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Author Topic: Bad Photography Rant  (Read 14248 times)

distant.star

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Bad Photography Rant
« on: July 19, 2013, 02:09:13 PM »
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I know there are charlatans with cameras all over the place. And I know this isn't a forum for ranting about bad "photographers," but let this be a caution that if you don't have definite skills (and most here certainly DO) that it's not nice to take money from people for bad pictures.

Recently a member of my family I haven't seen in several years gave me a CD full of jpg images taken by a "professional" photographer. This person was paid $100 for two hours work taking pictures of two teen-age daughters and a couple of family portrait shots out on a seashore location. She dumped all the image files on a CD and gave them to my family member. She had been "recommended" by a hair dresser my aunt uses. Looking at the photographer's Web site she indicates she went to art schools and shot for magazines for several years. I wasn't exactly sure what my aunt wanted when she handed me the CD and asked me to "develop" the pictures and select the best 10 for printing.

Overall, the images are awful. Out of focus, grainy, even badly tilted horizons. The photographer used a Nikon D800 with a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 lens. A little research suggests it is an inexpensive lens that has a reputation for generating noise on its own. The shoot day turned cloudy with a breeze and misty rain. Setting were typically ISO 2000 around f/4.5 to 5.6. Flying hair can be a good effect, yet this photographer made no attempt not to have it flying across their faces. There are dogs in some pictures (on laps, being held, etc.) and they look scared -- a look I've never seen in a dog's eyes. I was angry when I looked at the pictures and realized she took money from my aunt for this. She even had the audacity to include a document releasing the images for print -- but reassuring that she retained all rights.

When I talked with my aunt she finally admitted she was deeply disappointed with the pictures. She thought perhaps she may be wrong and the pictures really were good, but she wanted me to see them. I had to confirm for her that bad pictures are simply bad pictures. I did soften it by suggesting maybe the photographer was trying for a "soft focus" look with the girls. Also, maybe the tilted horizons were purposed to add "drama." I told her there wasn't much I was going to be able to do but that I would pick the best 10 and have them printed by a good printer.

I cleaned up the files as best I could -- sharpening, noise reduction, horizon straightening, etc. The lens even had mustache distortion that had to be corrected! Then I sent them off to Bay Photo for printing on metallic paper. I'm hoping for the best.

Sorry for the big rant, but bad photography is unfair, and it makes me angry. Not only is the $100 (plus cost for printing) gone, but the expectation of great pictures of cherished family members has also been stolen. The kids and their parents don't live on the seashore, and they can't be reassembled for a do over.

I've often encouraged inexperienced photographers here to take opportunities given -- but only with the explicit understanding that clients know what they can expect. If you're going to present yourself as a seasoned professional, you must produce professional results!
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Bad Photography Rant
« on: July 19, 2013, 02:09:13 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2013, 02:22:03 PM »
Unfortunately, there are a ton of self proclaimed professionals out there.  Some of them have talent, and some don't.  There are also some larger photo studios that fall in the same category.
 
What can I say... A person who pays $100 for a session is usually not going to get the same results as they would from a top notch photographer, and should expect to get the kind of images you described.  People want to believe that they will get the same quality for a much lower price, it just doesn't happen.  Its no different than sending money to Nigeria in order to retrieve millions of dollars held in your name, some people talk themselves into believing.
 
I see people advertising all the time on our local craigslist, even posting horrible quality images as proof of their expertise.  I doubt if they would even recognize quality work.
 
Finding the right photographer is something that takes some effort and research, as well as deciding just how important the occasion is and how much you are willing to pay.

RLPhoto

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2013, 04:27:08 PM »
You get what you pay for.
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Drizzt321

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2013, 04:36:59 PM »
You get what you pay for.

That's unfortunately somewhat what I was thinking when I read this. At the same time, you're right. There are far too many people with a fancy camera who feel they can take photos, get paid, and do as little work as possible (sounds like she shot and burned to CD there on the spot, and did nothing else). While I sympathize that it's a highly competitive space and people need to eat, there's still a certain minimum amount of quality/value that needs to be delivered and one should not be trying to make a living at it without being able to meet those.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2013, 04:43:08 PM »
What can I say... A person who pays $100 for a session is usually not going to get the same results as they would from a top notch photographer, and should expect to get the kind of images you described.  People want to believe that they will get the same quality for a much lower price, it just doesn't happen.  Its no different than sending money to Nigeria in order to retrieve millions of dollars held in your name, some people talk themselves into believing.
 
I see people advertising all the time on our local craigslist, even posting horrible quality images as proof of their expertise.  I doubt if they would even recognize quality work.
 
Finding the right photographer is something that takes some effort and research, as well as deciding just how important the occasion is and how much you are willing to pay.

I'm sorry for the situation in which your aunt found herself, but unfortunately, I have to agree with the above sentiment.  You generally get what you pay for, and $100 for a 2-hr shoot and digital copies of the images is dirt cheap, actually cheaper than dirt cheap. 

A few years ago we went to Martha's Vineyard with our eldest daughter (our only child at the time, she was 18 months old), and booked a ~2 hr shoot with a photographer whom I'd researched.  The weather ended up mirroring your aunt's - overcast and breezy initially, then drizzle which became light rain.  She shot along the beach and by the lighthouse first, and once the rain started she moved us to the veranda of the hotel. We got many excellent shots from the session. For comparison, we paid $500 for the session and another $300 for the full res digital copies with rights.
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Harry Muff

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2013, 05:40:11 PM »
"Professional" just means that someone gets paid for what they do, it doesn't mean they are any good at it.

Can we have a look at the photos?


 To be fair, $100 is peanuts, but if you accept a job then you should give it your best.
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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2013, 06:34:30 PM »
There are some very skillful working folks out there who do the school photos, etc.  But I've seen some truly marginal to awful shots of newborns, graduations, and family events.  Having a couple of lenses and a camera body might be the tools one needs to call themselves professional, but some semblance of skill is also required.

Hey, if someone has a scalpel (and a really good scalpel), would you let them take out your appendix just because they have the best tools?   ::)  Or would you rather have someone with lesser tools who knows how to do it?
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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2013, 06:34:30 PM »

Skulker

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2013, 06:45:46 PM »
You get what you pay for.

I'm not at all sure you do always get what you pay for, but I am sure you seldom get better than you paid for.

It's a shame the OP's aunt is unhappy, clearly she expected decent shots for her money. And she should of got them. Unfortunately a lot of people would be happy with poor quality shots and would not know the difference.

Dylan777

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2013, 07:47:11 PM »
@ OP - any photos as s sample? I want to see it beacuse I after 6yrs in college, I don't make $100/hr. I can see my new carreer here :o
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Menace

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2013, 07:47:49 PM »
$100 is way too cheap for a two hour session - but I do feel sorry for your aunt.

Personally, I'd be embarrassed to hand over sub par photos to a client even if I was shooting for a charity and giving my time and effort for free. I take pride in my work and have a (good) reputation to maintain - shoddy work is a no no!

I'm sure your aunty will do plenty of research before hiring her next photographer. Thanks for sharing the experience though.
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dirtcastle

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2013, 07:53:54 PM »
An uneducated customer is destined to get ripped off.

LarryC

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2013, 07:56:24 PM »
It's not just photographers.  I have to agree with the poster above that you do NOT always get what you pay and only but rarely get more than what you pay for.  It may be a little harsh, but I have little sympathy for people who hire any sort of professional trade person, be it photographer, decorator, hair stylist or any other "skill" professional without knowing the quality of the work that person can produce only to find out the "friend of a friends' hairstylist" turns out to be a hack.  It does not matter what they charge or what their credentials are, it matters that you take the time to find out they can deliver a satisfactory quality product. 

Zv

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 08:08:59 PM »
That sucks. And it's not like you can get a refund.

All this is doing is devaluing the industry.  Diluting it with subpar quality and charging what is really a pittance does nobody any good. You should leave some comments on her website. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. You've already told everyone around you. She won't last long.

It angers the hell outta me that I can't get any clients even though I would bend over backwards delivering the highest quality images I could. Then only take payment once the client is 100% satisfied.
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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 08:08:59 PM »

DJD

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2013, 08:27:30 PM »


The portrait as envisioned by the pigeon when he commissioned the work...




The portrait as delivered by the hipster street photographer claiming to be a portrait artist.  :)

Just a little humor.
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nsurg

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2013, 08:59:30 PM »
This stuff drives me nuts too.
I have a work colleague who on his first week of a new job showed up and literally removed the currently hanging art (very high quality, expensive stuff) and hung up his own photography sh** on the wall.  Exclusively landscapes, and lovely places--but very pixelated, blurry photos with poor WB and oversaturated, even by an amateur's standards.  I suppose his skill set is being able to pay for the vacation to the lovely location, pay for a midrange slr and kit lens handheld, and enough motivation to print the stuff.  Then he went on to take photos of local areas (he had just moved to this job) which to him were probably interesting but to anyone else are not even worthy of a second glance.  Also hung up.  He then asked a coffee shop if he could hang up some photos and was so brash as to make his own handouts for his "gallery debut" as he called it, and encouraged all his work colleagues to attend.  I live in a very high-end art community, and it was embarrassing.
It turns out his arrogance didn't end there... sigh.  I guess I prefer some humility.  It turns out his photography would be one of the least annoying things about him.

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Re: Bad Photography Rant
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2013, 08:59:30 PM »