Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Equipment and education… yes they matter!


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    mmm, no I don’t think Archy is a troll. In fact, I have to agree with him on certain points.I think you are trying to boast that you are better than a fauxtog. I hope you are, if you’re in this business! Regardless, the test you present shows no valid point. Maybe next time, you can find an amateur with a point n’ shoot, an intermediate level with the rebel, and an actual pro. Have em stand in the same point, shoot the same subject, may I sugest a static object like a statue or some flowers. And have each person bring what ever equipment they want. But you know what? It would be a waste of time. We already know who’s going to do a better job. Hence, this post isn’t really that enlightening, or educational. Convince you’re clients why you’re talent is more artistic than others in your area. We already know fauxtogs suck, and can spot em miles away.


    PS, I  HATE dutch angles…true mark of a fauxtog. I’d avoid them in the future if I were you…maybe stick to the rule of 3rds for a while.


    Dutch angles are actually one of the things I’m doing less of. A photographer I used to work for (very successful, great photographer) used them a lot which may be where I got it from. Still, I stand behind my idea that using them in some cases works and does improve a photo, and that is where I’m going to dictate their use in the future. In other cases not so much, and I’ve been guilty of using them in some of those cases. I hope you’re not implying that I don’t know how to use the rule of thirds though. Most of my images exhibit a good use of that, though there are many times I purposely break that rule. It all depends on visual weight; color, contrast, and organic/inorganic shapes I use to guide a viewer’s eyes to the subject. I understand that one person may see an image in a different way than another person. Art does not necessarily have to look one way because a viewer’s own life experiences most often dictate how they view art. I know this is a broad statement, but just because one person may hate an image (like Archy says he/she hates the image of the husband framed by the bride walking down the aisle) you should also remember there are countless people who LOVED that image for the same reasons I did. The visual weight is pulled slightly in two directions. As humans our eyes tend to go to faces naturally, and though her dress is white, the shapes and lines curve to frame his face. Just look through wedding photos on Flickr or other sites. You will see many uncommon images that people love because there is an element of surprise to them. Photographers can benefit greatly with some education in art outside of photography. Many of us (well, all of us) should have the artistic “gene” already, but art courses do help us realize why something is art vs. not art.

    Archy, you’re accusing me of being condescending and trying to assert myself as better than everyone else. I bet your masters degree in progress makes you feel on top of the world (I do not have a masters degree.)

    Also, yes, second shooter. The owner never met me before. My friend is his top shooter (3 hours away from where I live). He hired me based on the recommendation from my friend after one of his other employees could not commit to that date, and was very pleased with the decision. He offered me a job if I would move there, but for now I told him if he schedules weddings closer to me I’d be willing to shoot those. I’ve only posted two of the images I shot that day. (His studio holds the copyright but he has allowed me to edit and use my own in my portfolio.) I consider this quite an honor since he is probably one of the pickiest photographers I’ve ever heard of and all of the accreditation he’s received on a national level.  If you’d like to see more of them on his website, here is the album. About half of the photos in this album were shot by me, and the other half by the primary shooter. The studio owner did all the editing on these. (Oh, and for anyone who wants to jab at the dutch angles, both of us used that type of composition.) http://nickandmelissa.martinusphotography.com/#/wedding/

    And, no, these threads are not linked from any of my business or portfolio pages. I’ve linked my work to this site. This site is to vent about all the horrible fauxtogs, and that’s what we’re doing. And yes to some degree fauxtogs do harm business for good photographers. At least initially, until people who hire them find they hate all the photos and decide they should have paid a little more money to go to someone who knows what they’re doing.


    Also, Archy, LOVED your little jab “Maybe you’ll find something you’re good at one day.” It was so damn sweet of you to imply I’m not and never will be good at photography. You can feel however you want, but I know already that I’m great at it and will only continue to do better.


    if you want to keep taking me seriously it’s all on  you. I don’t particularly care for your “art” at all, but understand that some people ARE into what you do (great was a little too much for me though. adequate, yes. Great? no…not really) . My point this entire time is that you have sown some bad seeds and are bound to reap the bad that comes of them. I don’t particularly like your bride photo, but I don’t honestly hate it as much as I say. (if it was mine, speaking as a client, i’d crop out the bride part entirely and risk the resolution difference when i printed it. Try it for yourself, print that bad boy out poster size and see how much you like it) My intentions are for you to get a taste of your own medicine, and  you behaved just like every other so called fauxtog who has been called out on their shoddy work, by defending it and finalizing the argument with “everyone has their own taste” (paraphrased quote, obviously)


    And you misinterpreted the comment about my master’s thesis. I do not think I am better than anyone, (on a personal level, yes, I am VERY proud, I worked harder than you can ever imagine to get here (and that’s “you” as in….general “you” not…you as in browneyedgirl)) I was illustrating that I have different priorities. I don’t want to be a photographer, I just want to enjoy it as my hobby. Of course I take pictures that I’m particularly proud of, but I don’t have a reason to upload or share them because I have no intention or reason of advertising myself as an accomplished photographer.

    There are people out there without any level of college education who have done much more than I’ve done. There was a 7th grade girl who cultured her own bacteria that eats plastic at a rate 5 times faster than normal biodegradation. There are tons of high school kids who can build and program their own robots. I’ve seen artwork on society 66, done by kids who never went to college, that will blow your mind. A lot of modern math theories were fathomed by people who had no college education.Genetics was first studied by a monk with very little education (I’m sure that one everyone remembers from high school biology. punnet squares? fruit flies? peas? anyone?). Obviously you can do great things without going to graduate school or even college at all ( but , you know, knowledge is power!), I was just, as you’d say, illustrating a point.

    I never said anything about you being second shooter, good for you, in fact. That one was serious. Those opportunities are nice and there’s no harm in taking them and no shame in it either. The only reason it was scrutinized was because you made such a big deal out of it, as if it was the be all end all gig of a lifetime.

    My honest (and not B***H) suggestion to you is to just stop criticizing others from this point on. Fauxs only truly compete with fauxs. You say they harm the business but realize they messed up and get a real photographer afterwards. Let them make that mistake, prove that you are better by your work not your words. I think anyone can excel and be great, but you are retarding your progress by letting yourself become frustrated enough to try and sabotage others’ businesses. If you are sincerely just trying to become the best photographer you can be, then the business part of it shouldn’t be a factor in your journey there.


    Final thought : if you are concerned enough to take back your business from other fauxs pimp yourself out as a second tog to them. Most will take it as a compliment and will let you come along and boast about how good they’ve gotten to the point where other people want to study under them. If they are as inexperienced as you say they won’t write up a contract to claim copyrights to your images, nor will your images become part of the clients package. Show the customer your images when all is said and done, indicate that you were not part of the package and that you are priced separately and you run your own business but had been there for training purposes. If you are as good as you claim to be you’ll have just stolen one of their clients.


    Obviously you can do great things without going to graduate school or even college at all ( but , you know, knowledge is power!)

    Wasn’t that the main point of the original post? That having an education in photography and using the proper tools will give a large boost to your execution of photography?

    I would say it could even be paraphrased very close to “Knowledge coupled with good equipment is Power”.


    @Stef, yes it was. While education isn’t always everything, generally speaking, a person with an education (not necessarily from a college, could be seminars, webinars, apprenticeship/learning under someone, or large amounts of self-study) IS going to produce higher-quality work than someone who just has a vision and nothing else. Same for proper equipment. You can be educated to no end in photography but if you’re shooting with a point-and-shoot you’re just not going to achieve your potential. Same can be you can  have the most expensive camera and lens that exists but if you’re shooting on Auto it won’t make a difference. You may, however, have that “one guy” somewhere with his phone camera who happens to capture the most amazing photo of all time. Unlikely, but not impossible. (Let’s say a huge meteor struck earth and sent buildings flying up in balls of fire, and only one person got it on camera, and it happened to be a phone) lol.


    haha, statement kind of stolen out of context, stef, but you are right nevertheless.



    how about if one’s low, fixed income (disability) prevents investing in equipment and education?
    Am I, with my Rebel XS – avec kit lens and older 75-300mm – doomed to indefinite fauxtog status?
    This is a catch-22 for me: I can’t expect to make money without good gear and training,
    and I can’t afford them without making money.

    At this point I feel I might as well settle for ‘serious amateur’…

    In all honesty, it’s daunting to hear friends & relatives urging me to open up shop when I’m utterly unprepared for that. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t market myself as a pro; never did – I just sold some pictures people liked. I know I have a lot to learn, but given my situation the best I can do is just keep taking pictures and compare them to my earlier shots, as well as read online tutorials.

    That Olympus C8080WZ served me very well. Not bad for the $50 I paid!
    Still, I don’t need to hear how it’s not enough if I don’t have the top of the line products or software, or have taken extensive classes.
    I’m open to critiques, tho’ as I say right now I feel it’s wiser to just relax and enjoy the camera, rather than stress myself out about what I don’t have.


    Kim, there is formal education, and informal education.  Thomas Edison didn’t read a book about how to build a light bulb, and he didn’t take a class about it in university either.  That does not mean he was not educated and by the time he had worked out the details, he was the world’s foremost authority.

    There are all kinds of classes, tutorials, seminars, discussions and so on, on the Internet.  Your challenge is to find the time to view them all and determine which contain useful information and which were not worth viewing.  I recall school being a bit like that too.

    Hardware has limitations, better hardware has fewer limitations.  If I can take a photo of anything, anywhere, I can get a good photo out of my cell phone.  If I have to take a photo of  a bride and groom in a dark church and flash is not allowed, then I want a 5D Mk III or a 1Dx and a lens that opens up to f/1.2 or f/1.4 so I can boost ISO, and shoot wide open to get  a reasonable shutter speed.  It is a case of working with what you have or getting what you need depending on circumstances.


    @Kim, I agree with cameraclicker. No you’re not doomed to fauxtog status, but you undoubtedly are limited to the quality you can produce with that equipment. Still, that doesn’t stop you from taking some great photos for yourself, and no one’s stopping you from advertising that you can do some shoots for a lower cost due to not having top-of-the-line equipment. As for education, you don’t HAVE to go to college. While I take great value in the education on photography and digital software I did learn in college, it is entirely possible to learn this elsewhere. I do know some very successful photographers who are self-taught; though, it takes a lot more trial and error and a lot more discipline to push yourself to learn. They used the internet and books a lot and attended seminars. The latter is just less intensive and takes more time and your own discipline. If someone with an older Rebel and a not-so-great kit lens is advertising that they’re just as good as the well-established pros and charging the same, it’s kind of false advertising. But like I said earlier, a person with solid knowledge and experience can shoot with a Rebel and get some great photos. But you do have those limitations like cameraclicker suggested. You’re just not going to get a quality photograph in a dimly-lit church at a wedding with that particular equipment.


    how about if one’s low, fixed income (disability) prevents investing in equipment and education?

    I say that you haven’t thought about how to make it work. If you have $200, you are not prevented from investing in GOOD equipment. If you have a local library with internet, you’re not prevented from investing in education.


    Estate sales especially have great prices on amazing film cameras. I’ve bought several lately. Many have amazing lenses. Plus, shooting film is becoming a niche market these days. There is a small extra cost for film, development, and scanning, but you also save money by having negatives which are automatically an archival backup of your files.



    A quick way to earn equipment is to hire some. and put it in your cost under gear hire.

    That was the principle of how I started getting gear.

    I bought a rebel  (baack in the day) and when i had gigs, I hired the 35mm and the 70-200. (get great results)
    Then when i bought the 35mm, the 70-200, i started hiring 7d’s (ill get even better results)
    Then when i bought the 7d and I started hiring the most beautiful glass like Zeiss Prime lenses mmmm.
    and when I bought more gear, i now play with a 5d Mkiii and i’m happy at this place for a while.


    @soaringturkeys, by hire, do you mean rent? I had also borrowed/rented bodies and lenses on specific occasions. With the money earned from using the good equipment, I was able to then buy such equipment. Slow process but it’s not instant (unless you are rich). Someone accused me earlier of “falling into a bit of money and buying a bunch of expensive equipment” which isn’t true. I’ve been struggling a lot and have bought some equipment on payment plans and have been using my profits to pay this off.


    hi Stef,
    that’s just it: I absolutely do not have $200; for that matter, I get less than that after rent and bills are paid, and I still need groceries. The equipment I have is gifts, with the exception of the Olympus I got for $50. I’m not whining – this is my reality and I accept it – just telling you how it is at my end.

    free online tutorials and library books are definitely the way I’ve been going. I do try to make use of them whenever possible. I just finished reading a book given to me by a friend ‘The Moment it Clicks” by Joe McNally. I totally agree with you about that.

    I’m sorry if I’m not understanding you right, but I keep getting the impression you’re thinking I advertise myself as a pro. Again, correct me if I’m mistaken. There’s no way I would, at my present skill level, market myself as a wedding photographer. It’s just how it was worded, I guess.  🙂

    I like the idea of renting equipment, and if I eventually come into a more financially sound situation, there’s a place near me which has this service.

    All of you are correct that there are alternative routes available. My point was actually that I don’t want to pressure myself to advance to anything pro when what I really enjoy is just the process of taking pictures.
    Incidentally, I was urged to get on this site, and I’m glad I did, but the person who so strongly encouraged me is not letting up; now she’s on at me about taking community college classes.
    I told her to pay my way.

    That shushed her..

    Thank you to all the commenters. I guess in a nutshell, my wish is to know all I can in my present circumstances, gaining mastery as I go along at my own pace, receiving pointers and ideas, and sharing this enthusiasm of photography with like-minded.

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