Wednesday, March 29, 2006

And this is why the world will never make sense

I have a favorite professional photographers message board where I go to see how other people are photographing kids and get some ideas and technical help. There's a forum for beginners on this board. In this forum is a thread called (basically) "Come see pictures from my new 5D!!1!1!!" For those of you who don't know, a 5D is Canon's new pro camera. It sells for the cheap price of $3,500. Yes. That would be a beginner with a $3,500 camera. oh it gets better. She is not the only beginner with this camera. And then you open their threads and they say inane things like "which lens should I get?" and "why do I need one of those big flash things?" and "what's white balance?"

sigh. If I were to break a comandment and get all covetous, I would covet this camera. It's a fabulous camera. All the bells and whistles, full frame, spot metering (which the beginners haven't the slightest clue what it is much less how to use it.) It's a lovely camera. However, I've been at this photography thing for five years. There is no way I feel ready for a 5D. If I had a spare $3,500 I would not spend it on this camera.

It's insane to me that women who have no clue how to choose a lens think they are ready for pro level photography. They spend a couple of months learning how to do close ups of cute kids for their scrapbooks and think they are ready to start a business. And then, of course, they hit the message boards and expect those who know what they are doing to spoon feed them everything, including poses and basic camera knowlege (like depth of field and the difference between white balance and mega pixel.) These women can't even google or buy a book. The info is out there, extremely easy to find, but they don't even search the message board they are on for previous posts on the same subject, much less the web in general.

I'm sure that a lot of my feelings toward these crazy women is based on the fact that they are succeeding where I am not. If you can afford to drop $3,500 on a camera, you usually live in a nice house and have friends who have money to burn as well. And of course, they know someone with money to burn. So all of the sudden they have a huge list of contacts and their schedules are filling up and they haven't even the slightest clue about anything.

I sit here, having struggled to buy my XT. It was a huge, huge splurge and sadly I doubt my business will earn enough to cover it for many years. I don't live in a McMansion and I don't have rich friends. Word of Mouth doesn't work for me. I struggle to find contacts and ways to expand my business that don't cost a lot. I probably need to do more advertising of some kind, but the fact of the matter is it's a struggle to start a photography business in an area where Walmart pictures are seen as good enough and Sears is a splurge.

So, yeah, I'm jealous. That doesn't make it any smarter to drop that much money on camera equipment before your business is making enough to balance it out on your taxes.


THM said...

careful there Amy, your eyes are turning a little green there ;)
That part about people on forums expecting to be handed all the information, and not look for anything themselves, happens on forums I visit too.
I'm not so sure that many of them will succeed. I expect moost of those cameras will be back in the box, in a storeroom, or sold on e-bay in a year.

Anonymous said...

this really sounds like a case of poor me.

asking advice on message boards is norm...who better to ask then people who have experience with with a certain object or method. I ask before I step into a huge purchase.

even in a small town if people like the photographer's work they will get jobs. Doesn't matter if the "have" money or not.

Mom said...

Its like trying to have sewing business when clients call you because they think they can get clothing custom made cheaper than they can get it off the rack!

Carin said...

Amy I totally understand and I think you have every right to vent. Apparently Mr or Ms anonymous has never lived in Utah or Idaho or for that matter a really small town in the middle of no where. You are and awesome photographer even with our some $3,500 camera. It is just dumb if you have no idea even how to take a picture besides point and shoot to go out and spend that sort of $ on a camera you will never use any better than a $150 kodak eazy share. I love your work and you , keep your chin up.

MarilynH said...

I wish I knew who anonymous was....Yes, asking is norm, but getting all the info isn't. Who has time to type out every detail of knowledge anyway? I had to laugh at your "where Walmart pictures are seen as good enough and Sears is a splurge." LOL Same here!!
Walmart won't come to your house, find the best light, follow your kids around the yard, and get great candid shots like a pro can. I have always wondered how much training the average walmart photographer gets?

ashley g said...

I hate anonymous posts. That is such a cowardly thing to do. just aren't the poor me kind of person. I agree a newbie has no business owning a $3500 camera. It is sick and just wrong.

torm said...

The only reason i'm laughing is because my blog post today was about jealousy.

April said...

Amy, I'm with you that people can do their own research and learn for themselves. And buying an expensive camera that you don't know how to use does not make you a photographer.
It doesn't matter though, because an experienced photographer will get better results from a $25 camera than a cluelss person will with the nice setup.

Gwyn said...


You know what? In the old days, camera dealers would face someone like these people, ask them a few questions, and point them toward the Rebel. Not any more. Not when there is money to be made.

It's a sad comment on our culture at large. Be glad you don't live in one of those McMansions. I cannot understand why anyone would! Photography isn't about the camera, it's about the person behind it!