Multi Skilled and Multi Disciplined
“Photographers” they just have a camera and press a button right? Well, for some people claiming to be photographers this is the case, and sure we all start somewhere. Actually being a photographer is so much more than this, in fact the camera, other than being a tool for the job is a long way from the most important part of being a photographer. Of course a camera is needed, but a photographer is so much more.
My friend and fellow photographer coined the collective noun for a group of photographers as a “whinge of photographers” haha. This is amusing, but also has a hint of truth to it, we do love to complain. Is it fair to feel a level of disgruntlement?
As a photographer I have spent many years learning my trade, building my business, investing in the tools for my job. I have served my apprenticeship assisting working long hours and for little pay. I have skills in my arsenal tha now enable me to understand lighting and create complicated images…
I have learned to work with my team and direct the shoot to achieve the results for my clients. It isn’t just me working to make these images, I have assistants, hair and makeup stylists, clothing stylists, and the talent to motivate and energise. While doing this, it is also my job to liaise with my client and insure we are on track. Now some people taking photographs don’t use assistants, but for me I feel to truly focus on my task at least one good assistant is essential. My assistants work closely with me so I can simply instruct them where I want the light and to what power I want each light set to. I trust them enough to then let them get on with this. Assistants should never be underrated if you are a photographer, along with simply really helping they offer a great opportunity to educate. They may just want to learn about lighting and the photography side, they may want more, but teaching helps all parties grow. I rate all of my team and have invested time in assembling and developing our working relationship.
So now we start to see that the camera is only a part of being a photographer, there is so much more knowledge and skills going into making a great image. As a professional photographer I am also running a business, so I need to understand marketing, accounting and budget. I need to handle meetings and negotiations, many times I am made to feel it necessary to justify my fees. I linked an excellent article earlier which address how fees are configured, if you didn’t see it take a look here.
The article points out that each project is different, it is difficult to quote without proper dialogue between photographer and client. I have learned that honesty and transparency is key and actually enjoy the process of working together to make a fair deal. I respect my client and my clients need, in return I ask them to respect my extensive and hard earned knowledge and ability to deliver images of the highest standard. These images will be of benefit to them and their business, helping build the brand and expand client base. Is it unfair to expect a fair fee for all the experience and skill I bring?
Having a camera means you can take a picture, but as you can see there is so much more to being a photographer, you really have to be multi skilled across the board.
Now my second subject, multi disciplined. When I say multi disciplined I am referring to genre’s of photography. There are many disciplines within photography, commercial, fashion, portraiture, travel, food, street, wedding and reportage to name just a few. Specialising is accepted, being one or another, either a street photographer or a wedding photographer etc..
But why can you not practice several of these disciplines?
I really love to shoot commercial and fashion photography….
I enjoy making portraits…
I enjoy being in the studio and making still lifes..
And I shoot travel photography, shooting for Nat Geo Traveller…
Now I wonder should I simply stop shooting all that I love to shoot and only make photographs of one subject, what do you think?
I find the skills I learn lighting one subject and the relationship with that subject can be transferred and applied across the other disciplines I practice. I say practice because that is what we do, well that is what we do if we want to continue to be open minded enough to improve. I am actually beginning to practice a new discipline, one of making film. This is a long road, but the journey has begun and I am learning how to shoot film and also the software needed to edit it, but that is another article in itself.
Will I reduce the photographic disciplines I practice, to some degree I already have. I know what I enjoy and that is the area I wish to concentrate harder on. I enjoy the creativity of shooting fashion and I enjoy the pressures of commercial photography, strange as that may seem. Pressure keeps me on my toes and in all honesty no one puts more pressure on me than myself, but I know that no matter what happens during the shoot I have the skills, flexibility and creativity to make the photographs. If it wasn’t for all the hard work and practice over the years, I would not be able to produce the images I do. Images my clients enjoy and help their businesses and brands grow. Images that make people want to visit a place or stay in a specific hotel, and images that simply make the viewer smile.
So when you book me, you are not just booking a guy with a camera, you are booking a passionate, creative and knowledgeable photographer, a photographer that will deliver and one who will give you all and more than you wanted. My fee? Like I said at the top, this all depends on the project, the budget and usage. I am happy to discuss and work with clients all the way through the process to ensure all parties are pleased with every aspect.