Written by Martin Neeves – Commercial Photographer Leicestershire
During my long working life as a professional photographer I have been availed of much worldly wisdom from various people that has amused me. Some belittles the photographic profession as being “dead easy cos all you need is an expensive camera mate”, others talking without thinking. When you look at these statements of “fact and wisdom”, it is apparent that many people do not know what a photographer really does.
Well let’s take the main statement – My mate can take better photos than you. OK so why isn’t he/she here now? Or usually more to the point why are they not running a photography business? So many people are dabbling at being photographers and digital photography has enabled people with less talent to “get away with it”, but most still produce pretty mundane photos (even if the technology has helped them to correct their mistakes). It’s not for me to say, as others will judge my photos on their own merits, but I have been a full-time professional photographer for 28 years, so I do have quite a lot of experience under my belt.
Anyone with an expensive camera can take a great picture. This has a similar statement as well: All you need to get a good photograph is to have a good camera. Well yes, having a decent camera helps you get to grips with some of the technical aspects of photography. However, if you just point a camera at a subject and press the shutter release, it usually won’t take a great picture. It is definitely the photographer who composes the photograph, decides on the way to photograph the subject, and decides on framing the scene – etc.
Photography is easy. Hmmmm yes so it is. After all I do not have to visualise how an image should look before taking the photograph. And what about framing and composing the picture to make it tell a story. Oh and I forgot about getting the exposure right, choosing the right shutter speed, using the right ISO, picking the correct aperture, focussing the image, choosing the right lens. Nope all that is automatic – I wish. Taking boring photos on a point-and-shoot camera is very easy, but taking original photos, knowing the effect of altering each variable and taking a photograph at the decisive moment takes a lot more skill and experience.
Why do you watermark your photographs on your website? It ruins them. To stop unscrupulous “photographers” from stealing my work and passing it off as their own. Unfortunately, this dishonest practice is very common these days.
Why do photographers make the background blurred? Is it because you are not good at focusing the camera? No, sorry to disillusion you, it is because we ARE good at focussing the camera (and choosing a suitably large aperture), by blurring the background it makes the important object stand out in the final photograph. If you are looking at an image of a bride or a company executive, do you really want to see the detail of the hedge or office in the background?
Do you shoot with a UV filter on; will it keep the prints from fading? You can use all the filters and gizmos on the camera you like, it will not stop an image from fading etc. Once the light has passed through the filter and lens then that equipment has done its job and it can have no effect on what has been recorded. It is all about the storage or print medium used to record the image. For the record, UV filters are mainly used to protect the front element of the lens, but they also cut out unwanted UV light too.
I see you have a DSLR camera; what film do you use in it? Well I will tell you a secret, there is no film in it – it’s magic. It stores the image digitally on a memory card – the “D” in DSLR stands for DIGITAL.
You are a bit of a fraud; after all you just set the “p” for professional mode to get all your photos! At this stage I usually almost wet myself laughing because I realise that they have no idea of what they are talking about. In case you wondered “P” mode means Programmed Automatic which allows the camera to decide on which shutter speed and aperture to use, so the photographer has no say in it at all. I NEVER shoot in P mode. I use the manual mode for the vast majority of my work, but occasionally I will use aperture or shutter priority automatic if I am in a situation where the light level will change within a short space of time.
So if you want someone who can take better photos than your mate, why not contact Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now