Being a professional Photographer is easier than you think!!

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
"I shoot with a Canon, a DSLR, it's a professional camera." [Me too! Like.. wow!] Actually.. I can't watch all of this but I do see what she's trying to say here. So many people I started out with in photo forums six months later or so declared themselves photographers. Three years with some fifty cameras and I don't call myself a photographer. Heck I'm still learning! I am a very avid hobbyist and some of my work is excellent [or so others have told me] but winning a contest or publishing in a magazine doesn't instantly make you a pro either. Nowadays with high end consumer cameras and affordable software anyone can take and present some decent photographs. I'm not sure I'd trust a friend to do a wedding for me.. myself I hired a pro and was thankful for doing so.. but cost and availability has made photography a hobby that the average man can now afford and indulge in. Years ago although I had an interest in it I couldn't afford it. Not even when my kids were growing up. My point and shoot film camera broke and I had to buy disposables for a long time just to get their birthday parties on film. Long meaning until my husband bought me my Canon, a DSLR, you know the professional camera, three years ago for my birthday. My kids are now grown for a point of reference :) Anyway.. amusing thread.. and yeah one of my pet peeves.. "I'm a Photographer" - "I post on facebook" *Don't start on the facebook thing it'll light me up LOL!
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
SoCal
Bob
There are a great many "professional photographers" who know little to nothing about the basics of photography. I see them all the time on flickr. They're usually talking about their "nifty fifty's" and saying things like "You really rocked the bokeh on that one". Even the blind squirrel finds the occasional nut. Part of the problem (as she explains in the first video) is how great modern cameras have gotten at getting the exposure right.
And unfortunately people like that (and the computer-generated gal in the other video) are putting "real" professionals out of work (or making it much harder than it should be). So being a successful "professional" is now more about marketing yourself and your images than it is about the actual images. Even as an outsider, it just bugs the daylights out of me that someone picks up a hobby and a year later they declare themselves a professional and start charging people money. Imagine if I just read a bunch of science books and announced that I was a doctor.
Usually the pros that are put under pressure by the “ hobbyist Pros” are the wedding and stock shooters.
Sadly on the first thing most people do not understand how much time, effort and professionalism goes into making these wedding jobs a success. I know for me it is tough enough dealing with “Professional Clients” that I would never want to deal with the pressure and demands of the “Amateur Clients”. Shooting weddings for a living is not an easy gig
As too the stock shooters, amateurs are so thrilled to have something bought that they do not understand how much they have sunk the image resell pricing of images. The Pros had worked for years to establish certain resell guidelines those are now in many ways out the window.

In my end of the business there is not too much pressure coming from “ hobbyist Pros” it is hard enough to get the first job and even harder to maintain working at this level. The work pressure comes more from an industry that tends to treat photographers and other artists with the attitude that you are only as good as your last job.
Also now matter how automatic the camera becomes, they cannot thankfully; light, compose, understand the job, relate to the talent, deal with the pressure and make the decisions as to when to push the shutter button.
By the way I love the videos and there are people even without the science books playing doctor
 

olli

Super Moderator Emeritus
Sep 28, 2010
Sofia, Bulgaria
olli
Agree with you on stock, but that's the market. I occasionally get asked by people if they can use some of my pictures. They never offer to pay, just to 'acknowledge' me and give me some 'free publicity'. If it's a commercial operation I always say no unless they pay me. But obviously I'm not going to ask as much as they would pay if they bought from one of the stock agencies. I did have one occasion where someone approached me for an image for a commercial website, I quoted a very reasonable price and they can back and said they had found someone who would let them have a pic for free! So it's not just the pro's who are being undercut by the people who are just thrilled to be asked:)

I disagree a little on the wedding photography issue. There are some - in fact there are a lot - of very average 'pro' wedding photographers out there charging a lot of money for a very bog standard product. If the competent wedding pros have an issue it should be with those 'pros' who have dragged down the standard and made the competent hobbyist a viable alternative.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
SoCal
Bob
A
I disagree a little on the wedding photography issue. There are some - in fact there are a lot - of very average 'pro' wedding photographers out there charging a lot of money for a very bog standard product. If the competent wedding pros have an issue it should be with those 'pros' who have dragged down the standard and made the competent hobbyist a viable alternative.
I am going to split with you on this one granted there are a lot of bad pros in every profession , plumbers, gardeners and yes photographers, where we are different on this, is that most people are not hiring the “ hobbyist Pros” because they know they are better than the boring or bad pros, they mostly do it because they are cheaper. Most “ hobbyist Pros” do not see their own actual costs, whether it is time or equipment. At the same time I not even suggesting that there are not quite a few “ hobbyist Pros” that might even be better than some of the "good pros". My point is it is easy to undercut if you do not think you have operational costs. For me there are a few small jobs I turn down every year because I cannot afford to shoot them
 

soundimageplus

Top Veteran
Jul 6, 2010
I agree with Olli on pretty much everything he said. The case is as its always been, if you are any good you will make money as a photographer, if you aren't you won't. Certainly I don't see "amateurs" as a "threat". Plus the more people who get into stock photography and the cheaper pictures are sold for, the more money I seem to make. Far more than 20 years ago when just a few of us were doing it using medium-format film cameras.

On weddings and portraiture, both are very much "word-of-mouth" businesses, so if you are any good you will get recommended, if you aren't you wont. Whether you are full-time or part-time isn't that much of an issue. Plus there are very few (none?) photographers who ever went straight into the professional world. Its part of the process that you move through the stages. Everybody has to do their first paid wedding, their first paid portrait session.

Going back to "Missy", while what she is doing is partly about this, its surely much more about the state of "internet punditry" and the fact that anyone can do what she does. While I realise that writing my blog puts me very much in a glasshouse, I will throw a few stones anyway!

While there are a number of experienced and talented photographers who offer advice, information, and the benefit of their experience, such as Michael Reichmann, Kirk Tuck and Tom Hogan, there are also some people out there with websites, blogs and videos who offer none of the above. Some of them are often quoted and referred to frequently. There's a particular favourite of mine who gives his opinion on new gear, in front of lots of video screens. However his message seems to be, if it isn't Nikon its rubbish! There was also a video review recommended by a site many here probably frequent last week. This was presented by someone who looked like a serial killer, included noise interruptions and was basically just a re-hashing of every forum piece I'd ever read. I've seen shaky, jerky videos that aren't even in focus, pieces where the "presenter" stumbles over every word, videos where its obvious the "expert" hasn't got a clue how to work what they are "reviewing". Most of this usually includes, at some point, this person telling us how "awesome" the particular piece of gear is.

So why wouldn't "Missy" tell us that becoming a "professional photographer" is easy, and that you don't have to bother with technique, creativity, skill and talent? She's just doing what many others do. The fact that she doesn't show a single image is again pretty typical. The craziness of all this is that people believed she was "serious". But then that isn't surprising, since people take these other idiots seriously. Talk about the "blind leading the blind".

So "Missy" with her mockery and her caricature of a "soccer mom on the make" is right on the button as far as I am concerned. We have a Facebook and Reality TV generation that somehow believes that mundane equals truth, that genuine talent is suspicious and that learning to do something properly is irrelevant and unnecessary. "Missy" gives us all of that.



Agree with you on stock, but that's the market. I occasionally get asked by people if they can use some of my pictures. They never offer to pay, just to 'acknowledge' me and give me some 'free publicity'. If it's a commercial operation I always say no unless they pay me. But obviously I'm not going to ask as much as they would pay if they bought from one of the stock agencies. I did have one occasion where someone approached me for an image for a commercial website, I quoted a very reasonable price and they can back and said they had found someone who would let them have a pic for free! So it's not just the pro's who are being undercut by the people who are just thrilled to be asked:)

I disagree a little on the wedding photography issue. There are some - in fact there are a lot - of very average 'pro' wedding photographers out there charging a lot of money for a very bog standard product. If the competent wedding pros have an issue it should be with those 'pros' who have dragged down the standard and made the competent hobbyist a viable alternative.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
SoCal
Bob
just to be clear I hope I did not imply that “ hobbyist Pros” were a threat to wedding shooters, and obviously one has to start some where. I have just read a number of posts on other forums where people starting shooting weddings for X dollars, but do not count the cost of their equipment, insurance, editing and processing time, etc in their costs.

As to stock many of my friends who shoot stock are having a much tougher time now than in the past, not because they are bad, but there is just so much more material and sources out there for images, as well as the large drop in print demands that have had an impact on pricing.
 

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