To all my clients who may be reading this, I must apologize, this post is to my fellow photographers. I would go into some sort of soft formality at this point, but I think the bandage needs to be abruptly removed.
I have realized I am now THAT GUY who tells the kids to get off his yard.
I must admit, I do not blog as often as I should, but something has really been on my mind. In the midst of what should be the BEST time for my industry, might be the precursor for the WORST time ahead. What do I mean by that?
Right now we have the most access to information and knowledge than ever before. If I want to know about the inverse square law, I can look at my phone and say "Ok Google, explain inverse square law to me" and BOOM, thousands of links come up. If I want to know about guide numbers, BOOM, Google strikes again and tells me. Not only can I know more, it costs LESS to even start in the game, because we have the best technology available than ever before, with an extremely low barrier to entry.
For example, the Nikon D3300 is currently the top selling DSLR, followed by the Canon Rebel T5(1). Both of these cameras are entry level consumer cameras, priced less than $500. They offer extremely good high ISO performance (>ISO3200). Large resolution files, 24MP and 18MP, respectively, are relatively easy to use, and provide high definition video. In comparison, 10 years ago, when the Nikon D2x and the Canon 1D MkII were the top of the line professional cameras, they had half the resolution, a 3-4 stops difference in ISO performance, no video, and a price tag that was over 1,000% more.
So, with everything going for us, why do I say that we have gotten lazy?
Maybe as a Generation X member, I'm in one of those transitional generations in our culture. Similar to the Silent Generation's change from radio communication to visual communication on TV. Having to see the next generation just flail about with lack of abstract imagination. Mindless existence. Just going along with the status quo.
As I type this, I miss the sound of a Smith-Corona, the smell of the ribbon, the "chick chick" of the key stroke...was that the good ole days? HELL NO IT WASN'T, IT SUCKED! That era did teach us a few things like appreciation and patience. No red squiggly line under a misspelled word or backspace, or "save as"... none of that. We had to pause and actively think. If we didn't know now a word was spelled, we asked our parents, and then they in turn would tell you to, "LOOK IT UP!" Wow, what a novel idea, looking up something we didn't know or fully understand. Whether it was in Webster, Roget, or Britannica, we had to look it up.. and actually think about WHAT we were looking up, so we would have a reference point.
Now, I have Google doing its best Dirty Harry impression as soon as I type something in the bar when it asks me, "Feeling lucky?"
So where is all of this coming from? Is this a film vs. digital concern? Not even, but as this world has gotten smaller with the help of social media, namely Facebook, more photographers are able to collaborate with each other from different parts of the world. There are tons of forums, many of them hidden, where we can discuss ideas, techniques, strategies, goals, tips, etc. This is AWESOME! Even another reason why it is a great time to be a photographer. My VENT comes down where collaboration becomes instruction. Which I am still cool with.
My frustration is that many of the participants are not hobbyists who are wanting to learn, but are artists who are CHARGING for their services and claiming the title of Professional Photographer.
I believe there is a difference between being an Expert and a Pro... not every expert is a pro and not every pro is an expert, but the pro should strive to be an expert, because the pro has a responsibility to the CLIENT. This requires learning and studying to become consistent. I don't understand though, why so many are against learning and studying? Almost every day I see posts like the following:
The last one is my favorite, because this particular photographer is holding workshops, which adds to the frustration.
In many of these groups, there is a search function that MANY of the questions such as "what album company," "what lens should I use for," "how many of you like to," and my favorite, "My client wants to;" can be searched and the answer found. YET, many of us, STILL go through the process of asking the question, because we want the answer NOW, and looking it up would be too much work.
I can't help but think if your business is not important enough for you to do the work, then what do you do for your clients? So I must ask again;
When did we become so lazy?