I was about 1 minute into a video tutorial when I just looked at the finished image that the photographer created and I had a moment of clarity and I thought to myself “I really do not like that image” and I turned off the video. She hadn’t even started the tutorial. She (the photographer) was comparing the beginning photo to the end result of her technique and I have to say (in my opinion) it was horrible. I might add that this photographer has a portrait studio and claims that she provides these images to her clients. I’m thinking “really?” somebody paid you money to make them look like that. Wow!
I really do believe there is a lot of photography crap out there in cyber space at this time. It reminds me of when I was a young boy and I remember a science teacher talking about “space junk” left by all the different space missions. If you’re a photographer or Photoshop artist you most likely get similar emails and advertisements that chase you around on social media. You know the advertisements for the latest photo editing software, plugins or actions. While yes, some of it is good and I will admit some may actually be a necessity if you are editing to put money on the table. But there really is a lot of just plain old crap out there.
Like any line of business there is a lot of deception and photography is no different. Cameras and lenses are what they are, there really isn’t too much of a way around it. You either have a good camera, a great camera or a crappy camera and that’s that. But all the other stuff falls into that “do I really need this” category. I think we’ve all heard the term G.A.S. used for “Gear Acquisition Syndrome.” I first heard this years ago when I was an active guitar player. Many a musician has fallen victim to GAS and photographers are no different. But now there seems to be a sense that if you purchase the latest software or plugin your photos are going to be so much more than they used to be. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of good editing tools out there and some are actually needed if you are trying to achieve a specific look or end result but many of them are just a waste of time… and money.
Video tutorials are no different. This is kind of how I see it; so like about 5 to 7 years ago all these people went out and bought DSLRs and the next day they had business cards made claiming they were a “photographer” and now those same people are claiming to be a “renowned” photographer and they’re telling you “you need to know what I know” so give me your money… and only to find out this guy doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. Jay Maisel (who by the way is a photographer for real) said “take a look at what you’re looking at” and I have to say that is one powerful piece of advice. But the same holds true for making a purchase. Look at what you are buying; look at who is selling it. I get so turned off and pissed off at photographers who are out there teaching people techniques and claiming if you do this you will get great images… so you head off to look at their portfolio and you are astounded. Look at these images OMG I must have whatever he/she is selling… I wonder if I could buy some of their DNA OMG!!! But what you do not know is that their portfolio shots are all created on a “Medium Format” system and they may have had professional retouchers, lighting teams and so on. You are looking at a shot of a stunning model standing in the Dubai desert and thinking “wow” this is awesome. If I buy their “what nots” me and my T6i or D5500 are going to kill. Now hold on there scooter I wouldn’t say “kill” maybe maim or severely bruise, but that’s about it. Very deceptive to say the least. Webinars; I have partially sat through webinars hosted by software companies and the instructor is doing the same thing, he is editing a photo shot on a Hasselblad.
Who is the instructor? Now of course I am not going to name names here but some so called renowned photographers may have great portfolios and they’ll tell you about how they struggled to get a great shot of great landmark. When in reality we all know to get a great shot of a particular place you may have to go back several times and yes that could be a very big struggle for any “normal” working guy or gal. But you dig deeper to find out the photographer is really a wealthy person who can make those 25 trips to get a shot of Mabry Mill with no problem at all. Now don’t get me wrong I am not complaining about a wealthy person with a fancy camera; however I am complaining about anyone who claims to be something they clearly are not. You are not a struggling photographer if you can go trolloping off around the world anytime you like to capture a photo.
So yes there is a lot of deception and there is a lot of plain ole crap out there. I remember being a young naïve guy walking into my local health food store when I was about 21 years old. I was astounded to think “wow, look at all this healthy stuff” and I would think everybody should be here buying this “healthy” stuff. I soon made friends with the girl behind the counter. And as time went by I asked here out on a date. Then it hit me; oh no where do I take her for dinner? I know she will want eat healthy and I… well I eat pizza lol. I remember her uncle owned the health food store and he was a homeopathic doctor or something like that. But I just asked her what she would like to eat and she, like most 20 year old girls I knew said “Taco Bell” Taco Bell… OMG I thought… “What you thought I wanted to eat tofu” she replied. I just assumed you worked at a Health Food store so… She said “Rich 90% of that stuff is crap, even my uncle will tell you, it is all deceptive and it is only there because people ask for it.” What about my vitamins and organic pretzels? “They’re all good” she replied. But most everything there is crap. If it was all good nobody would be sick, dying, over weight or have cancer… so come on lets go have a beer” and yes she really did say that. And yes deception sells.