As a photographer, I've always loved to take pictures. It was more nostalgia then anything I think that nurtured my motivation to continue pulling out my cam at any given moment and taking that shot. It was always pure excitement on the way to the store to see what type of images I had taken from the previous week. This was obviously before the digital age and sometimes, because I couldn't afford to pay for film developing I had to wait weeks at the chance of seeing the film and I would forget about some of the images I took, so when I finally saw them, it was a great surprise. It was a world of it's own for me. I found myself looking at images with a more intense eye then a lot of my friends of whom I had takin were pictures of. It was fun, stress free and it also helped to relieve my stress, it was a get away.
Today, as a professional photographer, I have the same love yet its a profession. I'm always in the mood to catch an interesting image, however being a professional, I understand these images aren't always for me. Sometimes I am working for client and images need to represent what they want to see and I respect that. Professional also implies business which implies capitol. It seems that many people I have come across however are always trying to minimize the work that photographers have to go through and try and get us to work for free. I have so many examples of people trying to be slick and getting over such as; inviting you to a party and at the end of the conversation, "BRING YOUR CAMERA" or making statements like, "IT'S JUST PICTURES". I always wondered, if they are "Just Pictures", why don't you take them??
It is a highly confusing misconception that a camera takes a good picture. It is the photographer my friends, not the camera, the camera is simply a tool. I have seen $5000 DSLR camera's in plenty of so called photographers hands and they know not how to use them and they are unhappy with their images. I remember a friend of mine who purchased a DSLR one year and had it for a bout 2months before he decided to contact me and admit he didn't know how to use it. Would you have let him shoot your wedding? LoL! What good is a Cab driver who can't drive or a doctor who doesn't know medicine?? I guess the old cliche stands true, "You get what you pay for."
Like I said, I love taking beautiful images, however I refuse to "work" for free, if that were the case, I'd shoot simply for myself. Like the sign says, I have bills like the next person. I've come in contact with models who always want free photo shoots. They claim they want to be in the fashion industry, yet they are unwilling to invest in their own craft. Models, free images aren't the best and when agencies look at the worth of your image, it devalues your worth in their eyes. If you don't invest in your self, no one will! Party promoters who invite you to their show to take pictures who don't pay you and have the nerve to want to charge at the door. Designers who want you to shoot for free while they collect income from the model or agency. Friends who want you to give them professional shoots just because your friends. I ask, if you were a doctor and my friend and I needed an operation for free, would you give it to me? I don't think people understand what it is to take a "quality" image and as a photographer, that is what I strive to do. A good photographer does not just snap the shutter button and magically create a beautiful image. It takes work, skill and talent!
The person in front of my lens doesn't understand or even know about the basics of what a good photographer is paying attention to. I am always paying attention to the ISO, the aperture, the shutter speed, the type of light, the amount of light, focusing just to name a minimal few. The average person pays no attention to these things being done behind my lens. Again it takes work, skill and talent! And, that's just creating the image, we still have post editing to deal with. For those who don't know, this is a simple estimate of "1" shoot.
-Pre Sales (2 Hours)
-Preparation of Equipment (3 Hours)
-Day of Shooting (3-11 Hours)
-Post Processing (2-4 Hours)
-Retouching Images (4-16 Hours)
-CD/Album Making (4-16 Hours)
As you can see, a lot of time goes into a shoot. If you total the hours alone, it is more then 24 hours of work and I'm going light on the time. I'm not including the money that has to be spent to make sure your shoot is professional either. It takes a craftsman to handle al these obstacles with ease, enough for you to utter the words "It's Just Pictures"... HA!
A photographer is a craftsman, an artist. We are historians who capture moments in time in which if it were not for us, you would have never seen or have been able to hold on to. We are to be respected and held in equal regard across the board, for if it were not for the photographer, the exposure you gain my dear, models, entertainers, media and the alike, you would have no visual platform. BTW, we gave birth to video, so don't try it. Salute the photographer and stop trying to make us work for free!