Why You Should Consider Ditching The Word Photographer
Photography today involves much more than simply pointing a camera at a subject and pressing the shutter button. Modern photography requires an understanding of composition, lighting, color theory, and editing techniques to create stunning images that capture viewers' attention.
In addition to traditional photography skills, modern photographers must also understand how to use digital technology such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance their photos to the highest artistic level. As such, modern photographers are much more than just people who take pictures—they are visual artists who use their creativity and technical skill to create stunning works of art. Pay attention and embrace change if you want to run a photography business in 2023.
It seems that the title of "photographer" is becoming increasingly diluted. With the rise of digital manipulation, almost everyone with an iPhone thinks they can call themselves photographer.
But what really sets a professional photographer apart from the rest? Is it just the ability to take a technically well-composed photo? Or is there something more to it?
Photography isn't dying by any means, but the demands of imagery on social media require more than someone to take photos, especially with new trends in wedding photography and every other professional photography genre. I would argue that it's not just taking photos but rather creating images to create various styles of photography and blending many together in post. And this is where photographers should start calling themselves visual artists and embrace every art form.
Photography Is Dying & High-Quality Visual Arts Are Booming
Before you kill me for this statement, consider the trends of where we've come since the film days. In the days of film, there was only so much you could do with an image in post-production when you compare it to what you can do today. It was a thorough and lengthy process with many steps, long development times, and very costly fees. It was just as much technical as it was artistic. You couldn't afford to make a mistake at any step in the process.
Today, technology has allowed us to remove so many of these barriers and create RAW files and renders that give us a leg up on how far we can take an image.
Today I believe that this word "photographer" has become too diluted, and you should consider changing your title to something along the lines of Visual Artist or Visual Problem Solver. I'm open to suggestions.
Everyone is a photographer and billions of images are being created every day. It's easy to be one, and clients are paying you for easy problems. You have to be more than that if you want to spend the rest of your life getting paid to make images and earning a living at something as subjective as visual arts.
As clients see crazier and crazier ideas online, they will only hire the wedding photographer or commercial photographer that can execute for them, and they don't care how you made it.
Look at the definition of the word photographer:
- a person who takes photographs, especially as a job." a "freelance press photographer"
You can take a photo for someone and be their photographer, or create art and be an image maker using various tools at your disposal. This is especially true for portrait photographers or product photography.
The demands of what clients want and expect are changing with the times, so to be a successful photographer, you have to have the tools before the massive wave passes you by.
The Digital Composite Artist Is the first 3D Artist
We've taught many classes on Composite Photography and Composite retouching with incredible artists like Rennee Robyn and the GOAT Erik Almas. In almost every tutorial we've taught, there's been some form of composite art, and a lot of retouching. We've helped hundreds of thousands of artists build their online portfolio to reach more prospective clients.
In this process, a common denominator that these successful artists share is their ability to capture the ingredients of an image and execute a fairly complex retouching process in post-production to create exactly what their clients want. And arguably, this was the first form of CGI.
Consider something as simple as a product shot on a white background. The Photoshop process can change an image so much that almost none of the original RAW file is left. Literally, every Pixel has been manipulated, morphed, cloned, expanded, warped, moved, cloned again, brushed over, cut out, and repeated all over again. It doesn't matter what they did, the client only cares about the final result.
I'll argue that this was the actual first iteration of CGI and photographers didn't even know they were doing it, they were simply using the tool Photoshop in a way that allowed them to create a visual image that met their needs.
If you think about this, why wouldn't this be considered CGI? The mere definition says it is:
computer-generated imagery (special visual effects created using computer software)
We, as artists, are using a tool like Photoshop AKA "Computer" to generate imagery of things that aren't actually there or may have not been captured in your camera.
How to Succeed As A Photographer in 2023
If you want to work in photography with clients that continue to come back to you, you not only need the soft skills to run a company, but you’re going to need to know how to use these tools to create the best outcome with the least amount of energy.
With the right tools in your arsenal, you can be a successful photographer that works with clients that continue to come back to you. It’s not only about having the soft skills to run a company, but it’s also about being able to use these tools to create the best outcome for both yourself and your client.
CGI and new software are constantly being developed, so it’s important for photographers to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. That’s why we offer Maxon One– an online learning platform where you can learn all of the latest software used in the industry.
Whether you want to improve your 3D skills or become proficient in Cinema 4D, our team of experts is here to help. Sign up today and gain access to tutorials from some of the most talented professionals in the business.