Tag Archives: John Shaw

Professional Photographers Don’t Shoot Flowers – Just Ask Rick

What does it mean to be a professional photographer? A ninety minute show later, and we’re still not sure. Granted, we’ ve been drinking (again/still) and it’s possible that that has affected our judgment. Still, we go into a pretty animated conversation around the variety of factors that qualifies a person as a “professional”. Oh, and Rick really, really, really hates pictures of flowers!

A quick head’s up: due to some Skype issues, the first few moments are a bit rough with some short bursts of intermittent static. Give it five minutes or so and it goes away. Did we mention we’re on Stitcher?

How a Professional Behaves…

All three of us have opinions on what separates the professional from the amateur. Tony thinks it has to do with a person’s ability to tell a story. Rick and Rob believe it has to do with behavior. And not just the public behavior in front of clients or the public, but also keeping separate records and accounts, approach to clients, and the ability to consistently get the shot under virtually any condition.

We’re still not sure what constitutes being a professional photographer but, perhaps, we can define it by what it is not. It’s not about taking a half-assed approach. It’s not being a “wedding photographer” who shoots one or two weddings for a couple of hundred bucks. It’s not calling yourself a professional because you dropped ten bucks on a domain name. But are you a professional photographer just because others label you that way?

Maybe it’s a combination of all that – regardless of being full- or part-time, being a professional is about running your business as a business, maintaining and expanding your skills and abilities, learning that it’s okay to fail as long as you pick yourself up, and being able to consistently provide your target audience with what they expect, and knowing why it’s important – and how – to capture the image properly in-camera. It’s all that… and more.

Oh yea, there’s no such thing as a “semi professional”: get over it.

Rick, Rob, and Tony all agree - a professional photographer drinks absinthe.

Rick, Rob, and Tony all agree – a professional photographer drinks absinthe. Image by HSLD, licensed under Creative Commons.

Today’s Artists

Our photographer today is a personal favorite of Rob’s, John Shaw. Specifically, we look at his gallery from Ireland.  It’s a tough task to photograph a subject that has preconceived ideas for so many people. None of the guys have been to Ireland but we each have images in our mind’s eye about a land with a rich history in spirituality, mysticism, music, and ancient magic. As a photographer, it is a challenge to shoot something that so many people already have an opinion about but John is successful.

The artist today is Darwyne Cooke, author of graphic novels. We look specifically at his novel, The Hunter. (Click here to see a preview of the novel). As you leaf through the pages, look at the ability to convey emotion and story through light and shadow.

You Get the Last Word on Being a Professional

What do you guys think? Are we right? Are we wrong? Should we try the topic again when we’re sober (yeah, good luck with that). And is wedding photography like sex?

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