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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Photographer versus Fauxtographer (AKA: GWC)


Many photographers out there have a huge educational background behind them. Some are self taught and some have a combination of both. I'm a combination of education, practical experience and self taught. I did some time as an assistant with a pro shooter who took the time to teach me a lot of what I didn't know.

Then there are what has become known as Fauxtographers. We may also call them GWC (Guy or Girl With Camera).

Fauxtographers/GWCs' are the ones who without the slightest bit of experience and/or education, think now that they own a DSLR makes them Photographers. The claim their poor, blown out highlights, unfocused crap as their "style" and feel that since somebody told them how great they were, they don't feel the need to actually learn how to shoot properly. Their usual method is what we call "Spray and Pray", which is a way of shooting many images in a short time, thinking that a few will turn out to be good. Really that only works for sports and high speed action.

Another great indicator of a Fauxtographer/GWC is when they ask for an opinion/feedback from an experienced shooter, they never take the criticism and advice without an excuse, usually being something along the lines of the image was what they intended or "Thats my style". There is rarely a change in their shooting habits and when its recommended to them that they take a few classes or go to seminars they almost always have an excuse as to why they cant or wont do it.

(I'm just going to refer to these people as GWCs' from here as you know the kind of people I'm referring to now)

I'm happy to say that I no longer get these GWCs' offering to assist me for free in my studio because I won't educate somebody for free. I'm happy to help the community in any way I can (within reason) but teaching a GWC for free isn't on my list. If I use an assistant, they will be experienced and know their way around a studio. I will also PAY an experienced assistant.

One GWC who was rather insistent about "helping" me for free in my studio finally shut up when I said: "What would you do if I told you the following: I need a 1200 RX up above with my big octa and a Skyport set to channel 1. At 45 degrees right and about 12 feet back I need a 1200 RX with a Varistar on a C-Stand and a Skyport set to channel 2. Set the auto-poles at the proper distance and hang my black commando cloth background, then make sure its clean of any specks. Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?"

"No".

"Then how exactly is it you think you can help me?"

"I can do grunt work."

"Thats exactly what an assistant does and thats what I just described to you. If you have no education behind you and no experience, you should be paying me to teach you."

"I dont think so."

"Neither do I. Please dont bother me again."

I like to think of GWCs' as a filter for the kind of clients that wouldn't deal with professionals in the first place. We've all encountered potential clients who think they have somebody who will do it for far cheaper, or for free or whatever. They have no idea that they'll be ending up with an inferior product and when its explained to them they wont hear any of it.

Those kinds of people will never come back that professional and say "you were right". Let the GWC's have them.

Lets also not forget the compositional issues- That plastic kit lens always gives a great affect when the GWC gets up in the face of the model for that distorted look. Perspective distortion is something they have never heard, and when its explained to them, their usual excuse is that they cant afford such expensive lenses so they make do with what they have.

Rarely does a GWC want to pay for any form of education so they can truly become photographers. They think that since their friends/family have told them just how great they are that they're well along their way.

Again, I'm happy to help the community in any reasonable way I can. Teaching a GWC for free is not one of them nor will I coddle an individual who asks for my feedback. If there is something wrong with an image that I am asked to critique I will tell the individual what I think but I will also offer solutions or how to find them.

Patting an aspiring shooter on the head and treating them like a fragile child is not my style and never will be.