A tale of two photographers.

Two photographers, worlds apart.

A couple of friends recently had their young son photographed. Billy (not his real name), is the first born and of course his proud parents wanted some amazing photography. They selected a photographer, after seeing some beautiful baby images on a website. Being modern parents, internet savvy and always in search of the best they can afford. Be it cars, home, fashion or the places they dine. These guys really do choose wisely. Like all proud parents, they where thrilled when their photographer asked if she could put some of their babies images on her website. Knowing we would love to see the latest pictures of young Billy, mum and dad forwarded us a link to the site.

I love photography. Being exposed to  many good, even great photographs as a young child is why I chose to be a photographer in the first place. This woman’s photography is exceptional, her eye, her technique are nothing short of amazing. It was like WOW, this lady has to be one of the best I’ve seen, and she comes from some small town in the middle of nowhere.

Recently however, I visited our friends home, and there hanging on the wall was one of the prints from their photo session. To say it was underwhelming, would be an understatement. I couldn’t believe it. This picture looked so good on the photographers website, but hanging on our friends wall, it look like a cheap photocopy. I was assured it wasn’t a photocopy nor cheap. But it wasn’t just me. The proud parents were quick to point out their disappointment. It looked so good when we viewed it on the computer but the print has no sparkle, no life. It looks like an ordinary photo that we could have taken ourselves. I had to agree.

So what went wrong? To be honest I don’t know. I suspect a number of things. Firstly, I’m pretty certain that the print was made by a budget lab who may have been cutting a few corners in the quality department. That alone wouldn’t have turned a could looking image into BLAND. So my second guess is the photographers post processing techniques maybe slanted towards getting great web ready pictures and then just sending those files off to be printed, instead of reprocessing them to be print ready. Maybe she isn’t aware that different viewing methods and printing materials all need and must have different post processing to achieve good results. Whatever it is, it’s a great pity, cos she really has talent, but she has lost this couple, who have vowed they will never go back.

The second photographer, actually educator would be more precise. Always produces great pictures on his website. After all that’s where his business comes from. Other photographers wanting to produce pictures just like his. We all want to know that secret sauce that he uses. I love his photos, his style, his eye and recently I saw a couple of his finished prints in real life. No disappointment here. They, like his web images where stunning. Almost take your breathe away. Just beautiful quality of light, contrast and style. I am in total awe of this guys photography and processing skills. I would love to say that all my photography is like his… sadly it is not.

This photographer is in the business of producing great images. Not to sell or exhibit in a gallery but to impress other photographers enough that they will spend money buying his how to products and services. Nothing wrong with that at all. I would love to be in his position. But when I shoot a portrait, I work with real people, not full time professional models. Nor world renown sportsmen and women. I don’t travel to the most exotic places on earth to create stunning travel images

For example, we have at excitations a great studio to shoot in. Many, many photographers would be envious of the levels and quality of equipment we have at our disposal. To be honest very few portrait or wedding photographers in Australia would have studio facilities that would come even close to ours in the equipment department. If we need it in our day to day photography we have it. What we lack however is the budgets to go the extra yard. Not complaining, just saying. We don’t have the best hair and makeup artists that money can buy. ( You know the ones that yesterday were in Paris on a fashion shoot for that magazine) Our stylist didn’t spend the last week shopping in New York for accessories for today’s shoot. Our subjects, weren’t on a billboard in times square last month. Nor do we have 2-3 photo assistants, who are not only kick-arse great assistants, but talented photographers in their own right.

When  we shoot a wedding, we can’t spend 2 hours with a room full of lighting equipment, computers, stylists, makeup artists and the wedding dress designer, just to make one portrait of the bride. No matter how good that picture was, we would never be asked to shoot another real wedding again. That’s just the way life is. We strive to do the best we possibly can, with the time and budgets we have.

One thing for sure though is we are always striving for that next great shot. Regardless of who we are photographing, how much we are being paid, or even if we’re not being paid. The good photographers of this world are always in their own way pushing for that something extra in their photography

2 Replies to “A tale of two photographers.”

  1. Hi Robyn and Ian, You may remember me from almost 10 years ago. You photographed Ernie and my wedding (a dawn service). I have to say we are both still thrilled with our photos and tell everyone how great our photographers were! Ernie is now back in the full time Army in Townsville and we have 2 boys and a girl – they keep me on my toes to say the least!
    Keep up the fantastic work, I get on your www regularly and admire all of your beautiful work. xxx Rikki Sweet

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