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Thread: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

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    yobenny's Avatar
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    Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    I have been following John's new posts and his new images for about two months now. It's clear he loves what he does and he knows plenty about it including post production, he owns some breath taking images for sure.

    Backing off of his offerings a bit and trying to look at it from a holistic perspective, he is flat in the business of selling his images. I just think that in his case, he would do well to get someone to help him understand better what constitutes a good name for an image, as well as a good synopsis of it.

    I just wonder if I am being to critical, but to me, photography at his level is about more than the light you can catch in the glass. What do you think?

    https://www.facebook.com/jdebordphotography?ref=stream

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Hi Benny,

    I am not exactly sure if I get your question right. To be precise:
    photography at his level is about more than the light you can catch in the glass
    If you realize that he catch some light throught a glass, with some post-production skills, why do you think he is a "Real Good Photographer" ?
    I do not want to offend anybody, but numbers of likes on facebook is ... like a high ISO noise... serve you to get something, but never please you. It is a concesion. Nothing more.

    I really don't want to be rude, but let's take a look at this:
    "Moraine Valley Sunrise"
    He has a wall text to explain picture, not picture to speak for itself. This is why he has commercial issues, and this is why there are so many stock photography agency. Sorry to be out of "tide" but likes on Facebook are illusorious, have ZERO value. There is no comparison, but I will have trillions more confidence in this forum comments and critique, instead of #### likes on Facebook, for photographic purposes.
    Yes, I know, "you have to be there". For commercial point of view, yes, but NEVER believe those likes, to be known, YES, but never rely on it.

    Leo

  3. #3

    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    I think you are saying that being a pro photographer requires photo/pp skills AND (equally important) business skills. Am I right?

    If so I completely agree.

    But, do you actually know how his business is doing (has he spoken about it) or are you assuming it is flat because you can see ways he could do better? - Just asking this to better understand what your viewpoint is and what it is based on.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Chase Jarvis has an interesting graphic on his website:

    Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    I think that what people need to realise is that being a good "something" (eg photographer, mechanic etc) and running a successful & profitable "something business" aren't related. Being a great photographer, but not knowing anything about sales / marketing / advertising / accounting etc means that a business that requires sales / marketing / advertising / accounting etc will fail (unless of course others are taking care of those roles).

    Not sure who this chap is - personally, I can see the potential in a lot of his work, but most of the shots (in my opinion anyway) need a little more work in terms of saturation adjustments and crops. Just my opinion - he probably wouldn't rate my work 10 out of 10 either!

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Hi Benny,
    236 Likes on Facebook do not turn you into a pro. In fact I do not think YOU can turn pro. My opinion is, demand for your work turns you into a pro. No matter what tipe of photography you are into, if there is demand for your work and people are prepared to pay for it, that is what makes you a pro.

    John is trying to sell his work, that per se does not make him a good photographer. I am not saying his work is bad, some of those images are very good, better than most. If he is successful selling his images this way, he should be considered a pro.

    Not all good photographers are pro's and not all pro's are good photographers.

    If you like his work and you are prepared to pay for it, buy it.
    Last edited by AB26; 15th November 2012 at 11:28 AM.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    I guess my wording was a bit obtuse and thus these responses.
    I said nothing of the man's "likes" on FB as some measurement of his talent or status.
    It does however say something of his lack of marketing skills.
    National Geographic buys his images now and then, if that isnt a pro to you then your standards are a wee bit unrealistic in my opinion. And to say that I myself CANNOT be a pro is a little further up the ladder into surrealistic narcissism if you ask me.

    Muddying the waters like that doesn't stop a good swimmer, but you can pretend it does and watch them cross the channel.

    I simply said that his use of vocabulary to describe his images is somewhat amateurish and for good marketing purposes he needs to get someone to help him refine it a bit.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    if there is demand for your work and people are prepared to pay for it, that is what makes you a pro.

    And I beg to differ with this statement too. VanGough sold one painting in his lifetime, to his brother, who was just trying to help him out with a little cash.
    Demand for your work has LITTLE to do with how good you actually are at it, and more about public perception.

    cowering to the dollar with your efforts is hardly the mark of a professional if you ask me....

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Benny, there was obviously some confusion from the get-go on this one. I for one have read the thread several times, and have not replied, because I didn't really understand what was happening.

    To clarify a couple of things though, and Andre, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe the when he said "YOU cannot turn pro", he was not directing that statement specifically at you. At least that's not how I took it. What he's trying to express is that an individual doesn't just open a door one day, or wake up in the morning, have an epiphany, and be considered a pro.

    I also would differ with your opinion of the word professional. I believe Van Gogh was a master, and an incredible artist, but in his life, he only sold one painting. If you use a dictionary to clarify the exact meaning of the word, it is "to follow an occupation for a means to a livelihood, and monetary gain", which he did not. But, that's only if you ask me.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    He did try to sell his work and it is interesting to me that his contributions only became priceless once they were recognizable in a context of the evolution of artistic expression.

    I have sold many of my images in the process of developing websites and have made money at it, not bad money either.

    So by your definition, I am a professional. By mine, I am a good marketer and a lousy photographer. (at the moment)

    Selling art is an interesting business, and people who see photographs as art are looking for more than razor sharp images, and many times they don't even know what it is that they are looking for. They just know if they like it or not. And in many cases, like YOU or not.

    I understand the epiphany statement, and never implied that I think this is a plug and play endeavor if professional is your goal.

    I am wondering if this misunderstanding of statements doesn't have something to do with the global reach of this forum and how geographic and cultural location can influence our interpretations of common statements.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Art has a lot to do with personal taste, and thankfully, not everyone has the same taste. Van Gogh and the other impressionists appeared at an interesting time in the history of painting. The camera had arrived and did such a good job that traditional portrait, still-life and landscape painters were facing a new form of competition that was forcing the artists to re-examine their business model.

    The whole idea of creating paintings that were not "life-like" was not something that the art-buying public were ready for, so buyers were relatively few and far between. With anything new, there is the classic change management curve; from early adopters, to those who took some time to warm up to the new art form to those who resisted any changes to the status quo. Unfortunately for these artists, their style was not highly valued until after their deaths. I'm not someone who particularly likes that phase of the development of painting; I remember visiting the d'Orsay museum in Paris, and coming out thinking that it was too bad that they had that such a beautiful building was full of so much over-rated art...

    I feel that photography is going through a similar shakedown. Like any art form (and there are many who argue that photography is not an art form), there is an artistic component and a skill (technical) component. In the past it could be argued that a photographer needed both to be successful, over and on top of business skills. With the advent of the DSLR it is possible for the artistic technically unskilled to produce reasonable images because a modern camera / lens combination does the technical "stuff" for them. I know a number of very skilled product, portrait and landscape photographers who made a decent living in photography 10 years ago who are struggling today because of what I refer to as "soccer mom pros" who work for for virtually nothing, trying to make a name for themselves. It's hard to compete with "free" and frankly most of the buying public could not tell the difference between a well-done professional work versus the amateur stuff flooding the market and the stock photo sites.

    The other thing that has changed in photography is that photographers have become "one man bands". In the 1950s and 1960s a photographer would have assistants to set up his equipment, a negative retoucher and a printer. Today, unless you are a very high end photographer, you get to do virtually all that by yourself. Most of the pros that I know want to be out with their clients and not sitting behind a computer with Lightroom or Photoshop (and frankly in some of their work, it shows).

    As for the photographer you like, I can't say his work does anything for me. But as I said before, tastes do differ, and that is a very good thing.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    I think he has better imagery shown on his personal web page then on FB.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    I think he is overboard with his use of HDR and vibrancy but just look at any TV screen today and what do you see....
    I am also envious of his studio. The earth around me at the moment is barren boring and flat, I have to try and create a great pic our of nothing which is probably good for me.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Quote Originally Posted by yobenny View Post

    So by your definition, I am a professional. By mine, I am a good marketer and a lousy photographer. (at the moment)
    Not by my definition, by Webster's. I tried to look up "good marketer, lousy photographer" as an occupation, but couldn't find it.

    I'm sorry Benny, I'm going to bow out of this one now, I still can't seem to grasp where it's going, but I hope you find the answer you were originally looking for.

    Best of luck.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    OK Andy but just to point some out this is the definition I found.

    Photographer -

    "a person who takes photographs, especially one who practices photography professionally."

    That definition isnt even CLOSE to what a professional photographer actually IS or DOES....

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    To clarify a couple of things though, and Andre, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe the when he said "YOU cannot turn pro", he was not directing that statement specifically at you. At least that's not how I took it. What he's trying to express is that an individual doesn't just open a door one day, or wake up in the morning, have an epiphany, and be considered a pro.
    Andrew - I agree - this is how I took it to mean also.

    Benny, if it appears that someone is "pointing the stick" or "having a go" at someone, 99 times out of 100 around here it's because English isn't the writers first (or even 2nd) language and how it comes across isn't the way it was intended (as it the case here I believe). The other 1% of the time it's because one of the mod-squad hasn't seen it, because if there is one thing CiC prides itself on, it's the fact that we don't allow personal attacks like "the other sites out there".

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Quote Originally Posted by yobenny View Post
    OK Andy but just to point some out this is the definition I found.

    Photographer -

    "a person who takes photographs, especially one who practices photography professionally."

    That definition isnt even CLOSE to what a professional photographer actually IS or DOES....
    I've always thought of "professional" as having 2 meanings:

    The first relating to attitude: Someone who makes a living out of their photography may be arrogant and disrespectful and not produce work of the highest standards, whereas someone who does not make a living (or in fact any money at all out of their work) may be skilled - polite - and courteous. In this case - personally - I would say that the first photographer has an unprofessional attitude whereas the 2nd one has a professional attitude.

    The second relates to money where the terms "professional" - "semi-professional" and "full-time professional" dictate what they get from the money side of things. It's not a perfect definition by any means though (eg a successful semi-professional may make more money than a less successful full-time professional).

    Personally, I believe professionalism has more to do with the quality of the product and the way the photographer conducts themselves. Just my personal opinion anyway - not one you'll find in a dictionary though.

    Another saying I heard that I think is relevant is "an amateur practices until they get it right - a professional practices until they never get it wrong; in a photographic sense I think that has much relevance too -- an amateur is capable of producing a good shot whereas a professional can do it far more consistently. eg an amateur might attend an event (say, a concert) and end up with a couple of cracking shots - that's all that he needs to do, whereas if a professional was employed to cover the same event - and only came up with a couple of cracking shots then he'd be in all sorts of trouble - so perhaps another definition of professional needs to be "do they have the level of skill needed to produce professional-level results consistently"?

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Quote Originally Posted by yobenny View Post
    I And to say that I myself CANNOT be a pro is a little further up the ladder into surrealistic narcissism if you ask me.
    Benny, you have misunderstood Andre's post.(imo)
    He was using YOU in the context of referring to the reader of his post, the photographer, oneself)
    I do not believe it was aimed at YOU personally

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks Andrew, Colin, Anton. Selective reading and misinterpretation I guess. My very next sentence, in the post, explains it all.
    Benny, I think you need to re-read my post. Sentence by sentence will explain the context of the paragraph. Maybe I should re-write it.
    No reference to you or any other person, It is you in a wider context.

    If there is demand for your work Benny, turn pro. Why not.

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Another saying I heard that I think is relevant is "an amateur practices until they get it right - a professional practices until they never get it wrong; in a photographic sense I think that has much relevance too -- an amateur is capable of producing a good shot whereas a professional can do it far more consistently. eg an amateur might attend an event (say, a concert) and end up with a couple of cracking shots - that's all that he needs to do, whereas if a professional was employed to cover the same event - and only came up with a couple of cracking shots then he'd be in all sorts of trouble - so perhaps another definition of professional needs to be "do they have the level of skill needed to produce professional-level results consistently"?
    But are numbers relevant here, Colin? In that sort of scenario, it can seem as though the pro's camera is rattling like a machine gun. So as an example, is it reasonable to suggest that whereas the competent amateur might get only a couple of good shots out of 50 taken, the professional might record over a 1000 shots to produce 20 saleable photos? The latter might also be a significant factor contributing to the size of the big green slice of the pie in post #4.

    Philip

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    Re: Watching A Real Good Photographer and wondering about listening....

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    But are numbers relevant here, Colin? In that sort of scenario, it can seem as though the pro's camera is rattling like a machine gun. So as an example, is it reasonable to suggest that whereas the competent amateur might get only a couple of good shots out of 50 taken, the professional might record over a 1000 shots to produce 20 saleable photos? The latter might also be a significant factor contributing to the size of the big green slice of the pie in post #4.

    Philip
    Hi Philip,

    Not quite what I was meaning. Think of a wedding ... an amateur takes his DSLR and comes away with a few good shots - he's happy - B&G are happy (since there wasn't an expectation of anything better). A professional has much higher expectations placed upon them - they have to be able to get far more consistent results in a far wider range of circumstances and conditions.

    In that context the professional (regardless of whether or not he's being paid) is the one who has finger memory of all his camera buttons - he knows what mode to use for any given situation - he understands Apertures needed for appropriate DoF - and appropriate shutterspeeds - and appropriate ISOs - he knows how to get the best out of any situation. An amateur gets a few good shots through a little skill and a lot of luck -- a professional gets far more consistent results through far more skill and far less luck. The difference is in the degree of knowledge and experience - which translates into quality and consistency.

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