I know many of you are salty. After all, you’ve taken classes and built a career on having a keen eye, knowing how to develop photos, catching that “perfect” shot, and; in many cases, helping the subject to feel at ease.
Unfortunately; however, your craft has changed dramatically.
It wasn’t so bad when we were able to grab one of the Polaroid cameras or when we had to take the film to Eckerd Drugs or Walmart to get it developed.
But now, with the advent of camera phones, everyone is Gordon Parks or Sharon Farmer!
Countless times I have watched the photographer hired for the shoot waiting patiently as everybody and their mamas got their pictures.
It has to be frustrating.
Also, it’s no wonder sometimes the shots are not as good as they should be, but you have a job to do and you must take charge.
It is so disheartening to see a photo where clearly a few seconds could have made a memorable shot, even more memorable.
How about a few minor adjustments? Tell someone to move to the right, or slide to the left.
You might want to give instructions in the beginning and I know this can be a little testy, but tell everyone: “OK, I am the official photographer for this event. Let me set up the shoot, take my (how many shots) and I will be out of the way.”
Photographers, you know you don’t see everyone in your shot! But you can’t spend your time trying to navigate all the amateur photographers because they are NOT being paid and you have an expectation to meet or you might not get paid!
And there are some concessions you have to make. With this microwave society that we live in; folks want their pictures back quickly. Gone are the days of 3-5 day turnarounds. Your client will be waiting patiently for your photos and then someone will have tagged them on X, or one of the other platforms, and every picture you have taken, albeit not as good; will be out there for the world to see.
Granted, I can’t blame the photographer if my bra strap is showing or someone sitting in the front row has their legs gapped open; however, I’d probably try to fix it in advance rather than Photoshop later.
But who am I but an iPhone 11 user who is not that impressed with my own photos?
You see, I get it photographers because I, too selected a profession that I studied countless hours while taking more than the required courses; participated in two internships; and worked for literally pennies, all to establish myself only to get to a point where anyone with a pen, pencil, pad, tape recorder, microphone, camera or phone with a camera can call themselves a “journalist.”
Unlike doctors, lawyers, pilots, chefs, or even teachers who at least have to go through some type of certification; or professional athletes and even rappers who practice and have to perform at a high level, anyone can be a journalist, publicist, actor, or talk show host.
Now I am not hating on those who are not professionally trained; I’ve just got mad love for those who do their jobs and do them well.
I appreciate the ones who try to learn about the area they are entering because there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with the work we do.
Which brings me to my truth.
When young people tell me they are “grown,” I tell them to add additional letters to that word because they are “GROWING!”
Even if you are working in an area where you have not been trained, it would behoove you to get training and to learn the craft from a pro. You want to be treated like a pro, well become a student so you can become a pro.
Learn the difference between a photographer and a photojournalist. It will help when you realize that you should identify who is in the picture you present; otherwise, you are just snapping photos.
Too often today people are saying they suffer from “imposter syndrome.” Back in the day, there was also that feeling but the difference was “we” were over-qualified and the unqualified were in positions of authority but tried to make us feel inferior or that we were where we were because of affirmative action or some other government handout.
It is so much easier to perpetrate fraud today because we live in a world faking it until you make it.
Photographers, protect your industry. Do quality work, pivot with the times by understanding expectations, and above all, don’t accept a job and perform it based on how much you are being paid.
Regardless of the pay, do your best. If you don’t like the pay, rather than do a substandard job, turn it down.
Protect the integrity of your craft.
Actually, any craft!