Why I Can't Stand the Photography Community

Why I Can't Stand the Photography Community

In three years of working in photography, I've shot roughly 1,500 family sessions. I've dedicated all my time to growing my photography skills whether it be watching online tutorials, going to WPPI, reading articles, and reaching out to fellow photographers. In my time spent doing this, I've come to one major realization; photographers seem very guarded, opinionated, and close-minded. I've tried to understand what it is that stops us from helping one another? Is it the fear that we are training our competitors, are we bitter that we may have had to learn the hard way, or is it the fact that we are too proud to admit when someone is better than us?

I work for a local photography company in Utah called FotoFly. We shoot 37 studio sessions a day and have 15 full time photographers on staff. We are all very close and love to help push each other. It's hard to go from working in such a great work environment where we all want to see each other succeed and seeing how much it helps our photography, to the worldwide photography community and how opposite it is. It's almost impossible these days to post an image on any photography website or social media group without someone being incredibly negative.

It's very easy to be negative towards someone who may not be on the same level of skill as you are. I see it too many times on social media groups where someone newer to the photography field posts an image looking for some sort of guidance, help, or tips on how to better their skill. Instead of receiving helpful feedback, their images are torn down, and they are told they shouldn't be a photographer. It's easy if you are a professional, or have been in the field for years to see what's wrong, but someone just entering photography does not have your experience. You cannot and should not expect them to produce your quality of images. Instead of tearing them down, lift them up, help them push their skills, and in turn it may elevate your own photography.

There was an article that recently came out on Fstoppers talking about natural light photographers. I understand where Jason Lau is coming from and it is a fantastic article, but reading through the comments you'll quickly see a lack of acceptance for other photographer's styles or artistic vision. It seems that we as photographers tend to be very proud, and it is very hard for us to admit someone is better then us. Especially if that someone has been shooting for less time than we have been, or may have a different specialty.

As photographers we are incredibly protective over our chosen specialty, and will defend it fiercely even if it means tearing someone else down. Being a family photographer, it is very easy for me to look at a photographer who works with professional models and think, "Of course your images look awesome, it's impossible to take a crappy picture of beautiful models." I have even been guilty of throwing that out there a time or two. While it is easy to take images of someone who is paid to be pretty, we shouldn't forget all the other aspects that go into making a great image. The photographer is the one who lights, poses, retouches, and directs the photo shoot. Don't let your jealousy of a great image affect how you react to it.

It seems as if there is a never-ending battle between strobists and natural light photographers, and who is better. Why does there need to be a contest? Is it really that hard to appreciate the skill needed to accomplish either one? Look at Dani Diamond. He labels himself as a natural light photographer, yet while looking through his gallery you will see he is quite accomplished at using a strobe. I also have immense respect for Diamond, and his willingness to teach on the subject of natural light photography.

When someone asks us how we may have accomplished a certain look, it's easy to give them the cold shoulder. Why shouldn't we? You just spent countless hours learning all the tips and tricks to achieve a skill set, why should someone who hasn't worked as hard as you learn it, too? That is part of being a community though. You help each other learn and grow. You support each other. And it seems there is not a lot of that happening anymore.

A word to the new faces in the photography community

Learn to take criticism and grow some thick skin. Not everyone is going to like your work, and that's OK. Don't let it discourage you. Push yourself in the direction you want to go. Eventually you will find your own personal style, and people will respect you for it. Never become satisfied with your work. I'm not saying you shouldn't be proud of your work, but know that you can always do better.

You can't expect free handouts wherever you go. You still need to be constantly pushing yourself, and proving to yourself that you deserve help. Sometimes the advice you receive may not be what you are looking for. Take everything you receive and either use it or don't, that's up to you, but don't react negatively to advice you receive. That photographer didn't need to help you, they chose to. Be grateful for what help you receive.

The Challenge

I challenge you to be the better part of the photography community. Push yourself to be humble rather than prideful. Push yourself to help others learn and grow, and to be supportive of their aspirations. If you can help build others up, only good things will happen. You will have a greater sense of ownership within the community, you will gain other's respect, and you will become a better photographer. Oftentimes when you are teaching, you learn just as much as the students. We have all been down a time or two, and we have all received a helping hand. Whether it was to push our skills to the next level or to get out of a rut. I challenge you to be more willing to be that helping hand, and to be more supportive.

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Previous comments
michael buehrle's picture

i know that there are many many photos that are better than i am but i doubt they are better looking. that's gotta be a plus right ? i always say that i have a face for radio.

Kendra Paige's picture

I feel this article is a bit poignant, personally, because I feel it is spot on. I have dabbled in several different art forms, from writing, to costuming, to digital art, and I've stayed with photography. With that said, photography has been by far the loneliest medium. I have less than a handful of photographer friends that I speak with, and it's not for a lack of trying.

I have always been open about my techniques, perhaps because I am self-taught and have gained much of my knowledge from others, or from learning through mistakes. As most of my work is fashion, that is a particular genre that is very secretive. I found myself intimidated by many aspects of the industry that were completely unnecessary once I committed to the task at hand. I believe the least that I can do is give back to those that are interested.

I believe the primary opportunity for the photography community is the inability for most to separate 'technical' and 'stylistic.' Many critiques are just opinion pieces based on their personal taste, and not information that is critical to the techniques employed.

Andrej Ivanov's picture

I really enjoyed your article! And I agree that a lot of the "older" guard take the stance of "Those who can't do, teach, so we won't teach." But I find that more and more, there is a layer of pros that are taking up the stance and mindset that say "Okay, we were beginners at some point too, and we may as well give some sound advice, because not everyone can just look at a photo and know how it was created!". I am all for that as well! On the flipside of the coin, I see a lot of newcomers (at least where I am) that take up a haughty attitude as if they just found the holy grail. I'm guilty of having done it myself, and then someone gave me a VERY thorough and tough critique of my portfolio, and that cut me right down to size. That was the instant where I realized "No I'm a newbie, and I have a LOT to learn!" So that's definitely something I recommend to the new people, take the criticism - good and bad alike - and grow from it. I find that there is a SERIOUS problem - especially in the music photographer community - where there are way too many groups that simply serve as ego-boost mills, with comments such as "What a gorgeous image!" and the sorts, not offering anything of substance. So I think everyone who "Critiques" an image, should at least try and point out one strength and one weakness to the image. Or at least say WHAT specifically makes it a good and strong image.. There is a lot of things that need to adapt, and social media doesn't REALLY always help..

Okay, that was my two-cents, sorry if that was long! I definitely agree with the points you raise, and I'm glad you included both sides of that coin :) If we work together, we grow together. There really isn't a shame in teaching!

karl fergusson's picture

interesting to read this. i re a very amateur with no real intention on going pro.i live in melbourne australia and i have t one honest i find it completely different here. I have read various forums in the US where a person will ask a question and will get absolutely hammered if that questions deemed to be not worthy but here in Australia i have seen on various FB forums get massive amount of advise and once in a while some one will say some thing nasty and they will get hammered. way i look at it i have a lot to learn and i learn from other photographers so now that my knowledge is getting up there i feel i must help others starting out.

Eric Flores's picture

I had to make an account to comment on this. A year ago, I was doing some headshots for someone. I Just did portrait photography for fun and to practice framing for my videos that consists with actors. I will admit that they could have been better but at the time I was just learning that there is a difference in locations, the presentation of the talent. but he was happy with my work and posted it on reddit. Everyone just torn it up and just told him to get his money back and to tell me to quit. He was a good friend by defending me but I did listen to some of the advice. through them I learned a little bit but everyone was in competition to deliver better results. in they end, they just fight among each other.

I was very bummed out, I asked my mentor for some advice and was told that not everyone will like your work. a few days later, the client told me that he sent those headshots in to someone and said "These are some of the greatest headshots I had seen!" which made me feel a bit more confident to keep moving forward and someday I would reach to a high standard for myself.

I will add that in the cosplay photography community, they are very friendly and generally share information. its like a whole different world. talk about gear and experiences. but the edits seem to remain a secret on how they do it, but they do post "before and after" photos. :)

Deleted Account's picture

Interesting point of view.
I haven't see much negativity in regards to creative process or final picture. I see either very positive opinions or non.

I was honored to be part of the local group who was meeting to practice, learn from each other, and to help beginners to learn to understand light. The meetings were hosted by local commercial photographer. Very talented and great person who unfortunately passed away too soon. In my experience photographers help each other.

On other hand I have seen a lot of bad advises out in internet. I have found a lot of misleading articles. A lot of blog writers that think they know so much, that they can teach others. Often the case is however, that they found the "recipe" that works for them but they don't really know why does it work. It is not bad thing that they want to share with others what they have learned. The problem is that they speak about technical aspects of photography that are just incorrect or incomplete. Not everyone need to know how CMOS works or if and what is the difference between 12 and 14-bit, what SNR is or even understand in depth color management, to create great images. But if one decides to write about it, one should have knowledge to back it up.

In my opinion, if one publishes the word, publicly, one assumes responsibility of that word to be correct and accurate. Also if one decides to publish something, one should be ready to receive and deal with the critique. Either positive or negative.

Justin Haugen's picture

Learning to accept critique is such a bitter pill to swallow. I've been through so many peer and teacher critiques in college and I realized very quickly I wasn't worth a shit compared to my peers and industry leaders.

I think people aren't very self-aware when it comes to their own work and they put the blinders on when it comes to slotting their work as it measures up against the great work that others are doing. It is important to know where your work is lacking, how it needs to improve, and what it takes to get your work where you'd like to see it. Social media is a breeding ground for this type of mindset and it's really apparent when you see people unprepared for the harsh critiques waiting for them.

Jason Ranalli's picture

Very well said. I also think there are a lot of actual pros out there who are not very self-aware producing what I would consider mediocre work that somehow still seem to make a living off photography - not that they need to be critiqued and I'm more than happy for them, however, it tells me that there is still room for those wanting to produce high quality content in the field.

Justin Haugen's picture

VERY good point. I think on social media people tend to unnecessarily inject their critique into discussions where it wasn't invited. Really though, unless it's specifically asked for, the middling market/class of photographer deserves to be exactly where it belongs if there isn't a self-awareness of their own talent and inefficiencies.

We should all know whose coattails we're tugging on. Work hard until your idols become your rivals :D


Some good points, Kenny. The part that I think often sets off a rant is the click bait titles of the articles. I mean, just how many "ultimate" or "epic" guides or methods or whatever can one read. The negative reaction is then often exacerbated by the author who comes across way too opinionated or authoritative or has some definitive statement...it' all downhill from there regardless of the rest of the content.

Jeff Lohne's picture

But for every closed off photographer there is another who is willing to help others grow and learn and are willing to give back. I myself have learned from so many out there, between workshops, online tutorials etc. that I would feel bad about not giving back to others when I have learned from others myself. It keeps the community growing and going forward.

Great article... But unfortunately those attitudes will remain for a long time because some people cannot change...

Simon Cawse's picture

Great article. I do not work in photography, so it is just a hobby for now. A lot of truth in this, and it is not only confined to this industry.

Dan Ostergren's picture

I've never experienced someone try to break my spirit as an artist until joining the fstoppers site and community. When someone you admire tells you that you aren't an artist, and intentionally tries to cut you down for no reason, it hurts bad. I'm not a photographer because I want attention. I do this because it is the one thing that I have discovered that I can do that actually makes me feel "normal". Something that makes me look forward to being alive tomorrow, and if I'm lucky 5 years from now. This nastiness in the community is disgusting. and I've had enough of it.

Anonymous's picture

I for one am happy to see you leaving. YOUR nastiness and threats made me leave and eventually come back.

Dan Ostergren's picture

Pardon me? What on earth did I do to you? I voted a comment of yours down and you tried starting a fight with me and started posting "CENSORED" in the comments of my images as a result. The extent of my communication with you went as far as me telling you to stop commenting on my photos and that I was going to report you if you didn't. You're projecting, and the way you've spoken to me on this site proves Kenny's point on this article exactly.

Chris Smart's picture

It shouldn't hurt bad at all. Your skill, and more importantly, your self-worth should never depend on someone else, and what they think. Learn to love yourself, try the best at whatever you do, and maintain healthy relationships with those that are positive and supportive, and you will always look forward to being alive tomorrow.

Dan Ostergren's picture

You're right, it shouldn't. But it did. That being said, I'm finding more understanding of myself through it, and it doesn't hurt the way it did before. I'm realizing that these people are only bullies, and that I am sensitive to them, and always have been. It's not an overnight change, but I'm working on it.

Chris Smart's picture

You recognize that it shouldn't, but you need to develop an attitude and habit that will see to that. Also, keep in mind though that you may be seeing a bully at times where none exist.

Rogier Bos's picture

Thanks - great article. Totally agree. My theory is that spending your life behind the camera and observing life always through a lens can make you very cynical.

Oddly enough, all the great photographers I have ever met or seen seem rather generous people. It leads me to believe that a generous attitude is a necessity for greatness. If not in photography, than at least as a human being.

Chris Smart's picture

It would depend on what you are observing with your camera, and ultimately your attitude and what you value. Everything I view through my cameras is beautiful, otherwise I wouldn't be taking pictures of what I view.

Rob Ert's picture

Criticism or negative comments have always been part of human nature and aren't specific to the photo community. I think people are generally more clued up about photography now and can spot quality or the lack of it. However perhaps they are unable to articulate their thoughts concisely - which may come across as blunt and negatives at times - but they shouldn't be dismissed. Then of course there is the separate troll issue

Chris Smart's picture

Real trolls are actually rare. The term troll is unfortunately used much more as an attempt to try and discredit whatever someone is saying by trying to make the discussion personal instead of keeping it topical.

David Adamson's picture

Having been a photographer for over thirty years, now retired, I have seen this too. It did not seem that way during the realm of film but with the takeover of digital and image precessing the attitudes have changed. Also many past want to be photographers are now putting themselves in the realm of "professional" photographers. I have used backups who simply fire away with there cameras with the attitude that they (the images) can be fixed later. Digital has taken out some of the challenge and therefore fun out of being a professional. On the flip side I enjoy digital and what I can do with it, embracing it completely. New photographers just need to realize that we can all learn from one another, not being secretive and antagonistic.

Martin Moore's picture

I guess I am lucky that I have not really experienced the negativity in the communities I've been in. I always try to help and inspire young photographers, that's what others did for me.

George Johnson's picture

Sure people are welcome to keep their knowledge to themselves, they worked hard for it and I understand they may not want someone else getting an "easy ride", especially if they haven't had one. However personally I have nothing to lose by sharing! I will happily share my knowledge with anyone who asks me. I can write page after page on a single image I've made, how it was shot and processed if anyone asks. I have nothing to hide and nothing to gain by hiding my knowledge.

I am completely self taught and I know how frustrating it can be sometimes. I share my knowledge because I know that while I can give you everything you need to know how to shoot an exact copy of one of my images, you will never do it as you will not have the same experience, equipment or conditions to recreate my exact image, yours will as unique to you as mine is to me. If I share my knowledge I will get th pleasure of seeing what you created from using it, reward in itself. I have helped a few people over the years from complete beginner status and they have gone on to be absolutely superb photographers, I shared a lot in their early days and they still come back to talk me now and share their latest experiences, which I now gain from them in return.

After nearly a decade of shooting as an hobbyist landscaper I know how hard it can be to have your creativity bashed from pillar to post, I've been pushed right to point of dumping my gear on eBay 'cos I've been so demoralised. I've had it done to me and I would hate to be the person who killed someone else's burgeoning creativity.

If you want to ask me anything, either online on in person, asks away! I'll talk for hours about photography, getting me to shut up sharing with you is going to be your biggest problem! ha ha!

Dani Riot's picture

I can see where you are coming from with your post, but its not just a photography thing, it is a business thing.

Do you think a new cola company will get some hints and tips from coca cola or pepsi?

Adrian Sommeling's picture

I think the reason why is because of photography, as an form of art is easy to start for everybody. Almost everybody has a mobile phone that can take pictures and post it on the different social media. A good photo moves you. It inspires you.The light, the composition, the expressions, the models etc. makes this pictures special and you can shoot this with just a simple mobile and some talent.

The problem is that there are to many photographers that are focussing on equipment and technique. They don't realise that this is only important for the quality of the picture, but not for the emotion it brings.

So they see a photo made by just somebody scoring better on every level compared to the technical high quality photos they make already for years but can not put the finger on it how this can be and there start the envy ;)

And of course... photography is done by so many people that there are some jealous people amongst them is higher compared to other forms of art. ;).

Michael Kormos's picture

I always took it at face value. It's like when you hire a plumber to fix a leak. The first thing he'll do is point out how the "previous guy" did a shabby job, should've put a P-trap here, and vented the pipe there. But you're onto something I think. Although I don't think it's specific to photographers. I think it applies to all creative types. I've worked as an art director at a number of high profile ad agencies up and down Madison Avenue, and I can tell you the creatives there have high-flying opinions very much like photographers (if not worse). And artists, painters, musicians? We all know what Kanye thinks of Taylor, right?

Hey you're holding that camera wrong! What lens are you using? That's too wide, it'll distort the people at the edges! You should be using a lower ISO! You don't know how to connect with your subjects! Stop micromanaging!

I think creative minds are just that, quick to judge, slow to change.

Helen Bradley Owers's picture

A great article. I've only been taking photographs for under 3 years. I'm constantly trying to learn and get better. At this point I know I'm better than some, worse than others. My genre is music photography, arguably one of the hardest (or so the nice photographers keep telling me). I've noticed that often on the forums the ones most unpleasant and critical of new photographers efforts are frequently the ones with the most 'oh dear' portfolio. I have a huge amount to learn (when do you ever stop) but I ALWAYS try and share experience and support 'newbies' efforts just as so many lovely photographers have and still do help me. Don't be 'that' person, you're only showing your own insecurities!

Mark Davidson's picture

Sadly, the source of negativity is often fear and insecurity. Many people working in the field have a certain bitterness about the changes in the last 20 years and many hobbyists indulge in their armchair pontification. So much SEEMS to be secret sauce that some feel that can acquire over a weekend and thus discount the near obsessive work that some put into developing their skills. In addition criticism is often from those unschooled in art, design, art history or literature but have memorized all the spec sheets and relevant quotes from gear forums.

another view2's picture

Stop whining. Too many words. Man up. Do photography.

Jaime Johnson's picture

Thank you for a great article, Kenny. I am happy to have some faith in Fstoppers restored after a disheartening article written on here. More than a few of this writer's generalized, brash statements on art school photographers and why he only hires someone without any knowledge of photography was quite negative. He did the opposite of what you did here. Thanks for encouraging support of others! This is the article below, and I'll say, what a way to ruin a follower of the site! https://fstoppers.com/business/why-i-will-never-hire-art-school-graduate...

Peter Blaise's picture

I think you're just experiencing a mismatch, Kenny.

The web is not where anyone can go to gain mastery via a quick, contextless Q&A, show-and-tell critique.

And people offering free feedback on the open web have nothing better to do, duh -- if they were photographers, they'd be photographing, not web surfing (like I am right now).

Mismatch, that's all.

Wanna learn for your own satisfaction?


Wanna learn for resale?

Apprentice yourself to a master.

But neither of those include going to the wrong place and wasting everyone's time, as you bear witness to in your opening post, Kenny.

If you think camera folk argue, talk to car folk, coffee folk, cosmetics "product" folk, any groups handling competitive goods and services, and you'll witness territorial infighting and massive wastes of time in the "my dog's bigger than your dog" battles for momentary supposed supremacy.

For me, especially with my face behind a camera, I'm isolated, never much a part of the subject scene.

Then I'm isolated when I'm reviewing and producing captured images.

So for me, photography is not much of a "community" thing.

I use the gear "community" to solve a gear problem; then I'm back on my own.

I'm not going to take someone's advice on my art and expression anyway, so who would I ask, and why?

For example, who would I ask what for, or teach what for with some of these photos?

They're just stories -- they either speak to you, or they don't::

Peter Blaise Photography Today's Photo on Facebook http://goo.gl/cQgH8

Peter Blaise's picture

Webmaster, FYI, I got THIS when trying to upload a photo via the image icon in the post:

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steven spaulding's picture

i see these exact same arguments on a few facebook groups im in.

first some people are far too sensitive and really only want to hear nice things, and there are those that really have a hate on for the world and only want to tear people down.

nobody learns from either of those, its ok to be honest but there is a way to say it. as well, instead of leaving oh you did this wrong and nothing more, we should be adding next time try this or keep an eye on that.

be supportive and it will come back to you in the end.

Sup Carls's picture

Don't like the Photography Community? As the owner of a gun forum I can tell you... hang out in the Firearms Community for about 10 minutes and the Photography Community will start to look like a love-in.

Brendan McCarthy's picture

1500 sessions in 3 years? hmm. This might be a hint to where the problem lies. Impressive

William Morton's picture

Pro organizations are great for support, feedback, and learning from your peers. I'm a member of ASMP and PPA, and recommend them highly (depending on your specialty). I can also recommend APA, and even though I don't think they have regular meetings like the ones already mentioned, NPPA, Etc.. People you can interact with face to face are usually far more supportive than Lone Wolves hiding behind their keyboard.

james digiorgio's picture

I've been authoring my glamour photography blog and sharing what I do and how I do it for 8 years (with over 1,000 written updates) and appreciate the 500 to 1000 photographers who visit my blog daily. Speaking for myself, everyone in the photography community isn't as guarded or tries to keep secrets as some of you might think, leastwise things they've deluded themselves into believing are secrets. Some 411 for newer photographers: There are no secrets of the pros. (Or others.) None. Zero. Nada. Zilch. And that's in spite of what you read on the fronts of photo magazines who often claim to be revealing them. Everything you need to know is out there for you to discover. All you need to do is take the time to discover those not-so-secret secrets, learn them, and then practice them. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice will do more for your photography than anything else. And if you're participating on FB pages or forums where many small-minded, thin-skinned, uber-critical, way-too-impressed with themselves but generally clueless photographers gather, perhaps you should try participating on some other pages where that's not the case because those latter sorts of pages and forums do exist.

ade adetayo's picture

Nice article,
Photography isn't unique with such bad behavior.
The reason many sports use referees, is to ensure this sort of negative approach doesn't ruin the game for everyone. One only has to watch the crude diving tactics in football (soccer) to see it at work.

While bad behavior is also present in other endeavors I think it is particularly bad in photography because there are simply too many photographers for available paid work. Other jobs have very strong organizations to protect the interests of established members (Not saying if this is right or wrong). New entrants aren't seen as such a threat to the industry as a whole.

Also, in very few other industries can one buy pro-level tools and proclaim oneself an expert after a few weeks work.
For instance it is much more difficult to get into Cinematography, Engineering, Theatre acting or Accounting even though the length of time and effort required to become competent is probably similar.

Ultimately, extremely negative and destructive comments are in the minority, and generally written by a small percentage of people. A very active, but still a small minority. It's an unfortunate fact of life, but negative opinions tend to sting more and travel further.

Fstoppers.com and others can certainly help, by officiating and ensuring it does not get out of hand on their sites. i.e. new entrants and experts alike are not bullied by a small but extremely vocal minority. Just like the referees in sports.

NB: I also read Mr Lau's comments on "Natural Light Photographers". Taken the wrong way, one could come to the conclusion Mr Lau thinks natural light photographers are ...... (fill in whatever stereotype you want).

Mr Lau, made fantastic points, shame it came across the wrong way. Keeping the same theme with a little bit of rewording may have helped, but then again, maybe it wouldn't. sigh!!!!

Steven Kelly's picture

What an uplifting article. Being a amateur and walking this web site, it is pretty intimidating to post photo's. Reading comments both positive and with constructive criticism makes you want to try diffierent techniques. Thanks for your thoughtful insight.

Francisco Hernandez's picture

Really great read. I've been helping new photographers in my area learn some stuff and that has done nothing but be beneficial for both parties. It's an awesome feeling and I love it. The people I've helped have greatly appreciated what I've taught them. In one case, one guy said he the previous city he was in had met with with a very cold shoulder. That's not encouraging with photography and I know that to be true. I am self taught and know the challenges and know I had 'weak skin' before. That's why I want to help anyone I can. Loved this article.

Robert Hall's picture

I have definitely seen the negative/guarded attitudes that you speak of, but I think that the professional photography community is extraordinarily open. I think its half because it is a passion-led industry in which people actually love talking about what they do, and half because it's a hot career and many are simply capitalizing (financially/socially) by being distributors of trade information (or a mix of the two). I liken it to day-trading; because there is a lore to the lifestyle, many professionals feed of the public desire, and distribute information to support their interests. On the spectrum of career choices, the wealth of available information in photography is astounding. For comparison, see how much info you can quickly dig up on becoming a gas station owner on all of their forums.
On the matter of battles between Strobe vs. Natural light (or Canon vs. Nikon / DIY vs. buy the best), that is actually one of the things I love most about this industry. There is no true "right way" despite everyone puffing their chest out defending their own decisions. Its fierce (fueled by passion and ego), but most importantly it constantly challenges what you think. No matter what you are doing someone is out there doing the opposite an succeeding as well.
I guess overall I find it odd to say a community is guarded on a forum that provides more content then most photographers have the time to chew on every day. Regardless, your point is still true that openness will constantly help push this industry forward to better things.

Robert Hall's picture

I will also note that, this could all be based on the communities you choose to expose yourself to. If I find a community is not conducive to my growth as a photographer / person / business owner, I'm out. People will be people, negativity will always exist. It's much easier to choose what to be a part of then control the psychology of the masses.

Lee G's picture

A lot of truth in this article. You have to have some thick skin. Because there are some photographers that will try to tear you down. There's been time I see an amateur photopgrapher post a photo and ask for help on improving. Out of about 15 photographers saying "it's good but next time watch for this & that". One guy just came out and said it's horrible looks like a cheap camera phone blah blah.

Sam Urdank's picture

Kenny, This is all so true, I love nothing more than to help, talk about, encourage, or educate the truth of anything photographic based on my experience. I work in the Movie & TV industry and I see this garded protective mind set all of the time. To offer an answer to the question "why?" I would say fear. This was a great piece of writing, and I enjoyed reading it. Now I am going to respond to an email I got from a young photographer looking to further his career in my field! I can tell you as an absolute, I am going to help him the best I can. Because he is me, 20 yrs ago! Thanks for bringing this subject to the forefront.


John Skinner's picture

Funny and odd article.

Being one of the older dogs in the hunt here, I find it's the people just starting out (1-10 years) in to it, that are the ones that make all of this social media and just talking outright with people so dam terrible.

If you own a DSLR.... You must be a PRO and what could a guy in his late 50's with about a million images EVER possibly add to what all your years have taught you?

I'm happy.... they're happy. We'll leave it at that.

Ryan Daley's picture

People take comfort in talking shit. I've dealt with it and have seen it so many times. Like, Oh THAT's how you would have done it? awesome, I don't like your work and photography is a personal thing so screw off. Over the years, I have noticed the people that have the most shit to talk are usually boring or lame photographers, so I give zero "f's" Its like photographers are all in a huge building and the guy on the 12th floor is yelling down at the guy on the 3rd floor and telling how much more awesome it is up there. Great, grand. I will be up there later, but I am not in a rush.

Jim Allen's picture

Kenny, great article & thanks for writing it. As a struggling newcomer to nature/landscape photography I've experienced some of the negative feedback & reluctance to get details from experienced a few pros that I've met. One in particular came on like gangbusters when I first met him back in 2013 when I was on a trip to the Tenn mountains. However, when I tried to follow up with his offer to help show me the ropes a few weeks later, he was all of a sudden too busy. All that he seemed interested in doing was have me send him some of my images to review. When I finally did send him a few, all he had to say about each was total negative. I have met a few other pros who have been more open with advice, but even those seem a bit guarded with giving me too much help. Perhaps it's due to something you said in your article about not wanting to assist their competition too much. Kinda sad when you think about it.

Dan Ostergren's picture

This was a comment left on my profile recently on fstoppers. For a moment I really believed what this person had to say, and let it get under my skin and ruin my experience on fstoppers. I even considered putting my camera down for a while and put all of my personal art projects on hold while I sit around and mope about what some fool on the internet had to say about my work. I realize now that this and the opinion of any other nay-sayer who has nothing good to say is just the words of a coward who is trying to bully others to make themselves feel better. This was enlightening in the sense that I don't blame the photography community anymore for being rude and nasty; not all of us are bullies, but there are certainly bullies in every community, especially on the internet.

I wont be bullied anymore, especially not by some coward who think's he's an internet bad-ass for trying to cut someone else down.


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