Photography’s New Guard: The Rise of the DIY Career


Lesson Info

Panel 1

Welcome back to creative live vote a week I'm rob adams and I'm vanessa joy and this is the creative life photo week panel over the last two decades, every industry on the planet has been transformed by new technology and from out of the ashes of the old and outdated has risen a new generation of creative self starters. Well, today we've got a panel of seasoned veteran photographers and I'm going to ask him to weigh in on a topic that affects the entire photographic world so let's get right down to it and introduce our panelists to my right here we have award winning what he talked for an educator susan stripling welcome way have two thousand twelve w p p I photographer of the year and nikon ambassador to the united states clip monitor from seattle celebrated photographer michelle beats we have next to her a pulitzer prize winning documentarian talking for helling from san francisco, california d n fitzmaurice and of course last but not least the man who needs no formal introduction we...

had international wedding photographer uneducated roberto valenzuela with that beautiful smile you look so handsome rugged sexiness did you see the chest hair? Wait a second, all right, thie other kind of hot topic what we're going to talk about today that we're going to guide this discussion around this question with the influx of new photographers and the continually advancing technology for photography is the future of the photo industry in good hands and that's one of those questions that you definitely get the silence after because a lot of people sometimes don't want to say their opinion or don't want to say um what they really think but we're going right past that today so who wants to start review it for the fashion world it's going to be a problem for the non fashion photography world it should be fine part of the reason is the red camera that came out the red epic the scarlet super high resolution cameras fashion photographers to shoot the cover of vogue vanity fair all of the super world class photographers are shooting video steals pulling the frame south and using them for the cover of the magazine which is very sad thanks away the art of photography altogether but what about billboards and you can't take a still frame from a red and blowing up to a billboard so there's still that you can there's software you know their software that can member yeah you can make that happen and I think if that if you attacks and make the picture with smaller you can still you can get away with it a frame from the scarlet a frame from the epic red camera would suffice for would suffice to take you take the place of are often slr or medium for my camera and I was the cause that camera like that about forty thousand okay, you know that the emerging photographers not spending forty grand they're lucky if they can afford a d six hundred true but there's always a second mortgage you think these people own homes that are you know, emerging in starting like that I think the wedding photography the photojournalist foreign journalists letter discourse that will be fine because in photography skills still going trump emerging technologies and so forth I mean well, we've had better technology on their iphones then we've had on our cannon or nikon or sony cameras are flat ship cameras I mean the new iphone is putting one hundred twenty frames per second you could do slow motion right on it I mean it has an amazing sensor for for major metering highlights and shadows better than our cameras can but that doesn't you'll never show up to a waiting with that so I think we'll be fine on that world I think the fashion photographer world would suffer oh there's about one hundred fifty guests for wedding that show put those so but that's beside the point what about the cameras now that in they're working out but they're developing even better technology you take a frame then you khun do selective focus later on you could select your vocal clinton iran what does that do to the art of photography when you don't have to in the moment worry about where the focus points going to be I'm literally sitting here in silence because I'm trying to think of something like positive to say about all of these things but I guess maybe I'm the most negative person on the panel right now I think that our industry and I'm speaking about weddings in general I don't think it's going very well and I don't necessarily see it going in a good place as an educator what I'm seeing from new photographers in the market is a very heavy sense of entitlement they want it to be given to them right away they want to know how to you know, become really popular and have fifty thousand facebook likes and you know that they're missing the art of the photography in general and so putting this technology into their hands that will enable them tio almost jump over having to learn the skills of photography I think it's terrible like I feel like you know an angry old grumpy like your with the cloud following me everywhere but I see the technology as enabling people tio to not have to learn the way they used to why would you learn how to properly focus a picture when you can just push a button and say where you wanted tio I think we're all host say those people that come into the industry they escape all the learning aspects of photography they jump straight to becoming popular in social media like with ninety nine percent and then they go out of business in two years anyway, so it doesn't didn't really affect me, you know? I mean, it's not like to say they don't affect me, but I've, you know, lost weddings to people like that before. We've all lost things to people like that before, and it just makes the market murkier and more frustrating. Part of the problem is training your audience. And so aside from my toy camera work, I do a lot of theater and promotional photography and live photography for a circus and theater and the audio, and so the technology's gotten so good that more people can shoot these things, then used to, and they don't necessarily do as good of a job as I would've tell me with a lot of experience, but, um, they can at least do some of it, and they used to be a really line dividing line between professionals and people who knew how to work with really low light and people who didn't, and now there's, the entry is lowered, some where people can do it. A part of the difference also is educating the audience because when they see that there are these new photographers who are working in this and doing these kind of photographs and are willing to give them away for free. Then they feel entitled to get all the photography for free, and so when you have somebody who has more experience and can do a better job, they balk at paying for it and that's, the real problem is educating the audience to what professionals khun dio and that it makes a difference for them to have high quality images versus the okay ones that other people could do if they can afford these. These new cameras comes down with being you have good, you have good no and that's sort of where people will draw the line from someone who's going to spend x number of dollars compared to someone who wants to maybe spend a little more and get something a little bit more, uh, flattering a little bit more, someone a little more experience, but I'll be the, you know, surprisingly, I'm going to be the one that that jumps in, and we talked about playing good cop, bad cop, but I got a good cut for a second with the technology and say that mike skills improved drastically when I got a digital camera in my hand, and I know that aa lot of people now all the learning curve is very fast, I've had students in my workshop that have great eyes, and once they begin to see light and they can learn much quicker than I did, it took me ten fifty years of developers down how it could be done in three to five, but it really helped me get better quickly, so, um, it still comes down to light, it still comes down to being able to compose being able to use beautiful light and, frankly, it's it's, you know, survival of the fittest at this point, I think in the art of off camera flash, I mean that's, not something that you can just pick up a new piece of equipment and nails that takes a lot of skill, I know, but it's something that people think they can learn how to photo shop like I'll get, you know, people will ask if photographers will ask about images that I posted, they say all is that, you know, how did you do that? How did you do that photo shop like that? I didn't do that photo shop, I did that with with light, like, along with the emerging technology and the cameras, we've got the technology and the software that people think, but we can just photoshopped that so it's the ignorance factor there's this ignorance, I guess you could say it's, the ignorance and the you know, I want it, I want it now factor which is really hard to get past like that with more modern generations, they just they want to know how to do it they don't want to put in the time they don't want to put in years and I sound now old inferior e I am to get off my lawn person now that's fantastic I have arrived dan what do you think from where you come from in the industry yeah from the photo journalism world I think that good work always rises to the top people see it as a photojournalist you spend so many years learning the skills and that ethics and just everything that goes into it there is a real skill to it and I think that I'm a lot of the major publications respect that skill and they are hiring photographers that can deliver that you know and I think that you know now print publications have taken a hit but you know so many more have you know ah flourished like time magazine's light box and just these beautiful these places where they're featuring photography so beautifully and so I think there's a real celebration of photography and I think that I think all these photographers with cameras I think it's ok you know it's it's introducing more people to the industry that we love and that we're passionate about and you know they come in at a certain level and I think it's great I can understand why they're excited about it the same reason I'm excited about it but I think that you know it's it's tricky in the business world because you know, you don't want people coming in under cutting you but I do think that the good work really rises to the top and I think that you know we're all kind of in this together and we're all it's a really creative time right now in a real changing time in the industry definitely and I really like tell michelle mentioned that um you know, the photographers that are that are coming in excusing on ben on the flipside of overdose saying that well this was harbors that are coming in are only going to be in business for two years I'm sorry and michelle was saying that while you have to educate, you know clients essentially a good target peep or mediocre photography or whatever so you educate your clients but do we have to educate the photographers, the news photographers as well? Is there a way that we could come at it with that approach? You know, hey, this photographer we know is going to be business for only two years but there's twenty thousand of these photographers federal stealing made a huge difference it's re educating photographers from a photographic standpoint on educating them from a business standpoint I was massively in experienced when I went I was a photojournalist fifteen years I went from there into the wedding world clueless I was virtually clueless I don't want to get into every lost money on my first wedding because I was stupid and experience didn't have a contract I got my ass handed to me and, you know, today, I think there's this mentality that, oh, you know, let's say somebody charges four thousand dollars for a wedding and, hey, I mean, four thousand dollars this weekend, really? You have a second shorty got an album you've got, uh, bubble of this, that the other thing and thirty six percent taxes, so just because you're charging four thousand dollars doesn't mean you're making four thousand dollars so few, so if you actually realize that, and then by the time time rolls around, they get their butts handed to them with all the is expensive, and they're in the red, so they need to understand that it the business cost money. We see that a lot with independent contractors who are freelancers and second shooters, third shooters, whatever it may be at the end of the year, they get that ten, ninety nine hit with that tax bill when they realized, wow, then they get a tax lien. I didn't realize I have to pay this much out of the you know, what if the question is, if emergent acknowledges it's affecting our industry, I say I think yes, in the in a good way because it makes me better because I have to push myself harder to separate myself from the crowd financially doesn't hurt you. No, I didn't mean beauties got a c one hundred sitting home, he hasn't even touched. I have that it's a true story and also we have ah, if if clients are confused about a real professional like susan or cliff, I'm ana weaken warrior, we have a problem way are the problem, not the emerging technology. You know we have to do something so high up that people see your photos on b clear, black and white. This is a real professional, a master of his craft on this guy's taking pictures or this girl's taking pictures, this difference in pictures and masterpiece photographs like what this guy steak they have to prioritize, declare themselves, have they? What makes it hard to distinguish? That is the difference between how you are as a photographer and how you're able to market yourself and they're totally different skill sets and that's something that technology has changed, it is so easy and a lot of ways to market yourself now, and so people who are better at marketing, um are going to rise up a little bit and have an advantage over people who are less good and you're still if your work is better, you know they're just totally separate things, but the thing is if you're better at marketing yourself, you're going to get seen more and you're more likely to get some jobs somebody of the same level who's not as good and sometimes you can rise above people who have better skill sets than you do in the photography just because you're better able to market yourself and if you have the good business skills where you can negotiate and just make good business things and that's something that is very difficult to learn it isn't necessarily taught in photography programs um and I think it is easier for emerging photographers to plug into if their computer and marketing savvy I'm still learning too it's been really, really difficult. Yeah, I mean, you know, social media is always been something that I've struggled with because I'm so focused on running the business itself and trying to do creative work on time he's been on it's changing so fast and it's happened, I get on top of twitter and then they're safe look and you don't have a facebook, another instagram and they're buying and there's google hangouts and there's all of these different things coming at you and there's really nobody to teach you the's things you couldn't go to workshops and learn about photography for people who've been doing it for ten years, fifteen years, twenty five years but who can really teach us social media it's all still so new there looking for experts in the field to learn from do we sound old theme from the key is to marry someone who I think is very young it is a very good business model the keys area booth wait well if we think about it that way we think about technology not necessarily is the cameras but as the social media and that whole aspect because we now have to spend so much time learning about that do you think the fact that we have to spend that much time learning marketing instead of learning photography has hurt the quality of photography overall if I get fifty likes on facebook oh how I'm running a business now yeah and it's so ego driven it really isn't all that self satisfaction where you want you need that approval of that virtual audience you need that in india crowded teo, you my daughters are is there going to be sixteen? They sit there and they're competitive with one another because they get twenty five level on an instagram photo they're jumping for joy and their egos air stroked you know I love them dearly but my god this this mentality is just so what? What do you do? Right? Like, if we have this, like witnesses said, if you have this issue with spending, more of our resource is trying to learn instagram and twitter and facebook as the emerging technology, and we are kind of putting learning photography in the back burner what's going to happen, you know, like what's what's next was two years from now they're going to burn out and put photography, will you always win over then you think you got this core set of skills, right like this? This ability to take photographs better than the rest of your competition, you will always have that, and I feel like as long as you keep making your work like a priority, keeping your work on the top of the heat, so it is you're just continually going to be learning because social media is going to be changing in this trend in that train in this trend, but if on top of all of that, you've got good work, I feel like we'll still keep being okay. It's, just the education of everybody who's coming into the market, knew they need to know that good work needs to be premium on top before getting twenty thousand people toe like their stuff on facebook, so I feel like that's, a huge educational hurdle also yeah, so so another thing about technology. Okay, so everyone's out there shooting pictures with their phones and, you know, I think about the the organizations like, you know, national geographic, the new yorker, time magazine, like time magazine, the new yorker. They're sending a photo journalists out to shoot pictures to shoot, you know, instagram pictures, you know, assigning them, you know, which is great, you know, so it's kind of like taking the technology and using it, but in a really responsible way and also about technology, I think about, you know, how it has changed my world and a lot of photo journalists. A lot of photographers in general, is h dslr cameras. You know how we are now able to shoot, you know, video and audio and, you know, add so much to our storytelling because that's really what it comes down to, no matter what kind of tool you're using its the story. But think about how much. Depth and richness we can add to our stories now because of the technology that's available absolutely we're getting down to the last few minutes of it was real funny I mean, I think in my hard work will always be rewarded regardless of the industry and state of the industry itself. It's funny we live near new york city and we go to the comedy cellar, which is the famous comedy club in manhattan and there's a restaurant right above it called the olive tree and the comics hang up how you hang out in there between their sets and you could just sit up at the bar and listen to their conversations and we were there one night and chris rock sits right behind us and I here and going and these kids these days they don't go out, they don't they don't go tour and they expect to get the headlining act when they walk into a club and it made me realize that she turned to me and she says they're having the same photography conversation aboutthe community world because they're entitled they don't want to work for you. I mean, I think you know any young photographer you know who understands the industry and where it's at the time they work hard enough, they're going, they're going to succeed so that's where sliced a brand, they said, intensity focus over time and those three things, I guess, if you're focusing on the marketing or the photography will make that cream rises to the top. Great. Well, thank you all for being here, that this great, great discussion. We're going continue this discussion with five new panelists in our next segment. So when we return here on the creative life photo week panel will be back with five panelists, and we'll try to keep this discussion a little bit different. Direction, a little bit different.

Class Description

In the past two decades, every single industry has been dismantled by technology and rebuilt by a new guard of creative self-starters. A panel of photographers — from every vantage point in the industry — will share the stories behind their unique career paths. Both seasoned and emerging photographers will trade war stories, discuss how they've navigated the politics of the industry, and share surprising lessons learned in the field.


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Jeff Noahr

While I don't have time to take any courses right now the photography is spectacular! Jeff Noahr