Saddle up kids, I'm feeling kind of feisty today.
It seems like these days every bored housewife with 600 bucks to spare buys themselves and entry level DLSR, and takes shitty pictures of their horrible monsters they call children. They then make a crappy website and claim their spare bedroom is a "studio." Not everyone who simply picks up a camera is a photographer. I've got countless examples of this nonsense. One time on a message board about photography, specifically, post processing of photographs, one member asked another what editing software they used. The reply? Instagram. I'll let that sink in for a minute..... So, some kid with an iphone and shitty photo software is on message boards calling themselves a photographer, I think their is a little more to it than that.
Here's another great story. One time when I worked at a camera shop, this lady came in, absolutely incensed about the prints she had done of a wedding. She was shouting that she was a professional wedding photographer and the colours were all wrong on her images. The lab manager came out to talk to her (one the most talent photographers I've ever met). He explained the that colour correction that he performed were to get the best possible quality out of her photos. She then whipped out her camera (a shitty $200 dollar point and shoot jobbie) and exclaimed, "then why don't they look like they do on the screen on the back of my camera!?" (insert facepalm here) He tried to explain that the crappy 2 inch LCD screen of the back of her camera was not an accurate representation of what the final image will look like. These kinds of technical details were way beyond her. So in the end to make this "professional photographer" happy, what he did was get her to hold the camera up beside the editing screen. (A perfectly calibrated high end monitor) He then adjusted the color to look as close as he could to the LCD on the back of her screen.
Fucking kill me now.
I have to admit the merging of high end technology into cameras has completely changed the face of photography, and for the most part, changed it for the better. Things that were extremely difficult only a few short years ago on 35mm film have been made trivial by the introduction of the world of digital to photography. Although I appreciate all the R&D camera companies put into new camera technology, it sometimes seems like they are deliberately trying to trivialize the actual art and skill of good photography. Which in turn creates a perceived devaluation of what a good photographer can do.
You see it everyday in the ads, "make professional photo in minutes with this camera or that piece of software." All camera's now have fully automatic modes, build in "creative filters" special effects, hell some even have little clip art you can add to your photos. Everyday it gets push a little farther, there is even a camera out now that you don't even have to worry about focusing, you can set the focus after the fact, it's a light field camera, and it's call the Lytro.
Not exactly what looks like a pro grade camera, it has almost no controls what so ever, and the resolution is laughably low. Now, this is quite and advanced piece of hardware all things considered. It uses cutting edge technology to achieve things never before seen in digital photography. It's still in it's infancy, but you can see the direction things are going in.
However, no amount of technology can be substituted for skill and practise. A camera can't compose your shot for you. A camera can't setup proper lighting for you. A camera can't set up scenes for you. Most importantly though, a camera can not see, or feel, or have a gut instinct, know when to take the shot, or when to wait. In short, it doesn't take the picture, you do.
I'm not trying to sound like and elitist prick here. I genuinely applaud anyone who has an interest in learning photography. That's the thing though, you need to actually LEARN about. Study composition, study colours, study exposure. Experiment with things, go crazy. I find it to be a fascinating hobby, and once you start tumbling down the rabbit hole you will see how deep it really goes. I've been doing it for about 8 years now, and I feel like I'm still scratching the surface. I'm not happy with anything I shoot, but that's not a bad thing. I keep trying to make the next one a little better.
I would never have the audacity to call myself a professional, in my mind, that would be an insult to the true masters of the trade. Maybe someday, but if you've seen my photos, you know that day will be long from now.