Sunday, April 19, 2015

Professional Photography... A Dying Art?

I was reading up on this entry in (Professional Photographer Shares Uncomfortable Truths About the Industry), and while it was a nice read I quite disagree with what the entry was referring to in terms of how professional photography will not last in the age of modern digital photography.  

In the article it mentions how the technology of today's photography makes getting the photography much easier.  True, things like dynamic range, noise tolerance, and speed has made it easier for photographers on one hand but I feel as a professional photographer myself that at the same time as the technology makes it easier, our clients standards have also increased quite significantly.  Just look at the quality of the photos in magazines now and compare it to those from the 70s and 80s.  So it's true that it's easier but your clients are also demanding for more and so really the demand in terms of the quality of skills in professional photography has not gone down or has the technology made the job easier.  The job is just different now.

Secondly, the article mentions about how many times it doesn't matter how good your photos really are.  In a way that is true, but then again though as professional photographers are learning and improving with the new technology,  so are our clients.  It's because the technology is getting easier, people know more about RAW, depth of field, color temperature, etc...  So if anything our clients should only be demanding for higher quality and not the vice versa.  If the article was talking about specifics in personal taste, well then that has nothing to do with the times or the technology that come with our field.  In just about any field,  personal tastes is a great factor to the artists (or craftsman) success.  Let's take the culinary arts as an example.  The greatest burger?  Is there really such a thing.  I can name ten great burgers I have tasted and I am sure in that list you will beg to differ quite a few I have selected.  To become a successful photographer you need to shape your craft so that people want your style of photography and not only just "liking" it.  It should be a style they think related to you whenever they see your picture (or even a picture that was not taken by you).  You can't be great or one of the greats being only technically great, this greatness in photography is positively correlated with your character,and the charisma your clients find in your work/services.

It also mentions that "it's more about the equipment than we'd like to admit."  Well it may be for someone that is just starting out but as you work longer like myself you will find that it is less and less about the gear and more about your eye and the artistic direction. Maybe for an event photographer this may relate more to, but then again I can bet you anything if you gave a true professional a 3-5 year old dslr and a pocket strobe that he'd get the same shots as he would with the latest Dslr.  So how significant is really the latest gear to the quality of our final product?

I hate to say this but I think for those that feel the same way,  you really need to think about whether you as a photographer is really changing with the times or just stuck in the late 90s and still thinking how film is better than digital.  Sure cast iron are good for some dishes but most people own Teflon pans now and you don't see people using cast iron as much because it ain't flexible and inconvenient.  

I think there is nothing to worry about for photographers as long as you are one of those photographers that are constantly upgrading themselves, and finding out how new techniques and equipment is changing our industry,  or constantly checking out what other people are doing.  But if you are just one of those that learned how to get a shot in focus with the correct exposure and decided that you are good enough then you should be worried.  If fact your career is already over.

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