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Tag Archives: Professional
The New Barrier to Entry?
We start off with Rick trying to dial back his (seemingly) hatred of the French but then he turns his attention to the Basque region of Spain. But, hey, he does an Irish friend. If you’re familiar with the other podcasts that Tony is involved in, you’ve gotta be shocked that he is the voice of reason and sanity on Polarizing Images!
And don’t forget the new segment! Send us the name of a drink via our Twitter account – @PolarizingImage – and we’ll have Rick drink it through a Red Vine straw. Remember to tag the Tweet with #RedVineDrink.
Anyway, lots of good stuff in this episode once you get past our usual goofiness (A.K.A. the reason you keep coming back). Topics today include:
- Do we really expect Tony to do any heavy-lifting? *Can* he?
- If E&J is good enough for us, it’s good enough for hillbillies. Let’s just call it “domestic”… I wonder if Rick is blind yet?
- With the cost of software, does that make it a barrier to entry? How about the learning curve of software?
- Does keeping on top of software updates prevent the guys from updating their gear?
- Is there a perfect tool or piece of software?
- How terrible or lazy are actions and filters? (hint: Rob has changed his opinion)
Even just 20 years ago, it was quality camera gear that posed the greatest barrier of entry to being a professional photographer. You would never have dreamed about becoming a wedding photographer with “just” a 35mm camera and a couple of inexpensive zoom lenses. Today? Different story! But you need something for post production. Whether you’re buying high end applications like Photoshop (still the “gold standard”), paying less for a more appropriate version of Light Room, or stand alone apps and filters, your collection and library of software is going to grow and, regardless of how much you spend (or don’t) it all takes time to learn. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the time required to hone your craft as a photographer!
Starting with our photographer, we look at Italian photojournalist Clay McLachlan. Want to see how a working (and successful) photojournalist sets up a seemingly easy food shot? Check out this behind the scenes video called Blue Bottle.
As an homage to Rick’s father, Rick chose the German-American architect, Helmut Jahn. Jahn was the architect behind the United Airline’s terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. And yes, at one time, O’Hare was an example of modern architecture. Chicago is a city filled with architectural history and relevance but, beyond that, a city of artistic importance. Anyone who wants to be a travel or architectural photographer will, at some point, need to travel to Chicago and see the works of influential designers such as Jahn.
What does it mean to be a professional photographer? A ninety minute show later, and we’re still not sure. Granted, we’ ve been drinking (again/still) and it’s possible that that has affected our judgment. Still, we go into a pretty animated conversation around the variety of factors that qualifies a person as a “professional”. Oh, and Rick really, really, really hates pictures of flowers!
A quick head’s up: due to some Skype issues, the first few moments are a bit rough with some short bursts of intermittent static. Give it five minutes or so and it goes away. Did we mention we’re on Stitcher?
How a Professional Behaves…
All three of us have opinions on what separates the professional from the amateur. Tony thinks it has to do with a person’s ability to tell a story. Rick and Rob believe it has to do with behavior. And not just the public behavior in front of clients or the public, but also keeping separate records and accounts, approach to clients, and the ability to consistently get the shot under virtually any condition.
We’re still not sure what constitutes being a professional photographer but, perhaps, we can define it by what it is not. It’s not about taking a half-assed approach. It’s not being a “wedding photographer” who shoots one or two weddings for a couple of hundred bucks. It’s not calling yourself a professional because you dropped ten bucks on a domain name. But are you a professional photographer just because others label you that way?
Maybe it’s a combination of all that – regardless of being full- or part-time, being a professional is about running your business as a business, maintaining and expanding your skills and abilities, learning that it’s okay to fail as long as you pick yourself up, and being able to consistently provide your target audience with what they expect, and knowing why it’s important – and how – to capture the image properly in-camera. It’s all that… and more.
Oh yea, there’s no such thing as a “semi professional”: get over it.
Our photographer today is a personal favorite of Rob’s, John Shaw. Specifically, we look at his gallery from Ireland. It’s a tough task to photograph a subject that has preconceived ideas for so many people. None of the guys have been to Ireland but we each have images in our mind’s eye about a land with a rich history in spirituality, mysticism, music, and ancient magic. As a photographer, it is a challenge to shoot something that so many people already have an opinion about but John is successful.
The artist today is Darwyne Cooke, author of graphic novels. We look specifically at his novel, The Hunter. (Click here to see a preview of the novel). As you leaf through the pages, look at the ability to convey emotion and story through light and shadow.
You Get the Last Word on Being a Professional
What do you guys think? Are we right? Are we wrong? Should we try the topic again when we’re sober (yeah, good luck with that). And is wedding photography like sex?