Good Morning Everybody,
We had a great day off yesterday. Man, we all need one of those now and then. We are not too much into the gambling scene out here in Las Vegas, but we love touring the surrounding areas. The Valley of Fire and Mount Charleston are our favorites.
The thing that surprised me the most on our travels yesterday was seeing Lake Mead at, get this, 100 feet lower than normal. The signage says the lake is NOT drying up. The low level it just the result of the "draught years" in Colorado whose waters flow into Lake Mead.
OK, had enough of a geography lesson for today? Then on with today's post. I had planned to continue on with the series I started last week entitled, "Keeping The Faith: My 15 Steps For Shooting Weddings In Catholic Churches" [link] but I'm holding off till next week to continue the series.
A few things have happened over the last week that I think need some serious discussion. So, I hope you'll hang in here with me and hear what I have to say today. Here we go.
How Much Of A Professional Are You?
Everyone reading this blog knows that I've been doing wedding photography for quite a while. I've seen lots of changes in our profession over the many years, but none have been so game changing as with the introduction of digital cameras.
In the wedding business, it even took a few years for many of the pros to make the switch. I personally made the switch to digital in 2000. It was scary just like anything else you try that is new. No problem, we made the switch, and I have to tell you, I would never go back to film.
In the wedding industry, in the early days of digital, things were pretty calm. Many were making their switch and the competition from new photographers was a little more even keeled than in today's market.
But things started to change about two years ago. Cameras got cheaper, Facebook got famous, everybody started blogging, Craig's List became popular, and cameras got even cheaper still. Now everyone with a new Digital Rebel or Nikon D3000 wanted a piece of the wedding market.
Don't leave yet - it gets even more interesting, hence the topic of today's post - "How Much Of A Professional Are You?"
Last week a friend of mine sent me a link to a YouTube video of Judge Joe Brown lambasting into a so called "professional photographer". The bride booked a photographer and after seeing their images from their wedding, felt they were not representative of what the photographer showed as her samples.
The bridal plaintiff basically wanted a refund of $1000 of the $1300 she paid to the "professional photog". The judge awarded the bride, not the $1000 she asked for, but $2500 in damages!!!
My first intent was to post this as kind of a "humor" piece - lousy photographer gets what she deserves. But, upon reflecting on it I decided it was a much more serious issue that that. Here's why…
Hit the Read More..." link below for the video and the rest of the story.
The "pro photographer" was shooting the wedding with a Canon Rebel with a "kit" lens, had the images processed at WalMart, and delivered then to the bride in the WalMart parking lot. The sign of a true "professional" - right? Wrong!!!
Judge Joe Brown didn't see it that way either asking the photographer why she wasn't shooting with a pro camera like a Canon 1D, 5D, or 7D. It seems the judge knows his cameras and a little something about wedding photography, too. He didn't come right out and say it, but it looked to me like the judge may have shot a wedding or two.
Hit the PLAY button to watch the short video:
OK, like I said, I planned to just post it for the "giggle" but then some thing happened while at WPPI. I attended a program by one of the presenters and was surprised by what I heard. Not by what the presenter said, but what I heard after she said it.
She mentioned that in her early days of shooting she used a Canon Rebel. About 25% of the room cheered her remark - they must be Canon Rebel shooters too - at least that was my impression of their response. It seems to me that this section of the audience felt vindicated by their use of this amateur camera for shooting events that should be shot with professional gear.
That seems both scary and sad to me. A wedding is a once in a lifetime event for most folks out there. When a photographer books a wedding, they assume a lot of responsibility for the outcome of their photographic result. How is it they can feel they are delivering "pro" results with "amateur" cameras.
That presenter by the way, now shoots with Canon's top line EOS Canon 1D cameras.
This whole attitude; "I've got my Canon Rebel or Nikon D50 and some business cards. I've got my Facebook page, I like shooting pictures, I've got my blog, etc. , etc., etc. I must be a professional." To me it shows a total lack of professionalism when any photographer engages a client for the job of shooting the wedding and shows up as "Amateur Anne or Andy".
We have been witnessing the "cheapening" of wedding photography over the last 2 - 3 years. It has put good studios out of business, sacrificed quality photography for brides, created an entire era of paperless, picture-less couples, given wedding photographers and wedding photography a bad name, and does a major disservice to all the real "pros" in our business.
So to those who cheered the use on the Rebel as a wedding camera, I suggest you think twice before booking you next wedding. I suggest you ask yourself just how much of a real "pro" you are. Do you really know your gear, your lenses, your lighting? Do you really know what shots to capture at the wedding? Do you know how to handle yourself in an emergency situation like when your gear fails? Can you still capture the images? These are just a few of the questions real professionals know how to answer.
If you are having trouble answering any part of them, you may want to change that or you too just may find yourself in front of Judge Joe Brown.
Food For Thought ---
Hey everybody, that's it for me today. Feel free to jump in on today's conversation by leaving your remarks in the "Comments" section below.
I'll plan to see everyone on Monday back in Cincy. We've got one more day of relaxation in Las Vegas and I want to see if I can win some more pixels;~)