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


Lesson Info

Panel 2

Welcome back to photo week here on creative live in our creative life photo week panel I'm rob atoms and on vanessa joy and but we introduce our new panelists you right here to my right, we have the lovely brooke shooting she's, a fine art photographer next to her we have the woman with the most beautiful curly brown hair on the flip side of the camera were now a fashion photographer lindsay adler. We have next to her editorial commercial photographer seattle's own kyle johnson we have decorated veteran waiting to talk for an attorney. Craig heideman, welcome to the panel and we have manager of pro services for nikon and passionate rock photographer mike dorado. Welcome to the panel we were talking earlier about the's the future of the talk of you industry, right? We're talking about, you know, with the influx of new photographers continually advancing technology, what is the future of our industry look like one of the things that I wanted to sort of mention in here because we see spok...

e about well, then the photographers and you know this and that is the perspective of the new photographers because clearly if they're trying to work and get money, make money, make a living in this industry, they don't want to destroy it, but a lot of people have an opinion that they're destroying it without knowing it so take it from there but just on the future where we understand I give my perspective of guests I have been in business for about twelve years now and although okay so were announced like ten times it's my birthday so I turned twenty eight today so they don't count as young departed for now but I wass and I never I really saw the like how the industry was in the past but I was never thinking about well my ruining the industry like it feel like it's almost a non issue what I was trying to do is grow and make a living at what I was passionate about and so I started my business with one eight by ten to five by seven and eight wallets for seventy nine ninety nine and then the next year I went up to one fifty and the year after that to seventy nine and the year after that and so I'm doing just fine and everybody has to start and grow somewhere and I understand why people are threatened bye ok, well they can go next door and get the you know, less expensive photography but I don't I don't think that's what it comes down to you have to figure out what your value is and if your value is price then that's not a value for value shouldn't be in price so I never really saw as this is the way that photography used to be and this has been crowded I mean, it's always I've always been the new photographer, so I never got to see it on the flip side so now I completely relate to everybody who's just getting started no, I'm in the same boat too because I mean, I'm pretty sure that I'm the youngest and most inexperienced photographer here in that I've been doing this for four and a half years on dh being in the fine art world is a little bit different than the commercial world because I'm not selling eight by ten's and stuff like that so people aren't typically looking at me and saying, well, you're pricing is really different than mine that's going to hurt my business but I've been on the flip side in the sense that I have had a a lot of people say to me that I will never succeed because I am so young and so I'm getting it from the other side of the industry galleries and things like that people who have been in this industry for a long time saying you're too young to praise your prints that high you're too young to be in galleries or too young to do this that and so my point is kind of either I'm going to embrace that and say, you know what, everybody has a unique product to offer whatever that is it doesn't matter and so if you've been doing this for thirty years and you put a really high price tag on that, I think that's amazing somebody else might be doing this for one year and create something just is amazing and so why not put a price tag on that that matches how amazing their art is so that's kind of how I see it and I hope that I can promote that as much as possible that you know, a j doesn't matter the amount of time you've been doing it doesn't matter and yes, they're always going to be people who are cheaper than you or who are doing things that are faster and more efficient or whatever it might be, but that doesn't mean that your product is any different and people are going to pay for what they love and people often are buying you your personality it's not the print that I'm passing over the experience and I learned the hard way never learns the hard way like I had internship for john harrington. What the best business practices for photographers and like he's the one that kind of broke down why wasn charging enough and you learn that either you go out of business or you learn it and increase your prices so makes sense yeah kyle what do you think I mean, I think I kind of agree with both what they're saying I think like being an editorial in commercial photographer there's this kind of standard like rates for big commercial projects but aside from that like I've only been doing it three or four years so you know, I've been in the same boat I'm not super experienced and I've started doing things for local smaller markets and have since worked my way up toe you know, shooting for national publications and bigger campaigns and like obviously the price has gone up with bigger clients but I think like you know, I'm not going to deny that I've done you know, small editorial jobs and I don't I don't want to think I was actively undercutting somebody who has been doing it longer but I also think like you said is like you're going to start somewhere and if you're going to keep doing this is a business you're going to enjoy it you love your job and you're going to raise your rates and just like any job you know you don't get a promotion in the sense of you get a raise and like you know, a regular job here and have to raise your rates or you're going to get a bigger campaign and like I think that's that's kind of the thing with the photo industry is there's no set in stone rules and whether it's fine our editorial commercial weddings like you're just gonna have you're always going to have new people and you're always gonna have old school people and then in between and I think like the important thing is is being excited about photography and like creating good images and keeping your business going on like if you need tio charge one client a little more a little less I think that's upto up to your own discretion but I think like for me I haven't noticed an influx of you know, young photographers taking work I think it's all kind of uneven playing field right now as faras people are hiring you for your personality for your work and your experience. So now is that the same mentality that the old guard so to speak had years ago? So come craig, you're you've been around in the industry for quite some time from your perspective is that sort of a different mentality than what the mentality was twenty years with the same mentality? Um I see photography from two perspectives because we can't avoid the statistics for every photographer that starts the business this year and goes out and buys their new nikon camera dives in there's a fifty five percent chance they're going to be out of business in a year that's a statistically unavoidable reality just like divorce as a wedding photographer fifty percent of my clients are possibly going to come back to me to handle their divorce so it's vertical market it really is and it's called cornering the market so I I see the problems that new photographers create, I get contacted by the clients that want to sue them because they don't have the technical capability to deliver proves to them or I see the photographers they're having problems because they didn't know that they had to pay self employment tax and so they're getting audited by the irs and they want more money than they can possibly raise to pay them off. What so I mean, I'm I'm trying to address the issue of the technology creating this new breed of photographers from the okay, what do we need to do to equip them? So I give a seminar like I gave this morning on starting your business and some of the facebook feeds on the social media where, you know, I really don't have the attention span for this. All I hear from craig's presentation is blah, blah, blah, and I'm like, ok, you're in the fifty five percent that's probably not going to be around next year because they're not willing to put in the work. And so when we talk about putting in the work or paying your dues it's I mean being in photography for thirty years now professionally it's about ninety percent about running your biz, listen about ten percent photography, and I think people don't don't get that they hear it, but they don't get it um and so if you don't put in the work on the front and you're not going to reap the rewards on the back I want to come back to more of the legal issues in a few minutes I want to give up like a chance to weigh in here on the on what he thinks coming from the theatricals I think is a great combination what everybody said you've got to keep your quality levels up it means a lot to us in our business and manufacturing products to keep the quality levels up so the quality of the work that you do is vitally important to your success marketing yourself part two is the other part of this and sadly being the old geezer here I've seen a lot of photographers failed that have been very successful in the business as we try as it transitioned into these new times outlets for using your images or selling your images are going away so in a sense you have to remember it invent yourself and as many of my mentors and friends have said, you know you have to embrace these times understand the technologies of changing that this still photographs is still powerful but we've moved into the hd slr era where multimedia becomes a part of your business and you have to learn that side of the business you have to invest in that business because your studio will have to but I've seen sadly too many studios close of the time, but I don't think that's a sign of the failing business, I think it's a time of us just reinventing ourselves and just changing the way we do business. And so it's, really, I want ad in new york since I talked to a lot of people that are working have been in there the industry for a while, I hear things like okay, I shoot for hip hop magazines ten years ago, I get paid to do all the portrait shoots all the editorial shoots now people do it for free and they'll say the same things about commercial shoots, they save ten, twelve, fifteen years ago, I get paid thirty five hundred dollars a day to shoot this catalog. Now I'm getting offered five hundred, the problem is with that, I don't know where the finger would be the point, like honestly, from my point, you that socks, like I would love a more work out there better paid work, and so yes, certainly, if there was an easy finger to point, that would be awesome. I could say all this sucks and, you know, now I can't get paces, but you can't just say, like, ok, people are doing it for free if they're trying to better their crews so I can't hold it against I don't think any of us really got into the photography or michael cinema business thinking I was gonna make a million dollars, you know, I don't think I ever, you know, I don't think many people get into the business with that motivation. It is more about the art and wanting to do it like I did. Yeah, great. What about the technology and the venom we touched on this? In the first part, I'm curious to hear what you guys think about it, especially some of you younger people. You know, technology technology is changing so fast on I'm not even talking about social media, I'm talking about the cameras. What does it do to the art when you console ect your focus later on in post? Well, that's an interesting thing, because I think that it doesn't really make much of a difference in the end because it's all about the idea so anybody can go out and use their iphone and take whatever picture they want and choose their focus later if they want tio but I mean, why are they doing it? And if they don't know that? Then that's not going to translate to the viewer and I really believe that somebody who is trying to create art will create art and that will be accepted as such and people who are just clicking thinking they're taking a cool picture we'll take a cool picture but it's not like they're putting that out there and saying this is my art I'm going to sell this for two thousand dollars and if they are and that's their intent and good for them because they've done it and somebody is going to buy into it but I don't I don't know I mean I don't think that in the serious art world or the serious photography world of people really wanting quality portrait stormy wanting to go sell my printing gallery I don't really see myself going up against people are taking snapshots if if that makes sense you know one example that that I used in my presentation my my daughter is a shooter she's ten she has a thirty d and have some clients that well allow me to bring her along is my second shooter on weddings and she's she's very professional and she shot a great image of an entire wedding party walking out in front of a barn and I had miller's printed and we put it up in the studio this morning and so she's got this this great image and it's been on billboards and it's been in magazines but can she deliver the same experience to a client that I can? Can she answer the phone when they want to talk to me about their wedding plans, or can she handle concerns about retouching and and does she have that ability to deliver to deliver that client experience? So that's, what photographers have to get to get past is that it's not just taking a great picture, because the technology will allow larger variety of folks to take a great picture, but we have to be able to stay in business, serve our clients and deliver that that experience that they expect. And I think that's that's, what we owe our craft is not just to take great images, but to be able to great to deliver a great, consistent experience. Our client, I would agree to that I think, like adding on a little bit, um, I feel like you shouldn't be worried about the technology, like you should be worried about this thing that allows anyone toe pick their focus later, like essentially up into the day, like, you know, look att, you know, look att longstanding publications like look at new york times sunday magazine that there still every week you look through that and it's just like a fun thing to see who are they hiring who's, shooting one like they could hire technically, anyone to cover a lot of these stories, but they're still curating this nice mix of old photographers, new photographers, young photographers like the things that are going to be the people that are deciding who gets what work still care about photography. And I think, like, whether it's an agency, whether it's, a photo editor, whether it's couple like anybody who cares about photography, is going to hire somebody who personality wise and image wise they like, and because joe schmo has this, I'm saying red camera that they're going to hire him because of that camera, like, I just don't think that the client wanted to see that all the time, people who are out there, hey, we shoot with the latest and greatest stuff. That doesn't mean they don't use it. Yeah, so I think that I mean, it shouldn't worry you as a photographer, like if it does, then you should be more worried about your own work, right? Let's, go back to the leak of the legal stuff for a second because we were talking about this early craig earlier. With the legalities surrounding music licensing now is such a big deal on dh. I know you're of the opinion that you have you know that's so important to use legal music with you you are you all on the same page with that cause I still know some photographers were out there going all I don't care I'm too small time nobody's really gonna come after me about sad because you wouldn't you know you wouldn't want somebody to use your picture and they don't say then have them say, well, nobody so it's okay, you know it's pretty much the greatest example is tony we're almost wedding he was a dallas cowboy quarterback and his videographer shot this insane beautiful wedding video and decided to use a coldplay song I think was it was a cold player yeah, I think I think it was called place so use this coldplay song and it went viral and as soon as it did coldplay figured out we didn't give him permission to use this music and next thing you know this guy's basically out of business the wedding videos down it made his client look bad it made him look bad all because he made a stupid decision to basically steal from another artist. So I mean I just think if there's anything negative that I can say about what technology is done it's it's it's made us it's made it so easy to create new work that we we don't have time to care about the copyright and when we don't care about our own copyright, we can't expect us his artistic cares much about other people's cop, he writes, I mean it's it's never been easier to register our work on to protect ourselves and yet we're doing it less and less because we're creating more and more work week we barely have time to edit the images we created or called the images that we create because everybody spraying and brian and with that it kind of cheapens the work a little would you say in some form or another that we have to get back to a very purist mind set in terms of running a business just to protect our save themselves legally as we move forward with all this new technology because it almost seems to me that it's so easy just to get carried away with everything that's available to us we'll hear talk about boudoir photography I mean the legal liabilities that we create for ourselves as photographers by diving into boudoir without a plan on telling our clients what they can expect on how their images might be used or what a model release means if you sign it as a boudoir photographer I mean what's everybody thinking about that you have todo yeah, I'll steal from you know the point of where I worked with photographers and nikon works with photographers we will not accept images are not released period and it's not to be difficult it's because you know who do they sued the deepest pockets but the reality is is we have to run this business the correct way technology wasn't developed to make better photographers technology was to help photographers that were really good do the job better and so you know things like I also take us into a world where you're not supposed to use it as a crutch you're supposed to use it when you need it you know faster framing rates better metering systems are old there to help assist if you know what you're doing though it goes right back to the thought of creating great art that's the vision that's what people are doing and that's where people will excel above the wrist because yeah, well the sports photographer go out with a ten frames per second camera with great auto focus and make a good picture maybe once in a while the advance sports photographer is going to go out there and do it every time they're going to execute every time and so in any of this you said it I don't want anybody using my images without my permission I certainly wouldn't use somebody else's music without permission and and we certainly stand for that you know, with an icon when we worked with other photographers work and sadly we get the oh well no one's going to know every once in a while but the reality is someone will melt and that's an interesting thought another thing that technology has done is made it so easy for us to steal music so easy for people to steal our photography. Just last week someone stolen entire video of robs and posted it like it was his own on the web site we were emperor recently and we were told flat out that that anything that is in someone's hands will probably be stolen and, you know, placed online industry it's a world leader with technology in the world that we live in isn't really a problem of technology or a problem of ethics it's both it makes it so easy because the quality of images that you can steal off the web if you're not careful on how we put him out there uh is it's just it's incredible one and I won't tell the story because I don't have his permission to but one of the folks that's presenting this week during photo week another photographer here in town in the country took ah nationally award winning you know, images that had won awards and published them as their own on their website who does that corrupt in? Sadly, you know many of these folks if if the images haven't been registered there's no teeth to going after them for the copyright infringement, but now I think this speaks to a larger problem I'm from springfield, missouri, which is a home to black river imaging and I had the occasion to speak with one of the managers of black river who gets to see almost all of the images that are coming out on a daily basis from us is professional photographers and the comment was you know what the jaw dropping pictures that come out of our printers uh happened less and less frequently than they ever did and what's that say about the quality of work that us as a community of photographers is putting out when somebody can say that I mean we'd hoped to differentiate ourselves by increasing equality of our work rather than just being satisfied with mediocrity. So that's the challenge I think to the industry with the new technology we've got a step up and I can jump on that teo being somebody who started photography a lot because of social media because I was on flicker and, you know, joining these sites and hearing feedback and and, you know, a lot of the new trend is to just put his much work out as you possibly can and just keep putting it out over and over again and I got really caught up in that in the beginning thinking that I had to put pictures out constantly every single day and I felt that if I stop then I wouldn't have followers I wouldn't have a career no they would start to pick up for me until I realized that when I slowed down and I actually stopped taking pictures every day and I started releasing fewer and fewer images more people started following because they saw that there was quality in it and I that really surprised me in this world because I thought that people would just want to see a picture every single day and not really care about the quality is much but the opposite was true and I think that that's true for a lot of people too I mean the scarcity increases value yeah yeah I mean I don't I'm not even sure exactly how it correlates but I mean just along those lines of people thinking they need to put out a lot of stuff and a lot of people seeing it I just today saw an ad that sprint put out that was featuring photographer who I don't know personally but paul octavius is like four hundred fifty thousand followers and this is like, ah whole ad campaign based on the fact that this guy uses instagram it's like whether you love that I hate that it's the thing that like you know cos they're noticing and kids are noticing and they're like, oh, I could you know be this guy who just take pictures of my daily life and it's featured and you know, he's a legitimate photographer but it's like at the same time, I'm sure plenty people are upset about something like that because they think like, oh, like, this is just going to make it that much harder for me to get noticed, and I don't I don't necessarily agree or disagree with it, but it's an interesting thing that's happening and it's like, five years ago you would never see and ad campaign based on someone's cell phone pictures, right? And it brings us full circle back to the influx of new people coming in and not many. How many of you guys do weddings is just just craig has I mean, I don't want to go too focused on weddings, but it has the wedding industry become too oversaturated with too many photographers. Is it a money grab now? It can be, but, you know, with my clientele, I mean, there is on ly a certain number of photographers in my market that can deliver a foreign five thousand or six thousand dollars wedding. I mean, my my clients are my clients, and I don't see the new photographers is competing with it simply because they're my my ideal bride is my target bride is not going to hire them, but yeah, it's a problem I've seen a lot of photographers with gray hair close their studios because they weren't able to offer a product is it any different from the new photographer that was starting out and it's it's you either have to evolve or perish and so I think the one good thing that the new photographers have done is pushed the existing experienced crop to a photographer to a new level I mean because if you stay in the same place you're just putting off you're going out of business is stagnation is definitely I guess the second stop learning is the second stop growing so but that's why we're all here yeah you know you mentioned facebook I haven't had any of my facebook followers ever send me a check you wait don't send so why do we care so much? I mean it's that we've got to get past with a new photographer the ego thing of social media you know? I mean I think that's great and it's it's a gauge but I look at some of the stuff that people like and I'm going you like that, you know? So once we get past that I think well, it'll evolved to a new level it's just interesting to watch that's a great that's a great place to close thank you very much to all of our panelists here tonight you guys are wonderful this has been a great experience and I'm sure our audience appreciates all of the insight to the various sectors of the industry so we really appreciate it so thank you all very much for being here with us tonight on the creative, live photo week panel, and we will see you tomorrow morning at seven thirty a m pacific standard time for some yoga for photographers. I here, brooke is joining. Yeah, thanks so much. Have a great night.

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