Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oklahoma Photographer | Stop, stop and stop again

I really mean STOP! This post is geared mostly at photographers, mostly new photographers who think they are the all-A top notch photographer in their area...oh yes, you know who I'm talking about! I've also directed a few comments toward people looking for a portraiture photographer.

Stop - and look around you before clicking that all great family portrait - please!
But before I continue, let me tell you where this is coming from. I get google news alerts for various things, one of them is Oklahoma photographers. I like to see what is going on with others in my area, usually if you maintain a blog, your postings will get regenerated by the google news alert, handy to promote yourself/business. Well today my clicks on those links made me utter UGG! Now I can't attest to your business or your personalities, as I'm sure you are wonderful people. After all you are shooting photos and that's the great thing. Keep those bookings coming in!
What I am concerned though is that you are offering portraiture that is nothing more than snapshot with a bit of editing.
Stop and Look --- are there poles coming out of your subject's heads in the background. Oh yes, I do believe there are!
Is your focus really off but you post the photo anyway because baby sitting on Santa's lap is smiling so cutely? Yes again!
And this one really makes me choke: Your color is so off it can't even be attributed to textures, actions or anything remotely hip in today's technology of digital fun.
Please, learn to edit your images during the shoot and after before you go posting them for your clients.
I did come across a photographer who made all these horrendous mistakes, not just in one session, but many times over, and there they are all over her blog for everyone to see. She had probably 50 photos on her current blog page and I could only pick out 2, MAYBE 3 that were portrait worthy. And one of them she overtextured. That's sad, because it's obvious she's very busy. I guess the good thing is that she's not charging exorbitant amounts, $75 for the session and her print prices are ridiculously low. On the other hand, consider the time the client spends preparing and going through the session. Do you really want amateur images for your time, or do you want a true professional portrait? It's all in what the client wants. I see so much of this going on in Oklahoma and it saddens me. One of the reasons I quit doing portraiture for some time. I've decided to go back into it this year after getting so many requests. I hope I don't let anyone down, as I love what I do and want the client to be 100 percent satisfied.
And always strive to do better with each session that you do. Think of composition, posing, lighting, angles, the list goes on.
I've had people ooh and ahh over my photos (while inside I'm thinking, but I could have done this better or that..) yet one of the things I was confident about was that even if it didn't meet my high expectations, at least I was giving it my all and always thinking about all of these things and more. I've had parents and moms of brides and brides say to me, you get those shots that nobody else would even think of, like the look of a bride's mom as she watches her daughter dance with daddy. "And you still get the shot of them dancing!"
I thank her for that high praise, but I am definitely not the only photographer to get those kinds of shots. I've studied photographers online that I admire and respect their business model and photography and try to learn how I can achieve those same things. And I like connecting with people. That also means listening to what they have to say even if it makes you uncomfortable. I think some of the best advice I've gotten are some of the clients who have made a few comments that maybe hurt my feelings to begin with but looking back, it's made me a better photographer. It doesn't mean just toss out everything you know and listen 100 percent, it means taking it under advisement and molding it to how it makes you better. After all, you are the professional photographer and while some clients have good intentions, they aren't always 100 percent right! (Ha, imagine that!) That'd be like a novice photographer telling a master photographer they are doing everything wrong. This is meant to be fun! So have fun!
And you are your own boss! When it stops being fun, that's when you re-evaluate it. That's what I did and I think that not only I, but my future clients, will be more lucky for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Toni,

This may seem kind of harsh to some but frankly I agree. When I run across photographers that lack attention to the simplest of details, it makes me wonder who is willing to pay for that kind of work.

I'm my own worst critic, and I think I should be. I know I can do better, so at first I beat myself up a little then regroup and learn from the error of my ways and vow to not do that again.

I think it boils down to attention to detail, and that's what sets photographers apart.

Thanks for this post, good reminder, and it motivates me even more for setting up a little side business because I know I can do a better job than some of what I'm seeing online!

PS- saw the overturned VW, evidently the 60's made them tipsy? ;)