Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3 STATEMENTS THAT DRIVE THIS PHOTOGRAPHER CRAZY!!!

Like all professions, photographers are sometimes faced with situations that make your hair hurt. There are times when you start thinking that being a proctologist could be a fun and profitable career change. I thought I would list a few here today that really burn me up, as a stress reliever. It is cheaper and healthier than drinking large amounts of rum. I have spoken to other photographers about this and know that many feel the same way. So this is also a public awareness message, be kind to your photographer and see what develops (maybe I should have t shirts made ).

The number one statement that drives us crazy! That is easy. It happens when someone sees one of your images. It is one that even you the photographer feels is great (you would be surprised how infrequent that is). The person looks at it and says something along the lines of, " Wow, what a great picture, I love that!". So far it is all good, right? (then the kicker is added),t"You must have a great camera, it takes such wonderful pictures." HUH? In under 12 words, they tear apart your hard work, your art and your heart: all the time smiling at you, like you should be thanking them. What do we say? If we correct them, we stand the chance of sounding like egotistical jerks. "What's wrong I complimented you?" Would someone say to a plumber, "Great work, wow your plunger must be really great!" I don't think so. Would they tell a concert violinist after hearing him play a beautiful aria, "That must be a really great violin, how much did you pay for it?" I doubt it. I have tried to have the camera take a picture without me, here is the results:








Not much to show for it! Sometimes I think photographers are the baseball managers of art. Everybody thinks they can do it. No one thinks they could coach the New England Patriots but managing the Red Sox, sure no problem. Same with photography. "I had a point and shoot in high school and I think I know a little bit about photography. If I wanted, I could do that. After all I took a great shot of my girlfriend in front of her school locker and she loved it!" That sounds a lot like,  "I hit 10 home runs in my senior year in high school, I could have played in the major leagues if I had gotten a break." It's usually followed by, "Hey Bill, give me another beer!"
Uncle Bill is That You ????


Another statement usually comes in the form of a request by the bride. You're hired and a month or so before the wedding you're asked, "Is it ok for my (aunt, uncle, brother-in-law or friend) to take pictures with you at the wedding?" Oh sure, hell why not. I love the idea of having uncle Bill follow me around as I set up the formals taking his pictures over my shoulder. It is why I became a photographer for those kumbaya moments. No matter what the bride and grooms say, these other shooters will be intrusive, they will ask questions and they will ask for instructions. They will even start giving you suggestions for shots.


Putting aside the pain in the ass quotient, it is also a technical problem. When you're taking someone's portrait, you want eye contact nine out of ten times. You want the bride or groom looking at you. In a group shot, you want everyone looking at you. When people see multiple cameras pointed at them, they start picking out which ones to look at. If their dad or brother is holding one, they might look at them instead of you. This is always something we deal with at every wedding and we do it by telling everyone with a camera to please hold off shooting till we are through with the shot. Then we will stop and let them have a moment to photograph the same pose. If there is one person following you shooting at the same time as you, those instructions become harder for people to follow. You might end up with eight people looking at you and two looking at uncle Bill. I have actually had people ask me if they could follow me during the ceremony, shooting the same images I will be taking. We have two photographers during each wedding and we have developed a timing that works but putting in a third photographer literally following me around: that is a recipe for disaster. I politely decline and tell them it would be better for them to stay in their seats.

Another statement is said with an attitude usually reserved for congressional hearings: "Oh, so you use Photoshop? Personally I feel that is cheating. Ansel Adams never used it and if it was good for him then it is good enough for me!!!" I actually had that said to me once. When I told them that Adams was just as revered for his printing/lab work as his photography, they kind of developed a glassy look in their eyes. They didn't care and didn't realize how much manipulation was done in the lab before PS came around.  While their saying this to me they are holding their IPhone and are driving the newest SUV with all the newest computerized features. Ansil wrote using a pen, pencil and typewriter, do you think that is what their using at work?
I use PS and will continue to do so. I will use any tool that I think helps me create a memory for the people I am photographing. I do not overuse it. Heck, I am not that good with it. I am a photographer not a PS expert. I would not add anything to an image that I feel misrepresents the image. I will retouch portraits to make the person's face look the best it can. How I use it mostly is to eliminate distracting elements in the image. This is an example:



You can see that I eliminated the road behind the Zebra's umm behind. I do not feel this is cheating. If some do, then they would either not shoot the image or not use it. If asked to, I would have eliminated the remaining road and not felt guilty. I would not misrepresent where I took the image: trying to say that I shot it in its natural environment and selling it to National Geographic. But I did this for my blog and stated that it was taken at an animal park in Florida. In my mind, no harm no foul.

Thank You for letting me vent. I would love to hear things that drive you crazy at your job. You must have some, right??? It is not just me lol.
With these three images I did a little photoshop work to bring out the colors a little bit but nothing to misrepresent that it was either the Grand Canyon or Sedona in Arizona



12 comments:

Lucylastica2 said...

Doesn't a good rant every once in a while make you feel so much better?! Truth is, with/without PS your talent is evident.

http://lifethrulucylasticaslense.blogspot.com/

sulekkha said...

It's good to get it off your chest once in a while, great post.

Ann said...

I'm only an amateur photographer & I've had people say some of those things to me. ( About the camera). Love your photos!

Funny--my word verification was
" welike"

alejandro guzman said...

Gorgeous photos again. Is that Photoshop?

LOL btw, does my butt look a little stripy

A

Aaron said...

Hey Jim,
Great post today. I have been on a little out of the loop the past week. Thanks for the comment checking in

I really enjoyed your post today. Nothing like a good soap box rant to make everything feel better. I loved your blank photo in the post, it made me laugh

melissa said...

oh jim, i checked all those three reactions to your post :P... it's interesting... it's funny... and it's totally cool :P...

my "listening" office opens at 6 am hahaha... it has been my job ever since...

the last time i took my friends' photos in the convention, it got into their nerves that i complimented how good the camera was :P...

anyhow, it takes talent to come up with a beautiful shot... an eye for beauty... and a good sense to choose a subject... which camera to use is just an icing on the cake... although of course, a high resolution affects the quality of the picture ;)...

"could you please come up the stage to have your picture taken with us?"... hahaha... that's hilarious especially in a wedding, hahaha... oh geez, where's the groom... can he take my picture with the photographer? :P

"photoshop"... hmmm... i think photos taken naturally are beautiful... photoshops are enhancements... but when i started using the same gadgets to my artworks, they did look better... then i started thinking, i could create another piece of art using enhancers...

as i said it takes an eye to really "see"...

do you think after this post, some miracle will happen? hahaha... it's okay to get crazy... sometimes...hahaha... it keeps your heart beating ;)...

keep your spirits high then...YOU ARE AN ARTIST ;)...

Sailor said...

Beautiful collections!
Cruise Picture

Paul said...

I really liked this post. I had a rant worthy day myself and thought that you did a great job. It is indeed a good public service message. As someone who printed a few photos (not very well) in the dark room, but who is lost in PS, I give you lots of credit for making studio quality work look effortless. Keep up the amazing work.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Amen!

Bongo said...

Nice blog.... thank you for visiting mine.... in reply to your comments ..YES it is real .. it is my journey....As always....

dustzilla said...

great shot! ei Jim could u teach me some techniques on being a photographer.. i got questions like.. is it important to have a great camera, do you use photoshop,?? etc

Healing Morning said...

I have a similar peeve with social media management. I have potential clients meet w/ me to listen to my presentation and they come out with, "Well, I see no reason to pay you a huge monthly amount to do this when I have my 14 year old daughter at home on FB and Twitter all day. I'll get her to do this for me." Yep, go for it! They'll also have a 14 yr old mentality handling their public presence, they'll have a poor work ethic, and they'll have 14 yr old grammar populating their pages. As a result, they'll lose potential clients, but hey, they won't have to PAY decent money! *sigh* I feel your pain, Jim!

~ Dawn