Watch How People React to a Professional Versus Fake Photographer

Hailing from Seattle, portrait photographer Ben Lucas put together this amusing video pitting his talents as a photographer against those of an actor pretending to be a professional photographer. The lights are set up and the camera is the same, the only thing that changes is the person taking the pictures. How big of a difference can it make?

Lucas had a variety of people drop by the studio to take part in a small challenge. He would take their picture, as would an actor, and he wanted to see if people could identify the image taken by the pro. None of the lighting was changed nor the equipment that they used. The only difference was who took the pictures.

Though not the most scientific video, ultimately it does go to show just how important it is for a photographer to manage a variety of personalities and know how to put people at ease. The actor pretending to be a photographer had trouble getting people comfortable and directing them in a confident manner. The full-time photographer however could chat up a storm and had people relaxed within minutes in front of his lens. In the end it really pays off knowing how to properly manage people, since every subject chose the image shot by the professional.

[via DIYPhotography]

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11 Comments

Michal Rosa's picture

The self-proclaimed "professional photographers" are the most precious group of human beings ever. I know of no other professional group which spends most of its time not actually doing what they should be doing but complaining about others.

Anonymous's picture

If you read blogs :-) it would be easy to think that way but there really is a difference. And photographers are just like everyone else; when someone "hangs out a shingle", announcing they do the same thing as the guy/girl who's been doing it for years and has worked hard to improve their skills, not only do they take work from you but they also give your profession a bad name.

Michael Kormos's picture

In all honesty, professionals are usually busy running their studios and seldom have time to socialize on internet or write complaints. I do my best to check out sites like fstoppers, petapixels, etc. if only to keep up-to-date about what's what and who's who.

And to pick on Patrick and Lee.

Patrick mostly, because he makes it too darn easy!

Binky Bass's picture

She said " say cheese ". Thats funny stuff right there.

Henry Louey's picture

Comments on PP summed it up well but a double blind test would have been a lot more acurate.

Back in 2002/03 ITV or Channel 4 in the UK did a series about faking jobs. They had a radioographer be a professional photographer and even had him take part in a photo Comp.

Here is where it gets interesting. From memory only 1 of the 3 "professionals" from the industry were able to tell who was the fake.

It was a really interesting episode and actually got me thinking a about taking photography more seriously

Ps. I recall he might have actually won if he hadn't of cropped a foot out of one shot. This is in the days of film. And one of the 1st times I had heard of hassalblad

James Dare's picture

I really doubt the fake photog was really an "actor", but just someone Ben found who didn't know anything about photography and agreed to help him film this "test". A real actor might not have taken great photos, but could've pulled off a convincing act as a portrait photographer.

The fun thing is that in the end many of the picture made are not that different between the fake and the "real"photographer. It means that the sad true is that a non photographer saying "cheese" is almost as good as the "real" one :-)

Anonymous's picture

I was thinking the same thing but then, most of the subjects had been photographed before and so knew what to do anyway.

This was really useful for me as a total amateur to get some ideas about what to say when snapping!

However, it really bugged me that the guy coordinating it was also the professional photographer in the comparison! There should be a third part quizzing the models. Although his photographs were clearly better, it's unlikely the models are going to want to tell someone their photos are rubbish.

A third person would get much more honest responses.

One thing marketers know well but us photographers doesnt seem to grasp is that clients mostly base their perception of a photographers quality on your price.
Its like when you walk into any store selling clothes, watches or whatever. If you know nothing about the store, never heard its name before. You need to check a few pricetags to see what kind of quality they sell. Is it a $30 watch store or a $3000 watch store? You'd like to know. But you cant tell by looking at the watches themselves unless yourw well versed in watch brands. No its the price tags we go to.

David Lara's picture

I do agree we have a ton of photographers that don't put in enough effort to learn their craft, but they are beginners for a reason.

The one thing this video doesn't show is the ability to get the camera & lighting set up from scratch. Have the actor take the gear and do everything themselves would show a much different result. If I set up a lighted stage and asked a random stranger to "take the photo" 8/10 times the person comes up with a useable image.

Portrait photography is a great combination of both technical ability (knowing what to do with what you have so it's not a hindrance), and connection. Starting out most photographers generally are far better at one vs the other and eventually (after hard work and practice), it becomes a more balanced artwork.