I have heard several professional photographers make comments to the effect that in order to stay competitive, you have to go digital. The simple amount of effort and time that they save calls for it. Take an example - wedding photographs. Recently I have seen people go positively ga-ga over some B&W (mor like gray&gray..but whatever) pictures included with thank you notes from weddings they attended. Apparently B&W is all the rage now in weddings (again...). I took one look at the photo and asked "Did this come as backing in a dollar store frame?" - and everyone was offended. The photo was pure $h!t, as were the other B&W photos that all these people were oozing about. My point? Most people on this site, even beginners like I, would takeone look, from quite far, and not care to use these "prints" to paper train their dog, lest the k9 have psychological scarring. BUT NO ONE ELSE SEEMS TO NOTICE OR CARE!!!
Therefore, as a proffesional wedding photographer, do I invest in a decent DSLR and a copy of Photoshop, buy a printer or find a place that has a good one, or do I buy film, pay someone to process it (most of these guys don't have the time to do their own darkroom stuff, or its not their forte), wait for the negs, study the proof sheets, send them back to a custom lab, etc etc, and so on and so forth? How long does it take for that crappy digi-gizmo to pay itself off? And the fact that you can have the results back to the bride before the initial euphoria wears off, and she realizes that there actually is NO way to make her look like the cover of Brides Monthly or whatever fantasy she managed to cram her portly frame into for the duration of the period of suspended reality she calls a wedding?
Bite the bullet, buy digital and count the money. Not to mention press photogs with their deadlines and logistical problems (especially foreign correspondace type stuff, I assume).
And if they still like film, if they still, after all that time, get that huge kick from seeing that image come up in a tray... well, they join our ranks here at APUG - namely those who try as they might, will never sustain an industry that is used to being in the big leagues.
The only bright side is, that as Flotsam pointed out very astutely, we will sustain an industry - just not the one that is currently out there. It will be a more costly, luxury and leaisure oriented industry akin to those who make brushes and paints, etc.
The only other hope is this - if we all spin it right, traditional photography will become the Evian (ever spelled that one backwards?) water of picture taking. It will be cool, or fashionable to have a "silver print" of your wedding. It will become something to be seen with - like a handbuilt car, or a cedar yacht. I just don't know if then the cure won't worse than the disease...
Couple of points here. First, badmouthing another professional's work will not impress anyone - OK to take out one of your prints, show it to people and invite them to compare it with work by someone else that you don't think much of, not good to express yourself in the terms you have chosen.
Originally Posted by gnashings
Point 2 - there are people in this world (particularly analog photo fanatics) who will apply rigid technical standards to prints (must have an area of maximum black, must have an area of almost paper-base white). These criteria can be virtually meaningless to the public at large, who may find this kind of print too harsh and a technically "wrong" print (gray-to-gray) better. The achievable tone scale with digital b+w is virtually the same as with silver-based prints - in my personal case, I have not developed digital b+w printing skills to the degree where I can do the same as in the darkroom in terms of dodging and burning, so the darkroom has an edge - the public really don't care. Shots such as "Twilight, Minnis Bay" in my APUG gallery I take (on film) with the intention of making a fiber-based darkroom print, in the vast majority of cases I end up printing digitally (and selling). For wedding photography, speed of proofing is a strong argument in favour of digital, you are unlikely to want the archival qualities and ability to print very big which film could give you.
PS: Don't want to labor the point, but overweight and not outstandingly attractive people looking for a fantasy experience on their wedding day are your CUSTOMERS! Given your evident attitude to people of this kind, are you sure you want to be a wedding photographer at all?
Last edited by David H. Bebbington; 06-22-2005 at 11:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
[QUOTE=Point 2 - there are people in this world (particularly analog photo fanatics) who will apply rigid technical standards to prints (must have an area of maximum black, must have an area of almost paper-base white). These criteria can be virtually meaningless to the public at large, who may find this kind of print too harsh and a technically "wrong" print (gray-to-gray) better.[/QUOTE]
My wife is always telling me to not talk about my work with a customer. I seem to be my worse critic.
I think you're missing the point here--these prints you describe them as being included in a "thank you" note--are most likely not meant to be a finer-art masterpiece. 99.9% of them will wind up being stored promptly in the vertical file.
Originally Posted by gnashings
As for wedding photography--like any other profession there are all different levels. I would not criticize so quickly--without the benefit of standing in their shoes. I don't consider myself a wedding photographer, but like many other working photographers, I've done my share. Yeah--I've shot them in b/w as well.
When it comes to printing--it's no different than other commercial work. You can elevate it to a "fine art" level--but to make it as a living you need to prioritize the prints. The first round of proofs will be straight prints. If a lab does them--this often means a machine print. Even if you make them by hand with a machine, or by trays--you cannot proof dozens of rolls of film and have each frame be a masterpiece. You will never get them done, never make any money, and in the end, nobody cares because it's a proof. It will not be a great looking b/w print. The final prints will be. That is all that matters. Nobody cares about the quality of the proof. That's the point of the proof--to help with the edit. If a client can read a contact shet with the skill of the photographer--the proof print would never get made. If they knew how to read a negative, then the contact wouldn't even have to made.
So--forgive for sounding like a hardass, but complaining about a flat proof print, or a print put in a thank you note, is a little out of touch. I also agree with the others about tonality. One of my jobs before scanners, was to "print for reproduction"--this meant I had to print a certain way to be able to compress the tones in the print so they wouldn't get lost through the halftone screens. It's a full range print, but flat almost.
Nobody cares about that, when they look at a print on the wall or their refrigerator door. They only care about what speaks to them--and if they're the client and they're happy with your work, that's all that matters. To stand around and bitch about someone else's work is easy--to please your clients is another story, and in the end, nobody cares about what anyone else thinks. you please your client--you get paid. you get more jobs, life goes on.
The folks in my camera club have recently become fascinated with monochrome, as they call it. Of course they mean digital - desaturating a color image and printing it on an inkjet printer. Their prints have lighter and darker shades of gray - no blacks and no whites. I guess they really are shooting monochrome. They say my Azo prints are too dark. It's all a matter of taste, I guess.
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WTF?!? AZO is being discontinued!??!?! I thought Michael Smith...
THERE MUST be some mistake!
Originally Posted by tim
Michael & Paula KEPT Azo around! Why's it included in this list?? I spoke to M.Smith this morning, before coming across this article, in fact I've got a couple of boxes of Azo on their way! Michael would've said something..
I think this needs clarification
Have you been under a rock? Smith has told us there is enough Azo now to last for about 5 years. He is presently working with someone to make a new version of Azo. Please check this thread early on toward the beginings.
Originally Posted by sharpfocus
Kodak produced the last of its AZO a few years ago. What remains (approx 5 year supply) is on master rolls at Kodak. Kodak has an agreement to provide AZO from the maste rolls to Michael and Paula for resale.
At one time it was thought Kodak would do another run of AZO at their Brazil facility. So technically Kodak is correct that there will be no more AZO produced. What remains is considered remaining stock that can only be obtained via Michael and Paula.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
Living "under a rock"
Originally Posted by lee
Well now that you mention it...
I do live in a basement apartment in Brooklyn - Technically speaking I think that would qualify as "living under a rock" -
But back to the Azo issue...
I know/heard that Kodak has a 5 year supply and that it would be available through Michael/Paula. I thought that "5 year supply" was measure of continuity rather then a "final countdown". As for making another run, I think that now would probably be as good a time as any to push Kodak for that second run - Brazil or wherever they make it. You got to hit the anvil while its hot. Once things cool down & the shock of all the discontinued product is absorbed/muffled, we'd all be hard-pressed to get Kodak to roll its presses onces again.
As for the "new manufacturer" Michael was looking into, I can only say this:
Better one bird in the bag then two in the sky.
LOL..Daniel bubba, you have got to get out of that basement more often, the Brasil plant is shut down....no more papire my friend......your only hope is that MAS comes through...or learn to use another paper...