Friday, August 21, 2009

Your Photographer Might Not Be Awesome

I've been saving this entry from Jeremy Cowart's blog (I respect him and his work a TON). Since then, he's moved his site and this particular entry isn't there, but I think it's a good take on what's going on in photography today. Check it out:


Photo Cliches
by Jeremy Cowart on 12/22/08

This one could stir up some controversy, I don't know.

Have you ever noticed Photography Cliches? Like how every photographer seems to be drawn to train tracks when they first start out? Then they move to the guy with his guitar slung over his shoulder WALKING down the train tracks? What is it about train tracks anyway???

For the last few years I've said that the "Chair (or couch) in the middle of nowhere is the new train tracks". I've seen this concept executed ENDLESSLY for years now.. especially for bands. (And yes I've done it but trust me, it was against my wishes.) It's usually not a purposeful thing but somewhere in our subconscious we just rip off ideas without thinking twice about it.

So the latest trend I've seen is EVERYONE in wedding photography and even outside of wedding photography doing the shot of the couple holding hands, staring straight ahead into camera like a deer in headlights. You know what I'm talking about. The background is always different but the pose is repeated over and over and over.

Why, as creative people who are always supposed to be breaking new ground, do we endlessly rip each other off???

I think this is one of the negative effects of the internet. Everyone has such quick access to everyone else's work so as soon as something new is done, everyone takes it, slightly changes it and then calls it their own.

It just goes to show how ridiculously easy photography is. Anyone can buy a great camera now, learn how to use it, look at a few portfolios online, then go shoot their friends wedding using the same poses they've seen online and all of a sudden another "professional" photographer is born.

Crazy times in photography right?

When people ask "How do I make it as a Photographer?". The answer is BE. AMAZING. If your work is good people will find you. Make yourself stand out from the rest of the repeat photographers. There's a million photographers out there but if you have a good eye, good ideas, good people skills and a good work ethic, you're golden. Work will find YOU.

So sorry for the rant. I'm not usually one to rant but these cliches have just been on my mind lately.


I think a lot of "professional" photographers are doing a disservice to their customers. Just because you WANT to take pictures, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Good photographers, like Jeremy said, are AMAZING, and there is no denying it. I cringe on a daily basis looking at the things clients are getting charged for.

In my opinion, once you move from the camera and Lightroom to Photoshop, you aren't being a photographer, you're being a graphic designer. Lightroom (and other software like it) is great because it's a digital manifestation of what photographers can do in a lab/darkroom with film. Photoshop is graphic manipulation. I'm not saying it's BAD, I'm just saying I think we need some perspective.
So, what are the non-negotiables when it comes to being a professional photographer (in my opinion)? Only two things:
1. Creative Eye / Ideas (you know when you have a good shot)
2. Technical Proficiency (ISO, f-stop, depth of field, shutter speed, etc.)

If you feel offended by this, I'm sorry. But instead of wasting your energy being mad at me, go and BE AWESOME.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL, so true! Remember when we went to the run down barn and shot profiles of eachother? Now that was creative, but it's probably a cliche' now!