I’ve been busy launching a new business venture, settling into a new relationship, and generally shooting less lately now that spring school sports has ended. I have some potential gigs lined up to shoot over the summer, but besides that let me give you 7 random things from my brain meat….
▪️ Sony has made their move to take over the professional photography market. You may not notice it now, but I think the modern DSLR is dead….
▪️ This might be the worst allergy season I’ve experienced in my life. Brutal….
▪️ After sniffing around I’ve discovered stock photography is not worth the time, money and effort required to make a decent bit of coin from it.
▪️ Even though my current boss at my day job is cool as fuck, I hate nothing more than having to answer to a boss in the first place. I really want to work for myself.
▪️ I am not at all interested or excited about the newest iPhone coming in a few months, despite the fact that it’s near time to upgrade my phone. I love apple of course, but I’m not excited in the slightest.
▪️ No GAS for me lately. I’m still getting the Leica Q and the Hasselblax X1D though, but there is no real timetable set.
▪️ My birthday was May 2. I was born the same year as the former twin towers in NYC. Do the math.
Being a blogger, I am well aware of the need for stock photography. Not that I need stock photos for what I do, I normally use my own self-taken photos, but I can see how non-photographers might be in a tight spot without access to stock photos. As for myself and my eternal desire to earn more green fabrics, I am contemplating shooting stock photos and posting them to one of the sites that play middle-man between we shooters and potential buyers. My main question is: do people still make money doing this?
Oversaturation has smashed almost every online money scheme imaginable. Do you want to sell sneakers? If you do then be prepared to compete with hundreds of already established sneaker sites doing the same. Do you want to sell arts and crafts? ETSY.com has thousands upon thousands of folks already selling all types of shit, with mixed to poor fiscal results on average. Even more involved processes such as app development have ferocious online competition. This is especially true for modern photography as a whole, including stock photography, the competition part. There are millions of stock photos already available online with thousands being added each hour. For every person reportedly making 50k annually on GettyImages there are thousands of poor guys and gals earning somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 bucks a month or less on some lesser site. It’s savage out there…
Still, something about the prospect of passive income has always attracted me. I am paranoid monetarily and only feel secure when I am able to earn a living from multiple streams of cash. I do not like to load all of my income eggs into one basket, so to speak. Thus, even though I’m not terribly excited about the prospect of uploading 10k images on istockphoto, I would appreciate say…. an extra 200 bucks per month or so, especially if I didn’t have to book clients, drive to and shoot sports, or deal with diva models. I could make a lot more of course if I am lucky and good, but I’m trying to be bearish here.
Do any of you folks shoot stock? A Facebook chum of mine shoots stock for Getty and she claims to be doing nicely. She even earned enough to buy the mirrorless Hasselblad X1D and a 45mm lens (around 12k worth of gear). Nothing beats a good try right? I’d appreciate some good stock tips here…..
With the recent announcement of the Sony A9 mirrorless camera I’ve been wondering when I’ll make the big switch and go all mirrorless. Up until now, going all mirrorless has not been a serious option for me because Sony and Fuji and other serious mirrorless makers don’t make professional level bodies and lenses for sports.
Sure, a good, well prepared shooter can probably use a pair of Sony a7rII’s to shoot a wedding or a concert, and there is a nice selection of glass available in the wide angle to medium telephoto ranges for that stuff. There is no, say, 400mm 2.8 offered by Sony or Fuji however. Canon and Nikon have several versions of lenses in this focal length going back decades. That’s always been the main point of contention for me changing my sports kit over to mirrorless. There is no fast and long telephoto glass to be had.
There’s also battery life, which is still far better in a DSLR. I’m talking 3 times as good battery life on average between a pro level DSLR and an alleged pro level mirrorless like the A9 and the Fuji XT-2. Another main thing though, is AF speed and accuracy. This is where mirrorless has been making dramatic strides. It seems that the A9 has AF speed on par with the pro level Canon and Nikon DSLR’s, though this remains to be seen….
A Sony pro body is bound to crush Nikon and Canon is the area of low light and dynamic range, partly because Sony makes the lion share of Nikon sensors these days and holds back the really aggressive tech for their own bodies, and Canon has never seemed to be too concerned with dynamic range, although they have decent noise levels at high ISO’s on some bodies. Sony also has apparently eliminated the “blackout” that happens when continuous shooting with a typical mirrorless body. Also the A9 apparently shoots a disgusting 20fps RAW. It can do this in 100% silent mode. That’s insane!
Will I trade in my Canon sports gear and go full on mirrorless? That remains to be seen. I want to for some reason. It’s not that I hate my Canon gear, or GAS, but more that I feel I’m stapled to outdated tech. Fastened to it. Maybe when Fuji makes a full frame sports camera or fuck it, I may go with a Sony even though I hate them. Some long prime fast glass for these mirrorless jobs wouldn’t hurt either…
Don’t know what shadowbanning is? Google it. The thumbnail sketch goes like this: Instagram makes you think people are seeing your post when you use hashtags, and when you check the hashtags yourself your post is visible, but others cannot see your post when they search for that hashtag.
Instagram is mind-fucking you. They want you to think your post and hashtags are reaching new users, but in fact only your followers can see your post.
That’s some dastardly shit.
Reportedly, other social media outlets shadowban users. Twitter has been allegedly doing it for years. My issue with it is just one of disappointment. Sure, Instagram is free and the owners can do whatever they like, but it’s just that I’m running out of ideas of how and where to share my street photos online and potentially be exposed to folks I don’t already know in the process. Should any of this matter to me on a personal or even a professional level? Nah. Still, it’s fun to share photos and gain followers and get likes and all. People may hate on the idea in principle but who cares if an activity is important or not if that activity is fun? Everything a photographer does doesn’t have to be part of some Machiavellian scheme for world photographic dominance. It’s perfectly fine to get a kick out of people “liking” your photos, even if folks generally like “everything” and aren’t really interacting with your portfolio.
I don’t understand Snapchat at all for the record….
At any rate, Flickr seems to filled with foreigners and old people. Facebook is over-saturated. Twitter is for famous people and to find out if somebody is really dead. Instagram has started shadowbanning users. Great. Just fucking great. I am in the streets shooting, interacting with people every day. It would be nice if it didn’t end there. It would be nice if there were some allowable enjoyment to be had via street photography besides the act of taking the photos themselves…..
I care about street photography and sharing is caring. We shouldn’t all have to be like Vivian Meyer and have our entire portfolio discovered after we are long dead….
I get it: photographers are not thought to be as “important” as electricians or bricklayers, nor are they generally thought to be as valuable as teachers or meat cutters, but has anyone ever attempted to organize photographers into anything more than an elitist collective like Magnum?
My thoughts on this are as follows: most photographers are petty and despise the work and success of their contemporaries. It’s pretty hard to organize into a brotherhood when you think that way. You cannot be petty and small-minded if you want to unionize. It would be nice to, for example, have standard levels of apprentice, journeyman and master photographer, and to have wage scales commensurate with said levels. This would make shooting for a major publication a straightforward process financially speaking, and may add clarity as to what an apprentice should charge to shoot a wedding as opposed to a journeyman.
Let me pause and say that I’m a political moderate AKA a registered independent. I’m not typically the guy who has strong opinions about labor unions. There are all sorts of counter-argumentative things to consider when organizing a photographic union, and price undercutting and scab behavior would be rampant, but this is just a thought exercise, not a proposal….
Actors and screenwriters have unions, so it’s not like you have to just build or fix or teach something in order to unionize. There can be artists (if we are indeed artists) who form unions. Many photographers would be utterly terrified of being blacklisted or denied work, but I also think many of us on the street photography side would consider joining such a union. Street photographers don’t get paid anyhow and most of us earn a living through conventional jobs. It’s the wedding, portrait, sports, magazine and commercial shooters who would bitch up and cross hypothetical picket lines in all likelihood. I understand that we all have families to feed, but a union would be beneficial to all of us in the long run and provide a much needed hierarchy and eventually structured payment to the whole genre. Of course, as I said earlier, most photographers seem resentful and jealous of other, more accomplished photographers. That is unfortunate and is part of the reason, along with affordable amateurism, that the whole of the photographic profession is drying up money-wise….
This is no micro-struggle. This is real shit that I’d love Peta-Pixel or one of the big dog blogs to address. We are dying and we need to band together in order to survive. Of course I could be wrong for caring about this, being that nobody else seems to….
I’m going to be a bit of a toolbox here, but bear with me….
I cringe these days when I see guys shooting street photography with a fat DSLR. Full disclosure: I used to be that guy myself just 3 short months ago. Since then I’ve gotten my tiny little Fuji X100F, which might be the worlds best street photography camera, and now I feel embarrassed that I ever pointed my big ass Canon 5D Mark III at an unsuspecting street denizen with artistic intentions. It’s like what Obi Wan Kenobi said when he tossed that blaster aside after shooting General Grevious to death: SO UNCIVILIZED…..
Of course my Fuji, and perhaps every Leica outside of the Leica S (and the Leica Sofort), is an elegant photographic weapon harkening back to ages past. Sure, you can blast away 15 shots per second with your crude DSLR but it’s much more fun to manual focus or shoot in single shot mode with a compact or a rangefinder. Also, I’ve never been braver than I am now with my small camera. Sure, we get braver as we mature as street photographers regardless, but my ninja shit is on fleek these days. (Do the kids still say that?) I can literally stand in people’s faces and my silent leaf shutter compact camera makes absolutely no noise as I snap away photos like a maniac…..
Are Leica’s and little midget Fuji cameras better than say, a Nikon D500? Probably not, UNLESS you’re shooting street. So you need to be committed to specificity if you are contemplating adding a compact camera to your arsenal or switching altogether. In my case I still have my Canon system for sports and my Fuji camera for street and candids, well, until I can afford a Leica….
I mean, I’ve never earned what some may call a significant income, or anything close to that. I’ve basically toiled alongside the legions of the working poor my entire adult life. Trust me, I’d love to earn an income that would enable me to buy a house or a killer condo downtown, but right now that’s just a dream, sitting beside winning the lottery or finding an original copy of the US Constitution at a garage sale in my mind.
I do love taking photos though. I mean, no other activity that I earn money from has brought me as much pleasure while doing it, including my days as a rapper signed to a major recording label. Taking photos beats rap in activity based pleasure, though perhaps not in POST activity perks such as groupies and free alcohol and weed. Plus I was young and blissfully angry and stupid back then….
In an ideal world I’d love to earn money from shooting street photography. (FYI, I don’t want you help whores giving me suggestions or condescending pep talks in my comments section. If you have a real offer contact me discretely.)
Street Photography is notoriously ineffective as a profitable venture. I’d have better luck as an electrician or a landscaper, but I HATE doing that stuff and LOVE taking photos in the streets. For this reason I suppose I wouldn’t have to be paid much to be happy doing it. Shit, I don’t earn THAT much shooting sports but I love it so much more than anything else I’ve ever done for money 💰 that I don’t mind the lack of life changing income. Again, I’m not looking for business pep talks here….
Maybe I will figure out a way to earn a nice living shooting women walking down the street. Most likely I’ll live and die and the world will do the same as if I or it never existed….
It’s just….um…. that I have mixed feeling about the jpegs I am getting from my Fujifilm X100F.
On one hand, I love the black and white photos I get shooting jpeg with my Fuji. On the other hand I do NOT like the color jpegs from Fuji X-Trans sensor bodies, at least when I’m shooting people.
Ergonomically the X100F is perfect, but I’m finding that I have to shoot RAW if I want professionally useable photos for say, my sports photography. See, I typically will use my Fuji for sideline shots and my trusty Canon for the 🦁 lion share of my sports photos. Still, those sideline and crowd shots can make and break a sports portfolio. The Fuji does well enough, but I find the RAW files to be just “okay” as opposed to great, like the RAW files are from the Leica Q. Also, for some stupid fucking reason Lightroom hates Fuji RAW files and drags and bitches rendering 1:1 previews. Also, the waxy skin effect is apparent in Fuji RAW files too when shooting people, although it isn’t NEARLY as bad as it is in jpeg, where it is basically unusable. On the plus side, I must say however, that the Fuji has very useful dynamic range and the RAW files have a lot of play in the sliders….
I’m not going to kill my lovely little Fuji. It produces stunning monochrome images and when NOT shooting people the color jpegs are really good. It’s just that I shoot a ton of stuff in jpeg and I’d really like it if the color jpegs were, you know, decent when shooting people….
The minute you tell a so-called “professional” photographer that you shoot street, they immediately think you’re an amateur. Of course they might be right, but never mind that. The thing that so-called and especially “wanna-be” professional photographers fail to grasp is that most of us shoot street because it’s fun. We know it doesn’t generate income. We are fine with that…
I’ve been challenged by many photographers who swear they know composition, shooting strategy and have mastered editing. Most (and by most I mean none) don’t know that I also am sports photojournalist and have been doing it for years. My editing and delivery standards for my “pro” work is worlds apart from what I generate in my personal street projects. This leap in logic is apparently beyond the old film guys and young hustling coons I run across in various Facebook groups. They refuse to believe that people can enjoy being liberal in their artistic persuits, but be very conservative in their professional persuits. People do it all the time. Eddie Money was an honorable NYC cop before he became an 80’s radio rock overlord. It’s called balance.
Maybe I’m just upset that photographers love playing the critic role way too often, as if their own work is more than marginal or derivative. If you like shooting black and white photos of flowers 🌺 then that is entirely up to you. If I don’t like it I don’t feel the need to be critical of you. It’s your shit. Do you. I don’t have clairvoyance to be able to predict what great art will be. All I know is the rules and that I should break them whenever the fuck I feel like it….
I am team apple. I was a Microsoft/PC guy until 2009, mainly because I was broke, then I lost a book I was writing and an album I was working on (including the backup drive) due to a blue screen of death boot sector virus. This was perhaps my 4th Windows device to go belly up and it would be my last. It was an Acer laptop, for the record…..
Around December of 2009 I had windfall of sorts so I ordered my first MacBook, the white shiny one. I still have it. After that I bought the Apple Airport Express router and maybe a year later, after a frustrating time using my Blackberry for the internet, I stormed into Best Buy and purchased my first iPhone. I switched to AT&T that afternoon as well, leaving T-Mobile.
Following that I bought an iMac to process my photos (the MacBook is old now) and most recently I bought an iPad mini, which I’m using to compose this elegant, well written blog entry. When I bought my iPad mini I needed to migrate all of my iPhone stuff over so I took a class right there in the Apple Store after I made the purchase. The pretty blonde across from me was buying an Apple Watch. It was pink, the watch and band, matching her skull cap and other winter accessories.
“So do you have all the other apple stuff too? Laptops etc?” I asked.
She wrinkled her nose and smirked. “Yep.”
Her journey to the dark side was complete.
I don’t think I’ll get the Apple Watch. Of course, I said I’d never get the iPad mini either. Goddamn micro-struggle is real yo…..