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are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 12:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Okay here's a question that I have been wanting to ask for a while now.
Are photographers really being photographers? Now let me explain. I have read a couple of post where it has been asked how "many shots are being taken and how many are keepers?" or how long sessions are? etc.
THese are my questions:

1) are photographers actually directing a shoot?, or do they have a model and just say action and tell the model to move like a model.(I actually heard a photographer say that to a model and he started snapping away, the model stared at him and said what do you want me to do.)

2) do you have an idea of what you want before the shoot begins.

3) are you taking time to find out what the client wants?

4) are you shooting that much in hopes that you will find a shot that catches you eye? or are you shooting that much in order to get the shot just right?

there was a photographer that I apprenticed under, once asked me after seeing my portfolio "are you good or just lucky?" I said what do you mean?
He said that if I was actually good I could reshoot any image in my portfolio and get the same result upon request. I just stared at him.
I now strive to be good.


It seems to me, that i have read many photographers on here shoot anywhere from 500 to 1000 shots per shoot. and since the digital age, it is not as expensive to shoot that many. all this time and effort for a few pics that they call keepers. I know that on a professional set, photographers will shoot a ton of pics but in reality, almost all the shots would be keepers for most photographers. They are usually editing out the ones that do not meet the needs of the shoot(ie, no space for text or product not shown properly etc.) not because the are not good images.

Sorry about the editorial but just curious.

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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 12:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you ask an excellent question. I think it depends upon why you are shooting so many images. If you are getting different shades of the same shot and looking for the best. I think you are a photographer. I typically shoot around 900 images in a 4 hour shoot with approximately 5 to 7 outfits. Sometimes it is the matter of a half second that makes a good shot.



Taylor
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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 01:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, I don't do this for a living, so I don't have any real "clients" (yet!!), so I'll skip #3, but this is my experience:

[ QUOTE ]
1) are photographers actually directing a shoot?, or do they have a model and just say action and tell the model to move like a model.(I actually heard a photographer say that to a model and he started snapping away, the model stared at him and said what do you want me to do.)

[/ QUOTE ]

I've been guilty of just snapping away without giving the model direction. Mainly because I didn't know what to say. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] Getting better there, though.

[ QUOTE ]
2) do you have an idea of what you want before the shoot begins.


[/ QUOTE ]

Usually yes, sometimes no. This relates to the first question -- the more I have a clear idea of what I want, the easier it is for me to direct the model.

[ QUOTE ]
4) are you shooting that much in hopes that you will find a shot that catches you eye? or are you shooting that much in order to get the shot just right?


[/ QUOTE ]

I don't shoot anywhere near 500-1000 shots per shoot. The most I usually end up shooting is around 300 (seven or eight rolls of 35mm film). (Well, okay, I guess that's kinda close to 500. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]) However, I can't guarantee that if I had more film with me at a shoot (which I usually don't [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]) that I wouldn't shoot more, especially if there were some reason I couldn't duplicate the shoot easily (location, cost, etc.).

Anyways, just my take on things...

Sam
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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 01:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Since I am new at glamour/people photograph, I like to work with an experienced mode who knows how to pose.

I certainly have an idea of what I'm looking for and try to communicate that to her at the start.

I have no clients anymore, I shoot for myself.

I don't consider 10 to 15 shots in one outfit to be an excessive number, I get a lot of different expressions and poses from which to choose the ones I like and the ones the model is happy with.

I spend a fair amount of time in post production, because I enjoy that aspect of photography, much more than I enjoyed spending time in the darkroom.

When I shot for a newspaper, you generally had time for only one or two shots before the situation changed, and time was of utmost importance.

I like to think of myself as a photographer, but I suppose since I no longer work for pay , that some would disagree.
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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 01:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There are so many factors that determine how many times my shutter clicks on any given assignment. I say 'shutter clicks' for a reason. Not every single shot is meant to be a keeper. I use digital like polaroid to judge my lighting setup. I also use a few clicks for each look to set white balance and fine tune exposure. Right there about 5 images per look are not even meant to be keepers.

The biggest factor is what am I shooting for. On average, I'll get about one keeper for every three shots. If I'm shooting portraits, catalog, etc, then one or two shots per look is all that's needed in the end. If I'm shooting content, then 70 images per look is required for delivery. If I'm shooting a wedding and the bride has hired me for my primo package, which comes with 150 proofs and I actually deliver, then I'll shoot about 500 shots that day.

I think what you're seeing is when a 'photographer' claims he/she shot 500-1000 images in one shoot is someone who doesn't do it for a living. Time is so important that if I shot that much, I would have to triple my rates or go out of business. I'm not saying that those photographers that shoot 1000 images in a day are any less of a photographer than I am. What I am saying is that they are clearly in it for different reasons than I am or they have different resources than I do. I read a Playboy photographer interview once where he said that on a typical shoot he'll shoot ~700 images. When he's done though those images go on to a different deptartment. And Playboy's pockets are deep. Mine aren't quite there yet.

I will however tell someone who I think is clearly 'spraying & praying' that they are really hurting themselves. You don't normally hop in your car and drive hoping that you will go somewhere worth staying for any length of time, do you? Why should you shoot like that?

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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I wouldnt disagree. I think, at least in my opinion a photojournalist is a perfect example of a photographer. (I believe rolando did it as well!) in that field a photographer has to be able to see an image coming before it actually happens. For me a photographer has to be able to see the image thru the view finder. before he ever shoots it. I will use this example and I dont hunt. A hunter sees his target lines it up and then shoots. NOt many I hope go at it with a automatic weapon, shoot a thousand rounds in hopes to knock it down. The thrill is knowing you got the shot before ever going to editing or darkroom.
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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 01:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Actually your the reason I wrote this post. Everytime I see a photo of yours. I see a point. a good example is the image that posted with your reply. I dont think she just happend to be eating the cherry and playing with it in that way and out of the 500 you shot of her, you said "WoW!" and if i'm wrong dont tell me I'd like to keep believing you set it up. YOu have some awesome work, that I admire.
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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 01:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Being pretty well in the shallow end of the pool I think I will throw in with the amatuer opinion.

There is something a photo teacher taught me ages ago that improved my shooting by miles. Film is cheap.

When I start a shoot that is anything more than just excercise I have a plan. I have usually talked to whoever is modeling for my and let them know what I am trying to get out of the shoot. Once the model is in fron of the camera I give direction, but try no to micro manage what they do unless I see something specific I want to try or fix. So in answer to both parts of question 4, yes.

I don't just randomly click away in hopes that a good picture will walk in front of my camera, but I also do not spend all of my time prepping for that perfect shot. When I started I was sooo afraid to pull the trigger. I would prep, micro manage the model, tweak all the settings and generally get less usable shots. I have lost too many pictures trying to set things up just as planned and missing the good shots in front of me. It took me a long time to learn to pull the trigger freely, and now I would rather have 35 wasted shots a roll than miss the one shot I wanted by half a second. Sometimes it is refining the shot I want, sometimes I see something I did not think of before the shoot. Sometimes it is just a whim. It is, in my opinion, always better to waste a shot than to miss a shot.

Also, when you have more shots to choose from, you can raise your standards for what is a keeper. Likely what many photographers on this board would throw out I would happily call a job well done. Also much of what I would throw out would be considered great work by others. Shooting a lot of film just gives you more choices, not nessisarily better ones.

Can I reproduce any shot from my portfolio on demand? Well I am working on that, going to school, practicing but even when I get the science down I expect it will take me a roll of film to do it just because I can.

That is my take anyway.



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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 01:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This is one of those subjects that cycles through over and over, the last iteration was only a month or so ago and got a lot of attention... beats the Nikon vs. Canon debate any day I suppose.

I think there are a lot of people who shoot models strictly for fun and development of their hobby, which is serious amateur photography. You can't fault them for shooting 1000 shots in a few hours because it's the shooting and the post work that they enjoy. I'll confess that when I shoot my girlfreind (who is my only glamour subject), we usually have only a notion of what we want to create. We may shoot 400 images in a long session, I keep most of them but only show a few.

I am a commercial shooter though and when I shoot products, I know exactly what I'm after. The digital camera allows me to test and tweak extensively without peeling polaroids. Friday night I shot 74 images of a single ring including tests; it took 2-1/2 hours. Of those images, 12 will go to the customer for selection and he will choose one. A year ago I shot a belt buckle for the same customer on 4x5; I shot 4 polaroids and three sheets of EPP; it took 3 hours. We printed one.

So I guess what I'm saying is, it depends on your motivation. If you're shooting for pleasure, the number of images isn't really relevant as long as you enjoy what you're doing. If you shoot for a customer, you have to know what they want. The number of shots and time you expend is a matter of efficiency... and probably a good indicator of your knowledge and experience.

As for directing, it's a skill of its own. You have to be sensitive to people and know when and how to tell them what to do to get the results you have in mind. Very few people can do that in the first few tries... you have to learn what NOT to do as well as what you should do.

And about lucky or good, that's a great observation. I'll admit that I can't necessarily reproduce every shot I take but most of them I can... I guess I'm just good and lucky. Take that a little bit further though. Can you reproduce every shot you create in your mind? To me, that's mastery. I can't at this point... but that's what I strive for.



Chip

Ps. The single light stuff you posted is really cool, the background separation is remarkable considering it's lit with the same source as the subject. I gotta try that soon.
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Re: are photographers being photographers?
Old 01-22-2006, 01:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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okay so now there are 2 questions I will ask myself when I go to work in the morning. thanks for the compliment.
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