I think it’s probably a fair assumption to make, that at some point during your photographic journey, you’re going to purchase a piece of photographic equipment. With today's World Wide Web, that can be as easy as a few clicks and a wistful look at your decreasing bank account, but I’m here to make the case for your local, “brick and mortar,” camera store. Well maybe not all of them.
Articles written by Rob Mynard
I was standing in a camera shop in the centre of Brisbane when the anxiety began to take hold. Lizzie and I have a shoot this afternoon, and from all accounts it should be awesome: rockin’ couple, engagement party, private boat, emerald green dress, and the big city lights of Brisbane as the backdrop. I have the tools, and I have the talent. So, why am I so nervous, and why do I love this feeling so much?
It’s almost a daily occurrence: you open Facebook or Fstoppers, and someone is telling you that it’s not okay to shoot for free. If you’re not getting paid for your work, you’re devaluing the entire industry. But chances are we’ve all done it at some point, we’ll probably all do it again, and If you don’t, you’re only hurting yourself.
In our never-ending pursuit of artistic perfection in our photography, it’s easy to forget that the real power of an image is to capture and preserve a moment in time. A new short documentary/advertisement for Google Photos shines a light on just that.
Last weekend, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful spaghetti dinner at the house of wedding photographer, and fellow survivor of the Australian music industry, Col Hockey. As the night drew on and we sat around the warm glow of his Spotify account, taking turns picking dinner party background music, we set our minds to solving all of the problems inherent in the modern wedding photography world. We discussed gear, marketing, and the mountain that must be climbed: the post-wedding cull and edit. We’re both musicians, so the thought of spending days editing in secluded silence seemed completely alien, but it got me wondering if we were making the right choice.
This is by no means a new topic, but a recent poster in the Fstoppers Wedding Photography group lamented that they felt they were stuck in a creative rut, and it got me thinking about the problem of trying to be experimental within an industry. Chances are if you’re shooting for a client, they have a preconceived idea of what you're going to provide, even if that’s just a ballpark “these kinds of colors, this kind of emotion.” If you rocked up to a wedding with the awesome idea of only shooting macros of toes, you’re going to have a hard sell when it comes time to deliver the finished product; they’d need to be really good foot shots.
I’m sure most of us have been there before: standing on a street corner, your “camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag” slung casually over your shoulder. Your camera is in hand, its strap hanging loose, dancing in the summer breeze. You raise the rangefinder window to your eye and snap: the perfect shot of a homeless man! He looks really sad; this will finally change everyone's mind — straight to Instagram. But there’s a fine line between biting social commentary and “Poverty Porn,” and sometimes, it's hard to see which side you’re on.
There have been several posts on Fstoppers over the years extolling the virtues of the pre-shoot location scout. Knowing your location in advance not only helps to keep the crushing dread of a possible creative block to a minimum, but your confidence and decisiveness carries across to your clients. They start to see you as a god of light, a master of scene. But sometimes, location scouts don’t go as planned: sometimes, it rains, sometimes, you don’t plan for a gigantic Buddhist festival to be taking place, and sometimes, you accidentally bring a two year-old.
I’m probably not going to be winning any friends by sticking up for the undercutters, but I just don’t think that they’re hurting you as much as you think they are. In fact, I think they might actually be helping you.