A Matter Of Etiquette
I’ve long held the belief that it’s possible to spot the difference between the pros and the amateurs (I can almost hear you groaning “not the Pros Vs Amateurs stuff again”) on social media simply by the notes that they post along with their images. For instance, in the case of photographers who work with models, a professional photographer (or at least most of the ones I know) will name-check the model, the make-up artist, the hair stylist, and any designers or stylists that have been involved in the creation of that image. The amateurs… don’t. Usually (thankfully, there are exceptions – those with a more professional attitude probably).
I’m not sure what to put this down to – perhaps amateurs are in more of a rush to get their images “out there”, or pros are more appreciative of the contributions made by others, or pros realise the value of maintaining good working relationships with the team they work with, or amateurs are more prepared to take credit for the work of others… I don’t really know.
But I do know that if you look at the work of Claire Seville, Tanneke Peetoom, Andy Watson etc, credit is given where it’s due. But, sadly, I could equally point you to the websites of MANY amateurs or new pros who never even mention the model by name.
And since I’ve climbed up here onto this here high horse, this basic etiquette should also, I would suggest, extend to mentioning whether your picture was taken as part of a training event or workshop (even if the details of the course aren’t mentioned). I’ve seen so many pictures published on photographer’s profiles and websites where no mention has been made of the fact that the image was taken as part of a group shoot, even when…
- The model was selected and styled by someone else
- The “theme” was someone else’s idea
- The hair and make-up were done by a third party
- The location was selected or even hired by someone else
- Lighting was provided and set up by someone else
- Camera settings were as instructed by someone else
- And sometimes, when someone else is DIRECTING the model!
In some cases, all the photographer has done is to point the camera in the general direction of the subject and press the shutter, and then sat back and lapped up any resulting internet adoration without acknowledging ANY of the input of the other people who have played such a vital role in the production of that image. I have seen websites of photography businesses where a substantial percentage of the images chosen as representing the skills of the photographer – the pictures that potential clients may use to determine whether this photographer is capable of producing a particular look – were actually taken as part of a group course or workshop (mine, in some instances).
I’ll admit that I do find this a bit rude. A little bit of courtesy here costs nothing. And what of the potential clients who are looking at their work assuming that they’re responsible for the whole look of the images when they’re not? Surely, this is misleading at best, almost fraudulent at worst. After all, they’re selling something that they didn’t actually create, something that they almost certainly wouldn’t have produced without the considerable input of others.
If everyone behaved with the kind of professional courtesy of the likes of Andy Watson (et al), the industry would be a much more civilised place.
Right, can someone let me down off this high horse? Anyone…?