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This is an open ended comment to which i guess there will be many different replies , i will add my own opinion and ask that others give theirs .
I have been a member of EPZ for many years and enjoyed great interaction with people from all over the world and learnt an awful lot from peoples photos and epz's excellent training videos , even won a competition ! It has been an invaluable learning tool for me and i now run my own successful photography business.
I do however fear for newcomers to EPZ as recently and specifically this last 2-3 months it seems to have become overrun with what i can only call ' arrogant and self opinionated pro togs ' some of whom have been members also for many years , what is so wrong with asking questions that people must jump from a great height all the time ?
Generally the comments are along the lines of ' if you dont know why are you doing this job etc ' when sometimes the questions are completely valid , i dont pretend to know everything and i feel these days that i wouldnt like to ask on epz any more for fear of having to get into a debate with a self proclaimed expert on what i should or should not be doing ! a few years back there was no such problem . . now youre more likely to get a reply from a long time member saying something like ' google it ' , well if everyone did that then what point would there be in forums ?
So lets all try and remember that everyone can and should learn and that there is no such thing as a daft question , just sometimes they need to be put in the right categories ?
thoughts .... ?
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I remember another long term member on here commenting to me once, when I suggested I was hoping to get some good feedback on EPZ, that there are many members on here who claim to be fully working professionals, but seem to have a lot of available time to spend on EPZ
An interesting point stephen , but i suppose much the same as me a lot of us spend so much time editing on our pcs with our emails , facebook etc all running for the clients and business needs that you get drawn into epz quite often , and thats not a bad thing, but like you say there are also people who seem to spend all day commenting and then when you look at their folios theres nothing in them to justify their positions ?
Far as I can tell this happens to most of the larger older forum groups at some point in time - though I would say EPZ is far from that bad in comparison to some I know of. Infact most times on EPZ most conversations go well.
Weddings are a bit of an exception, but it seems everywhere as soon as you mention that you "do weddings" you are expected to be the next god of photography otherwise you will be thrown out to the dogs
Quote: when you look at their folios theres nothing in them to justify their positions ?
I'm not sure anyone needs a portfolio full of excellence to answer a question and I certainly don't feel the need to justify an answer when I give one.
Some of the daftest questions could well be answered by those of us who are just starting out and aren't yet very experienced simply because they've recently had to overcome that same daft question themselves!
It's a bit like people who look through the critique gallery and post a comment saying "I' don't feel qualified to say anything about this image".
Everyone is qualified to post their opinion. You don't need to be an expert. Surely that's all part of the learning curve?
They might be like me, my EPZ account is used for experimenting and learning, rather than showing off my best possible images. Ever since I learnt the voting system didn't work and the critique wasn't providing the level of feedback I wanted, I tend to put things in there to see just what kind of reaction they get.
Something like a sticky/FAQ section for the forums might help new users and preserve the sanity of those who seen the same question asked and answered ad infinitum over the years.
I hear what youre saying jester and stephen and agree in general but i have noticed one or two very outspoken individuals recently who need to think more about how hard it actually is to run a photography business of any sort during a recession and from a position of being an amateur tog with a well paid job who can afford to buy any kit they fancy , they then presume to be able to advise people who spend all their time 24-7 actually working with photos clients and within the industry . . .and yes everyone is entitled to their opinion but surely some experience of what youre having an opinion on would be useful and something concrete in a portfolio would be a step in the right direction ?
I don't know what's been said regarding giving advice on how to run a photography business as that's certainly not something I'd follow, since I don't know anything about it but to answer questions in a more general way, which is what I was really referring to, I don't think it's necessary to be an authority or to have a pile of images to prove your point.
For example, I think I'm reasonably competent in the use of Photoshop and could probably explain to someone how to get an effect or a result that they're looking for but there won't necessarily be an image in my Pf. in which I've used that technique.
I think you have a point Andrew - and your post reminds me of Petes request for experienced memebers to try and give something back. I don't know if its the natural progression of forums, but the development of cliques is something that has been notable for a few years now. I can't help but wonder if the development of the 'groups' feature won't worsen the problem, but that would be a shame...
I saw a few of the posts being mentioned. I can sort of see both sides and I think you need to stop and look at things from the other side of the fence and you may have some sympathy. I think the posts did get out of hand though and the reaction was over strong.
It strikes me that photography is going through changes. Digital has brought in a lot of weekend warriors is one phrase I have heard. People who turn up for low fees, are not paying tax etc and work the rest of the week at something else so do wedding for beer money for example. The quality of this work can vary and for many there is the feeling that a person wanting to be working as a wedding tog they ought to be competent photographers, paying tax with decent kit and backup, as the cowboys drag everyone down. I have heard members of the building trade express similar comments as they often all get tarred as con-men because of the bad ones. Also it lowers the pricing/market for many. I have seen a few go out of business locally.
That may start to explain why some of them react badly to I have an entry dSLR and a 18 - 200 zoom and shoot weddings. Do I need a flash or equivalent messages. If you were at the correct level you would know and if not then you would be going on courses/working as an assistant to learn.
Not an excuse more a request for people to stop and think.
This has always been an issue on EPZ and the reason some pros no longer post here.
OK, I'll bite on this dangling carrot....
I'm writing this at 10.40pm. I left the house at 11am to drive 60 miles to a venue and have just shot at a wedding for 8.5 hours with a 50-minute break during that time. I've filled nearly 20Gb of memory and am now transferring it to my backup drives - and as it does that, I've logged into Epz and read this. So, that's my Epz "profile" - I come in and out of it during work, uploads etc. So the first idea that there are loads of "pros" sitting around doing nothing but moaning on Epz is not something I would say is correct. And remember this - many working photographers now spend inordinate amounts of time at computers these days, so light relief like this is a welcome break.
Next - portfolios on Epz. I've not uploaded anything on here in ages, and what's on here bears no relation to what I do these days. I'm sure there are many like me that see no point in uploading images for someone else to comment "nice shot". My Epz portfolio will not get me work these days, so there is no point in me changing it - easy as that.
In the last 5 years, everyone with a Dslr now seems to want to gravitate to "do weddings". It has become a right of passage, a badge of honour and a good excuse to buy some kit. Epz has become a place where you can go, get all the answers, buy the right stuff and be a "pro" - all by asking the right questions or doing a search on the forums. In essence, it has become the "easiest" way to make money with a Dslr and it has become a bandwagon that everyone seems to have jumped on. A good camera and lens (that you may or may not be able to use), a good website, some business cards and you're away. Easy.
Think about this - when was the last time you saw a thread that said "I want to be a Fashion/Sports/Fine Art/Nude/Architectural/Medical/Press or Nature Photographer". Very rarely, if ever. But why?? - the answer is simple - these areas aren't seen as areas where someone can make a fast buck. They require real skill, real investment, real knowledge, real understanding and take years to master. But weddings - hey they're a breeze...
The ability to run a photography BUSINESS has never been more difficult. The world has totally devalued photography and the final image. Various markets have been swallowed up by the major players and the new guy on the block has no chance of getting a start in markets like press, portraiture, motorsports or schools. These are now almost a closed shop.
The wedding market has become saturated by the "guy with the camera" - skilled at nothing, but having the right gear and a few good prints to convince an unsuspecting couple that, at the right price, he is their man. We did a major show until last year - the first year there were 4 photographers present - and all within 10% of one another in price. Last year there were 18 at the same show - and 5 were under £500 for a full days coverage and the dreaded "dvd". The rest of us were around the £1000-1500 mark. We couldn't (wouldn't) compete on price and it cost us £1500 for the privelige of being there all weekend. This is what the "guy with camera" has done to the wedding market - he has devalued it to such an extent that even major bridal magazines are publicising the idea that Brides should "go to a college student or amateur if you can't afford a pro". Everyone and anyone has now become an expert and it has become a truly woeful place to be.
Hopefully by now you'll understand the somewhat lack-lutre attitude of people like me who reads the threads "what lens for a wedding?", "what settings for a wedding?" or even worse " is my D90 good enough for a wedding?". That we (and I include myself here because I know I've done it...) resort sometimes to petty sarcasm or downright insolence is as a result of the disgust that we feel. As I've said before on here, weddings are only 10% photographic skills. So if you're worried about that 10%, what the hell chance have you got with the other 90%!!!!
I've recently taken over a new shop and studio. It'll hopefully bolster my income and raise my profile locally and raise me to a level way above "GWC". But it may not. It may cost me thousands and I may end up deciding that it's a step too far - if that is the case then it'll be truly time to give it all up. GWC will have won, and photography will have lost forever.
If you have asked questions and I've been less than helpful in my answers then I truly apologise. But hopefully after reading this, you'll understand why I did it...
PS - My main income is from doing this, though I do have other sources. I've kept my options open and my expertise relevant to todays markets - but at 47, I work an 80-hour week keeping us afloat and I'm beginning to feel my age... this IS NOT an easy way to make money!
PPS - I'm going away for 3 days tomorrow, so if you want to flame me, wait till Thursday...
Quote: This has always been an issue on EPZ and the reason some pros no longer post here.
Well glad its not just me thinking this way , from now on i am going to make a concerted effort to comment on photos and try and help people where i can and i am longer going to take the bait with pointless timewasting sarcasm and swipes at people trying to get into photography , for after all there is a percentage of so called weekend warriors who are actually very good and should be encouraged , embrace the competition and learn from it is the name of the game .. not be afraid and shout at them ..
Brilliant post, and I think you have summed it up perfectly saying that most photography is closed shop, I have spent 10 years trying to break into motorsport, but have finally resigned myself to the fact that it isn't going to happen. The whole industry is more or less tied up now by big companies and I have decided to do photography for fun, not money.
Whereas someone can get a camera and try and charge what they like for weddings, who are the clients? Joe Public, do they know any better? Do they? Contrary to popular belief not every bride spends 18 months before the wedding attending every wedding fair, some are happy to pic up there local paper, a flyer or the yellow pages to find there wedding tog. Some don't realise what quality to expect and are happy with the £200 wedding results, indeed for some this maybe all they can afford.
I must say though, and I've said it before, I find EPZ far more tolerant / welcoming with newbies now than it was 4 years ago. Although I would love to see the newbies thread that WelshKiwi ran for so long being started up again.
to be fair I have not seen a post where someone has said they are interested in getting into professional photography getting a bad reply. It is the ones where someone says they are already working professionally as a photographer that pick the grief. As for people getting started, weekend warriors by the definition I have seen are not paying taxes on the income etc etc. I do not think it is the start ups that get the grief it is the ones that cut the corners and do it an an un-economic rate.
Not a professional photographer and on the fence on this topic as I can see both sides of the argument just trying to clarify. I know someone who started doing weddings for £100 and is now complaining that all she gets is people asking her to do it at that rate, but she set the starting price. And for every person trying to move to an economic rate there is another bunch following behind prepared to do it for a discount rate. It is simple economics, sorry. Music suffers from a similar story. There was a time a lot of people could make money from it, but those days are gone. A lot of people will be involved not making a lot.
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