I am writing today as part of my New Year’s Resolution.
This year I vowed to do what is right. By this statement I don’t mean things like following the rules, I already do that! What I mean by this resolution is to stick up for and support myself and others. Have you ever watched the TV show What Would You Do? How many times have you been someplace where you witnessed something that wasn’t ok but you didn’t say anything? It has happened to me a few times and it always sticks with me that I never said anything. I never stuck up for a person who maybe needed a little support at the time. I didn’t stop when that person was broke down on the side of the road. Instead I just pretended I didn’t see it or made excuses as to why not to help. In my head it sounded something like this, “I shouldn’t stop, I don’t know anything about vehicles, its not safe, maybe they are a serial killer pretending to be broke down.” What about that mom screaming at her kids in the store? Here is what that sounds like in my head, “I shouldn’t say anything it’s not my business, she will probably beat me up or something.” What I should have been saying is something like this, “I should stop, even though I know nothing about vehicles maybe I can keep them company until they get help. Maybe I should ask that mom screaming at her child in the store if she wanted me to entertain her kid for 10 minutes so she can shop in peace.” Now I know what you’re all thinking; people will think you’re crazy! Will they? Or will they be thankful, that someone actually cared? I guess I am willing to take that chance from here on out, what do I have to lose?
So what does this have to do with photography you ask?
Photographers can be downright mean to each other. Always judging others work and bashing each other to try and get more jobs. It is a brutal business where newcomers feel they will be ridiculed if they don’t know everything that someone who has been doing this for many years knows. A college of mine recently made a statement about how he makes it a point to not talk bad about other photographers. He said we should support not negate each other.
As professional photographers we feel this pressure to be the best, do the best, and have the best. It is a very competitive business and the market is saturated with photographers. This causes us to be unsupportive of each other. It causes us to look at others photos and say bad things, even if it is just to ourselves. This type of negativity is toxic. We need to stop being at war with each other and instead support and encourage each other.
I would love to have a community where both seasoned and rookie photographers can come together in a safe environment and share things about photography.
Things such as:
Lighting: Speed lights, Studio lights, Natural light
Cameras: Do you really know what every button and setting on your camera does?
Lenses: What lens should I add to my collection, do you only buy prime, what does that even mean?
Editing: Do I really need Photoshop, how do you use it anyway, are there better options?
Studios: Do you have one, would you ever let another photographer rent yours, where do you get backgrounds/props, and do you want to borrow something?
Pricing: Do I charge too much, too little, do you give all your photos on a CD or do you make prints?
Prints: Where do you order from?
Legality: Do you use contracts; do you have people sign a release to put them on Facebook?
These are just a few things that we have to worry about day in and day out. I would love to have someone who I could ask all of these and so much more. Collectively we have a wealth of knowledge, let’s unite and be what we set out to be. We all do this because we have one thing in common; the desire to capture beauty and memories for years to come and to provide those images for people to enjoy. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what one considers a great pic doesn’t mean everyone does nor do they have to because its art and everyone likes art differently.
So What is the Solution?
I am creating a Facebook Group where I invite anyone who has an interest in photography to join. There is only ONE rule, you must be supportive. This doesn’t mean you have to lie to be nice. It means you can give honest feedback. If you hate a photo tell the photographer what is good or what you like but then offer your expertise about how the photographer can improve their next set of photos. Photographers BE PREPARED to receive honest feedback and don’t get your feelings hurt over what someone has said. Take their criticism as helpful advice on how to improve your craft.
If I get enough interest I would love to set up local meetings throughout the year where photographers of all levels can talk about the topics above, help each other out, and go on photo walks. How much is enough interest…I will be happy and consider this a success if at least one other photographer joins me on this positive journey. If you’re interested in this please follow this link to my Facebook Group: