Dancing a fine line...

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Jeffininer's picture
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Dancing a fine line...

I had that charity walk event this morning that you kind ladies talked me into. It was great!!! Well, all except one part. The below is a copy and paste from something I posted else where, but thought I'd share here.

I'm going to be very vague with people and places here....

Let me first start with about myself. I am no no way a 'professional' nor do I pose to be. I am purely a hobbyist that loves photography and am learning as much as possible to be as good as I possibly can be. I shoot only manual and in RAW. I edit or enhance 100% of my photos. I do not take money from people and I make sure that if I do take photos of others (which I have) that I they are aware that I am learning and skill building. I don't even feel like I am at the portfolio building stage (though everyone around me says I'm crazy). I just know my exposure, focus, and composition aren't good enough to have a paying client....I thought (and honestly still do think) this is the right route for me.

Well, a friend of mine, who heads a local chapter of a photography charity group, asked me if I would like to volunteer my time and talent for a charity walk. I said sure, I had never done anything like that before and thought it would be a neat experience. I was under the impression that all 'legal' aspects of this would be taken care of.

Fast forward to this morning, the morning of the walk. I get there and see another woman with cameras, she looks pro. So I go up to her and introduce myself and explain who asked me to come and for what reason. This girl is helping out another woman who is 'in charge' of the photography. Well, this professional business woman proceeds to give me the 5th degree lecture on consent, legality, etc. Only she and the other girl have permission to take photos and that if I take photos and they are used, I will be sued...Um, ok. I understand all that. I'm not trying to use any of the photos for my personal use or promotion. She was just very rude and condescending. I finally get a hold of my friend that asked me to come and it turns out a different group asked my friend and I to come along to take photos for their specific group. That part was a bit disorganized, but she has consent from her patient's families so we're good to go.

My whole qualm here is this. I feel like I'm going about my journey in the correct way. I am not 'undercutting' the market and I'm not trying to start a business if my skill levels aren't where they should be (and honestly don't think business is what I want). I want to believe that all pros out there aren't complete snobs and shun anyone with a camera, but today's experience really turned me off. I don't want to be looked upon by others more advanced than I am as a nuisance, uneducated, or a newbie who just picked up a camera yesterday. I am working my hardest to LEARN my equipment, LEARN the techniques and skills needed to be a better photographer...NOT a business.

I guess this whole rant is just to say that I'm really discouraged. I want to learn from those around me (not in a leech kind of way), I want to be treated with respect when I meet a fellow photographer. But, I feel like I will be looked down on because I'm not a 'pro' or 'in business'.

Thanks for listening, I think there is just a fine line in photography. You have to prove yourself or else you're just another girl who bought a fancy camera and doesn't take it off that green box.

La123's picture
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That is very frustrating. I would feel discouraged too. I don't know what to say, beside to keep your chin up, and ignore people who treat you like that. You didn't do anything wrong. I think sometimes experience photographers get pissy about any new/jso photographer, because they don't want the market to become more saturated. Just because this lady was rude to you, doesn't mean every other photographer you meet won't respect you. :openarms:

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Wow, I'm sorry but she was extremely rude to you! I'm sorry! There is no excuse for treating someone else that way, in any industry, even if you were in business!

"Thanks for listening, I think there is just a fine line in photography. You have to prove yourself or else you're just another girl who bought a fancy camera and doesn't take it off that green box"

There is some truth to this. I am friends with several local photographers - and I kid you not - there are TONS of people who buy a DSLR and open a business right away without ANY experience or knowledge about photography itself. They just assume the camera does the job for them, and start charging (usually dirt cheap prices) people for their "work." So there are a lot of real photographers that have become pretty jaded about how the industry has became so degraded so to speak. It makes it that much harder for photographers who've invested years of training, thousands of dollars in equipment, schooling, etc etc justify the prices for their services (which obviously are very justifiable). I think it often turns to bitterness. She sounds like one of those people.

Regardless, it is NO excuse for her to treat you that way. And at a charity event on top of it? That's just childish. Try not to let her cynicism get you down. Smile

Jeffininer's picture
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I completely get that the pros feel like someone can just pick up a camera and start shooting and call themselves a 'Professional Photographer'. But, that doesn't mean that everyone's journey is that way and not everyone is out to make a buck. I just think it's crummy for anyone to ASSUME they know someone without taking the time to really formulate a conclusion.

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To play devils advocate, I can see how some pros could become jaded. Heck, on my fb list I have a few acquaintances who bought a DSLR and the next month charge for "photo shoots." And everyone raves about their underexposed, blah pics. I can totally see how the anger would build up.
But, my goodness, if that's the case you need to vent in some other manner than on an innocent person! I'm sure that's not the first time she's treated someone the way she treated you, Jennifer. You know what they say about karma Smile Keep on doing what you love and what you're good at ♥

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I think the key here is that you EXPLAINED you were not a pro. And I think because of that, this behavior is inexcusable. It's a charity event where you were ASKED to participate. There is no need to get your hackles up like that. Yes, it's easy to see why the pros get so jaded, but to take it out on everyone is just as wrong as the way they've been treated.

Just my $0.02 worth.

Sorry ... I'm tired and not very understanding this morning.

GiGi

connorsmum's picture
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I completely agree with GiGi in this one, the fact that you explained who you were, where you are at and why you were there makes her behaviour unacceptable. I can understadn how some photographers have become jaded and now understand for myself why it is so difficult to get a "good reputation" when so many people buy a fancy, all singing, all dancing camera and then set up a "business" straight away. My SIL shots in full auto only and does sessions for people, really annoys me when I have taken the time over the last 3 years to learn everything about my camera, get to grips with photographic techniques and yet I still don't really feel confident enough to offer more than my time & skill in return for a cd with a selction of prints for them and the use of the images for my own portfolio.

Jeffininer's picture
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GiGi and Kerry, I understand both sides of the equation because I'm smack dab in the middle. I think it's easy to understand where those that have no experience assume it's easy to run a 'photography business' and can trample anywhere they please. BUT, I also fully understand why pro photogs are so jaded. They are annoyed with those who feel completely justified in starting a business with little to no technical or business knowledge.

It takes a long time to fully understand and be able to utilize your camera's abilities. I'm 1 year and 4 months in and STILL don't feel confident enough to charge someone for my 'talent'.

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I dont want to be repetative since everyone's made some great points, but i feel for you Jennifer. That's a crappy way to be spoken to pro or not. I have a few on my FB too that have started a business and are getting paid for their "awesome" photos. Makes me cringe really. I've had a supposed friend accuse me of stealing clients from her and saying that if only i had come to her she would've helped me out. WTF?! man i was pissed. but ignored her and kept moving forward. You do what you're doing cuz you're doin' it well! Smile