Can you name a single photographer, alive or dead other than Ansel Adams?
That is a question I ask my photography students. Often they can name one or two because they are studying photography, but if I posed that question to the general public, I wonder how many could name a photographer. I wonder how many fewer could name a wedding or portrait photographer. My guess is not many.
The Rockstar Photographer
This marketing idea played right into the mythology of what it means to be a photographer. There is a romanticized view of a photographers life in the public. They picture us sitting in our fancy homes, drinking imported coffee, and the phone ringing off the hook with couples wanting to give us $10,000 to photograph their wedding in some exotic locale, or National Geographic calling sending us off to some far off country for a three week paid vacation. Of course the reality is quite different. I have worked for National Geographic before. One time I was paid $475 for a photograph that required 6 days of white water rafting to capture. I can’t say that it wasn’t fun, but no photographer is going to get rich on $80 per day. And while $5,000 for wedding photographer might seem like “easy money,” it represents the costs of tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, marketing, education, and more than anything else, a decade of experience. Continue reading