The expression, "jack of all trades, master of none," truly applies to the art of photography. With the advent of digital cameras, every hobbyist who ever took a nice snapshot now fancies themselves a photographer for hire. In Pennsylvania there are no licensing requirements and therefore no restrictions on who can sell photographic images.
Don't get me wrong, there are dozens of very talented "amateur" photographers out there selling their scenic travel images at art shows and they only serve to encourage others to expand the craft of creative image making. It is the photographer that markets themselves as the "alternative" to so called "expensive" professional studio owners. These individuals often have little or no experience in producing work for hire and market their "limited" skills as "cheaper" and more "natural" then their professional peers.
Here is where the "tricky" marketing and deceptive use of terminology masks the poor quality of their products. Some terms to beware of are:
- Natural Posing - This is just a way to hide the lack of training in "proper" posing techniques. One photographer wrote as part of their "philosophy;" "we don't have a stick up our butt, so we don't want you to look like you do either..." This type of post not only shows a lack of training, but a lack of "professionalism" as well. They don't have a studio therefore they condemn those that have achieved a level of success that allows them to operate a commercial business location. The TRUTH is that a "professional" photographer, schooled and trained in the arts, can create natural looking poses both on location and in the studio. A "professional" studio space is both welcoming and comfortable when used by a "master" of the medium.
-Boutique Photography - This phrase was once used by very elite image makers who specialized in "high end" portraiture. Now it is a term that is more often then not associated with a "style" of photography that consists of blurry, overexposed, poorly posed and composed images. Basically saying that yes, my images are different from the "professional standards," however that is just my style. Scary!
I could go on and on, but that will have to wait for the next blog post. So in closing, keep in mind that no matter what you purchase in life, you will always find someone willing to do it "cheaper." At Howard Studios we have a saying, "We have no quarrels with those who charge less then we do, for they alone know what their work is worth." Robert A. Howard has been a leader in the photographic profession for for more then 30 years. He is "Certified" in all aspects of photography by the PPA. He has studied with the top photographers in the nation and been on the cutting edge of the photographic profession for many years. When choosing your next photographer be sure to look beyond the "sizzle" in their advertising and look at the "meat" of their product...experience...quality...value...customer satisfaction.