A day in the life of a commercial photographer

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Eric Rose, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Check out this blog post. It accurately describes what todays medium sized commercial photographers do. Keep in mind there is a difference between wedding/family photographers and commercial photographers. The old days of being specialized in only still or video is over. You are expected to be a professional in both camps if you want to stay in business.

    https://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2018/09/interesting-how-support-equipment-is.html
     
  2. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    Excellent link..thanks. Sounds like this guy isn't so much a "commercial photographer" as an event photographer. In dinosaur times (mine) "commercial" for dozens of peers meant studio or location work: products, models, food, executives/employees. iPhones own most food work today (always mediocre).
     
  3. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa Member

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    I've followed Kirk Tuck's blog in the past, and my impression is that he is a commercial photographer.
    Anyway, enjoyed his writing.
     
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    Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Back in my day we had Industrial photographers, Commercial Photographers and then Wedding/Family photographers. Kirk does 95% of his work in the Industrial and Commercial categories.

    I love his blog as it talks about photography from a working professionals point of view.
     
  5. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    Right. No reason to worry about labels. I enjoy his perspective...not much like mine was.

    He doesn't have to call Speedy Messenger Service to send to or retrieve film same day from his E6 lab. :laugh:
     
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    Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    He use to, as we all did.
     
  7. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    That article is why photography is a hobby for me: that guy's job as a photographer does not seem enjoyable at all.

    Cull 300 photos from 750 in under three hours - not for me.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    yup
     
  9. tezzasmall

    tezzasmall Member

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    I agree with your first line. It sounds much too stressful to be enjoyable.

    And as for the second line, I would not and have not in the past (mostly at weddings) 'machine gunned' hundreds of exposures, in what ever format I have used ie film or digital. I was brought up helping a pro wedding photographer in the late 70's, mostly at weekends. I did this whilst I was still at school. We shot no more than 4 (yes FOUR) 12 exposure rolls of 120 print film on two tlr's to cover a whole wedding, so every exposure had to count. I have carried on this tradition with my shooting today - a practice that is totally lacking now, especially with digital photographers, pro and amateur, that I have seen and read about.

    Terry S
     
  10. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I operated in the same exact way, with the same quantity of film, in the same decade. I had an agreed upon list of shots with the client, and I delivered, Unfortunately, the market is very, very different now. This practice would never sell, either with film or digital (at least in the USA). And don't forget video!
     
  11. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    Today's demands are different. These days, brides expect 100's of photos of their wedding. They want photos of each guest and every possible combination of guests. It's ridiculous. They also don't want to spend much time staging any photos. So getting the traditional shots can be a real pain. It's all really ridiculous now. And that's why digital is pretty much a must at modern weddings. You are also expected to edit 100's of photos, which takes forever. And that means you can't be taking too many bad photos, because you never know which ones will wind up getting passed around on social media, which can speak very ill of your business if you're not careful. And they actually want watermarks on their photos (in the bottom corners)!

    Combine that with the low pay, intense work load, and having to deal with everyone else who thinks they're also the official photographer, and it's just not worth it. Not to me. I've shot a few weddings for friends, and even those low pressure environments have put me off ever wanting to do that for a living.

    I'm have a side job as a graphic designer, so I've also done a bunch of product photography. That's just as bad. The pay is terrible. The work load is crazy. And the clients can't make up their mind on anything. Even if you have a written contract, companies these days will try to squirm out of their end of the agreement, thinking you won't want to go through the hassle of taking them to court. It's especially bad when the person who hired you and signed the contract isn't the person in charge and writes your check.
     
  12. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    A client of mine who does amazingly well doing weddings shoots over 10 000 frames with assistant and a few cameras on a wedding... I cannot fathom what that day is like as well the post work she does, I think she deserves every penny she makes, I started as a wedding photographer, I liked it for awhile but got bored with the job, we had set image to take back then and if I shot over 130 image on a wedding my boss would freak..
     
  13. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Yes, things are different 50 years later. Big surprise.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    not even 50 >>> 20-25 years later...
     
  16. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    I was responding to his 1970s wedding photography practice. Having gotten married in the 1970s and having attended others, I can assure readers that shooting four 12 exposure rolls was not the norm. Perhaps he didn't attend the reception afterwards.
     
  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    We shot about 13-15 rolls per wedding of 120 on Hasselblad, There were some that did more but one needs to figure in the cost of film, process, proofing back then most shooters were frugal and had their shot program memorized.
    At my shop we processed, proofed and printed all the work and this is where I learned dodge and burn on 5 x7 prints.


    I have never seen a wedding album that is culled down from thousands of frames , not even sure if the clients get wedding albums these days or just the jpegs.
    I remember a guy by the name of Rocky Gunn who started the machine gun style of shooting weddings but he charged big time for his services and could afford the mass of film and proofs.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    In the 70s I used to average between 96 medium format shots to 144 shots per wedding.
     
  19. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Yes , each frame had to be good to bring it down to a book of 60 prints
     
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    Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    These days all the newlyweds want is a disk it seems.
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I used to provide an album with 12 pages in my standard package.
    I would then work with the clients in their decision respecting how many pages consisted of one 8"x10", two 5"x7" or four 4"x5" prints.
    Clients could order extra pages, and often did.
    Clients could order extra prints, and often did.
    And clients could buy some or all of the 6"x6" proofs, and often did.
    It worked in the context of the Vancouver area wedding market.
    And wouldn't work in the current market.
    One caveat though - I tend to bring a camera when I attend a wedding as a guest. The last time I did so with a medium format camera (a Mamiya 645 Pro), I got my old pro lab to develop and give me 4"x5" proofs. The bride and groom were considerably more impressed with my "proofs" than the digital and printed proofs they received from the photographer they hired - their comment about mine: "they are so clear!". That photographer's work was quite decent, but it was clear that they had economized on the proofs they delivered. I expect that approach to proofs is a consequence of the current market forces.
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    and a multi media show.
    a friend used to shoot DV and 8mm
    made some beautiful movies.
    one of his wedding clients was like
    "WTF this looks like a home movie!"
    and he said" that's right, it does" :wink:
     
  23. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    What is a disk?
     
  24. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    The commercial/industrial photographers I know (working for major retail brands and shopfronts) have Business/Marketing degrees additional to their foundation skills in photography. That is pretty much the way it has been for at least 20 years. Being a good photographer is nowhere near enough to be successful without solid business acumen.
     
  25. tezzasmall

    tezzasmall Member

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    No, we did attend the reception (but not the getting ready, which seems to be the norm now a days), for the cutting of the cake and a few posed and candid pictures. He used to get the films processed at a pro lab and then trim them down a little and then dry mount them all to go into an album, with all the prints being the same size. A photo in the local paper was also included in the price. He also got someone to dry and mount behind glass, the brides bouquet, as an extra. This was really popular and looked really nice, but I've never seen this option offered for decades...?

    At a family wedding in Scotland in the 80's, a young lady took MF pictures of just the ceremony and party afterwards. She drove a lovely bright red sports car and one knew why when you saw her prices!

    And yes, I've also done a few gifts of prints of weddings for friends over the years and like Matt, they preferred my pictures to the official photographer's. That's what made me realise that I enjoyed doing wedding photography.

    Obviously things have changed with digital and even back then, different photographers offered different packages at various prices.

    Terry S
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sounds like they know what they are doing !
    when i did the assisting route, i worked for someone
    who couldn't even figure out how to pay his gas bill ..
    he didn't have the need for business sense since he came
    from "olde monie "
     
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