Professioal Photographer or Photoshopper

There was an interesting post on Facebook the other day questioning if a photographer who uses photoshop is actually a professional photographer or photoshopper. The question came that it should be captured correctly in camera and therefore you should not need photoshop.

I have to say that there may be merit to this comment on photography, however that is about all I would agree with. Unfortunately in this age, the modern camera is outstanding and is very affordable. The number of people picking up a camera and believing that there is a quick buck to be made out of photography is amazing. So if you are a photographer who does this for a living you have to separate yourself from the pack of happy snappers. This is achieved by the ability to “finish” the image, by covering to black & white, adding a texture or border, or bringing out the detail that is in the image. Producing an amazing print or album, something that has always been the photographic product, not a low res image on Facebook.

Unfortunately, a lot of the new breed of professional photographer believe that by undercutting other professionals is the way to a successful career. A basic understanding of f-stops, shutter speed and composition is not really needed as the camera does it all for you. An image that is correctly exposed with great use of the light and is well composed will stand out from the crowd because so few photographers actually know how to do these things. If you can then finish the image so that it looks like a work of art, then as a professional you will be miles in front of the pack.

So what is a professional photographer? To me it is someone who’s primary income is from photography. To do this, the skill set required is large. A basic understanding of all technical aspects of photography is essential, getting back to get it right in camera so that photoshop is only used to enhance the image, not “fix” it. A wide range of Photoshop skills so that the absolute best can be produced from the raw camera image. An understanding of colour balance and colour space to produce the best possible print of the image. And then a range of business skills to allow the growth of the business. Marketing, sales, accounting, networking, cash flows etc. are required to be a successful photographer. Not an easy job, but definitely worth it.

Watch this space, Leiden Studios is going to embark on an adventure aimed at the beginner to intermediate photographer.