So. Greg gives me my marching orders. He says, “Hey, there’s nothing going on this afternoon; would you write our blog? In my head, I think about the long list of undone, unkept, uncompleted things that grace my line of vision and I say, “Sure, I’ll try”. What should I write about? Tooth brush in his mouth, Greg says through foamy teeth that, ”Blogs should be about the interesting things we’ve done lately”. Of course, they should include the final retouched pictures of these interesting things, because, well, “blogs help your SEO, help bring in new clients, complement those clients featured, and they should make it seem like”…and this is where my brain goes numb. Sorry Greg, but I’ve decided to talk instead about what it’s like to be a photographer in 2016. A real life synopsis from a gal who started this business in (I’m whispering here so people don’t do the math) 1988. Yowser. It’s because sometimes I have to just vent a little. I need to publicly complain, because that is my true nature. Because the stuff of blogs sometimes seems impossibly puffy and untrue. I promise if I write another one soon I’ll wax poetic.
Here ‘s the list t of 5 things that drives me crazy in 2016:
• IPhone–esque photos are what clients are striving for these days. Our goal is not to do the most beautiful lighting and composing job we can, our goal is to, uh, Dumb it Down. This is where we feel a little like, “okay, you could have steak and lobster but you are choosing a hot dog on a stick.”
• Money. I know, recession, recession, and more recession. We’ve been in the f*******g recession for a decade so we’re weary (those who know me know I never curse so you can tell I’m really over this). It’s not like rent has gone down, or health insurance, or equipment. We’ve thought a million times about dropping the ‘brick & mortar’ mentality and following the pattern of LA photographers and just rent a space when we need it. Would that help, we wonder? Or Is it because that anyone can take a photograph on their camera in program-mode and that’s good enough for our transient world? Anyway, the motto for the last several years has been: We’ll Adapt. Let me tell you, bringing your lunch is much healthier than eating out.
• Planned obsolescence with equipment. Everything is made to fail from our cameras to our strobe packs. Probably a lot like the 7 dishwashers that I’ve owned since I’ve moved to Vegas, but that’s another story. The biggest gripe I have are radio slaves. At $100 + a device, they were supposed to make that pesky sync cord clients could (gasp) see or trip over a thing of the past. All I know is that we own about 8 of them, they are constantly breaking, and they eat AA batteries like they are going out of style. Give me the $20 sync cord that still works 28 years into the game anytime, and just say, “Hey, watch your step” .
• Email everything. If anyone out there can actually get my smartphone to erase the 6 thousand e-mails I have on it permanently gets a free lunch. I’ll even make you a batch of cookies. They keep coming back like bad houseguests after I delete, and all that advice on the web doesn’t help. If I had time to sit on the phone with technical for over an hour, I could have probably solved this.
• Technology. Okay, so it’ll be on the best things list, too. But really? Why is it that as soon as we buy a piece of equipment the next month the MUCH better version comes out? We practice due-diligence! We research! We go to conventions! And we always, always, seem to be behind on the latest and greatest.
Here are the 5 best things about being a photographer in 2016:
• Skipping out of work early because you can manage a whole studio from that little phone…that is also the source of your e-mail drama.
• Technology: Shooting right to your computer and sharing those images so you know you absolutely, positively, have got a great shot for your client, even if they are in another state.
• Cloud Service: when your hard drives fail (and they will inevitability); you just call for a back up drive or download the job you are looking for and presto! They never even saw you sweat!
• The Relationships: after 28 years in business, we know so many people who have enriched our lives in many ways. People that are true to the core, people that have become genuine friends. These people are employees, stylists, interns, clients, and creatives. They come and go with a beautiful rhythm, and we are always warmed when someone just pops in to say hello. Our lives have been so blessed with great people.
• True Path: We have gotten to always, always, be the kind of people we want to be. Sure, there were situations where we felt misunderstood, and ethical dilemmas where we might have to turn down a job because we wouldn’t “kick-back” or shoot something sketchy, but we never had to be anyone we didn’t want to be. That is priceless. Okay, I feel better now. ;)