As a pro talking to other pros it is a common industry fallacy that we hear time and time again from current or prospective clients. “So and so has a really good camera’, or “so and so just bought a brand new Nikon/Canon”, implying that from a customer/client perspective they and their chosen photographer are ‘good to go!!’ It comes up so often that all it gets from us now is a slight chuckle before moving on to a new topic.
A joke I heard long ago tells the story better than a long, drawn out descriptive: A famous photographer attends an upscale dinner party in New York. Upon arrival the host and cook for the event greets the photographer and exclaims “I am so enchanted with your work, you’re amazing, I have your images all over my house and recommend you to everyone, you must have a really good camera”. The photographer smiles and thanks the host for the compliment and makes his way into the dining room. Shortly after an elaborate, multi course meal that obviously took many hours and expertise to prepare is served, is absolutely delicious and the photographer enjoys every bite while engaging in conversation with the other guests. As the evening winds down and the guests are leaving, the host turns to the photographer and says, “I really hope you enjoyed the meal, it looked like you did but I didn’t hear any comments on the food, was it all ok?” “Ok?” asks the photographer, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, I enjoyed it immensely, you must have a really good oven”.
Good to great photography is very little about what camera we hold in our hands, what lenses we attach, what lights we set up, but more so about what we bring to the table from years of experience, how we deal with clients in a timely manner, how we get around creative obstacles, what we see in a location, how we set up or pose, how we utilize light to maximize effect, what depth of field to use, under or over-exposing for emotion and a host of other areas and intangibles that would take a couple more paragraphs to explain.
All we can do as photographers is to educate people on the merits of professionals. Of course that transcends into so many other professions as well. Who would let their neighbour operate on them? Who would let a contractor with a ‘really good set of pliers’ be their dentist? Who would let their brother in law build them a house because he bought a really cool table saw? You get the point I’m trying to make. Above all that though is the value that photography brings, whether it be commercial, portrait, wedding or any other sector; very rarely do you get a second chance to capture what should have been done right the first time…
To see more of my work, go to my portfolio page here