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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

 
Todd ­ Lambert
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Jan 24, 2012 11:39 |  #121

Ross J wrote in post #13760144 (external link)
That's total BS

I've never had a problem making a living with a camera. It's easy to sell images when a photographer understands the audience and is willing to give them what they want to see. Amateurs bring down standards and don't raise them. Audiences then have lower expectations which makes it easier to sell them crap. Some of us are smart enough to make money with a camera no matter how high or how low the standards might be. But it's total BS to say that they aren't going down.

Your comments sound like someone who is bitter because they actually have to work harder or try new things in order to survive. This scenario is not unique to photography at all by the way, it's a fact of life in many (and maybe even most) industries.




  
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Ross ­ J
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Jan 24, 2012 11:48 |  #122
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Todd Lambert wrote in post #13760180 (external link)
Your comments sound like someone who is bitter because they actually have to work harder or try new things in order to survive. This scenario is not unique to photography at all by the way, it's a fact of life in many (and maybe even most) industries.

Then you're not understanding correctly because I said that the lower standards makes it easier to sell audiences crap because they have lower expectations. Lower standards make running a business easier, not harder.




  
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Todd ­ Lambert
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Jan 24, 2012 11:52 |  #123

Perhaps I did misunderstand. My point was not that amateurs were creating higher standards, but that their flooding the market has instead.




  
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FlyingPhotog
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Jan 24, 2012 12:05 |  #124

Todd Lambert wrote in post #13760257 (external link)
Perhaps I did misunderstand. My point was not that amateurs were creating higher standards, but that their flooding the market has instead.

And I would politely disagree...

Every creative profession has its share of Newbies and Wannabees. Saw them all the time in the broadcast industry. Race fans used to pass our NASCAR compound all the time and say "Hey man, I've got an HD Video Camera, how can I get your job?"

In TV, they never got your job.

In photography, they're getting your job. Exhibit A

Lowered expectations beget lower quality begets lower expectations. Wash, Rinse Repeat. For every one shooter here who freely gives it away, how many do you think are out there doing it beyond the hallowed walls of POTN?


Jay
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Bosscat
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Jan 24, 2012 12:07 |  #125

Ross J wrote in post #13760231 (external link)
Then you're not understanding correctly because I said that the lower standards makes it easier to sell audiences crap because they have lower expectations. Lower standards make running a business easier, not harder.

Exactly........if a customer is happy with crap....you don't even have to try


Your camera is alot smarter than the "M" Zealots would have you believe

  
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Todd ­ Lambert
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Jan 24, 2012 12:18 |  #126

Jay, Non-qualified people are constantly hired in lots of industries. It's a daily affair actually. The difference is that these are paid, salaried positions rather than freelance work, like much of photography is.

But:

I read the title as being: Are amateurs destroying photography?

To me, that's not really anything to do with wedding photographers, which many are considered the bottom feeders in the photography industry.

Are we talking about destroying photography or destroying the photography business (as it pertains to wedding photographers and studio portraits)? I don't see how amateurs are replacing or affecting product photography, commercial photography, fashion, food photography, etc..

And I still don't see how amateurs hurt photography. The more the merrier and the cream floats to the top as it always has.




  
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Todd ­ Lambert
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Jan 24, 2012 12:21 |  #127

Also, the more that programs like Hipstamatic and Instagram allow common folks to create "custom look" photography, the more that those custom looks will need to change in order to stand out.

This pushes real photographers to come up with something new, something unique, or at the very least, produce the absolute best level of their work in order to stand out from the sea/crowd.

This to me, is how amateurs are advancing photography today and not destroying it. If amateurs make ring shots in a bible, selective color, extreme blur, and other cliché types of shots mundane, then isn't that actually making photography better?




  
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Ross ­ J
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Jan 24, 2012 12:39 |  #128
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Todd Lambert wrote in post #13760257 (external link)
Perhaps I did misunderstand. My point was not that amateurs were creating higher standards, but that their flooding the market has instead.

ah...I see what you're saying :D

There's a couple of different ways of looking at things from a professional point of view. Not all pros are at the same skill level in terms of craftsmanship and most professional photographers are divided between guerilla-style shooters and high-production-style shooters. Guerilla-style is technically much easier to shoot and doesn't require high levels of craftsmanship or production experience and these are the types of professional photographers that are most threatened by the amateurs since their technical skill and production ability are very similar. The high-production and high-craftsmanship shooter is threatened in a different way because he can't maintain his high standards unless the budget is high and the client can afford to pay it. But since budgets are getting lower and clients are getting less sophisticated then that forces him to go guerrilla and shoot to a lower standard in order to please the audience. He'll still work and the work will be much easier, but he won't be happy because he's not shooting to his ability.

So there are 2 ways to look at the current situation. The guerilla style shooters are threatened because they'll lose their jobs to the amateurs that can perform at similar levels. But the high-production and high-craftsman shooters are threatened because they have to lower their standards to meet reduced audience expectations in order to keep working. They're most threatened by lower standards of craftsmanship and how it will effect their reputation but they're not necessarily threatened with job security.

It's probably a difficult distinction because most people feel like they have to get better at photography in order to compete. But there are actually people that have to do the opposite in order to compete. In other words, a lot of photographers have to shoot intentionally below their ability in order to stay in business in this climate. They are not threatened by the competition in terms of job security, but are threatened because they don't want to be forced to create sub-par work just to make money.




  
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Preeb
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Jan 24, 2012 12:41 as a reply to  @ Todd Lambert's post |  #129

I see photography as having 3 fairly broad levels.

Professional: Someone who makes most or all of his living from photography. This group can include highly skilled craftsmen who have dedicated their lives to satisfying the needs of their clients, or beginners who are making the necessary effort to become highly skilled. It can also include duds who somehow manage to find paying clients who are even more clueless than they are. It can include those who do nothing but shoot babies in a booth in Walmart, and know nothing about photography beyond the conditions of that studio.

Amateur: These are more or less serious photographers who have made an effort to learn and employ at least the basics of exposure and composition. They may sell an occasional image or place in a contest, but don't derive any real income from it - these are also what I call real hobbyists. I include beginners who are serious about improving their skills by practice and education.

Snapshooter: People who simply take pictures for record keeping - family, vacation, etc. Usually use the camera on some automatic setting. Most snapshooters don't care about anything but the record, no matter how the quality may suffer. Occasionally you find one of these who has shot a friends wedding and thus believes in the fantasy that he's a professional (he may even spill over into the "dud" category above).

Its a simplification I know, but most people with a camera will fit into one or another of these 3 categories.


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TooManyShots
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Jan 24, 2012 12:47 |  #130
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The snap shot of the picnik facebook site is quite funny. I would have mentioned Light Room or Photoshop. :) At least they concerned about editing, not just dumping 50 unedited shots.


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Todd ­ Lambert
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Jan 24, 2012 12:50 |  #131

Ross, I think that you've put the point on it right there and yes, I agree with what you've written.

I can definitely see where some high end photographers might feel they need to lower standards in order to compete. (but that's what umbrella corporations are for! Open JoeBlow Photography and make the easy cash while maintaining your name not be associated with it) ;-)a

Rick, I think that's a pretty broad spectrum you've painted, but it's probably pretty accurate, at least at the 1000ft level of viewing it.




  
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Jan 24, 2012 13:01 |  #132

Though I do have to laugh at the people who've mastered Guitar Hero and feel they know how to play an instrument.


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FlyingPhotog
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Jan 24, 2012 13:05 |  #133

Todd Lambert wrote in post #13760406 (external link)
Jay, Non-qualified people are constantly hired in lots of industries. It's a daily affair actually. The difference is that these are paid, salaried positions rather than freelance work, like much of photography is.

I'm familiar in passing with the "Peter Principle" but my "salaried" days are dwarfed by my time as a freelancer.

But:

I read the title as being: Are amateurs destroying photography?

To me, that's not really anything to do with wedding photographers, which many are considered the bottom feeders in the photography industry.

Wow... Kinda throwing one aspect of the industry under the bus a little here aren't we? Why call them out?

Are we talking about destroying photography or destroying the photography business (as it pertains to wedding photographers and studio portraits)? I don't see how amateurs are replacing or affecting product photography, commercial photography, fashion, food photography, etc..

I couldn't begin to put hard numbers to it, but I'd bet the rent that there are many instances out there that go something like this:

- Employee of Widgets R Us buys Rebel + Kit Lens
- Family of Employee is impressed
- Employee begins to figure a few things out with Camera (maybe even gets off Green Box)
- Family is more impressed and tells Employee how good he is
- Employee brings camera to work one day
- Boss sees Rebel and asks Employee if Employee is a "Photographer"
- Employee sees slide show in own head of Family singing his praises
- Employee answers "You Bet Boss!"
- Boss has Employee shoot for Widgets R Us for no additional compensation
- Employee is Happy Camper (he or she doesn't know any better)
- Boss is Happy Camper (damn well knows better but he's not stupid and so he "settles" for what Employee can do because it's freakin' FREE!)

Now, every time this happens, that's a gig at which a full time shooter will never get a crack. Everything happens behind closed doors and behind walls and none of it ever sees the light of day. No bids. No contracts. No referrals. No Nothing...

Multiply the above scenario by the millions of T2i, T3i and 60Ds that are out there. And I mean the cameras that are in the hands of the unwashed masses who've never given the "art" of photography a passing thought. They literally just turn it on and press the button.

And I still don't see how amateurs hurt photography. The more the merrier and the cream floats to the top as it always has.

Once upon a time, maybe it did but as I laid out above, the "Dairy Men" don't care about the cream anymore. They just want to milk the cow for free.


Jay
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Jan 24, 2012 13:06 as a reply to  @ post 13760173 |  #134

Heres the problem as I see. If you are a pro and haven't figured out how to get into an area where the herd is not you competition its only going to get more crowded as the herd grows. That means if you are in areas that minimum skill and no gate keepers its going to keep getting more and more competitive.

The problem I see is the big diff is a full time pro has got to create everyday on demand and in most positions besides family portraits and weddings are working with other visual professionals so it not only a photographers vision but an art director or designers vision to . Many that aren't pros take a good image and it might have been over a two month period but do it on demand everyday. And its a very small world out there where everyone in agencies all know one another so screw the pooch on one job and the word gets around FAST.

Do you really know how many full time photographs start out and don't make it? its gotta be over 75%. My advice if you are going to do this full time work for a very good well established pro before you go on your own. Learn the craft and learn the biz from the inside.

In work other than weddings, family portraits and lower end sports these people that are going to hire you are also on the line. If you fail or don't get what is required then they look bad. And if you make them look bad they will tell all their art director buddies.

I love what I do and its a base from which everything else is possible. It feeds my family, pays the mortgage and gives me a base to where i can do my own personal work. Its great to see your work on billboards (got some more going up on feb 1), ads in national and local publications and even bus ads but it aint easy. And if you think its easy to create on demand everyday instead of at your leisure and with people that are spending a lot of money have very high standards and sometimes have little direction to give you, think again.

All this influx I see as good. It weeds out the rif raf. All those that haven't figured out a way to separate themselves from the herd are down in the fight. So my advice is figure out a way that those flooding in are not your competition. They really aren't hurting those that have figured it out. Last year was my best year in 10. I know others that had and are now having a very good year also but the herd is not their competition and they have clients that demand and are willing to pay for what they offer that the herd can't supply.




  
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Ross ­ J
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Jan 24, 2012 13:12 |  #135
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Todd Lambert wrote in post #13760606 (external link)
Ross, I think that you've put the point on it right there and yes, I agree with what you've written.

Thanks Todd, I'm glad that we're vibin' :)




  
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