When everyone with a camera phone thinks they are a professional photographer

What it REALLY means when everyone with a camera thinks they are a professional photographer…

There are many dynamics of digital photography that is making it harder to survive as a professional such as decreasing budgets, changing copyright laws, and yes, increasing competition, but when it comes to the hobby photographer trying to make a few bucks on the side, its not their camera that makes problems for the professionals, it tends to be their arrogance.

For years now I have heard photographers complain that the profession is (insert your own colorful expletive or phrase) because everyone with a camera thinks they are a professional photographer. While I counted myself among those who thought digital cameras were going to kill the profession, I have changed my opinion. Through the course of being a professional photographer, especially during the last couple of years, I have seen more and more clients frustrated by the lack of quality from those people that are seemingly destroying the business with their digital cameras. While anyone can pick up a camera, turn it on automatic and start shooting, that does not a good picture make.

In some of the least offending cases its just a matter of adding some quality of light and compositional correction for some of these ” button pushers” or “shutter monkeys”. I have seen other “professional” photographers deliver images that were out of focus, under or over exposed, and socially embarrassing for those in the image. In the case of the image above, we were asked to do a large group shot during an event. After the group was set up, this woman, whom certainly wasn’t a professional, walked in front of me and  took pictures with both her camera and phone. She then waved and thanked the group and the group of 18 people broke up, walking away in all different direction. This time may not have been intentional, but many many times it is. Unfortunately, after a situation like this, it doesn’t matter how much I yell to the group to not move, once one or two walk off, the opportunity is gone.

So who is harmed in these situations? Well, the professional is harmed if he or she can’t get the shot or misses the shot because someone walks into their frame. The client is harmed because they are paying for a service they are not getting any value for. The people in the image may or may not get copies, plus what is the damage if the non-professional uses the image for something like cyber-bullying? So while nobody was physically hurt, the inconsiderate actions of one person can certainly have a detrimental affect on others.

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The 6th annual ClubCorp Charity Classic @ the Tower Club with DJR Foundation

Derrick Roberson jr with his mother and sister at the Charity Classic

Derrick Roberson jr. – founder of the DRJ Foundation – at the Charity Classic with his mother and sisterStep and repeat at the 6th annual ClubCorp Charity Classic

Shawn Clark and Derrick Roberson Jr.

Shawn Clark and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Derrick Roberson Jr. at the 6th annual ClubCorp Charity Classic.

The 6th annual ClubCorp Charity Classic at the Tower Club was held Friday, October 12, 2012 in Ft Lauderdale, FL. This year, the Tower Club selected the Derrick Roberson jr. Foundation as their local charity. Versatile Light Studio was very pleased to donate our photography services for the event and wishes to extend our thanks to the Tower Club, the DJR Foundation, and ExpoZur Sports Management group.

Images from the event can be viewed at our photo archive, Photos. versatilelight.com

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Emerging composers showcase at Frost School of Music

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Last night, the Frost School of Music @ the University of Miami held their showcase of Emerging Composers as part of their yearly month of Festival Miami. the New Music Concert featured works by Liza Seigido, Daniel Choi, Richard Yates, Rodrigo Brussad, Jackson Alexander Parodi, Ben Morris and Spencer Robelen and Rachel Dean, and Matthew Evan Taylor.

The music was as varied as the composers and featured – at least to my ear – an unusual use of hardware, software and technique. Featured in the image above, David Mendoza performed his piece, Seance, on his violin connected to his computer. In addition to synthesizing some of the music, the computer also added background vocals to add the ambiance of an actual seance. Liza Seigido used her laptop to mix, re-mix, and synthesize her voice at different rhythms, speeds and tempos resulting in a kaleidoscope of sounds that all originated with her voice. As a final example, Rodrigo Bussad composed his “Bodisatva” to be played by using a violin bow on a xylophone and a piano by strumming and hammering on the strings instead of using the keys.

What struck me as a photographer was how much the digital revolution has affected music as well as photography. I suspect there may be many parallels to explore between the worlds of digital music and digital photography, especially concerning the attitudes of those of us who make our livings using these technologies.

Congratulations to all of the composers!

more to come…

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Middle School Volleyball Team shots

Middle School Volleyball team

Today was the start of team photos with our first teams being the  MCDS Middle School Volleyball J.V. and Varsity Teams photos. These girls are always excited to play and they did an excellent job with both teams beating the Carrolton Cyclones. Go Spartans!

Check out more of our images from today’s game (and many, many more) at our MCDS dedicated website: http://MCDS.se-imaging.com

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Nuevo Tango in Miami, Part 1 @ the Frost School of Music

JP Jofre rocks the Bandoneon while Jeff Kipperman plays the double bass during the Nuevo Tango in Miami, Part 1 performance at Gusman Hall @ the University of Miami

An inspired tango by Ross Harbaugh during the Nuevo Tango in Miami, Part 1 performance at Gusman Hall @ the University of Miami

The Nuevo Tango in Miami, Part 1 performance On October 5, 2012 was the first of two “new tango” concerts during the 2012 Festival Miami at the Frost School of Music.

“This adventurous concert features the virtuoso Argentine bandoneonist JP Jofre in a compelling nuevo tango concert that fuses the romance and rhythms of a Piazzolla-inspired tango quintet with renowned chamber music artists from Frost.” (Frost School of Music)

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Leon Fleisher at the Frost School of Music

Leon Fleisher at the Frost School of Music

Leon Fleisher during his Master Class conversation with Dr. Cooper from the Frost School of Music, October 2, 2012

For the past two years, Jenifer and I have been photographing many of the Master Class series for the Frost School of Music and I have found one remarkable thread through all of them that leads me to look forward to each of them: Musicians are among the most articulate of artists. Mr. Fleisher was no exception.

Two of my favorite quotes from the evening:

“A teacher gives you the tools to learn.”

“Without a performer music remains black dots on a piece of paper…But he is not the star…[the musician] is the vehicle to the music to get you to where you can get a view.”

On Thursday, October 4, 2012 Leon Fleisher will conduct the Frost Symphony Orchestra in Concert at the Gusman Center @ the University of Miami

More to come…

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Stand up & Speak out with NVEEE

This past Saturday night Jenifer and I provided provided photography services for the National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment’s Second Annual “Not on My Watch” Red Carpet reception.

NVEEE was recently featured on ABC’s Secret Millionaire during which they received a large donation from Marcus Lemonis. Their mission (from their website) is:

To prevent bullying, violence, and suicide among youth, families and communities through direct service, mentoring and prevention education.

During the reception, national spokeswomen Jaclyn Stapp (whose husband Scott Stapp, the lead singer for Creed, performed and is pictured above with the mic) and Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child) both spoke of their personal experiences with bullying when they were children.

If you’re interested in receiving more information, please visit NVEEE.org

Reception Invite:

More to come…

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