It occurred to me, after seeing what a ‘photographer’ delivered to their client, that most people don’t know what a quality photo looks like.
I was horrified that the photos delivered were acceptable to the client but I was more horrified that a so-called photographer would think charge people for that quality.
DSLRs are so easily accessible these days that almost anyone can pop into the closest electronics store and buy a cheap one with a couple of kit lenses. They even get a free training course on how to use the camera but most people don’t take the course. Of the ones that do most of the information is too much to absorb immediately.
At that point it should be illegal to call yourself a photographer. It is like a person being shown a scalpel, what it is and how to hold it, and then rushing out calling themselves a doctor. There is a lot more to photography than just owning a camera.
So what is a Photographer?
Photographers know their equipment. Most photographers have read their camera’s user manual …twice. They know what all of their equipment is capable of and how to use it.
Photographers keep learning. There are new techniques and ideas coming out all the time and photographers like to know how to do them and they experiment.
Photographers shoot a lot. To quote Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.’ If you haven’t taken 10,000 photos, well… you know.
Photographers can handle tough situations. I have had some difficult shoots where the light was constantly changing forcing me to change my settings every shot. I couldn’t imagine an inexperienced shooter trying to take that on or what the photos would have looked like.
I am but no means saying that professional photographers are the be all and end all. I have seen amateurs that will put many professionals to shame. But these amateur photographers are enthusiasts and have put in as much, if not more, time than many professionals and are just as passionate. The only difference is that they just have another career outside of photography. They are still photographers.
People that are not photographers are the ones that pop up on Facebook groups willing to accept a photo job at a quarter of the price of what real photographers are charging. They have had their camera for less than a year and are bored at home because someone else is providing a living for them. Most of them are still stuck in auto.
Their clients have no choice but to accept the poor quality work mainly because they realised that they got what they paid for. These people are not concerned about getting a bad reputation.
How do you make a good photo?
Well we could start off by saying that if you are charging for photos they should be somewhat better than the average teenager could take with a smartphone but here are a few of my ideas:
I have 4 very basic principles that I use. They revolve around the subject, placement of the subject in the frame, isolation of the subject and simplicity. That is just the starting point.
Then you have to think about the settings. Automatic mode will not give you the creative controls that you need to take a good photo. You have to use your settings to control the depth of field, the speed of your shutter and the sensitivity of your sensor. You should already know whether you want to freeze motion or not.
You need to know how and where to focus. You should be able to zoom in to 100% on your photo and still be completely in focus. Everything in the previous paragraph affects this.
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