The Three P’s icon wink The plague of professional photography

Over the years I’ve noticed professional photography taking a turn for the worse. I’ve noticed long time friends and associates are no longer friends and associates as well as the obvious; a HUGE dip in what is considered professional quality. I’ve thought about this a lot as of late and have come to one conclusion; the plague of professional photography is the photographers themselves.

The greatest asset of professional photography is also its biggest deterrent; the non-existent governing body. If you will remember back to the 2008 elections, “Joe the Plumber” was all the rave. To operate as a legit plumber here in Colorado, you need to have a license! Photography, you don’t and therein lies a problem. Because photography is more an expression of ones own artistic vision, photographers need only to register their business with the state and government to be legit. There isn’t a board that requires you years of study and continuous proof that you are able to do the job. This all comes from the clients that a person gets. The problem with that? 99% of the people photographers shoot, love themselves or whom ever is in front of our lens. This means they will automatically love the photos. Even if they don’t love the photos, if the price is right, they’ll strongly like the photos and that’s enough for them. This brings us to the main part of what my post is about; the plague is actually other photographers! Because our industry isn’t regulated by a board or panel, anyone is able to call him or herself a professional and with that is the problem.

I can’t nor will I attempt to speak for others so I will say for myself; It BOTHERS me when I see one of the following:

Poorly composed photo.
Senior portrait photo being passed off as “fashion”
5’6 model posing “fashion”
Poorly lit photo.
Grossly over processed photo.
True showing of poor technical skills.


I am just as guilty as the next guy when I see these photos and say either to myself our aloud that the photos are terrible. For me, the ultimate is when I see either a beautiful person or potentially great model, shooting or displaying images that are far beneath what they could be doing. That brings us back to the main question; who am I to say the photo is beneath the model? I’m a pretty well established photographer that is known for producing some decent images. I am more known for consistently producing decent images, vs producing one amazing one and 10k ok ones. Being that I’m known for doing it, I feel it…entitles me to speak my mind. Now understand I would never go off and offer unsolicited advice (This is why I no longer post on photography forums) but when asked, I will suggest improvements. The problem? No one wants to hear the wrong they’ve done! I know there are things wrong with some of my images and for me, I’d not change them! If I posted it, it’s how I want it to be viewed but I can assure you of the following:

It will be properly composed photo.
If it’s a senior portrait, it will look like model work cause that’s what I do.
It will never have a 5’6 model posing “fashion” unless there is a designer that specifically designs for normal people.
it will be properly lit photo.
It’ll never be grossly over processed.
It will have a good and controlled showing of technical skills.

What do you do when you run across a photo that leaves a lot to be desired? How can we help each other get over this hump in the industry? I know a governing or ruling body isn’t the answer (I’d never allow someone such as PPA to tell me what to call myself) so what is?


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