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Old Apr 1, 2010, 10:21 AM   #1
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Default interesting discussion

http://techdirt.com/articles/20100330/0343498785.shtml

since i am becoming somewhat of a hobby photographer (or at least i would like to) I am curious to hear some opinions here on the topic
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 10:52 AM   #2
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I dont see how that article or any of the comments will affect any hobbyist. What you plan to do with your photos is another story. The world revolves on supply and demand. Almost everyone carries a camera with them these days. Have you noticed tv stations offering money for your shot on the spot of some accident or newsworthy event? Does this mean more gets covered, or their staff photographers are out of work? Half decent cameras are relatively cheap these days. That along with free software because of piracy makes everyone (or so they think), a top notch photographer with darkroom skills for virtually nothing. There are no processing costs, so photography is now cheaper than it ever was. Most of these wannbe photographers can be weeded out by their true lack of skills and talent. This still leaves a ton of people producing some incredible works. So the value of their work is not truly appreciated. Its an interesting topic and one Im sure will generate some interesting replies.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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"If Amateur Photographers Are As Good As Professionals, Then We Can All Be Professional Photographers"

... and if frogs could fly, they wouldn't bump their butts on the water.

Experience isn't taking 10,000 snapshots, it's taking one good photograph. This is the kind of thing I think everytime I read a resumé. Someone can have 10 year's experience, or they can have 1 year's experience 10 times. What matters is what they've learned in those 10 years, or in those 10,000 snapshots, that makes them pros or not. Technology doesn't make the user smarter; it gives the user the ability to get smarter. If they didn't learn anything, then the technology is wasted. This is the kind of thing that has led newspapers to beleive they can just give their reporters P&S digicams, and lay off all their photographers. You don't become a carpenter or an electrician by just putting in your time; you have to prove you learned something. Articles like this lead people to beleive that they can become professional photographers by just putting in their time. It just ain't so.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 11:16 AM   #4
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I also think it's interesting. The NY Times article linked to in your link really got a good discussion going. Here's the BIG paradigm shift - the willingness to use stock photography. That is the key here. Full time professionals would argue that amateurs cannot create quality product on demand, reliably, etc. Which is true. IF you require assignment work. But if you don't then watch out - if an amateur has 1 usable photo out of 500 and there are 10,000 amateurs there's a LOT of available stuff out there.

I think one of the other things not discussed in those articles is how much access there is now to experienced critique, knowledge transfer, etc because of the internet. So not only can a hobbyist take thousands of photos but they can learn from those with more experience rather quickly.

About 4 years ago I started up a sports photography business. I would never have been able to know what I was doing just through trial and error. No way. I learned from people on forums (and through 10s of thousands of images).

But the truth is - I do almost no work anymore in sports because the profits just aren't there. Not consistently enough. There are always parents with $2000 cameras now who are willing to give away free images. Just enough of them to make it difficult to sell.
On the same topic, more and more newspapers around me are now using stock images in the sports section. Even the pro teams - rather than sending a staff photog to an away game, the papers will use a photo from AP, Getty, US Presswire. For local schools, more and more stock photos are being used rather than yesterday's game. There are some exceptions of course - you'll still see photos from yesterday's varsity football game. But a story on a swimmer or baseball or softball can very well use aa photo from 3 weeks ago.

Here's another example - photo contests. The local major daily has photo contests on their website constantly. Submit your photo though and you give them rights (not by default but usually these contests come with such language). Lets say they get 400 submissions for travel photography. They now have 400 stock photos - free of charge. 20 of them may be exceptionally good. Just look in these forums - sure lots of poor photos, but lots of really good ones too. With the internet all these stock photos are out there. Now, when a magazine wants to do something on the Smokey Mountains they don't need to pay $10,000 to a photographer to travel and spend a week there - the internet has tens of thousands of potential stock photos.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 11:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
Experience isn't taking 10,000 snapshots, it's taking one good photograph. This is the kind of thing I think everytime I read a resumé. Someone can have 10 year's experience, or they can have 1 year's experience 10 times. What matters is what they've learned in those 10 years, or in those 10,000 snapshots, that makes them pros or not. ... Articles like this lead people to beleive that they can become professional photographers by just putting in their time. It just ain't so.
TCAV - what you say is true. BUT, I think you may be missing the point of the articles. The point isn't any hobbyist can get a staff job a pro had making $40,000. The point is the business model of actually employing a staff photographer is going away. Once a company moves toward the notion that "stock photos are OK" suddenly they have thousands of images to choose from. It doesn't matter that they buy a thousand images from a thousand different photographers. They aren't hiring the photographer anymore they're buying a single image.

AND,the images those hobbyists can produce can be stunning. In the old film days you had to have the technical savvy AND the artistic ability. Technology of today's cameras really lowers the bar on how much tech savvy a photographer needs. They need some, but not as much - especially with the instant feedback. So now you've got those with artistic eyes producing images they never could have if using film - too much cost, too much trouble. So yes, a magazine or newspaper is not going to hire the hobbyist for a paid assignment. Because there's too much risk. But there's no risk in simply looking for photos on the net. Seriously - an image for large magazine might get a person $5000 4 years ago. For a single image. Now, a couple dollars and the magazine gets to use it with unlimited usage.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 12:07 PM   #6
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The computer has been a big part in our age of disposable. Everything is made cheaply and easily disposable so we can make more. Obsolescence is built in. Not only has it made things disposable its made people disposable as well. Fields that used to be filled only after years of training and education are now easily filled with talented lay people willing to work for almost nothing. Quality of production is lower and we see output that wouldnt have been accepted before the computer age. So what it all comes down to is higher production and lower quality so that more can be sold for less.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 1:07 PM   #7
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I have no idea what professional photogs get in terms of compensation for an assignment, but it appears that with the fast moving technology the business model will have to change. The point has been made here that there are simply too many photos and sources available, for any given company with tight budgets not to take advantage of it.

not saying that is right, but not sure if anybody can do anything about it. no matter what you do, you have to give somebody a reason to buy your product or service. be it experience, efficiency, quality, whatever, i don't think you can artificially shape the supply, especially with the available technology.

as a rookie in this field, if i ever managed to take a photo, that somebody would like to use, i cant say that i would charge anything, since i would be so thrilled that somebody even cared. on the other hand i am also learning that there are a lot of controllable factors in any given shot, which make photography a quite challenging skill. a skill that if i mastered somehow would be great to be compensated for.

why cant we all live in a Utopian society where we all do what we love and dont have to work for a living? in that world I would have a few L lenses and would not be sitting here on a sunny 70F day
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 1:14 PM   #8
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Certainly, media outlets use stock photos. They always have. If their use of stock photos has increased, it's probably due to the greater available of stock photos by virtue of the internet.

Certainly, professional photographers contribute stock photography. They always have. If their contribution of stock photos has increased, it's probably due to the greater available of stock photos by virtue of the internet.

What this article is saying is that some schlub is on equal footing with professional photographers because he or she got lucky ... once ... maybe.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 1:23 PM   #9
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like i said, I wouldnt dare compare myself to a pro, since i am smart enough that know amount of tech can compensate for my lack of skill and I agree with your statement.
maybe someday i will learn enough to consistently produce something usable...for now i am just hooked on technical aspects of the equipment and the use thereof
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 1:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
What this article is saying is that some schlub is on equal footing with professional photographers because he or she got lucky ... once ... maybe.
The title certainly suggests that. But nowhere in the article or the linked NY Times article did I see that. I saw no suggestion that a hobbyist might have just as much chance for their stock photo to be selected.

In fact, the one example from the NY times suggested the person in question was generating revenue on a monthly basis that ranged from "being able to take family out to dinner" to "almost a mortgage payment".

I would put that income estimate around $100-800 a month.

In fact both articles simply say the full time pros are feeling the pinch because of that. Not because the quality is the same but because the volume is there.

Where in either article, TCAV, are you reading anything (other than the title of the one) that suggests hobbyists can produce the same image quality or compete compensation wise with pros?
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