The following pages - my ramblings if you like - are jottings of things that occur and then have to be set down somewhere before the memory fades. They may be my thoughts or things that I have noticed written by others that either reflect my way of thinking or deserve a wider audience.
Never in the history of photography has there been more turbulent, uncertain times than today for professional photographers. Ten or so years ago, when most of us were in the throes of finally changing over to digital, our main competition was other professionals - photographers who had worked hard, amassed knowledge, honed their skills, invested in equipment and above all gained vital experience over the years. Now that everyman, and woman, has a so-called professional camera (iPhone) our main competition now comes from inexperienced, twenty-somethings who live at home, use the 'Bank of Mum & Dad', don't have a mortgage but believe that they have the experience to compete. Of course their rates will be cheaper as they have no overheads.
Furthermore, they seem happy to work for 'exposure' - the promise of credits, links or whatever to 'showcase' their work. I tried purchasing my weekly grocery shop the other day by offering free exposure to Tesco. I endeavoured to purchase a new Nikon D5 in exchange for offering to showcase Nikon's excellent products. Guess where I got?
With mortgages to pay and immense levels of investment in equipment we can't possibly compete on an equal footing in a world where experience seems to count for so little today. Even my client base reflects this paradigm shift as the perception of image quality drops to match the quality offered by cheap-shooters. Of course it would be foolish to suggest that there are not good, perceptive, intelligent clients out there who do still have good money to pay a worthwhile rate for the photography that they need - but there are far fewer than ten years ago.
Are there up and coming young photographers with excellent portfolios? Of course there are, and more power to them as healthy competition is essential, but experience is still a valuable commodity that should figure high in a client's list of requirements. Is this just sour grapes and wallowing in self-pity by me and my ilk? I'd like to think not and that quality, like cream, will always rise to the top.
The key, of course, is to continue to learn and enjoy a job such as ours, where every day is different and challenging.
Over the next few pages you will read about the change in attitudes to software, tests and trials (so essential to maintain the leading edge), comparisons with new and old equipment and ventures that may, or indeed may not develop into something tangible.
Ramblings - The Wayward Thoughts of a Photographer