This seems to go against the spirit here, but...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Hyubie, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Real Name:
    does he have a point?

    (Highlight by me.)

    A common theme in our forum is that "it's not the gear, but the person behind it." But thinking about it (especially from point of view of bride/groom), does he make a big point? I imagine it might be, probably especially for Bride-zillas. :biggrin:

    I remember my wedding day, I was concerned with a lot more other things, and didn't even notice what my photographer's gear were. I just knew they were big, black, and long. And they didn't produce astounding images, now that I look back at the pictures. They even look like straight from camera JPEGs (not to disparage OOCs - I use them too - but it felt like "here are the images I took, now choose").

    Discuss. :smile:
  2. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    "hired a photographer that produced less-than-professional images"

    Once this standard is in place does the gear matter one whit? Crap images from awesome gear, I can do that.
  3. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    I actually read almost the entire bit on the canon rebel, including the bit about Judge Joe Brown(I've seen his show a few times).

    My own personal view on this is that if I got married, I wouldn't care what the photographer used. In all honesty, I think during the reception I'd even ask that something small and something less intrusive be used.

    Just as an example, my father is a master carpenter. Even my father believes that tools from Harbor Freight have their place, even for the professional like himself.
  4. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    I think the body matters much less than the lens. As other people have pointed out on this forum, there are simply some types of images that CANNOT be produced without lenses of certain focal lengths and apertures. If a client is expecting those types of images, and you can't deliver them with the gear you have, then they are going to be disappointed.
  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    If you are going to make a living as a pro photographer it only makes sense to go for high end gear - full frame camera and high quality glass - but not, as this guy states, to look like a pro. You do it to get the best photos. Output trumps aesthetics, why should it matter what your gear looks like. His conclusion is valid, his reasoning is ridiculous!:smile:
  6. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Real Name:
    I guess my beef is how elitist it all sounds? I know good gear really ups the keepers - I've had much more keepers even with just the upgrade from P&S to m43 and the system's outstanding lens lineup. But to carry pro gear for the sake of looking like a pro sounds to me like BS. Again, maybe it's just me.
  7. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Real Name:
    Agreed with this. More importantly, you should be hiring a photographer based on their portfolio. You should have an expectation of the final product based on their prior production (regardless of gear really - if their portfolio is consistent and what you are looking for, that should be a done deal).

    If you don't have the funds and have to hire someone who isn't necessarily a professional or have the background, that is the risk you are long as the photographer is up front about expectations that may just be the risk you have to take in that scenario.

    Our wedding photographer (back in those old days of film!) was a school teacher who did it as a hobby/side job. He did have a studio in his basement, an extensive portfolio, and 100% knew what he was doing. Looking back I still wouldn't hesitate to call the work professional level, despite the reasonable costs and photography being a hobby for the guy.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    It's not elitism, it's a filtering mechanism. Sure, lots of idiots have-high end gear. But it's a much smaller proportion than those who have low-end gear. Price is a barrier to entry. Just because somebody has a fancy camera doesn't mean they know how to use it, but the odds are better than somebody with a cheap one.

    Of course if you know the photographer well, you'll know what they can and can't do, and the gear becomes largely irrelevant, but most folks aren't in that position.

  9. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    You can usually tell a pro off the bat. I'd rather pick a wedding photographer with 3 E-P3 bodies around his neck each mounted to a 12, 25 and 45 than some guy with a Canon 7D and a kit 18-55 lens.
  10. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I think the popular belief that "it's the photographer, not the camera" is partially true.

    That is, it's true for most of us. We've all seen examples of crappy photos taken by people with the most expensive gear. The limiting factor in those cases is indeed the photographer, not the camera.

    However there are cases where the gear does matter - and that's professionals. This doesn't mean they can't take good photos with sub-par gear. It means they can take even better photos (or have more flexibility) with good "professional" gear.

    I'll give you an analogy. Think of a professional F1 race car driver. He can probably do amazing things driving in your everyday car that you can't even get close to replicating. But give him an F1 car, and that'll unleash his true skills - he'll be able to do things he couldn't do in your car.
  11. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Real Name:
    I'm curious as to why in some quarters it is regarded that the ultimate test of a camera's worth is whether or not wedding photographers would use it. As I am not a wedding photographer I couldn't care less. I wonder, do novices show off their new cameras to friends with remarks such as, "Oh, it's good alright, even wedding photographers use these!"

    If that sort of Kudos is important, why not get a Hasselblad? "Of course it's good, one of these was used to shooot pictures on the moon!" :biggrin:
  12. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    :thumbup: hah...this.

    If you can't gauge a photographer based on his product and portfolio then that's your dumb@ss fault. You'll be happy with snapshots anyway.
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Not to knock Joe Brown... I love the guy (he's so much more sensible and level headed than Judge Judy!) and even enjoyed this exact segment on the wedding photographer. I also agree with the idea behind his comment. There is a minimum requirement for equipment to be a professional photographer, and this investment is not something that anybody should feel they can skimp on when they are bearing the responsibilities of providing a professional service.

    Nobody would even think to go to a product shoot with no lighting equipment, yet wedding photographers think they can get away with just about anything because their clients aren't commercial and don't have the same eye to adhere them to commercial standards. In fact, many of the worst photographs are passed off in the b2c world as "artsy" and praised instead of being ridiculed as they would in the b2b world.

    It's the same thing with any industry. I would not allow you to work on my $50,000 car with a crescent wrench and a pair of vice grips. I would expect you to have a minimum requirement of professional grade tools. I don't care if they're Great Neck, Mac Tools, or Craftsman, but there is a minimum standard that we would call a "real" mechanic's tool set. And even if your set was full, I would have a problem if it came from the Dollar Store (ie, like shooting with a Lensbaby, Diana, or point-and-shoot, lol). I would not however bulk if you chose to buy Craftsman from Sears instead of Mac Tools from a pro tool shop.

    However... Joe Brown's comment on the Canon Rebel only goes to show that he does not fully understand what makes a professional camera kit. The name on the body is not it. Would you say the Canon 7D is not a professional camera, then? If you said that, I think many would disagree (I actually would group it as mid-grade or semi-pro personally, but that's besides the point). Yet, the 7D and Rebel have the same ability to produce nearly identical final image quality. At the same time, both cameras are both total dogs if you keep them mounted with the kit lenses. A professional camera kit consists of many parts of varying importance to the quality of the image, and not every piece has to be professional grade to produce results. My kit includes everything from home-made light modifiers which I've built for only a few dollars each (and which perform FAR better than any $100 retail product), to lenses worth thousands of dollars each. They all work together to provide a professional kit. I would not consider my camera professional just because I've slapped a $5000 top-pro lens on it, if I'm doing a commercial shoot and don't even have lights!

    So in short, I would agree that a person calling themselves a professional photographer and shooting with inappropriate gear for the job is not living up to professional standards and should be held liable. However, I would not call a kit "unprofessional" just because the body is a Canon Rebel. You would have to tell me a lot more about what they're using and more importantly HOW they're implementing it, before I would call them unprofessional.

    Have I given answers to questions that sound like, "it's not the gear, but the person behind it."? Yes, I certainly have... but mostly this has been in answer to people who are complaining about their gear because they are expecting it to do something which defies the basic laws of photography. Professional photographers have spent a long time developing techniques which work alongside the limitations of camera equipment, so experience can often tell us when it's operator error or just inadequate gear. Inexperience however, tends to lead many to believe that a camera is inadequate just because it's cheap or small. Again, not to knock Joe Brown, but that's the kind of problem I'm seeing with his assessment of the Canon Rebel.
    • Like Like x 3
  14. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I don't think the average person has any clue what camera and/or lens is appropriate for any given situation. Most any DSLR with most any lens will look impressive. Anyone can look at a portfolio, however, and decide if they would be happy with similar results.

    I imagine that some of us "enthusiast" photographers would make very annoying clients, with too many questions and too much meddling. :)
  15. s0nus

    s0nus Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 13, 2010
    Consider this:

    I hire an artist to paint a portrait of my family. I notice the artist is using the same paints, brushes, and canvas that my wife uses in her painting as a hobby ...

    It's almost painfully clear where that line of thinking will lead you.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    ...or get an Olympus. It was used by NASA to shoot photos from space. :)
  17. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    Considering how good most of today's DSLR equipment is - I find it hard to believe that any savvy photographer would screen a wedding photographer on the basis of their equipment rather than solely the quality of their portfolio.

    It's like going to a tour of a automobile factory before buying a car, or examining your plumber's tools before hiring them; at best irrelevant, at worst totally misleading.
  18. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    Considering how good most of today's DSLR equipment is - I find it hard to believe that any savvy photographer would screen a wedding photographer on the basis of their equipment rather than solely the quality of their portfolio.

    It's like going to a tour of a automobile factory before buying a car, or examining your plumber's tools before hiring them; at best irrelevant, at worst totally misleading.
  19. okinana

    okinana Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 21, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    It's a sales pitch

    It's a marketing strategy. Trying to justify buying more expensive equipment (if you're a budding wedding photog). I saw that in the FB page of B&H.
  20. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    Haha. I've seen what gear David Ziser uses. What a hypocrite. The man raves about his 28-200 uberzoom. And he shoots jpegs.