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5 Things People Always Misunderstand About Photography

5 Things People Always Misunderstand About Photography

Photography, as a vocation, is one of the most popular and most commonly written about vocations at the moment. It has immense popularity with younger generations and has spread as a hobby for smartphone owners. This boost in popularity can be attributed to various apps and social media websites that are focused on easy sharing and simple, digital, premade editing solutions that usually come in the form of template settings.

I personally believe that this is great for photography as a whole. A lot of talented people that managed to go pro have started off this way and the whole culture and community benefited from this “hype” about photography. Furthermore, if we talk about how much you vocation makes you attractive, photography is really close to the top of the charts.

Still, even though photography is so popular, it is commonly misunderstood. This wouldn’t be that bad if it had no impact on the work people do, how they do it and what problems they run into. We are here to talk about things most professional photographers would like people to know.

1. You run into people that take your work lightly

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    Due to the fact that there are millions of photography pages out there, people naturally assume that anyone can do it. The general consensus of public opinion is inclined towards believing that all you need to do in order to turn pro when it comes to photography is a good DSLR and a lens or two. The thing is, photography is craft, science and art, combined into one.

    You don’t have to have a degree in photography to be considered a professional (although, admittedly, this helps) but you need to put in a lot of time learning, practicing, experimenting and then somebody comes along and says “Oh, what a great camera! It must snap great photos!”. Great photos don’t come from great cameras, otherwise we wouldn’t need photography as a vocation. It’s like saying: ”Oh, what a great guitar, it must play some awesome solos!”.

    2. You get robbed of work by amateurs

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      The amateur community gathered around photography is great and contributes to the entire thing quite a bit, however, a lot of amateur photographers promote themselves as pros all the while dropping prices of their services and taking work from real experts. Now, we all understand that everyone needs to earn some money and you can’t stop anyone from offering wedding photography services for 50 bucks but the price is very often reflected in the quality of the photographs.

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      This is where photography as a vocation gets its bad name. People who hire photographers need to know how to make a distinction between pros and amateurs. You can’t really blame photographers in general for your own bad choices when picking out business partners.

      3. You get few social signals due to copyright

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        The web is a great place for photographers to promote themselves. Social media and blogs are just some examples of opportunities for exposure. In recent years, a big topic for discussion was the use or more accurately, misuse of photographs in the online environment. Removing watermarks or doing some minor “edits” to the photo so you can use it as your own is just one example of the abuse their work endures and the losses they can take from this are truly significant. Still, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share somebodies photograph if you like it.

        You should also not avoid using photos in blog posts for example as long as you give credit where credit is due. Take a look at the galleries on most photography websites. Social media buttons are there to encourage sharing and make it easy for people to share what they like. It is a crucial way to get your name out there, especially in the beginning so don’t be afraid to promote your favourite shutterbug. Just don’t attempt to piggyback your way to profit on somebody else’s work.

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        4. You realize people don’t understand how broad photography is

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          Even though it has been in the spotlight for more than a few years, the public still isn’t quite aware in how many directions a career of a photographer can go and what it can include. The workday of a fashion photographer largely differs from that of a travel photographer and so do their skillsets. Sometimes, you need to have web related knowledge like with doing work for eShops. Optimizing photo size, quality, and the overall approach to the photo-shoot needs to be adapted to the environment for which they are intended. A common novice mistake is not realizing how much photos can impact the speed of a website, even your own! Now let’s move away from the web a bit and focus on travel photography.

          Constantly traveling for work purposes includes quite a bit of planning in order to keep the costs down, the timeline on track and your equipment safe. Travel photography includes more than snapping your camera at beautiful scenery all day long. Sometimes you get stuck in places where your personal safety comes into question. Due to the relative compactness and the high value of the equipment they carry with them, they are commonly targets for thieves so having some streetwise is a necessity.

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          *It’s not all fun and games (not for the faint of heart)

          This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the skills photographers need to have. It is far more than pointing a camera and snapping photos.

          5. You are asked to do pro bono work

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            This misunderstanding comes in two forms that are a bit different from each other. The first is the casual approach where acquaintances assume that you should take their photos since “it’s nothing to you really”. First thing’s first, with which other vocation is it common that you ask people to do their work on their free time? No matter how passionate you are about something, you still need a break from it to recharge your batteries with a bit of social time. This can be particularly annoying if you had a bad work day and we can all relate to this. Still, most photographers indulge their friends and take a few snaps but this doesn’t make it ok.

            On the other, more serious side of things there is the famous “work for portfolio business opportunity”. The assumption is that if you get to put your watermark on the photos you get the value of the work back in portfolio material. Let’s be honest, a photographer can create his or her portfolio without actually working for anyone. They do work to present their skill and creativity without any orders so this setup in which they do work for free and you give them the opportunity to brag that they worked for you is unfair and very discouraging.

            I could have gone for statistics here and studies to prove my point but I wanted to make a point that anyone, without any deep research could come to. Photography is not easy and it is not something just anyone can do! It requires a lot of work, big equipment investments, experience and a very diverse skillset. It is a profession worth your respect since you are enjoying the fruit of their labour on a daily basis!

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            Aleksandar Ilic

            Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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            Last Updated on March 13, 2019

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

            1. Work on the small tasks.

            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

            2. Take a break from your work desk.

            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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            3. Upgrade yourself

            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

            4. Talk to a friend.

            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

            7. Read a book (or blog).

            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

            8. Have a quick nap.

            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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            9. Remember why you are doing this.

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

            10. Find some competition.

            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

            11. Go exercise.

            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

            12. Take a good break.

            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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