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.

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that for the second year running I have been nominated for the title of BIPP South East Region Photographer of the Year. In fact I have two nominations for the title (as I did last year) in the Portraiture and Nature categories. Last year I was very pleased indeed to […]

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  • Mag D - September 5, 2013 - 10:43 am

    Great news Lindsay, and not just one but two nominations, enjoyed your write-up, some great tips from you as usual. I too have my fingers crossed for you, you really do deserve to win.

  • Lindsay - September 5, 2013 - 11:10 am

    Thank you Mag for the kind words. I’m not really expecting to win because as usual I will be competing against the world’s best. I’m delighted just to get the nominations!

Photographing Friends and Family | You’re Invited …. Bring Your Camera There will be times in our lives when family, friends or acquaintances might be getting married, holding christenings, or celebrating anniversaries and family gatherings. Yet the very subject of photographing friends and family often causes photographers, both professional or amateur, to grind their teeth […]

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  • Nat - September 3, 2013 - 8:45 pm

    Don’t get me going on this one Lindsay! This has caught me out so many times and I will no longer entertain doing weddings or events for friends or family, there are too many complications and potential arguments. You’re spot on about the dynamics of the relationship coming into play and not even your usual contracts can save you from that. I photographed a wedding for a close workmate a couple of years ago, I did the photography for free and then they bought the products and wanted as per the agreement, then they got in touch and asked for the high resolution digital files. It turned out they expected the disc for free even though there was no agreement to that effect – they never spoke to us again. The problem is it can be difficult to say no to friends and family – I don’t think you can win either way unfortunately.

  • james - September 3, 2013 - 8:55 pm

    Yep, can of worms. I don’t mind doing small events for friends but only if I’m the one who offered the discount – what I can’t stand is when they just plough in and insist you either do it for nothing or for a knockdown fee, then they take it badly if you say no. This is just another symptom of what’s happened to the industry – there are far too many numpties giving work away and doing stuff for free, the whole world expects it now. Like you said, if photography is your livelihood then there’s no way you can work for nothing. I’ve got friends in all trades but I’d never expect the to do stuff for me for free, so why should a photographer be any different? Oh, I forgot – because the public still thinks that all we do is press a button and the camera poses everyone, lights everyone, composes the picture and processes it as well.

  • Lindsay - September 3, 2013 - 9:08 pm

    James and Nat, I have a policy of not responding to requests for discounts and I fully agree that it should be the photographer making any offers. Often money isn’t mentioned at all, there is simply an expectation that the service will be complimentary. So it’s really important that you gain clarification when friends approach you for your services. Simply offering your price list will normally elicit a response. I know that my real friends would not ask for discounts, any more than I would expect them to discount their own services for me. But I always make concessions for the people I’m closest to, however my basic costs and overheads do need to be met in light of the many hours of work which any photography outing normally entails – hours when you’re not available to your paying clients. I also think that the public assume photographers earn good money and wouldn’t really suffer by doing without full payment occasionally. At the end of the day I think the best course is to attend as a guest and enjoy some much needed downtime.

  • Wolfgang Lonien - September 4, 2013 - 6:18 am

    When I’m asked: “Do you also photograph weddings?”, I always say no. Then I declare to them that this is (or should be) a once-in-a-lifetime event, and that they’d really want to hire a professional photographer in their own best interest.

    Never got a negative response, and never took work away from those pros who need that income. But in some times I also wasn’t invited at all… ;-)

  • Lindsay - September 4, 2013 - 9:48 am

    Hi Wolfgang. It seems none of us can escape this – a competent amateur is often seen as the ideal alternative to a paid pro, with little thought to the level of responsibility a wedding entails, or the work involved. And for pros, friends often assume you’ll step in and cover any gathering you’re invited to, with little thought to payment. The public have little idea as to what is involved since photography is something they might rarely encounter, if ever. There is little understanding that a photographer’s work is only just beginning on the day of the event. I think most people do believe that a photographer is just working on that day, even though a rational train of thought would suggest otherwise. Yet so few photographers bother to inform their clients, friends or family of what is really involved so it’s little wonder that this problem continues. I’ve certainly been in a position where a friend has told me of their upcoming wedding or similar event and has asked me to be their photographer (or has assumed I will be) – I will then suggest we meet up to talk about coverage and budgets but I usually hear nothing further! A competent professional wedding photographer will usually turn up at a wedding with something like £15,000 of kit forming just part of their yearly business costs and may take a week or 2 to fully deliver the project. If shooting on average 30 weddings per year it’s likely to cost that person a small fortune to provide his or her service, as well as losing paying clients throughout that period.

    The public are accustomed to seeing a plumber turned up and finish the job in a day, so they tend to only consider the work they see the photographer carrying out, with absolutely no consideration to the backing up, editing, processing, retouching, proofing, viewing, product design etc. Over the years I’ve got into the habit of keeping a timesheet for every project, recording everything I do, how long it takes to do each e-mail or phone call, each meeting, all activities in fact. There have been a couple of occasions when I have had to show that timesheet to the client – one of which could not believe that I should include the time I spent discussing their needs over the phone or preparing the paperwork, or travel ….. yet without doubt those are activities they themselves would expect to be paid for in the course of their own work. We live in a strange world.

  • harvey - September 4, 2013 - 9:44 pm

    Lindsay-As always,I love your take on life and the life of a photographer.As you say,the pitfalls and time/expense is great and the reward is small in these cases.My best friend+I took pictures at each other’s weddings and were best men for each other.This was a given as we were both “into”photography and knew how to focus and expose pre auto everything.I did an ok job at his wedding(we’re both 66 now-a hint).As for him,he and all our friends spent a fair amount of time in the parking lot participating in a common ritual of the the 60’s+70,s.He turned out to be an “interpretive” photographer,shooting most everything from a low angle making us+guests(6’4″+wife 5″6″)look like giants.We loved to talk about the photos for years after and like many people,I assume,haven’t really looked at our wedding photos much if at all.

    The beauty and relative simplicity of your work continues to enrich me and gives me something to strive for.Thanks,Harvey

    P.S.My photog friend is an underwater photographer of some reknown with many published and purchased photos and a few guidebooks to his credit.I continue to be an amateur hack
    in search of target rich environments.

  • Lindsay - September 6, 2013 - 9:38 pm

    Hi Harvey. I think it’s lovely that you and your friend photographed each other’s weddings – and were best men as well! I bet the photos were good, and fun. You made an interesting point as well – I remember the days when photography certainly wasn’t the popular past-time it is now, and in the fully-manual days a skilled photographer was hard to come by. Now there is the tendency to stick the camera on auto and then attempt to disguise bad technique with the mantle of ‘creativity’. Worse, there is the tendency for the public to believe that anyone with a fancy camera is a pro, or as good as one. I think this is partly why so many unskilled individuals get persuaded into shooting their buddies’ weddings or other events, often with disastrous consequences. And of course the demise of the respect qualified professionals once had is also a consequence of who or what constitutes a ‘photographer’ – the skilled practitioners are also expected to step in when required. I try to avoid such gatherings these days since I’m almost always questioned as to why I haven’t come fully equipped, or I might be described as mean for failing to offer full photographic coverage on what might be my only full day off in six months. This is another case in favour of my new habit of making up a fictitious occupation whenever I meet new people …. soon I will have an entire social circle of acquaintances who believe I work for the Government.

    I got married many years ago, a little reluctantly (I still think far too many people do it for the wrong reasons). I had one of the best wedding photographers in the world, even though I didn’t want a photographer. The album was beautiful, but after it arrived I never opened it again. I can relate to people who don’t want any photography, but I can’t sympathize with those who want the earth but who refuse to pay for it.

    I have never tried underwater photography, it must be magical. I’m often held back from new experiences by my fear of heights, and unfortunately a fear of water!

  • Lindsay - September 13, 2013 - 6:49 pm

    I think that article is hilarious Harvey – I would guess it was produced by somebody who has never had to take a competent merchantable photograph. However, I’m certainly living for the day when they can produce a camera which will manage my subjects, pose them, light them, compose the scene, retouch the environment and do a tax return! Novice photographers are almost always delighted when they take a photograph – even a really bad one, and often it will be labelled as art. And given that we now have more people than ever before taking pictures, the world is flooded by extraordinarily poor imagery, being passed off as art (and on the positive side, there are also many more genuinely excellent photographers out there). This certainly satisfies the need for cheap (or even free) photography but thankfully there are many, many clients who still understand the difference between tat and a well crafted piece of work, where the quality is evident. I occasionally get students who rate themselves very highly, but who can’t determine which lens to use, or how to focus on the right place, let alone follow a brief and produce a saleable picture. Sometimes I’ll encounter them again after a few years, and nothing in their outlook has changed, and they still have no clients. And sadly I also encounter people who have asked a poorly skilled friend to photograph their wedding and who are then asking me to see if I can salvage anything from the photographs. Perhaps in time people will understand where they’re going wrong!

  • Harvey - September 19, 2013 - 4:24 am

    Fun fact(as I remember it).I haven’t been able to locate a comment I believe you made about point n shooters not knowing how to shut off their flashes.Either it’s intrusive or well beyond the reach of the flash.I recall remarking that at an Olympics mid 70’s/early 80’s (on TV)thousands of flashes were going off from the stands.Certainly the light output was of no use,however,I believe having a magicube/flashcube or the built in flash in the socket lowered the shutter from 1/80 to 1/40.Helped the shot though few shooters knew why.They could have saved some cash as a used cube caused the same reduction in shutter speed.What a world!
    BTW-congratulations on your nomination for the Bipp award .Karma is in your corner.Best Wishes,Harvey

  • Lindsay Dobson - September 19, 2013 - 10:50 am

    It’s amazing how often our shots can be whited-out when we happen to catch an onlooker’s flash, I’ve had a few images on assignment ruined by this, even when the onlookers have been asked to wait until the professional has finished! I do remember those magicubes (ahem). And thank you for the congratulations on the nominations – I’m certainly looking forward to the awards ceremony, it’s in a stately home so it will be very interesting.

  • harvey - September 19, 2013 - 7:04 pm

    From your parenthesized ahem I assume your memory of magicubes stems from your father reading you bedtime stories of the early days of photography.

  • Lindsay Dobson - September 19, 2013 - 7:18 pm

    Harvey, you’re such a gentleman! I’m going to be very truthful here and admit that I can vividly recall working my way through rather a lot of Kodak flash cubes …. I loved them. I wasn’t very old of course, but certainly old enough to be handed a basic camera and a few rolls of black and white film, which kept me quiet for hours at a time. That was fatal of course, look what led to, an 80 hour working week and I am now a middle-aged wreck! (-:

  • Mag D - September 30, 2013 - 12:12 pm

    Amazing write-up Lindsay. Many of the points you made are relevant to friends and families, common one is “you can take my photos cheaper than a professional photographer” without thinking of the consequences and huge amount of work involved. As an absolute amateur, I enjoy MY own clicking away at things that catch my eye, and looking at your write-ups, which are so helpful and informative.

  • Lindsay Dobson - September 30, 2013 - 1:14 pm

    Thank you Mag, one of the side effects of putting your foot down is the sudden decline in invitations to family gatherings. That can be of benefit for many!

  • tiddles - November 14, 2013 - 10:17 am

    In my line of work we have a saying:
    “Technicians don’t have friends, just acquaintances with broken appliances”

  • Lindsay Dobson - November 14, 2013 - 10:49 am

    Yes, that’s exactly how photographers feel as well – an excellent phrase which sums it up perfectly!

What should I charge for photos? I’m encountering more and more new or aspiring photographers who come to me with the question “what should I charge for photos?”. The fact is I can’t comment on anyone else’s pricing, for a whole host of reasons. Overheads can differ hugely (both fixed and variable), styles vary, genres […]

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  • Jen - November 14, 2013 - 11:04 pm

    Brilliant advice as always! :)

As many of you know I have turned almost exclusively to Micro 4/3 cameras and lenses for both my professional portraiture and also from my personal photography. But I don’t just create portraits of people, I have a separate area of the website just for animal portraiture and wildlife imagery. If you happen to subscribe […]

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  • Mag D - July 13, 2013 - 2:40 pm

    Your photos are so ‘real’ I feel they could come to life any moment. Write-up is also terrific, actually a mine of information for novices like me. Great work, thank you.

Let’s play make-believe for a moment. Let’s say that every week or so a motorist makes a journey from London to Manchester in his car. The journey serves a number of purposes, sometimes the motorist is visiting a friend, sometimes he’s embarking on a sightseeing outing (perhaps with his camera), or he might be travelling […]

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  • james - July 8, 2013 - 8:09 pm

    Totally agree with everything you say. There are some good photographers out there who don’t do it for a living and they think it’s cool and clever to give there photos away to these big moneymaking organisations – what a complete joke. Then they get defensive when you ask them why they’re helping out a bunch of rich users. These big firms plead poverty which makes it even more laughable. The worst thing is they know full well there damaging the industry, and putting pro photographers out of work. When you ask them why they don’t demand to get paid they come up with a load of excuses because deep down they know they look like an ass. Your little dialogue with the hobby photographer and his friend was spot on.

  • Nat - July 8, 2013 - 8:15 pm

    Yep, bang on. I still haven’t turned pro and I’ve been sick and tired before when people expect me to photograph their kids for free – admittedly I’ve done it to build my portfolio, but even if I was a pro I’m pretty sure a lot of people would still expect free work. I don’t think my photography is good enough for publishers to ask for favours but I know what I would say if they did. I can imagine it would be nice to see your pictures printed nice and big in a mainstream magazine, and you can just blank out the fact that the publisher is raking in the sales while you get nothing. Like James said, these photographers get angry when you mention it because they know they look stupid and can’t come up with any good reasons to do what they’re doing. As for being called miserly and tightfisted, I’ve done photography for two charities that I support (and I know you’ve done a lot for several organisations which are worthy causes) who are non-profit making and need all the help they can get just to survive.

  • Lindsay - July 8, 2013 - 8:23 pm

    Nat and James, thank you for your views. I will impress again that I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do with their photos, but rather to remind those who share images indiscriminately that the whole hobby argument doesn’t work – your hobby is costing you and my personal view is that a bunch of strangers shouldn’t be the beneficiaries of your efforts and outlay. I do think that if you want the pleasure of giving then there are many good causes whom you could support. The argument I hear against that of course is that the photographer won’t have the pleasure of seeing their picture in a recognisable publication, or in a book. I guess you can keep quiet about the fact no one paid you.

  • Mark44 - July 8, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    I’m a keen amateur photographer and I don’t need or seek an income from my photography, so I don’t worry about getting paid for it. I’ve done free stuff of family and friends. I openly admit that when I’ve had a couple of pictures published its been a good feeling. But I want to point out that this is in the reader’s photos section of a couple of good photography magazines, which I do think has helped me get a bit of positive attention, because the magazine has been relevant and is good quality. I have to agree that if a commercial business wanted my work to help their promotional efforts or sales then I would insist on recompense. I think your article will give a few people some serious food for thought and I agree that the supply of good photography is starting to look like a one-way street. I like your articles and your work is top drawer. Regards, Mark

  • Lindsay - July 8, 2013 - 8:36 pm

    Welcome Mark, and many thanks indeed for commenting. I do agree with what you say and getting your pictures published in a relevant journal can definitely help to get you noticed and can help to build a portfolio of genuine published work. But as you point out we are of course talking about the widespread commercial usage of imagery, where there is rarely any benefit to the photographer. This could be corporate websites, company brochures and adverts, the list is endless. This is a personal remark, but it pains me when really good photography is seen as utterly without value by the originator. It’s little wonder that publishers (and to a degree the buying public) are starting to take the same view.

  • Mark44 - July 8, 2013 - 8:56 pm

    Lindsay, you’ve written some really good articles for your Blog – you obviously share a lot with the photographic community. Could you not get paid for publishing these – I mean, in view of this feature would that not be more sensible? I’m saying that nicely, it’s not a criticism, I’m just curious.

  • Lindsay - July 8, 2013 - 9:01 pm

    Mark, I try to offer what I can to the causes I support. And the photography community is one I feel very passionately about. If my articles can help somebody to run a more profitable business, or manage their clients, or understand their outlay, then so much the better – we will all benefit indirectly. And of course good articles drive plenty of traffic to my website, which helps to keep me at a good place in the rankings, which is important. This is one of the main reasons why blogging is so popular within the professional photography community. But be aware of one thing – if someone came along and asked if they could publish one of my essays in a commercial/retail journal or magazine (or in any other profit-making capacity) then I would expect fair payment. And if my work is used without my permission then it is my policy to hold someone accountable.

  • Mark44 - July 8, 2013 - 9:04 pm

    That makes perfect sense Lindsay, thank you for answering my question. Looks like I’ve got some serious reading to do, judging by some of the other features you’ve written – top stuff by the way.

  • Stephen Scharf - July 8, 2013 - 9:53 pm

    Absolutely brilliant, post, Lindsay. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I know the frustration and insult from clients who expect to be paid for free. For example, in my capacity as one of the official track photographers for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, I was asked to photograph the Umbrella Girls, a for-profit “pit girls” company started by a female attorney in Northern California. They wanted a series of shots at the podium after the American LeMans race at Laguna back in ’07 or ’08. It was a series of photos for their yearly calendar, which was specifically used to promote their business. I spent the better part of an hour photographing the girls, and then about 3 hours in post-production editing the images in Photoshop. When their operations manager contacted me about getting the photos, I told them her expected to be paid $500 for the images and my work in postprocessing that went into them (usual rates for PS post-processing is about $150/hr in the U.S.)

    Like your client, they got angry and arrogant, and said, “We thought you were just going to give them to us for free.” I replied, “You’re going to use these to promote your profit-making venture, and I expect to be paid for these images, is your printer going to print them for free?” The ops manager replied, “No.” I replied, “Then why would you expect the photographer to work for free?”

  • Lindsay - July 8, 2013 - 10:09 pm

    Hi Stephen, great to hear from you and hopefully I’ll get a chance to catch up with you properly later in the week. I was disappointed to read about your experience with the promoter – unfortunately this is becoming all too common. Publishers have become used to amateurs donating images for free and this has created an expectation that all photographers are the same and will do likewise, no matter how good the work. You were chosen for the job because your imagery is outstanding, I’ve seen enough of it to know that, and that is why they wanted you for the job. They expected to pay you the same as they have paid in the past – which is very little, or nothing. The fact you have considerable expenses is immaterial to them. They don’t care who you are, or what you’re worth, they just expect the work to be free. It defies belief, it really does. And what unsettles me the most is the number of amateurs who peddle the same argument and justify this kind of behaviour. Of course if those people depended on photography for their living, their point of view would be very different, but since photography is their hobby that is the excuse they appear to use for justifying their lack of reward. I would get no satisfaction at all in seeing a copy of that calendar hanging on my wall, and knowing that I had been trodden upon in the process. Yet a great many photographers have no problem with that. Still, each to their own.

  • Stephen Scharf - July 8, 2013 - 10:40 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Linds. One of the points you’ve made in a number of your post in your “For Photograpers” blog is that you know exactly what it costs you every time you step out the door to do a job; any successful and more importantly, *profitable” pro does (taking a page from Zimberoff here). What a lot of amateurs or non-photographers don’t even think about, in addition to the costs of photographers gear, insurance, travel, IT and computer systems, editing and processing applications, etc, is the cost of redundancy and backup that a pro requires to *get the job done*. Because your clients don’t care if you have an equipment failure, they want the job done on time and up to standard. Many pros I know have two of everything, or at least two bodies. For example, the shutter failed in my Canon 1D MkII in the middle of a MotoGP event, and the recent focus issues I’ve been having with Canon gear turns out to be a defective AF motor and lens element alignment in my 70-200/2.8. In both cases, I had to use backup gear because my PR Director doesn’t care about my gear problems, all she cares about is “Where are my images for deadline press?” All this is part of running an effective professonal operation, and there costs attendant with all of them. Unfortunately, as you have pointed out so eloquently, none of these are things that amateurs or flaky clients think about.

  • Lindsay - July 8, 2013 - 11:01 pm

    Hi Stephen, yes backup equipment is absolutely essential for commissioned work, and there are other factors as well such as insurance, contracts etc. However the main thrust of the businesses who request photographs will be a wayward and misplaced argument that the images are “in stock”. In other words they will argue that you weren’t commissioned to take them and therefore they didn’t cost anything. We know this is nonsense from the pricing of evaluations you mention, and of course the price quoted to a publisher or business user is indeed the stock price – a specially commissioned and tailored shoot, just for them, would be much more. Many image users will try and base pricing on microstock fees or the fact there are so many free image sharing websites out there. But that does not mean that one photographer’s price should be equally low as that quoted by any other photographer, since we are not generic – some are hobbyists with low overheads and some of us are full-time pros with considerable outlay. And this is part of the problem, the standardisation that is applied across the industry. This is like presuming that all restaurants are the same and complaining if one establishment charges £40 for a steak when you can get one down the road in a grotty pub for £7. The restauranteur has to bear the cost of running his or her establishment to a high standard, and the chef is highly trained and experienced, and the cuts of meat are prepared and presented to an exemplary standard. But these days fewer and fewer people will take that into account.

  • Mag D - July 13, 2013 - 11:14 am

    Have read carefully through your article, also found comments very interesting. Hope some people have at last realized just what goes into photography, and the complete lack of understanding regarding payment, expenses, etc. they all want perfection, isn’t it time they woke up to the fact we all have to live and most importantly, need to earn a living, as they do. Thank you Lindsay.

  • Lindsay - July 13, 2013 - 12:33 pm

    Hi Mag, yes indeed, nowadays there are an awful lot of amateur photographers out there who have a lot of experience and who produce good work. They are not reliant on photography in any way as a source of income and this seems to be cited as one of the main reasons why they are so willing to pass on their photographs to anybody who asks. Consequently businesses and many publishers now feel that all photographers should follow this pattern.

I joined The Societies four years ago and I have to say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in terms of progressing the depth of my photography and the efficiency of my business. Like the Royal Photographic Society, The Societies (which encompasses well-known sub societies such as the SWPP – the […]

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  • Mag D - July 13, 2013 - 10:50 am

    Brilliant write-up. Very interesting to read about your past and present achievements. The photos are brilliant. The longer I look at them, I pick up more and more notable points. Thank you Lindsay.

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