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Photography is EASY!!!!!.....right?
Willis Glassgow, Photo Editor, Photographer
Florence | SC | USA | Posted: 12:11 PM on 08.09.08
->> I had something happen to me today, that I found both humorous and disturbing at the same time.
My sister-in-law wanted to borrow a lens of mine that she could use at an NFL pre-season game. She would be sitting in the stands and shooting game action and shooting a ceremony at halftime that would feature her husband. She has no real photo knowledge and takes photos only for fun. She has a Canon Rebel XTi. I showed her a 70-200mm f2.8 and then the 28-300mm variable lens. (she didn't want the 400mm f2.8) After a few minutes of explaining how she needs to set her camera for a night game she and my wife both said, isn't there just one setting that will make everything come out?.....and then my wife said,"It can't be THAT complicated!!!!". I told her as much as I don't want it to be complicated, shooting at night on any stadium or field IS complicated. I asked her if she had settings on her scissors that would cut any hair and style.(She is a hair stylist) To me it was amazing that people still think that professional photography is soooo easy and that one setting will make everything "come out". Please tell your stories that have this same theme. I'm sure there are some funny and disturbing ones out there that we would all love to read about.
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George Holland, Photographer
Seattle | WA | USA | Posted: 12:35 PM on 08.09.08
->> I am out of town attending a soccer tournament for my daughter. Sony has a large display booth with plasma screens showing action images taken with Sony SLR’s. The images look OK although I can’t tell if some of the odd colors are due to the plasma settings or the Sony images.

Sony is loaning SLR’s to the parents to shoot with, taking the images the parents capture and then burning them onto a CD. Interesting marketing and I’ll be interested to see how Sony fares, especially with pending rumors of full frame and high resolution sensors.

They set the camera on sport mode and tell the parents just press the shutter button, it’s that easy. Auto everything. The supplied lens is a variable aperture zoom. A parent on my daughter’s team tried a loaner and shot a game yesterday and I’m looking forward to seeing the images. The lighting was perfect; bright with light overcast. After the first half I made a few suggestions on angles, getting lower and how to minimize the busy backgrounds typical of large soccer tournaments. Still, the parent was under the impression all he had to do is point and shoot and the images would look the same as the ones I take.
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Steve Puppe, Photographer
Olathe | KS | USA | Posted: 1:22 PM on 08.09.08
->> I was in a friend's wedding several years ago. He asked me to shoot the wedding. I told him I wouldn't be able to shoot during the ceremony and he said that I could just give my camera to his uncle to use. Obviously it didn't turn out well. The uncle bumped into the pastor because he was trying to shoot the bride walking down the aisle with a long lens. He also ran out of film right when the father was giving her away. Of course nothing was in focus as well. Professional photographers get to hear a number of reason that explain why they are good at what they do

"It's because you have an expensive camera"
"You just shoot more than a normal person"
"You adjust the photos on computer to look good"
"You just happened to be in the right place at the right time"

Everyone has taken a picture at some point in their life so everyone thinks they can do it.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 2:05 PM on 08.09.08
->> Everyone eventually takes ONE good photo ONCE in their life. Most people, if they have a basic understanding and are reasonably intelligent, can squeeze out an occasional good frame if you give them a bunch of gear, no pressure and infinite time. But that's not what professional photography is really all about.

Professional photography is being on the field at the Super Bowl with two seconds to go and a 45 yard field goal attempt in the rain and being able to pull out the defining image from that moment. It's also about going to a drop-dead boring high school scrimmage and coming away with something meaningful.

I can bake a cake from a box kit, but I can't make desserts for 200 on a busy Friday night at a five star restaurant no matter how many pots and pans I have at my disposal. Given the entire evening, I MIGHT be able to get ONE person something halfway decent. ONCE.

It is sometimes hard to explain that to people.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 2:31 PM on 08.09.08
->> That perception is widespread among potential clients. I quoted photographer Andrew Buchanan about it on my July column from last year.

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Mike Shepherd, Photographer
Wichita | KS | USA | Posted: 4:13 PM on 08.09.08
->> I go out of my way to show subjects the RGB histogram on the back of the camera if they make even the slightest comment about being able to see the image. I'm not looking at the image so much as I'm looking at the information. As with most instances, it's all about education. Most are unaware of all facets of our jobs just as I'm unfamiliar with most facets of other peoples' jobs. As for the Sony demo, I'd like to see those parents get any usable images shooting in most any high school gym with *any* preset mode.
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John H. Reid III, Photographer
Gates Mills | OH | USA | Posted: 5:59 PM on 08.09.08
->> >> When my daughter was 5, on her last day of school, we were having an ice cream at DQ when she began asking me what grade she would be in at what age. (First grade, 6 years old, second grade 7, etc.) She kept counting up until we got to 22, and I said that she would be done with school, and would have a job. "Which job will I have, Daddy?" she asked. I told her she would get to choose, to which she replied, "Why did you choose such an easy job, Daddy?" Amused, I asked her why she thought my job was easy, (she had only seen me work at a baseball game at the time. Sometimes she and my wife will sit in the bleachers while I'm working, and my wife will point out where I am) and she said, "You sit, you watch a game, you take a picture!" She's 9 now, but I don't think her opinion has changed much! Maybe if she'd been at that Bills-Browns game last December...
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 10:46 PM on 08.09.08
->> I wrote a column once for a publication titled "Simple isn't easy and easy isn't simple".

Of course it looks easy, because professionals know what to do and when to do it. Never mind that you may have 10, 20, 30 or 40 years worth of experience and education that makes it look easy.It isn't just photography, there's plenty of jobs that get the same treatment - it looks "easy".

There is a tendency in American society to minimize what it takes to do a job successfully when you aren't the one that has to do it. Isn't everyone, but it's out there. This is delusional behavior. It may last a lifetime, or one wedding - when the results don't measure up, THEN there's a appreciation for what the person does when then point and shoot crowds' results don't quite measure up.
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Andrew Worrall, Student/Intern, Photographer
Columbia | M0 | | Posted: 10:59 PM on 08.09.08
->> George,

Sony did the same things for the Show Me State games in missouri. I tried one out for fun. It might have been the worst camera I've ever shot with. Granted I'm used to an ultrasonic motor, but the thing was loud and slow. Again, 2.5 fps compared to 8.5 is a big difference. The autofocus tracking system was awful, I think about a third of my images were in focus.

I wont be suggesting a Sony dSLR anytime soon.
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Tom Morris, Photographer
West Monroe | LA | USA | Posted: 11:11 PM on 08.09.08
->> As more and more of our college and high school stadia get better lit, EVERYBODY will think they're photos are pro quality.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:06 AM on 08.10.08
->> this thread makes me want to pound nails into my head....please mommy make it stop!!!
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Henderson (Las Vegas) | NV | USA | Posted: 3:15 AM on 08.10.08
->> Hey Chuck, here's a hammer: (---
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Derrick den Hollander, Photographer
Melbourne | VIC | AUSTRALIA | Posted: 3:30 AM on 08.10.08
->> Funny Sam, I had visions of Chuck deftly placing a nail against the wall, holding it, and hammering away without a hammer. Just gotta watch them dang support beams.
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Bill Ross, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 1:37 PM on 08.10.08
->> When you're good, everything seems effortless.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 1:48 PM on 08.10.08
->> Chuck, here's a nail gun...just set it to 'auto' mode.

There's a couple of phenomena going on here. Both are related to the difference between lay people and professionals and how different they are.

First, consider that lay people use $150 p&s cameras and we use gear costing thousands of dollars. They see that difference as being a lot more significant than skill (after all, we're both people, how hard can it be to push a button, etc.). There's such a huge difference in the appearance, price, size, of our equipment, that's a natural reaction.

Then, there's the definition of acceptable quality. The same p&s folks probably grew up shooting with a 110 camera or maybe a small 35mm...with fuzzy fixed-focus lenses, very poor flash, etc. So what is an marginal shot to us on a DSLR is to them probably a lot better than what they're used to. An "auto mode" result shot on a cheap zoom is great to them. Then consider who they're shooting - probably their own kids or some other subject that is far more important to them than us. They'll accept almost anything that has their kid in it. (I once had a mom buy a football print in which only her son's legs were visible behind a lineman.)

Not that big a deal, really...nor too hard to understand, IMO.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 2:14 PM on 08.10.08
->> hey chuck, nail guns are too easy....and quick! I do agree with what you just posted. it makes perfect sense. (the part about the differences in acceptable quality) 8))
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 8:30 PM on 08.10.08
->> My nail gun is my best friend.

I also like my chop saw and drill press. Great for making custom lens boards for the vaious Graflex cameras I have.

That said, I recently used a large rubber mallet to fix a big problem with my tractor. Might makes right! Grin.

None of this makes me a carpenter or a large engine mechanic. And just because I know how to glue PVC pipes together, I am not a plumber (if I were I'd be making far more money).
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Keith Mokris, Student/Intern
Cleveland | OH | USA | Posted: 8:43 PM on 08.10.08
->> I think its some people are clueless and always will be. Maybe a few will come around.

I love the comment you fired back about the scissors.
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Allen Murabayashi, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 10:12 PM on 08.10.08
->> What a photographer provides isn't seen as a service, say, the way a plumber or electrician is seen. Instead, we are perceived as providing a tangible deliverable -- namely a photograph. And since cameras are cheap, and taking digital photographs is "free," it is impossible to fight the perception that what we do is easy.

An electrician on the other hand is thought of providing a skilled service. No one is out there pimping their electrical services for free. No electrician says, "I'll wire Madison Square Garden for free because it gives me access."

So the only way to ensure that you are perceived as something other than a "guy with camera" is to consistently produce photos that make people say "I could never make that photo." Unfortunately, for as much as we want to pat ourselves on the back for being "pros" or "semi-pros," many of us create average photos, and do not seek to improve ourselves consistently over time.
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Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 10:51 PM on 08.10.08
->> One thing I've learned by doing a lot of youth sports is that some of my very best customers are moms who have bought DRebels or similar DSLR's.

I'm amazed by pole vaulters. It, frankly, on the surface, doesn't look that difficult. You run, you plant the pole, it flings you over the top. No problem. I'm sure if I ever tried pole vaulting, I'd discover it is much more difficult than it seems. (This is an over-simplfication).

The moms who have spent a fair amount of their income on a DSLR have discovered this same realization.

More than a few times, I've had a mother say "I don't understand why I can't make my photos look like yours do, I spent almost a thousand dollars on this husband told me to give it up and buy some from you." Other times, I've had parents ask me how to make their photos better. I happily tell them. They often discover that either they can't, and/or they don't want to invest the time and money. Sometimes, they realize that I'm just pretty good at what I do, just like they might be pretty good at what they do. I jokingly tell these people, "ahh, I just push a button..that's my whole button". Then I get this knowing look, as if to say "yeah right". They get it. Then, they buy.

As photographers, we understand that other shooters are better than us. We understand that they are better because they have a better "eye". What we all, if we are honest with ourselves, try to improve, is not our equipment, but our skill, our foresight, our planning...ultimately, our "eye". The great photograph still, for the time-being, rests with the ability to capture a moment, a great moment, in just the right way. You have it, or you learn it, most likely, you earn it. As long as that is still the case, we'll all still be selling those moments and feeding our families.
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Rodrigo Pena, Photographer
Palm Desert | CA | USA | Posted: 11:48 PM on 08.10.08
->> I love the comments when some folks see my images,
"Wow, you have a fantastic camera! It must have cost you a fortune."
Sometimes, I'll take their point and shoot camera, make some adjustments and show them what their camera can do. It's amazing some of the looks I get.
"How did you do that?" is the most common response. When I explain, sometimes I hear things like,
"You really know what you're doing."
I just smile.
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Steve Puppe, Photographer
Olathe | KS | USA | Posted: 12:50 AM on 08.11.08
->> I may brush my teeth every day but that doesn't make me a dentist. If you want a professional job you hire a professional.
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Philip Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Puyallup | WA | USA | Posted: 8:22 AM on 08.11.08
->> I hate to be contrary, but isn't there a kernel of truth in this:

"It's because you have an expensive camera"
"You just shoot more than a normal person"
"You adjust the photos on computer to look good"
"You just happened to be in the right place at the right time"

My expensive camera and lens do allow me to get pictures in low light venues that an off the shelf camera could not do.

I do shoot more then a normal person, and practice does help. The more you shoot a particular sport the better you get at knowing when and where and how to shoot it.

I can tweak the .CR2 files to improve the pictures to a better quality then someone taking their .jpg file directly from the card to the printer.

And I do try to be in the right place at the right time. Of course it does take a lot of experience and practice to ensure that you are in the right place at the right time consistently, and not as a bit of serendipity.

Not that I disagree with the falsity of the proposition that all you have to do is point the camera in the right direction and press a button…
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Bradley Leeb, Photographer
Oswego | IL | USA | Posted: 9:24 AM on 08.11.08
->> There are plenty of professions that exist that have an image of ease or fun to the general public, but the people working those jobs know better. It's not something that is unique to photography. For example, my full time job right now (as it has been for the last 10 years), is as a high school band director. Yep, to everyone watching us march down the street in a parade, it just looks like the easiest, most fun job in the world! To the general public, I have such an easy, fun job. I just sit around all day waving my arms, and beautiful music magically appears from students who are so completed motivated that they ALWAYS do all the things that I ask of them....
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Mark Scheuern, Photographer
Grand Blanc | MI | USA | Posted: 9:33 AM on 08.11.08
->> A writer sitting next to me in the media center at a recent event told me he liked my shots. I thanked him. He showed me some of his pictures and told me they weren't as good as mine because his camera isn't as good (he had a consumer-type DSLR). And then he said photographers have it easy because they just upload the contents of the card when they get back and then go home whereas he has to hang around and write.

I was still there many hours after he had left.
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Gary Brittain, Photographer
Richmond | VA | USA | Posted: 12:01 PM on 08.11.08
->> Mark,

I know what you are saying. Many times, I have been there long after the "scriblers" have left.

I sometimes would like to tell a "scribler" that the next time he goes to the game that he must cover his eyes and ears and only "look and hear" for moments at a time.

He also can not receive the final stats from the game and ask him how well he could do his job.
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Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 12:11 PM on 08.11.08
->> Philip, all of those things are factors. Any single one, however is not the sole explanation to why or how a good photo is made. Together, they don't even represent all of the things that must be present to make a good photo. Nonetheless, when someone makes a comment about it, it is their assertion, with "you just" and "it's because", that the single thing that makes us different than them is whatever they settled upon, equipment, etc.

It would be like me telling my friend the cabinet builder, "you just have a good saw". He does have the best saws, and they make great, very precise cuts. That doesn't mean that if I'm using them, I can make great cabinets.
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Richard Orr, Photographer
Longmeadow | MA | USA | Posted: 2:12 PM on 08.11.08
->> I just laugh and tell them not to tell the secret.

Yeah, its wicked easy.

Just ask the five guys I saw on the sidelines at the start of last fall. And the three of them I saw at the start of Hockey season. And then there was one during lacrosse. Until it started raining.

Yeah. This job is a frickin' joke its so easy.
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Dave Doonan, Photographer
Kingston | TN | USA | Posted: 1:00 AM on 08.13.08
->> Cameras should come with an "EASY" button like the Staples commercials.
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Preston Mack, Photographer
Orlando | FL | USA | Posted: 1:28 AM on 08.13.08
->> Photography IS easy.
Getting PAID to shoot photos is not easy.
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Jack Howard, Photographer, Photo Editor
Central | NJ | USA | Posted: 11:27 AM on 08.14.08
->> This thread disappoints me for so many reasons, from the initial post, to almost every response. Hooray for us! Aren’t we great? Isn’t everyone else stupid? Yay Sportsshooter message board posters!

Wait, scratch all that. How’s this instead?

Wow, look at what a bunch of insecure, disconnected whiners these message board posters on Sportsshooter are.

Willis, you know as well as I that there’s no way a “civilian” without a photo credential could get a 400mm f/2.8 lens into the stands—probably not even the 70-200 “pro” lens. Yes, yes, yes, more light-gathering, sharper optics, faster AF are all part of the L line’s benefits, but this is just pompous posturing both here and around your kitchen table.

Yes, photography can be complicated, but really, I cannot imagine how any “pros” on this board couldn’t come up with at least 3 realistic tips for making stadium shots better. Personally, I can come up with about 10—but it’s part of my job to explain photography to people of all skill levels, so I guess that’s just part of my mindset.

But really, the chicken-little/bunker-mentality/inferiority-complex zeitgeist exhibited in the words of so many “pros” on so many message boards grows so old that I relish the advances in each round of entry-level DSLRs, meaning more average folk will be less dependent on the “pro” guys for their personal documentation.

My friend Luc is the Executive Chef at a major restaurant in Midtown—he was classically trained in France. I can offer him advice on how to make stronger shots of his two kids, and he can offer me advice how to not destroy venison, and there’s no emnity or guardedness there—just different skillsets. Me not turning a venison filet to shoe leather doesn’t make me a 3-star chef, and adding fillflash at midday doesn’t make he or his wife pros—it just means their family photo album will be a little stronger, and my houseguests will have a nicer meal.

I don’t know, Willis, maybe we’re missing something. But it seems your sister-in-law was asking you for your help BECAUSE YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH THIS. But instead of doing everything in your power to help out a member of your extended family document and celebrate a personal milestone and achievement, you instead go online and whine about how tough photography really is, while mocking your sister-in-law and wife in the process. It kind of makes me embarrassed for you and the rest of the concurring voices here. How often do members of your extended family get to appear on the field at halftime? Don’t you think they want some memory of that—even if they are just a dumbass Rebel-toting hack and the shot won’t be perfect enough by our “lofty” professional standards?

Yeah—it’ll never make the cover of SI, but it is a memory for them. For the greatest percentage of camera buyers, the purpose isn’t profit—it is personal memory-making. And believe me, twenty or thirty years from now in a family slideshow put together on a milestone birthday or anniversary—your sister-in-law and her husband won’t care if the shot is noisy, soft, a touch blurry, not following the rule of thirds, or whatever. They’ll just remember the time she was standing in the crowds proud as all get-out of the man she married out there in the middle of the field—amidst a sea of thousands of cheering spectators.


Of course, a completely different tack to the whole situation could possibly have been to leverage your photographer networking sites (like Sportsshooter, for example) to see if you might know any photographer who is attending this game as a field-level shooter who might be willing to grab a halftime shot for you—either as good karma for a fellow member of this board, or in the spirit of pure profit-driven professionalism for a limited usage license (with a 2% Sportsshooter discount, of course.)
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Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 3:39 PM on 08.14.08
->> Geez, Jack, hyperbole much?
I'm sorry if my posts were some that were disappointing to you.

Personally, I'm always one for helping people with their shots. This fall, I'll be teaching a class of mostly customers on how to improve their sports photos. As I mentioned in my first post, people who invest in relatively expensive consumer camera equipment are some of my best customers. They appreciate good photos and they have discovered on their own that it is not easy to get them. Nonetheless, these people would still like to learn to take better photos, and I see teaching them not only as a good thing to do for them, but also a good thing to do for working shooters.

One of the reasons photographers get less credit, and less pay, for their work is because the perception is that technology has made what we do so easy, that all there is to it, is to point and shoot.

That notion gets a bit tiresome, and all that I read in this thread was a bit of light-hearted venting about it. Indeed, Willis was helping his sister-in-law. That doesn't change the fact that it was a bit of rub that his wife thought there was an auto-pilot on the camera. Ultimately, I'm quite certain that Willis' intent was for people to share humorous anecdotes of similar conversations.
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August Miller, Photo Editor
Farmington | UT | USA | Posted: 10:22 PM on 08.14.08
->> A number of years ago the newspaper I worked for at the time did a feature when disposable cameras first came on the market where we asked a reporter, a photographer and a reader to take one disposable camera with 12 exposures on a trip to the zoo and then we would publish all the photos in the newspaper. The final tally was Reporter 2 photos in focus and usable. Reader 3 photos in focus and usable and 12 photos from the staff photographer. The conclusion in the article (which also included tips on how to take better photographs) by the reporter was that it wasn't the camera. but the person using it which brought about success.

My father who is now deceased was a piano tuner with perfect pitch and could tell you what note someone was singing and how many beats flat or sharp they were. He always told me he tuned every piano the same even if only the concert pianists or music teachers were the only ones who really knew if it was in precisely in tune.

He, my grandfather and my great-grandfather were all piano technicians. After each tuning they would always sign their names inside the piano along with the date they had done the work. They always told me that the family name would be attached to whatever I did and to make sure I was proud of what I had done.

There will always be those who know enough to appreciate what we do.
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Worth Canoy, Photographer
High Point | NC | USA | Posted: 12:48 PM on 08.15.08
->> The uhnappy truth is that digital photography has destroyed the photography industry.
Our commercial studio, twenty years old this year, has lost numerous clients to "shoot it ourself".
I called our oldest client the other day to say hi and "where ya been?" and was told that they built a white background wall next to the loading dock and simply shoot their furniture products before they are shipped. Was told that the do little catalog printing anymore, everything is online so their shots are fine.
Being able to shoot and immediately look at the result has made a photographer out of everybody...they can just change a little and shoot it again til they like it.
So no need to pay someone who gets it right the first time.
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Scott Evans, Photographer
Bay Village | OH | USA | Posted: 3:49 PM on 08.15.08
->> I really don't get agitated by it but once I had a comment made like this at a HS hoops game. A parent (and friend of mine) commented on how easy it must all be with new technology and all and I told him it is easy, and gave him the MkII to try himself. He said he bet his shots would look the same as mine. First question, how do you put it in auto mode? Me: there is no auto mode His next question, how come it won't focus? I mentioned the * button. He took a few shots and handed it back to me and said he'd rather leave it up to someone who knew what to do. Opinion changed in a matter of 45 seconds.

Since then, he's bought a Rebel and I've showed him how to shoot in M and a bit about angles and light. Once he had some time with a DSLR, he commented that he never really appreciated the shots I've showed him until he's been trying them himself. I just laugh and tell him it's easy.
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Thread Title: Photography is EASY!!!!!.....right?
Thread Started By: Willis Glassgow
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