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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The difference between Photographer and Photographic Artist {San Antonio Portrait Photographer}

So here it is.
There are a few things that annoy/bother/drive me crazy.

Back in the day (goodness, I sound so old), someone would ask me what I do and I would reply proudly "I am a photographer". They would say "That must be a fun job" or "Wow, what a GREAT job". In which I nod and say "I am truly blessed"

These days I get asked the same question and the response is quite different. It goes kinda like this:
"Oh, my brother/sister/aunt/cousin/uncle bubba is a photographer too"
"What kind of camera do you have? I have that one too?"
"Fun. So how much do you charge for a 'shoot'?"
"So, if you shot my kids' photos, how much would you charge me for the cd?"

So now I have amended my response to this:
"What do you do?"
"I am a photographic artist" (is that too snobby sounding?)

See, here is the deal:
1. I don't shoot people. I don't even own a gun.
2. I don't OWN a camera, I KNOW my camera. It is the tool of my trade.
3. I know that EVERYONE (including my xray tech from a few weeks ago) is a photographer.
4. I don't sell a cd of the images.

What is the difference between a photographer and a photographic artist?

For me it is a few things;
1. I have studied art and photography and still do this often. I never stop learning. This has taken YEARS of dedication to my craft, not minutes with a YouTube video.
2. I PLAN our portrait sessions with the client that is hiring me. I LISTEN. Then I create the session with my artistic vision. I have met with my client ahead of time to get to know them and their personality. Creating a personal piece of art doesn't just happen instantly.
3. I design the session using posing, composition, lighting and design elements that create a piece of ART for the client's home. I don't just run around chasing children trying to get one photo that is not blurry. I work with them, adults or children, to capture the best "them" they can be in an artistic and storytelling manor.
4. I don't hand over all of the ingredients for the making of a finished product, I CREATE the finished product. Adding a photoshop action onto an image does not make a finished product and too often I see these images that are ruined by people who know "just enough about photoshop" to be dangerous.

Never did I say:
They need to have a studio. OR
They need to have been published. OR
They need to have a huge array of expensive equipment, etc.

It is about the artist. Whoever they may be. They are all different. But they have one thing in common.
Art doesn't just "happen" by chance. There are no "lucky shots".
Planning. Preparation. Persistance are the key not just in photography, but in all that we do.

So, next time I am asked "What do you do for a living?"
I will reply proudly "I am a photographic artist" If they look blankly at me, I will simply blurt out my 30 second "Elevator Speech" of what a photographic artist is. The reply will be "Wow, what a wonderful job" and I will nod and say "I am truly blessed".

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