Location Portrait Photography Surrey | Downsizing It seems that more and more professional photographers have wised up to the fact that there really is no need to carry heavy equipment whilst they go about their work. I do talk about this quite often, and I think it’s an important point. I know a great many […]

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Why I Use Micro Four Thirds Cameras Just a few posts below this I talked in some detail about the reasons why more professional photographers are turning towards mirrorless camera systems, and specifically why I use micro four thirds cameras. It is true to say that the gap between today’s high-end mirrorless offerings and a […]

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BIPP Awards 2013 | Fine Art Portrait Photography West Sussex I have always maintained that entering the better-known industry competitions and submitting a body of work for qualification and accreditation is one of the very best ways to improve. The process will force you to scrutinise every aspect of the image making process, in the […]

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Micro Four Thirds vs Full Frame The Micro Four Thirds vs Full Frame argument is becoming a real cliche and is being discussed (and argued) to death on photography forums throughout the world. Elsewhere here on the blog I’ve stated my opinions about the usefulness of the latest generation of mirrorless camera systems, and as a […]

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I think there has been a sea change in the world of Internet communication (perhaps even social communication) in the last couple of years. I can look back at the photography forums which I have been active in for perhaps five years or more, and when I look at the same forum now it can […]

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  • james - October 16, 2013 - 9:56 am

    Yep, I know exactly what you’re saying. After uni I got a job working at my dad’s factory, I earned the same as everyone else and I did the same tasks. Actually I ended up working a lot harder than the others just to prove that I wasn’t getting special treatment. I didn’t have any friends there apart from the ones who thought I could do them favours. Yes, there’s too much backstabbing over here and the photography industry is the worst in my view. Like you said, the forums got really bad to the point where I don’t post on many forums anymore. Maybe I shouldn’t say this but I saw the way you were torn to shreds within a very well known UK photography forum – absolutely no reason for the attack other than malicious intent because you’re at a much higher place that the other people there. It’s your experience which made you so helpful to the others over the years, something they like to forget when the mob mentality gets going. I was disgusted by the way some of them spoke to you, but if it’s any consolation they made themselves look like complete tw*ts.

    In the normal world you can keep quiet about your achievements but when your business hinges around the Internet you can’t hide anything (not that you should have to hide good things). I know of a couple other photographers whove done well for themselves and have been slated by the others. The “others” are the wannabes with poor skills, cheap customers and a small place in the world. You have to just ignore it but I completely agree that it is time to make yourself less accessible. That’s a real shame because despite your level you’ve always helped anyone who has asked, but I agree you can’t do that forever because it’s too open to abuse.

    I always like reading your articles and I’ll continue to read them.

    regards, James

  • Michelle - October 16, 2013 - 10:51 am

    A difficult decision for you to make but one that I can well understand xx

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 16, 2013 - 11:07 am

    Michelle and James, thank you both for your replies. Yes, a decision I didn’t want to have to make, but unfortunately an increasingly common one. I think anyone who does a few equipment reviews will suffer from exactly the same thing, and awards will often make you a prime target as well. I’ve always welcomed discussion and an exchange of opinions but when the back-biting becomes a significant force (as it does all too often these days) then it’s time to rein back. I have this mental picture of people sitting at computer screens at midnight consumed with anger because somebody, somewhere, have a different opinion or a different way of doing things. xx

  • Jools - October 16, 2013 - 1:45 pm

    The world isn’t polite anymore it’s gone the opposite way. The Internet lets people behave any way they want. That forum has become a real cesspit, I looked back through a few of your recent contributions and it looked to me like you were attacked just for being there, in most cases you weren’t saying anything different to anyone else and your opinion was factual and well-qualified unlike most of the others. Having seen the insults which were thrown at you in the last thread you took part in I’ve also decided not to go back there. Interesting the so-called moderators didn’t step in the way they sometimes do – that kind of adds to the view that full-time pros (or anyone who’s made a proper name for themselves) aren’t welcome there – I’ve seen a lot of good pros leave that place because of the attacks. I think the fact your female makes it worse and I would guess that’s why there are hardly any women who take part in photography forums. You’ve always gone out of your way to give information and help people which unfortunately these days can be an open invitation for abuse.

    Sometimes the more you do for people the more haters you get. This is happening to world-class photographers like David Hobby, Jasmine Star, Eric Kim … and probably dozens more.

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 16, 2013 - 1:57 pm

    Thank you Jools. I hope you don’t mind but I removed the name of the forum from your comment, I don’t want to appear too critical of the forum simply because I don’t like going there, and it’s certainly popular amongst the hobbyist community. But I agree with what you say, it’s not tolerant of anyone who they perceive to be openly successful – a classic example of what I raised in this blog post. I’ve seen discussions over there were new photographers are seeking advice on pricing and when an established photographer contributes a good appraisal of what they should be charging the mob then descends and accuses them of elitism or having an ego, simply because they charge more than an unskilled beginner. There is particular hostility when it comes to qualifications – there is also abject ignorance amongst the majority of members as to what the qualification and accreditation process entails. In fact if you have achieved anything of any merit then I would advise you to avoid that particular discussion board, no matter how coherent your responses you’re very likely to receive a string of insults. I did send a message to one of the moderators asking if there was a way of deleting my account but I never received a reply. I think there can come a point in your career when it’s a very good idea to remove yourself from the public fray because you won’t be considered part of the group.

  • John Barnes - October 16, 2013 - 9:05 pm

    Lindsay, I can totally understand why you have decided to take this position. Let these t*ssers who are rude, arrogant and who obviously just get a personal kick at ganging together as glorified lynch mobs if others do not share their views……just go rot ! I’ve seen forums getting worse and like you I’ve stepped back from a few of them, and I’m sorry (but not surprised) to hear that the same behaviour is spilling over to blog commentators. As I see it, your blog or website is like your home, you’ve paid for it, you maintain it, and anyone who visits it is your guest. When I’m a guest in someone’s house I’ll readily give my opinion, but I’ll do it politely and respectfully. It will be them that are now missing out on your wise words based around years of knowledge which have been hard earned at your own time and cost. I will continue to look back at all your posts on all matters photographic with great admiration and respect. You have shared such a wealth and breadth of knowledge with us which I and others have always appreciated, such as Jools, James and Michele who have posted back above. Thank You as ever and all the very best, John.

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 16, 2013 - 10:53 pm

    Thank you John. The blog posts aren’t going to stop so hopefully I can continue to add articles and features as I’ve always done, and as normal I can be reached by telephone or e-mail – there are at least two people commenting here who I speak to regularly, which is nice. It’s just the comments section I’m closing down, it’s become more time-consuming to moderate the comments and remove the abusive ones. The other night I had one agitated commentator who sent me four increasingly unpleasant comments in back-to-back succession – I still haven’t figured out what it is that was bothering him, maybe he just didn’t like pictures of Petworth?! Or possibly he has a grudge against Olympus, who knows.

  • Mark Feldman - October 17, 2013 - 7:00 pm

    Linday – you are of course absolutely right about your 4/3 vs ff issues
    Have a look at this
    http://img.photographyblog.com/reviews/sony_a7r/photos/sony_a7r_26.jpg
    A sample from the new FF sony , only one eye and a small part of the dress in in focus – this seems to illustrate your point exactly

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 17, 2013 - 7:14 pm

    Hi Mark, yes, on a client shoot you do have to be careful getting enough of the subject in critical focus. On an individual portrait this isn’t always a problem but it can be a real issue if there is more than one subject in the frame, or an interesting environment which would benefit from a reasonable amount of depth of field to record the important details. This is where I see considerable misuse of ultrawide apertures on full frame sensors. This new camera from Sony will be of interest to a lot of people who believe that IQ is the driving force when in fact for professional photographers and more advanced amateurs overall performance is what counts (these days IQ is more than good enough on the majority of current systems). The other problem with cameras like the new Sony is the fact that the lenses are of course huge and I think currently there are only a couple of lenses designed specifically for it. The overall package will be quite large and heavy for that reason, which to me negates the idea of having a small camera!

  • Harvey - October 18, 2013 - 12:03 am

    Hi Lindsay.Sorry you have had to endure harassment from the knuckleheads that are “out there”(in many ways).Your blog is a classy place to visit and your images stunning.The”hate stems from envy” maxim might be at work here.The website you didn’t mention(pick 3 letters-DPRLX)is a mixed bag to say the least.I posted a question a while back about looking for a lightish stable tripod and got a civilized detailed reply from a poster who took the time and effort to be helpful.So they’re out there as well.Don’t despair,the knuckleheads are just louder and love to tell what they think they know.THEY PUBLISHED MY COMMENT!!

    When I first found your blog,I was mostly looking at the photographs,but like we post adolescent males used to say about Playboy Magazine,I get it for the articles.I enjoy reading them both for the style and content.Thanks,Harvey

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 18, 2013 - 9:40 am

    Hi Harvey, vitriol is unbelievably common in the photography world, probably more so than in any other profession. I think it’s because it’s so competitive and there are hundreds of wannabes joining the market place each year many of whom are resistant to the concept of skill building and hard work, which is unfortunately what the more experienced professionals will recommend. The abuse I’ve received has normally been as a result of recommending a personal development programme, and I think any photographer who lists their awards and credentials on their blog is very likely to receive snarky messages accusing them of elitism, insecurity, or arrogance. In the UK it’s verging on illegal to own up to an achievement. As you say, that is the classic mark of a jealous personality. It needs to be ignored, but when this kind of thing starts to add significantly to the comment moderation process it’s simply easier to just stop allowing comments. Of course the same thing can happen via e-mail, and it does, but the main consideration is to keep my blog clean. Actually, I’m not having any issues with DPR (although the year before last I was mercilessly attacked following a positive review I made of a Fujifilm camera – I received a huge quantity of hate mail and several attacks on my website, which was rendered non-operational at one point). The forum I was referring to is actually a British one, which has become worse than DPR in some ways, but generally only if you’re a professional contributor – real-world advice and valid opinions aren’t necessarily welcome there.

    Harvey, I’m so pleased the articles are useful for you, that does make the time I invest in the blog all the more worthwhile.

  • Timur Born - October 19, 2013 - 1:38 pm

    Hi Lindsay, after seeing your X10 blog + forum debacle first hand and knowing how vocal both the “bigger is better” and “smaller is better” crowds can be I completely agree with your choice to not allow comments on certain articles.

    BTW, even MFT is mostly too big for my lazy bones to carry everywhere, especially while playing with the kids. So a tiny LF1 became my “fits in *every* pocket” companion alongside MFT. ;)

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 19, 2013 - 6:35 pm

    Hi Timur, lovely to hear from you, I do hope you’re well. Yes, forum arguments can become vocal and can spill into the wider world unfortunately. I like your way of thinking – I think I might just invest in a ‘tiny’ picket-sized camera myself. It would be nice to take something with me when I go jogging so I’ll have to look up the LF1!

  • David Mantripp - October 20, 2013 - 10:44 am

    Hi Lindsay,

    I rarely need to deal with abusive commernts on my site, probably because nobody much cares about my opinions, but certainly I’ve encountered situations where people respond to a constructive comment I make with deliberate, destructive confrontation. My approach these days is to pretty much ignore anybody who does not post their real name, and link back to some form of website. Actually it can be quite informative to trace back some of the anonymous posters through links they inadvertently give. One prolific vitriol-spouter on a well known 4/3 gear forum can be found, meek as a newborn lamb, on Flickr, showing that he really should devote more time to improving his photography!

    A half-way house might be to allow only registered visitors to comment, and to moderate registrations. Of course that isn’t foolproof either, but it can discourage the casual morons.

    Either way I’ll certainly still be following your blog. The combination of great photography and eloquent writing is quite uncommon.

    Regards
    David

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 20, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    What you say is unfortunately true David, there is quite a lot of vitriol out there. It is also true that abusive commentators usually have nothing of merit to show. There is a lot of insecurity in the photography world and the advent of the Internet has certainly boosted the prevalence of attention seekers. There’s a lot of great stuff on the web, and if any given individual doesn’t like how I do things then the best course of action is for them to find alternative information sources which align better with their own point of view. Lately comment moderation has been taking up too much of my time. By the way, I enjoyed looking at your Blog, beautiful photographs and very interesting posts.

  • Ron Joiner - October 22, 2013 - 3:35 pm

    I have bookmarked your blog and will become a regular visitor. I read your most recent blog (re. the OMD) and agree with what you say but I have also found your comments regarding portrait photography very interesting as I continually try to improve my craft.

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 22, 2013 - 4:30 pm

    Thank you for the kind comment Ron, I’m very pleased that the articles have been useful to you, I think portrait photography is one of the most interesting genres, and certainly one where we will never stop learning.

  • Richard Hinton - October 27, 2013 - 8:27 pm

    Quite beyond my comprehension that anyone could or would anyway want to be anything but complementary about your consistently beautiful pictures.
    It must be this peculiar means of communication that brings out the worst in people.
    There are still plenty of decent people out there, especially when common interest is involved.
    Sad to hear this.

  • Lindsay Dobson - October 28, 2013 - 11:17 am

    Hi Richard, there are all sorts of reasons for hostility, and there is a massive amateur population out there who will hide behind their computer monitors and take a shot at anybody who appears to have achieved something – a lot of the aggression is often over equipment choices, which sounds incredible, because what might be right for one person can be totally inappropriate for another. Some of it is hard to believe.

  • Bob Fairbairn - November 6, 2013 - 4:51 am

    Lindsay,

    I have been reading your blog off and on for quite a while. I am just catching up with your work after a few months of not watching, my BAD!.

    I have a couple of web sites and small businesses. I do not allow comments on any of them. Between keeping the junk out and some of the crazy comments I had received I shut it down about two years ago. Popular Science Magazine just did the same thing; truth and science being slammed to the ground.

    I agree it would be great to interact with our community, clients, and more using our blogs but it has become almost impossible with the state of the Internet and more.

    Please keep writing and sharing your thoughts and your images. I am an older photographer just going pro and I use EM-5’s as my only cameras right now. I am watching the EM-1 with GREAT INTEREST.

    Thank you again.

    RJF

  • John McInnes - November 6, 2013 - 8:01 am

    I very much like the picture (on the 14-140 page) of the cows attending to the grass, whilst the glowing autumn tree puts on a virtuoso performance and gets insufficient appreciation from its audience.
    On another subject, intemperate commentators baffle me. At worst your blog – and it is YOUR blog – may state a view with which I disagree. At best, it’s giving away good ideas free of charge, for which I’m grateful. Do any of the trolls host a blog, or put their work out there for appraisal? For some of them, praising a particular piece of gear of other than their chosen brand provokes the same reaction as insulting their mothers. Anyway, why aren’t they out taking photos?

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 6, 2013 - 10:42 am

    Hi Bob, great to hear from you and thank you so much for sharing your opinion on this. What you have said perfectly echoes my own experiences and those of an increasing number of photographers. Managing interaction is becoming harder and in many ways the Internet has become an easy vehicle for anyone with an axe to grind. I’m sorry you were subject to the same kind of thing, but as you say it is commonplace nowadays.

    Many of the successful photographers I know turned professional much later in life – there are many advantages to this, wisdom of course being one of them, and the ability to draw on a great deal of business experience and people management know-how.

    If you enjoy the EM5 then I think it’s safe to say you would like the EM1 even more, the ergonomics are unbelievably good, it fits so well in the hand that you hardly even feel it – and there are a host of other small refinements which add up to quite an amazing user experience.

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 6, 2013 - 10:49 am

    Hi John, thank you very much for your kind comments. If I am out and about with a camera, and if I spot an animal or two, they will almost certainly be photographed. Those cows were very pretty indeed, a prize-winning herd of Sussex Reds, and the light was quite nice at that time of the afternoon.

    Indeed, I am not the only photographer who has decided to shut down their comment facility. In the past I’ve had hate mail, attacks on my website, slander, you name it. It’s quite bizarre in many ways but there is clearly a great depth of resentment out there, though I am never quite sure why. We are all free to make our own decisions irrespective of what anyone else might choose, and I’m always at pains to make it clear that my decisions are purely based on what works for me, which may not be suitable for the next person. Sometimes my comments are completely misinterpreted or even rewritten, and some respondents appear not to have read the article or even used the equipment under discussion. And yes, the point is that we take pictures and enjoy it – an often overlooked concept.

  • John Perriment - November 6, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    Hi Lindsay, just read your Full Frame v Micro Four Thirds blog entries, thanks for presenting a very balanced view. I’m sorry to hear about the attitudes you have encountered in That Place, it’s why I no longer visit that forum very often. If you’re looking for another forum where civility and politeness are still maintained I can recommend the Olympus E-System User Group. Here’s a link to a current thread about your blog post that I mentioned above: http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?p=262118&posted=1#post262118
    You would be most welcome.

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 6, 2013 - 6:54 pm

    Hi John, I think the Internet has become rather vocal at times and as you say some forums are more boistrous than others! Thank you very much for the link, I will certainly have a look at the Olympus E System User Group, and I look forward to joining.

  • Julia - November 18, 2013 - 5:04 pm

    Hi Lindsay

    You are so right with your comments……….the problem with the British is the British class system……somewhere along the line we have all been a victim of “The Class System” wrong accent, wrong school, your father had the wrong job, wrong politics, wrong spoon!!!

    The hatred is becoming to much to bear…….you see people closing their twitter accounts because of the abuse……..it is easy to be a troll, being a troll does not have a class…….???

    Success here in the UK is frowned upon, it is almost a dirty word, having a skill is dirty, evolving that skill is seen as dirty, we are a nation of hate.

    Failure is heavily rewarded, have you seen the compensation packages for failure lately…….mind blowing.

    Lindsay keep doing what you do well, but sadly you almost have to do it behind closed doors.

    The mindset in this country needs changing, the education system needs to have teachers who motivate people to do well, not to tell them they are useless……….let’s take politics out of the classrooms……..it will never happen sadly.

    I have never met a negative American, they are always on the up and have the attitude of positivity…….

    It is hard to ignore the haters out there but there are some positive peeps in the world.

    In my experience fellow photographers are the worst haters, there is so much jealously, that is why I no longer associate with any….it’s cut throat……LOL.

    Sorry to dribble on but you do have supporters in this world….

    My Very Best Regards

    Julia

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 19, 2013 - 10:36 am

    Hi Julia, I have to agree that failure no longer carries much stigma, and has almost become fashionable. The unfortunate demise of our education system hasn’t helped and I feel very sorry for teachers who no longer have the scope to apply sufficient discipline or sanctions upon their students. There seems to be very few boundaries to behaviour these days. With respect to photographers, the vitriol seems to be limited almost entirely to the more casual contingent who haven’t made it as far as the people they’re bashing – just ignore this kind of jealousy. I can assure you that the successful established photographers are a totally different breed, approachable and helpful with very few exceptions. Kindest regards, Lindsay

  • Frank - November 23, 2013 - 3:53 pm

    Just passing by and saw your discussions on m43 and thought I’d drop in and say cheers from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    Having good fun with my OMD EM1 after many years lugging about a large DSLR (and slr prior).

    All the best…

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 23, 2013 - 7:33 pm

    Hi Frank, I know exactly what you mean – it’s such a relief to have the EM1 and the ability to carry a full compliment of kit in a small bag. It’s transformed my ability to stay fresh and alert, and thankfully my arms and back no longer suffer.

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