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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 22 Jan 2012 (Sunday) 09:10
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Are Amateurs destroying Photography

 
dtufino
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Jan 22, 2012 09:10 |  #1

It seems everyone has a DSLR with a KIT lens and consider themselves a "Professional Photographer" but ask them what's the difference between aperture and Shutter speeds they have no clue....

Recently, some of my clients have said that my rates are high compared to other Professional Photographer, when in fact my prices are super Low end for portraiture work.... i tell them they get what they pay for....

The question is... is photography dying in the professional sense? The only place i see photography live is in Sports Photography... Amateurs don't knwo how to shoot sports... yet.... lol


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Jan 22, 2012 09:38 |  #2

It has been stated their is no doubt the market has become saturated and it is hurting some people who have trained, spent years mastering it and earn a living from it.

This is what Wikipedia says about the word professional. I always thought that being a professional was basically whatever you did if you income from it is grater than 50% of your total income. Of course professionalism is a key factor.

Wikipedia

A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee.

Definition. The main criteria for professional include the following:

1. Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally.

2. Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession.

3. High quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy,
primary/other research, administrative, marketing, photography or other work endeavours.

4. A high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities while carrying out one's
profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or
partnership/associate/​colleague, etc.). The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a
privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon the client just because he or she may
not be able to pay or remunerate the professional. Often the professional is required to put the
interest of the client ahead of his own interests.

5. Reasonable work morale and motivation. Having interest and desire to do a job well as holding
positive attitude towards the profession are important elements in attaining a high level of
professionalism.

6. Participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavour often engaged in by amateurs
b : having a particular profession as a permanent career c : engaged in by persons receiving
financial return

7. Appropriate treatment of relationships with colleagues. Consideration should be shown to elderly,
junior or inexperienced colleagues, as well as those with special needs. An example must be set to
perpetuate the attitude of one's business without doing it harm.

8. A professional is an expert who is master in a specific field.


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RandyMN
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Jan 22, 2012 09:40 |  #3

My first comment is that you don't always get what you pay for. Some "pros" are charging professional rates and are no better than the 'amateurs'.

Secondly, some amateurs are charging pro rates lacking experience.

Reminds me of a television court case in which a 'person with camera' hired themselves out to shoot a wedding and their camera was stolen two weeks prior. She showed up with disposable cameras and told the judge the person was lucky just to have her there photographing the wedding.

Now as to your question, I don't think photography will ever die in a professional sense, but the types of events that people are willing to pay for is changing. That is why after thirty years of doing weddings for 'amateur' rates, I stopped doing them because I won't compete with those who are willing to do them for nothing, or portfolio work, or just simply family member's or friends with cameras'

In fact, my family knows I will shoot weddings for them for no charge, but they still have friends show up to shoot as well and it always show in the photo's. I just shot two weddings over the Summer and did a great job, and now my third niece getting married in the Spring has another friend from school shooting her wedding. I actually look forward to attending a wedding without my camera for a change, but it shows the ease of finding non-professionals willing to shoot these events.

So it's not dieing but it certainly is changing. Back in the 80's I had no problem finding people willing to pay for a wedding photographer, today it is the first thing the have no money for.

Portraits, outside school photo's, is also something I do not see that much of these days because everyone is taking their own photo's with iphones and posting them on Facebook. I don't recall the last time seeing family photo's of anyone in my extended family, except what was captured at weddings.

I also see my 18 year old nieces shooting a lot of engagement sessions. The one has a Canon 7D and the other borrows a camera. They both do well and friends they shoot are quite happy with results.




  
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Jan 22, 2012 09:40 |  #4

Here is what Merriam-Webster says.

1. a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession
b : engaged in one of the learned professions
c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) :
exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

2 a : participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs
<a professional golfer>
b : having a particular profession as a permanent career <a professional soldier>
c : engaged in by persons receiving financial return <professional football>

3 : following a line of conduct as though it were a profession <a professional patriot>


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sandpiper
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Jan 22, 2012 09:41 |  #5

You need to sell on quality, not price. If you raise your prices you might actually get more business, it's called "perceived value". People generally assume that a cheap product is cheap for a reason, and that it is a low value item. Price the same item high, and they will be more likely to see it as a quality product. Many products sell better at a high price than a low one.

People looking for quality expect to pay for it, so will quite possibly look at your "low end" prices and assume that is what your work is worth, so not bother to investigate further. Those who are looking for cheap prices, are not bothered about quality as much as fitting it into a limited budget, so will prefer to save money and go with the cheap guy.

Assuming that your work is better than the amateurs, why are you pricing yourself to compete with them, in their market that is very much price driven. Compete against those who do similar quality to yourself, and raise your prices to match. That way you are not in competition with the amateurs, but other professionals and in a market that expects to pay for professional services.

Yes, amateurs do get a lot of bookings at the low end of the market, but that is nothing new (although maybe a bit more prevalent today). The same argument was going around 30 odd years ago, when automatic 35mm SLRs made things "so much easier" that anyone could do it.

At the end of the day, there are always people who just want cheap wedding photos (ignore them and leave them for the amateurs) and there are always people who want the best quality they can afford. They are where you should target your efforts, no amount of auto camera ability will let the amateurs produce well lit, well composed, well timed images to the standard of a time served professional.

Mercedes doesn't worry about the likes of Hyundai producing lots of cheap cars. People who want cheap cars are never going to buy a Merc anyway, and people who can afford Mercedes quality will never look at a Hyundai as an option.




  
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Tyler's ­ Mom
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Jan 22, 2012 09:44 |  #6

Everyone has to start somewhere....

Its definitely a changing industry, just like any other industry out there we've got to learn to adapt. I was getting alot more sessions until recently, sure it could be because all these new people or maybe it's the economy. Either way just have to learn to adapt. I don't think people are ruining anything, besides most people who aren't into photography for the art aspect eventually just fade off.


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dtufino
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Jan 22, 2012 09:47 as a reply to  @ sandpiper's post |  #7

Great responses guys.....

when i say Amateur, i mean "people who JUST got into photography"... am i a pro? No.... am i an amateur, no.....

Since the photography scene saturated with so MANY "pro-photographers" i've even thought about cashing out and moving on to the next best thing... i have signed contracts for 2 weddings and 2 graduations shoots this spring... so i would have to wait....


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TooManyShots
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Jan 22, 2012 09:49 |  #8
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It is best not to think about it. Otherwise, you will be overwhelmed and get totally discouraged. The digital SLR basically opened up the photography market. Image quality has been reduced and so as price since the guy with a camera is doing it as a hobby. Two, the quality of the work can't justify the price he wanted. Most common folks never believe they should pay for photos. Sport photography is interesting because the venue location is often time restricted and not spectator friendly. Most of the times, you can't really capture the peak action shots without a FAST camera and a good understanding of the lighting condition.


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gjl711
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Jan 22, 2012 09:50 |  #9

I think you are putting too much value on being a professional and assuming that if one is not a professional they suck, and you are better because you are a professional. Statements like "Amateurs don't know how to shoot sports" is just plain wrong and very condescending. I would have stated it as " Many, professionals and amateurs alike, do not know how to shoot sports"

Photography is a set of skills and in reality, they are pretty simple skills. There is knowledge that is needed, but it is not entirely necessary amd mpt difficult to acquire. Anyone can go out with decent equipment and deliver stunning results even if they do not have a deep understanding of what they are doing. POTN is a great example. Look through some of the photo share forums and there are many examples where an amateur has delivered a photo of equal or higher quality than a professional and also examples of professionals that deliver crap.

The rates are falling because photography is getting easier and more available. The knowledge needed to deliver great pics is more accessible then ever and there are a lot of truly talented people out there willing to deliver a product at little or no cost.


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wuzzittoya
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Jan 22, 2012 09:52 |  #10

I was kind of musing about this recently - a friend announced that she was opening her own photo studio and selling her other pictures as well (she has pretty photos from her vacations). Her boyfriend just upgraded her camera to a Canon Elph 300HS (no, I'm not making that up). On her blog and FB page she pretty much advertises herself for events, portraiture and fine art photography (with a point and shoot!?!?).

I was curious what camera she had "upgraded" to so I asked her, that's how I know she's shooting with the Canon 300HS - we've had photography discussions, especially since she put up her websites. I knew her previous camera had been a bridge camera, so I was hoping she was at least upgrading to DSLR. I guess I should have known. She did say the guy at the camera store assured them the camera was one of the best cameras Canon makes.

I keep wondering what her first portrait client will think when she pulls out her little camera?

Then again, maybe those are the customers who told you that you want too much money.

Another problem, of course, is that you can go to any Walmart/Target/Kmart and read that you can get a humongous package for only $20 (they don't tell you that there's this add-on fee and that add-on fee and this upsell and you'll walk out of there close to $100 more if you really want nice stuff).

I'm still puzzling (and mildly upset, to be honest) at her "professionalism." She doesn't even know how to run a camera outside of "mode selection" (you know, the pretty little icons that mean portrait, landscape, etc.), doesn't know what aperture is, or depth of field.

They bought PHOTOSHOP (this also really made me wonder - put the money into the camera and use cheaper software!) and she emailed me and asked me if PhotoShop would let her do what she needed, etc., and if she could get some help with it. I told her I use PS Elements 9 instead right now. She then asked me if PS Elements 9 was "better" than PhotoShop - I explained that it was lacking in some of the functionality, but that I couldn't afford the full package and it could do most of what I needed for now, then explained frequently I get most of what I want done in DPP first and that Elements 9 is mostly used for its unsharp mask and layers when I need them.

I haven't heard back from her. I suspect that it is likely that she doesn't even know what layers are, or what an unsharp mask is used for, etc. ~shakes head~

Then I always cringe myself - I have camera experience, some instruction (including operating SLRs/DSLRs on full manual and darkroom/developing experience in film) and a lot of self-instruction and I'm buying more equipment here and there and working to do microstock photography ... maybe I'm being presumptuous too and have no more right to be trying this than she does...


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Numenorean
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Jan 22, 2012 09:54 |  #11

RandyMN wrote in post #13747630 (external link)
My first comment is that you don't always get what you pay for. Some "pros" are charging professional rates and are no better than the 'amateurs'.

Secondly, some amateurs are charging pro rates lacking experience.

These sound like the same things to me. Amateurs doing something they shouldn't be doing.


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Jan 22, 2012 09:56 |  #12

The wedding forum has this all the time. People can't afford a photographer. They can afford everything else but when it comes to recording one of their most important days their pockets get very deep. Then you see "Help, my friend friend is getting married in a week and can't afford a photographer so she asked me to shoot it. Should I get flash?". A week? Sometimes I wonder about this type of planning. You need to book a pro months ahead of time.


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chrisandaivi
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Jan 22, 2012 09:56 |  #13

I guess I'm a PRO cuz I use the P mode on my camera!! oh yeah least i forget I won 2 local protography contest. So I guess I can call myself an award winning photogprapher. LOL. ANYWAYZ.

EVERYBODY, I mean everybody has to start at the bottom--


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Ross ­ J
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Jan 22, 2012 09:58 |  #14
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There is no split between amateurs and professionals in photography. The amateur/professional divide is a false paradigm. Amateurs can be very good photographers while professionals can be very bad. It's pretentious to assume that because somebody does something as a hobby means that he's worse than somebody that does it to make money.

The real split or paradigm photography is between good and bad craftsman. Craftsman are the people that work hard and learn how to control technique. They learn from other knowledgeable individuals and pay respect to past masters. They're very careful learn and perform every task correctly before claiming that they know what they're doing. In other words, they are cautious and respectful. This caution and respect for the craft usually translates into a general working respect for the industryand they are less likely to create problems for full-time working photographers.

Bad craftsman are straight from the pit of hell. They think that the world begins and ends with their own petty feelings and emotions. They pay little or no respect to the past masters and disregard the wisdom of those with greater experience. They maintain the viewpoint that technique doesn't matter and only "vision" counts. Of course, they never truly define what vision is in the first place. The truth is that even if vision exists, technique is what makes it possible. They don't know this and that's what makes them hacks. Hacks are the most dangerous because the disrespect that they show for the craft translates into a general disrespect for the industry. Hacks have no respect for anybody but themselves. They are an abomination.

Conflict is OK. Its very popular to condemn knowledgeable craftsman as elitist and dominating. Yes, it can appear that way to a person that isn't knowledgeable. However, craftsman have a duty to be vigilant and jealous in order to protect their craft. They have to be strong and defend it against anybody that will seek to attack it. Most of the time, a master craftsman will be viscious to a hack but totally nice to a respectful beginner. In other words, most craftsman will respect those that show respect and disrespect those that show disrespect.

The great struggle that will take place in the arts in 2012 and beyond will be related to the creation of objective standards governing technique and craftsmanship. These standards will be created and people will be expected to follow them in order to show respect for the arts. This means that there will be intense conflict and many factions will arise and disputes will be common in order to create these objective standards. Actually, they mostly already exist but just haven't yet been clearly defined. But it's important to understand that a coming conflict is necessary in order to protect the craft of photography from an absolute apocalyptic tsunami of wannabes with easy access to basic photography and online publication.

I hope that this quick write-up has made a simple point. The real split in photography is between craftsman and hacks. There is no split between amateurs and professionals. I have more respect for a devoted gear-head technician than I do for the biggest working pros in my market because the former have serious respect for the craft while the latter don't at all even though they may make 100s of thousands of dollars per year.

Finally, there is no divide between craftsmanship and art. The two are interconnected and one needs the other. They are not in opposition to each other. If a person masters craftsmanship then the technical aspects of photography become second-nature and all of his brain power can then be devoted to expanding the creative space of photography as an art. The people that are most at war with photography as an art are those that don't take craftsmanship seriously which leads then to actually collapse the creative space. In other words, they destroy the potential of photography to be an art with their vulgarization of technique and disrespect for masters.




  
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wuzzittoya
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Jan 22, 2012 09:58 |  #15

Hey - it takes a lot of practice and work (and the right equipment) to shoot sports well. It is probably inaccurate to say "amateurs don't know how to shoot sports" - some might - rather "it is unlikely that amateurs have the equipment and practice to shoot sports and a professional level."

But that is quibbling. Most amateurs have neither the equipment nor the lenses (nor the money to invest in that level) for adequate sports photography, and without it aren't getting the practice getting "money shots" unless it's just luck. Had a discussion with a fight photographer about that and about how setting your camera for the maximum FPS rate can STILL miss the perfect moment of contact between the glove and the other guy's face. Yes, an amateur can get lucky and get that once (though if they are in a no-flash venue they had better have a really expensive lens) either through location and/or timing, but being able to get that shot regularly is something they will have to spend a lot of time practicing to do. It is probably why not many 'amateurs" do sports photography - they need the investment of time and money to get it done well.


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