Don't Be A Shitographer

Take pride in your photography. Make great images. Don't be a shitographer.

I was reading an article about how many Instagram influencers make use of professional photographers and retouchers. The ones interviewed for the piece agreed on an interesting point: there was no noticeable bump in views when they decided to use photographers and retouchers to make their images shine. Their Instagram profiles gain roughly the same amount of views even when they take the photos on a phone and add some quick and dirty filters prior to sharing with their audience.

Many would think then, and maybe correctly from an economic perspective, then why bother paying a photographer and a retoucher? The answer seems to be because these Instagram influencers happen to care about their appearance and care how their background environment looks. Looks as in looking good. In other words, they care about what their clients and their audience thinks of their content. This to me is inspirational because it demonstrates a clear need for photography in a niche market at a time when working photographers are complaining about a lack of work.

This isn't a RAW vs. Jpeg piece. I already wrote this [Raw Is What Separates Us From The Animals]. What I'm cautioning working photographers about is this notion that it's okay to not put out the best quality work because most people wouldn't notice anyway. Why is this important? Two reasons.

You're a photographer

It's your job to separate your work from the hordes shooting crappy jpeg shots on their phones. This "if you can't beat them, join them" mentality which persists in some of the photographic community is damaging to photographers at large because it creates a virus within the profession. And our profession, by the way, is going to go away. I don't know about you but I don't see the profession of photographer existing for too many more decades. And for those of us working as one of these "last Jedis", we shouldn't be taking our proverbial light sabers to our feet prematurely just because someone's giving us the nod to be mediocre photographers. Shitographers.

You're still using pro gear

Surely, you haven't crossed over to the Dark Side just yet and traded in your pro cameras and lenses for a bucket of smartphones? I didn't think so. Photographers should be shooting maximum quality at all times - not jpeg only and not using compressed Raw formats. My opinion, for what it's worth. I sure as hell didn't fork out thousands of dollars to shoot shitty jpegs only and to use compressed Raw files to save a little space on my hard drives. Unlike the shitographer, my quality is maxed out before it leaves my camera and is imported into Photoshop.

I didn't write this piece to lecture so much as I wrote it because I was inspired by what a few people out there still think about the art of photography. I'm very happy that there's a niche society known as Instagram influencers who still believe in photography even when it's not required for their work. What they've noticed though is important: to be influential, there is a "space race" afoot, a competition among these working professionals to present the best side of their work and lives. And photographers who put out high quality work are still very much in demand for this sort of thing. Shitographers, take note.

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