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Photography DiscussionReally!?

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TomCofer
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Really!?

Post by TomCofer »

The hired "professional photographer" at my daughter's graduation was using a bridge camera on a $35 Walmart tripod. This same photographer took over a year to get the photos and videos to the family members when she shot a graduation two years ago.

Look, I am not a professional and I know that it isn't all about the equipment. Heck, all I had around my neck was my Canon 50D and 70D. Still, it did piss me off when the local police officer told me, "You need to take a seat, the hired photographer will need this room to move around in." I am professional enough to stay out of another photographer's way!

I moved until the officer left. I went back, took the photos I wanted, and managed to stay out of her way. Heck, I even moved over to let a mom grab some cell phone pics.

Ok, rant over.
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Post by Bobby Deal »

Damn

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Post by Onslow »

Tom, sounds like your area is the same as mine. I think it's a world wide problem...

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TomCofer
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Post by TomCofer »

I probably should feel bad about providing my daughter's classmates with free facebook photos from the graduation along with digital copies for print when someone is trying to make earn money doing it. On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't have a better camera, be quicker on the turn around, or do better work.

It just pisses me off when self-proclaimed professional photographers do half as good as my redneck ass does.
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Post by Duck »

Yes, but this is how you get your foot in the door. Next year they could be hiring you.
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Post by tsilva »

It's guys like you that are putting hard working professionals like the one you are describing out of business!! :rofl:

I guess a bridge is a step up from an iphone or ipad... I do waver about you offering pictures for free however, regardless of the crappy offerings from the "pro"

I agree with Duck, you should use this as a stepping stone for next year

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Post by Steven G Webb »

I'm not sure how I feel on this topic. I am the official event photographer, not at graduations (though that would be sweet) but at horse shows. It's an expensive business as we're on the road 30 weeks out of the year. I have adequate equipment but not the latest nor most expensive cameras. Not an event goes by that someone doesn't crowd me, get in the way or shoot over my shoulder. Sometimes the people doing this are sporting more expensive cameras than I. They grab "just a few pictures for my daughter and her friends". They will even sometimes bravely say they aren't competing with me, they aren't selling anything just giving away a few photos to the riders in their barn. What they do not understand is that every one of those pictures they so graciously give away impact me. It wouldn't take but a handful of these people to cost me so much in lost revenue that I could no longer have a business. None of them want to stay at the ring and photograph every exhibition all day every day, nor take on the responsibilities of being the official photographer, so none of them really want my job. They want for free what they don't feel they should have to pay for. Some of these weekend warriors shoot with nothing more than a cell phone, but they can instantly upload their shots to Instagram, or Facebook and get something out there before I have time to upload my card to the computer.

So at what level is it okay to jump up and shoot next to the official photographer? When he doesn't do the job with the same quality gear you have? When he doesn't deliver his product as fast as you do? On a different scale this happens to me as a regular course of business.

No one is more agitated by the widespread incompetence and complete ineptitude rampant in the profession of photography today than me. Incompetent photographers running businesses that are not legitimized cannot be overlooked when considering the watering down of the whole photography market. I totally get that. I sat through a wedding a year and a half ago and watched a $65 wedding photographer. I could so easily see in my head the results of her work while she was working. I had been approached by the bride & groom previously. They weren't asking me about doing their wedding, they were just asking what I charged and in my reply they took great pleasure in telling me about this photographer they'd found who had "all kinds of lenses and stuff" doing it for just $65. I've never seen a single picture the photographer made, not on facebook not in person and the proud talk about the wedding photographer has never come up. As I understand it by asking mutual friends, the wedding pictures "didn't come out". I didn't have a compulsion at the wedding to bring in a rig and take a few pictures, it was not my job. Someone had been hired and paid to do it. I could have saved the day. I do not have a superhero as an alter-ego and saving days is not my job. My job that day was to keep my butt warming the pew. But this was not my kid getting married, or graduating and I had no emotional attachment to the outcome. See I don't know that I blame you for shooting your daughter's pictures at the commencement, I would not want to be forced to sit idly by and accept some crap substandard picture that may or may not arrive in the mail within the next year.

What must official photographers do to be respected?
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TomCofer
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Post by TomCofer »

I'm kinda in that weird spot where I understand both sides of the situation. Perhaps even more so now that I've calmed down.

Our little school had 100+ graduates. I know most of these kids and many of their parents. I've been involved in their schoo activities and sports. I was the Girl Scout Leader for 22 of the girls (No, I didn't wear ther skirt). :D

Our area is small and many have a family income down around the $30,000 range. As a result, there is no real attraction here for a professional photographer. On the rare occassion that we've had a professional photographer at an event (or at least one with a ligit business as such), I've stayed out of their way and let them do their thing. At other events, I've taken photos and provided them to the families for free, at cost, or offered them to the team/group to use for fundraising. Hmm, if it wasn't for folks like me, would the events attract a professional photographer??

Did I mention that she had a $5 photo package?

If there was anything about what she was doing that said professional to me, I would have stayed out of her way without a second thought. Even without that, I did give her plenty of room and respect to do her thing.

I think what got me was that someone without the legit business, skill, equipment, and ability was trying to pass themselves off as a professional photographer and they had the school's support. If you are just a person with a camera who is trying to make a few bucks, I'll accept that providing that is what you are presenting yourself as.

I guess the question would be, "At what point is someone considered a professional photographer and when do you treat them as such?" I'm not sure that I have a solid answer to that. As an enthusiast photographer and a parent I can kinda see both sides of the situation.
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Post by Steven G Webb »

We both have the same questions on both sides of the coin. I think there are as many bad things on one side as the other. Schools, events, corporations even brides are willing to hire/contract/pay people who truly have no business parading as if they are. Now we've got an entire population of folks with nothing more than a camera kit calling themselves professionals. They cannot demand respect because they cannot command it. So we end up with garbage being the standard bearer for "official photograph". My son's official university graduation green screen posed image is ridiculous. He's received his bachelor's in criminal justice, he's very athletic and extremely masculine. This single pose (available on multiple background choices) makes him look queer as a football bat with the head tip, poor eye-nose direction and camera elevation. My first response was "Who the hell hired these people?" I watched them work. One guy with a bracket mounted flash rig doing the grab-n-grin then a team of three doing the "stand here, hold this, look this way, and pop" green shot once the walk across the stage was done.

There is a mutual dysfunction: Incompetent photographers who cannot be respected, and those who have grown to disrespect photographers as a whole because of it.

I don't blame you at all for getting your daughter's photo. I was hired to do a comprehensive Junior/Senior year coverage for a young lady a few years ago. Part of my comprehensive coverage was getting the diploma presentation. I walked up, got the shot, and stepped off. It did not interfere with the contract guy (who works for the yearbook company) but God only knows what kind of shot he was getting and no way to really incorporate his photo into my album.

I do wish that professional photographers produced the superior photos they are supposed to, that people would pay for those, and we could compete against other professionals for good jobs, not amatuer fly-by-nights for peanut paying jobs.
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Duck
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Post by Duck »

Steven G Webb wrote:What must official photographers do to be respected?

TomCofer wrote:I guess the question would be, "At what point is someone considered a professional photographer and when do you treat them as such?" I'm not sure that I have a solid answer to that. As an enthusiast photographer and a parent I can kinda see both sides of the situation.

Although you are both talking about two sides of the same coin The fundamental problem is the same. Yes, there is definitely more to being a pro than having the proper equipment. Quality of product and expeditious delivery of service must be at a higher level than those of the man with a camera. The moment a man with a camera can deliver a better product than the Pro who then is at fault? Their in lies the problem and it's definitely a sign of the times.

The watering down of expectations coupled with the advancement of technology has blurred lines across the board. It has opened up possibilities for the man with a camera but it has put the pressure on the Pro to really step up on their game. It sucks because the man with a camera losses little but has the potential to gain a lot for a good performance while the Pro can potentially lose a lot while struggling to maintain any gain.

It's the proverbial catch 22.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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