do my best
not to make this into some kind of rant, to nicely share my opinion but I’m not going to “sugar coat” what I’m about to say either.
If you are offended by people who have an opinion- you should probably go on back to whatever else you were looking at before you came here….:-) If you want to see what I have to talk about….more after the break
We all start somewhere- That’s the bottom line and that’s the truth. No one started out being great; and the great ones work at it- every day!
I think something that I saw on the “Great Group Hug” known as Facebook finally pushed me to this point that I feel I have to say something or risk having my beliefs go down the drain!
We’ll get to that in a moment….. Let’s start where all stories SHOULD start-at the beginning.
I have to come clean about something- I shot my very first wedding for $50.00!!! (Professional photographers everywhere just cringed….) I was one of the “masses” that we all talk about as the “Fauxtographers”- but back then (Ok smart a$$es- Not last week; this was back when the minimum wage was 4 bucks and film RULED!) I didn’t know it, but I was a pawn- I thought that some of my snapshots were appreciated and that the mother of the bride wanted me with my “vision” to take her son’s wedding photos- after all it was only going to be a “small affair”.
I’m lucky I didn’t get sued (People didn’t sue other people at the drop of a hat back then) as my shutter and flash were out of “sync” on the second roll of film-The first roll was a “gem”, but was of the pre-ceremony… did I mention I only took Two rolls of film?….YEESH- what a dunce!
But- they realized afterwards that just because someone has a camera- doesn’t mean they know how to use it- being cheap can cost you. (and that is EXACTLY what it boiled down to and WHY I was chosen-I was flattered and would do it for what they offered- NOT because I was a talented artist- that came many, many years later….*kidding*)
Rule #1- we don’t know what all we don’t know when we start out.
I think that was a turning point for me- you can all stop laughing now….. 😉
Truth is- It was AFTER that fiasco that I BECAME a serious photographer. I didn’t go out and try to book more weddings like so many would today- I was really concerned and focused on what I did wrong and HOW I COULD MAKE MY PHOTOGRAPHY BETTER!
I didn’t ask anybody on FB what they thought about my “wedding Photography”- nor did I post the three “Good” photos on any message board so people could reassure me that my stuff “RULED”- I went and bought Michael Langford’s book -“Basic 35 mm Photography” because it had examples that would show and teach me what a proper exposure and an incorrect one ( side by side) looked like . AND … as an added bonus- EXPLAINED how to achieve the results that would allow me to “Speak visually” through my camera.
(Not once did I find in the glossary ” How photography would make one rich” or the elusive” The easy way to creating images that RULE”)
I am constanly learning all I can to make myself a better photographer- Every day….and I wouldn’t want it any other way- It’s a life style more than a career.
**OPINION WARNING** To me, photography is a living CRAFT AND ART- not just a means to an end.
Back to the story…..
I’m not gonna
moan and b*tch sit here and complain about all the “Faux-tographers out there who post incessantly on FB who cleverly say to “contact me if you
want me to photograph your _______* Insert Family, pet, senior, function, wedding- whatever.”
Professional photographers pay their dues (They also pay sales tax, property tax, B&O tax, Insurance, health insurance, rent, ongoing education etc…) Professionals show their best work- and consistently create their best work as a product each and every time- not just the “lucky shot that “RULES”
Trust me- there aren’t ANY professional **UNDERSCORE PROFESSIONAL** photographers worth their salt that SUCK and stay in business- because if they are not CONSISTANTLY good and innovative- they won’t be able to afford to pay for all the things listed above…and they will fail.
Thanks for hanging with me so far… stay with me…. we’re about to get to the “juicy” part….
So what am I getting at you ask? Well…..
The only reason I share on FB because I want to share something with people that “speaks” to me- NOT because I am seeking compliments or approval. I have a LOT of FB friends- and if I’m being truthful- I really only know a handful personally- As a photographer and artist – I have to rely on my training to make serious business decisions; I will share it on FB because I think you might be interested- but the decision in HOW I do that will be mine.
What got me going today was a relatively new Pro Photog (ok- anybody that hasn’t been in this for over 30 years is “new” to me, ok? LOL) asked the question “should I teach a photo workshop since I have so many people asking me to Shadow/assist/ learn from me?” and the responses were overwhelming “YES’ From the mass of group huggers. ( How many would soon become the “competition” I wonder?)
Not that this person SHOULDN’T teach a class- they are talented and seem to be really professional- I don’t mean that at all! But ASKING a group of people that in reality, “Like” me with a button- then maybe the idea should receive a little more thought.
I think you have to ask yourself “What is the purpose of teaching/photographing/creating/sharing?” Is it a means to an end, or something that you feel drawn to do?”
I started teaching workshops because a photographer friend who ran the Tourism Photo Lab in my state asked me to, on technical merit ( I worked at his photo lab at the time- It was NOT because of my photography skills- but because I was an expert in the Lab process)I feel I was asked because I was recognized in my field at the time (Ok- I graduated to photography workshops later- but not before I paid some serious dues and learned and learned and learned-I have worked many years at this- I have my certifications, and I can back up what I say and do- and explain thought processes and procedures in how and why I do the things I do.)
*** OPINION WARNING***
You should get feedback from your mentors- don”t trust what “everyone else” is saying about you- That leads to a false sense of accomplishment. By all means- if
you feel you have something of importance to share that sets you technically/aesthetically apart from other photographers/photography- teach it- share that gift- but PLEASE-do it because you are drawn and feel a need to do it- not just because you are flattered/ want to make a buck.
I have seen so many people new to photography ready to go out and teach without being ready, passing on bad technique as well as bad habits- this goes back to the rule starting out- you don’t know what you don’t know!
I remember one class I went to, Fairly new photographer friends of mine at the time- they had a “sponsor” as well as having a studio and were teaching Photoshop techniques they used to get that “signature look”- They kept fumbling over the names of what the tools were called and couldn’t explain clearly the steps that went into “the look” in the program!!! I had to bite my tongue and sit on my hands!!
(FYI- They were VERY talented – but should NOT have been teaching without the skills needed to communicate as teachers)
Rule #2: Not all who Create; can communicate!
***OPINION WARNING*** If I’m going to pay you to teach me something, I
expect require you to be proficient at it.
I don’t blame anyone for picking up a camera and wanting to make a go of it- I really don’t! If you have the drive to create something both personal and wonderful that
needs that outlet; I say go for it! But realize that for some of us- we take it very seriously- we protect it with every breath we take-we protect the integrity of our work with copyrights, and we protect our craft by inviting people new to the game to come and be a part of our professional organizations (I recommend the www.ppwv.org or www.ppa.com ) so that they may learn what it takes to succeed and not pollute what we strive to keep so pure.
climbing off the soap box Through for the moment …..Thanks for listening!