Sunday, July 12, 2009
TANSTAAFL - the GWC edition
Ok I debated whether I was going to post this and I sat on my hands for a couple of days. But here goes. With grown up language too for those sensitive....
If you want my help or advice or hints or tips or tricks when it comes to photography, its not free. I don't mind helping some of my friends now n then. But regularly people - photographers and those who are GWCs (guys with cameras) - I meet online who are all 'where's this location, where's that location?' 'Can you give me some advice on how to shoot nudes?' 'Can I tag along and watch you work' 'Whats your secret to meeting beautiful tattoo'd models?' 'What do you think of my 50 photos here and any suggestions to improving them?' 'Any idea how to make a photoshop effect for (fill in the blank)?' ...
The answers are Not Telling, Shoot Some, No, Talking to them, Not much & shoot more, and Yes I do.
You know what? Do it yourself. Try this: Go for a fucking walk for three hours, get mosquito bitten, or soaked feet, sun burned, or frost bitten, and find some location you can call yer own. That's how I do it. I have spent a shit load of time walking, hiking, and used up tanks of gas driving around scouting locations. Going down side roads or off the beaten path from here to the BC interior, to the top end of Newfoundland and back. And not to mention all over the local London area.
If you can't find anywhere else in the city to shoot pics except for that alley downtown everyone and their mother has shot someone in, then you have two options. Shoot there, and your client's or model's friends can go something like, "Suzy, isn't that the alley Mike Wood shot photos of Maggie in?" And your model can then be bummed cuz you didn't bother to find a special unique place to take her photos that could be their spot. Option two is you can tie up the laces on yer Converse kicks go find some spot of your own.
I have found some really great nooks n crannies to shoot in - and several no longer exist. Some, such as the abandoned pool most recently, were completely flukes to find. But I was the one to find the spot and not you. I am sure you all have cool fav buildings, walls, dirt roads, parking lots, farmers fields, rooftops etc of your own - and I am not saying that completely sarcastically. You want to trade something I would remotely find useful for some information then we can talk. But really, I'm not getting much out of the deal so I probably won't bother.
I'm not your photography teacher, travel guide, or model agency. There are people who get paid for that. I don't. And frankly I don't have the time for it. I'm all for you having some deserved success - if its deserved and not because you have a golden horseshoe up yer ass. And not because you couple your mediocre skills with being well connected.
You don't see Honda asking Nissan for advice on their instrument panel design. Or MAC cosmetics being asked by Cover Girl what their secret is to getting their products loved so much. What those businesses do instead is something called research. And a helluva lot of it. R&D budgets can be enormous. Mine is not. But for the time, money and effort I do put into it, the results should be mine to reap, and not yours to step in and harvest.
I am self taught. I didn't go to school for this.
I have shot well over 150,000 pictures in the last six or seven years I would imagine by now.
Thousands of hours editing and learning how to edit.
I learned by doing. And I keep learning everyday.
I found locations by exploring a lot.
I have sat on my ass till it was numb in front of my computer and researched online any number of aspects of photography to death: ideas, equipment, lighting, everything is out there.
Google does work. So does going to Chapters. Dummies Guides are not just for dummies...
Oh, and I met models by, guess what? Meeting them. Get out of your momma's basement and talk to someone instead of poaching someone else's contacts they have cultivated because its easier to do that. And yes, that's happened to me several times now.
Whether I am successful or not at this point with my photography, I desperately want to be. I am having serious long term doubts as to whether I will ever get the recognition and financial compensation I would like for what I have invested to this point in my art. Curiously, I would like to have some of your success, and not just have my carcass picked clean by vultures before they move on.
So GWCs wanting the easy way into shooting photos and making money doing it, and not wanting to put their time in and figure out on their own or in a class how shallow DoF is great for portraits or what the rule of thirds is, or an ISO is for that matter, or that RAW is arguably better than JPEG, or that shooting fast moving objects requires a fast shutter speed, or that Photoshop layers are great... can ask someone else for info instead. Maybe join a camera club.
Like Harlan Elison said, a lot of you piss me off when you want something from me for free. I know that sounds cold, and I think my friends out there will know that this is not directed at them, but when it comes down to it being either you or me making a buck of my work and efforts, I have more than a slight bias towards me.
In a very much not enlightened Buddhist like conclusion, I will get down to brass tacks here: If You are the competition, You are in My way. So don't expect me to help you.
Mike Wood Photography
Posted by Mike Wood at 20:50