Bursting Balloons !

Bursting Balloons !
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Friday, March 6, 2015

The rants of the future. Stills from videos.

The idealistic blogs about why you shouldn't hand over digital images, give away work free or undercut professionals, or "ask a photographer to work free because you wouldn't ask a plumber to work free" etc.  are all getting rather tiresome and 'stale' now. All they are doing is getting the authors sites more views [= advertising earnings] and stirring up a few passionate fans who get swept up by the emotions of the moment to share the post with others so that we can all "rally together and rise up and stand firm against the change that is depreciating our value as true artists in this unfair world" Blah Blah Blah [ Somebody please call a waaahmbulance ]. Basically they are inviting others to join them in their task of pushing water uphill with a rake.
Seriously, if you're unhappy with the fact that it is getting harder to earn a living doing something that you enjoy - welcome to reality and change your job or stop whining about it because it's just becoming irritating. We would all like to earn a living doing what we enjoy but the customers are the ones who dictate how the market swings. If you refuse to hand over the digital images to a client then there are 10 people waiting to take the job and do so instead while you argue ethics all the way to the poorhouse.

Now a prediction for the future. 4K video will mean less work/jobs for photographers, particularly wedding photographers. The customers will find out "Hey, there's this guy who can video the whole wedding and then pull still images from the video - so we don't need a photographer!" The next step will be "Well I found a guy who is prepared to hand over the entire video for us to extract the photos ourselves!" [Which they will never get around to doing but the money would have changed hands by then].
Of course the working photographers will all argue "That's 'only' 8 megapixels, we will be shooting with 36 and 50 megapixels that will blow the customers away with their quality!". Sure, that's true but what decides who a customer chooses for their wedding? maybe 1% of the weddings involve "we are prepared to pay for the best on our special day and can afford it" while the other 99% involve "We have $$$ for the food, $$$ for the venue, $$$ for clothing, $$$ for cake, $$$ for the DJ which leaves us with ?$? for photos. [photos are always at the end of their list because what good are top quality photos of hungry guests with empty plates?]
Now of course all the photographers are thinking that of course stills taken from a video will never match a well planned photo with a decent camera. BUT: The average person is so amazed by the amazing pictures they are getting from their phones and have become used to that quality, that a quick thinking videographer only has to present one or two well chosen photos printed from stills taken from a 4K video which will make the customer wonder why they would ever need a photographer when they can get video and photos from one person for half the price.
So here is my prediction: Before the end of 2015 we will be seeing the start of the blogs ranting about  how we should "stand together united as one to educate the public as to why they need a good photographer at their wedding as well, rather than relying on 'inferior' images taken from a 4K video".
Good luck pushing that water uphill with a rake - the masses have already shown us what kind of quality they will accept and when they have to choose between $4000 for a videographer and photographer compared to $2000 for a videographer that can pull stills of their choosing from the video we know which direction they will go. Then there will be the 'weekend warriors' prepared to do it for $500 of course.
Now for those of you who are saying that 8 megapixels isn't enough for top quality images please do this test. Take a photo with your 12/24/36 megapixel camera and save a copy of it while you resize that image to 1154 X 1732 = 2 megapixels as well. Print them both out at 8 X 12 inches [A4] and compare them. You will find that you can get a decent enough print from 2 megapixels so surely 8 is enough for most clients who can't afford to hire a photographer and videographer? Of course the purists will argue about the merits of the latest 50 megapixel camera [which they will be saying is not enough when 120 meg cameras come out] but the average person will be blown away by a good 8 meg image at billboard size because it's more about viewing distance than using a magifying glass - to 'normal' people that is.
So prepare to adapt to the changes that are taking place, maybe learn to do video - or start fighting for the scraps, the people who only want photos. Otherwise pick up a rake and start sweeiping that water uphill while you try to educate the public as to why they should resist progress.
 My new ebook "Introduction to flash photography"