четвъртък, 10 август 2017 г.

Photographer ≠ a single profession

When I was at high school, I was hopeless at Physics. Nothing could make me understand the equations or memorize the formulas.

Later on, when I took up photography, I found out that contrary to all logic (and most of my preferences) it is all Physics. Light angles, reflections, lenses, mirrors. What was not logic, was technical staff (I was never a tech-bimbo but I've never been a sys-admin either). So, willy-nilly, I learned about Physics and camera parts, how they work together and so on.

Later still, I discovered that being a photographer mean much more than randomly snapping at things around you.

So, I decided to compile a list of all the things a photographer has to do (that photographer is me, by the way) for all those who think taking a picture is a piece of cake and that sums up being a photographer.

You need to know:
  • some information about the thing: ideally the historical, cultural and anthropological background of the place - that includes having MORE THAN BASIC idea of archeology, architecture, warfare, social and cultural history, ethnic groups and the list goes on and on and on.
  • some social skills - to talk to people and make them pose for you or even to get some information from them.
  • camera equipment handling - this means knowing your gear inside out and being able to work with it with your eyes closed. Plus, you are expected to work and 'be fluent' in more than one brand and its specifics - I've had to use five different brands. You need to know about lenses, tripods, filters and so on and so forth.
  • posing 
  • event shooting and how to behave at that time
  • lighting (studio lighting, I mean)
  • your rights and the laws about copyright, private property and photography of the respective country - so that you don't get into trouble.
  • some social networking skills (Facebook and Instagram at least) and SEO (search engine optimization) in order to promote your work.
  • sales and marketing skills to get yourself some clients.
  • html codes - because at some point you'll need a website
  • blogging to tell your story to the world.
  • graphic design - because of the two above and the demands of your clients
  • post-processing (on more than one type software)
  • videography and video retouching
  • sound editing (because you never know)
  • licensing and copyright - so that you know which kind of license you lent whom, why and for how long. I mention it again, but it differs in different countries
  • printing, color spaces and different materials - this is separate because it is a whole domain in post-production
  • networking - you never know who will be useful for what
  • presentation skills - for obvious reasons such as portfolio display
  • first aid and basic survival skills - everything can happen on location and you need to keep yourself and the people around you safe
  • writing - you'll need to write at least the titles of your images and that is not always easy
  • basic self-defense - which includes a lot of common sense and self preservation instinct
  • basic meteorology - to know which weather causes what and how to handle that.
This list can go for a long time and I intend to update it. Point is, that unlike most people who get a single profession, specialize for it at university for some time and then go on working in that field without having to learn new things which have nothing to do with their domain, photographers have to do that all the time.

Photography means much more than just clicking a shutter.