Field Report:

The Non-Glamorous Side of Photography

Photography Mentors, Choose Them Wisely

My blog post “Photography Mentors, Choose Them Wisely” has been published on Black Star Rising.

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March 29, 2012 - Posted by | Photographers, rants, Web | , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. I’m glad someone said it!

    I have seen a lot of questionable advice floating around myself and it is important to note that just because the name is recognizable doesn’t mean the advice is credible.

    Ben

    Comment by benchasephoto | March 29, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thanks Ben. Totally agreed. I wanted to highlight the issue rather than call someone out, hence leaving the guy’s name out, since this is a more widespread issue than just one person.

    Comment by Richard Wong | March 29, 2012 | Reply

  3. I agree entirely with the scope of this article.

    I would add, that many photographers claim they are professional wildlife photographers and promote themselves widely through social media, blogs and by voice. Often these individuals are very good photographers and have the time to devote to their hobby – they are wealthy (or their family is). Often they have a second source of income (they never mention this). However, their self-promotion parts a different story to those thinking of joining the profession and developing a photographic career.

    These new, up and becoming photographers view these so called “professionals” in a different light. They see the expensive trips they go on, the well to do neighbourhood they live in, and relatively care free lifestyle they live and start to think – “WOW” there must be money in photography. Often they fail to realize that the individual they are looking up to has created their image surrounded by a veil of lies. If this individual was not wealthy to start with, they wouldn’t have the time to devote to anything because they would too busy earning a living!

    It’s wrong that wealthy photographers often claim they are professionals, when they are not earning the majority of their income from photography. These individuals only cause hardship to those they “sucker” into believing in them.

    Comment by Garage Simulations | March 29, 2012 | Reply

  4. Hi Iain. I don’t have a problem with those photographers promoting their work, which I certainly do myself, but a lot of these people are charging people lots of money for something they have little to no credibility in doing. One thing I see a lot of is nature photographers who have no track record, proclaiming to be at the top of the profession because Outdoor Photographer or some little publication published them once or because some photo website gave them an award, then going out and pimping out their expensive workshops at locations they haven’t been themselves or have little experience with. That to me is basically tricking people into paying for their photography habit which they do not actually make money from. There is a big difference between that and a David Muench teaching or at least someone that legitimately earns a portion of their income from image sales. For the promoting type, the publishing is just for vanity, not income. It’s easy to spot those types out. Look at their site, if it’s geared towards photographers then it’s probably safe to assume they don’t sell their work and are just looking for fame or sell workshops.

    Same goes for people like the wedding “photographer” I wrote about. He makes all of his income from selling websites and software. He hasn’t shot a single wedding since 2008. I can understand if he still shoots some and giving out (good) advice, but he doesn’t shoot at all and gives out misguided advice in the name of selling more of his services to new photographers. It’s just a ploy to get eyeballs and draw in unsuspecting beginning photographers.

    Comment by Richard Wong | March 29, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Richard; you have made some excellent points, and the more people that read them the better!

      Self promotion is fine, but when you purport to the world that your a professional and successful nature photographer, the implication is that you earn your income from the job – not from other endeavours. I’d love to mention this person’s name, but I won’t.

      On another note, your blog is site is very good. I’ll have to stop by from time to time. Your stories are well written and easy to read.

      Comment by Iain D. Williams (Anaspides Photography) | March 29, 2012 | Reply

      • Thanks Iain. I write this blog mainly just to share my opinion and timely info so I’m glad you enjoy it.

        Comment by Richard Wong | March 29, 2012

  5. Another thing I would like to point out is that a lot of these types have questionable ethics when it comes to shooting in the field (trespassing, having their photo tours trample on environmentally-sensitive areas) and overall way that they conduct themselves including not getting proper permits and lying about it. Truly poor role models.

    Comment by Richard Wong | March 29, 2012 | Reply

  6. After reading the comments above, it looks like I made the right decision when I was at that point in my life. I would have given my right arm to be a professional photographer I loved it so much, I shot a few wedding after college and I decided that it was a very competitive field, and making a living and supporting a family might be hazardous. So, instead I became a mechanical engineer, I still take many photographs (1000 on a 2 week vacation to Hawaii) and what a hobby it is, it sure beats knocking that little white ball and chasing it down the fairway.

    Comment by Anthony Camilletti, Sr. | February 24, 2013 | Reply

  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Anthony. I think it’s been said somewhere that the quickest way to ruin a great hobby is trying to earn a living doing it.

    Comment by Richard Wong | February 25, 2013 | Reply


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