Give The Photographer A Little RES -P-E-C-T!
It has come to my attention, in these rough times and down economy, people are losing their jobs at a record pace, and technology is at a rapid fire overload. Your local market has gotten flooded with the weekend photographers. These weekend warriors go down to the local “Blah-mart” and find that $399 “weekend warrior special” camera that comes with the kit 18-55mm lens and complementary leather adorned carrying bag. That’s right, these are the people who lurk in the darkness, and when you are not looking, post that late night ad on craigslist offering to do weddings for $100.00 and glamour shoot for free, heck some will even pay you! Baw ha ha ha. In all seriousness, I’m not saying these are “bad” people, but I will say they might be a little inexperienced.
I do understand that the times are tough out there. All I’m asking is that you give a good photographer a little respect. People always ask “why should I pay you?” or “why should I pay him, when John Doe down the road is willing to shoot me for free?” My response is always, “Because there are different categories of photographers!” You may be asking yourself, “well if you all have the same cameras… won’t the images be the same?” This is a simple, flat out, no! There are many reasons for this, sorry but not all photographer were created equal. The reason is simple, artistic vision. I may see something as sharp and sexy, and someone else may see the same scene as beautiful and squishy. This is only the beginning, I haven’t even scratched the surface of the difference between the photographers.
Starting off you have to know great terms like GWC (guy with camera) this is a guy who is there for dating, might give you the creeps, and normally his images will show that always tell-tale lack of thought or skill. If you encounter one of these local GWC in the wild, stay calm and slowly back away! Don’t make any sudden moves, they have been known to turn all stalker-like weird on you. Now that we have eliminated the GWC, the next one you might in encounter is the “well I’m just a amateur”, we will call him “amateur” for short.
The amateur has been known to always give his advice, even when he has no clue about the subject, if he is wrong he will simply say “well I’m just a amateur”. Other tell-tell signs that you might be in the present of the amateur is, a stunning lack technical knowledge or equipment, they have been know to leave the camera dial in the “green mode”, or if his camera has the infamous word “rebel” (rebel does not mean sexy outlaw). While the amateur is not usually a bad guy, beware that you may not get the images you actually wanted, but on the positive side, he is working to develop his skills in hopes to one day raise himself to the next level….semi-pro.
The “Semi-pro” we will call him SP for short. SP normally has a very good skill set, and can produce some great works of art. When you come across an SP, you will find good equipment, a good understanding, he or she will be able to give you the images you desire, and they have invested lot of time and money into what they have become. The SP definitely warrants some money being thrown his or her way. Some of the tell-tell signs that you might be in the present of a SP are, they will normally have thousands invested in software, they will normally have an elaborate external lighting system, a camera that just looks expensive, the camera dial will not be in the “green mode” and there favorite lens, will have cost more than all of your cell phones and point and shoot cameras together. SP for one reason or another just hasn’t decide to jump into the streets of Spain during the running of the bulls to hang with the “PROs”.
Now we come to the rarest of them all, the PROs, these photogs are on another level of higher being, we don’t dare give them a nickname. The PRO, this person is amazing, the ground trembles when they walk in for a shoot. These people live, breath, drink, and sweat photography, 90% of everything they discuss is photography, their best friends are all in the business. They spend more time in a week talking photography than you do talking to your family all year. A great makeup artist is not a option, it’s a way of life. If your were to say the word “medium” they would instantly say “format”. If you come across one of these rare specimen, and you want to work with them, be prepared to open that pocket book and keep on giving! what you consider a days wage, they consider “lunch money”. What you consider a lot of money for a good car, they consider a down payment on the next camera. That’s right these cameras can cost as much supped up sports car. These people have worked hard to get where they have, so give them a little RES-P-E-C-T!
Every photog has it place (well besides the GWC) and if your are a photog looking to progress here is a few tips from me to you:
1. The only person that matters in the end is the client, make them happy, you are a success.
2. Make a connection with the model, if you complete this, that is 50% of the image, keep it light and fun.
3. Be well rounded, be able to pull off the high fashion look, the sexy dark glam look, artistic B&W look.
4. Invest in yourself, invest the time in learning, the money in the “right” equipment….
5. Don’t be creepy, there are too many photogs that remind me of peeping toms, or 30+ year old losers looking for a date (don’t be that bum)
6. Work as a team, use the ideas and knowledge of the makeup artist, models….. everyone!
7. Give guidance, not commands. When talking to the model, make recommendations, don’t tell them what to do.
8. Share your success and keep your failures. If it’s amazing, give credit where credit is due, if it’s an epic fail, take full responsibility for that!
9. Give back, if you achieve a level due to the help of others in any way, then return the favor to someone else that might need it.
10. No negative lists, if you have problem models, never create a negative list or make it public for others to see. (was taught to me by a wise young man).
11. Help models, help the models get to places they want to get to, use your connections to help them out. Also give guidance to models on people you recommend they shoot with, and warn them who not to shoot with.
12. Celebrate the success of others, be happy for the achievements of other good people, models, photographer, MUA…..
13. You don’t own anything! Never treat a model like she is your property, do the opposite, encourage them to get out and shoot with the world, and get their name known!
14. Network, talk to people, lots of people, did I say lots? get out there and get your name out there.
15. Find a mentor & mentor someone else. Never stop learning and it’s great to help people along the way.
In the end I think that is what we all want, just a little respect.
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