I thought that I was finished with this series.
Then, I saw it. One more picture. The one with the golden arches tucked neatly into the bottom right hand corner. I composed it that way. But, it was hidden in the funk of low-lying clouds. Even though it doesn’t look like it, this picture took a lot of post production work.
It was tricky. How do you pop the little McDonald’s sign out of the darkness without making it too bright?
I used some OnOne tools that allowed me to work in teeny-tiny increments. It reminded me of the days in the darkroom when we used potassium ferricyanide to open the shadows slightly. The difference? Not only was that chemical dangerous, but one wrong move and the print was ruined. You started over with a new print. Made in the dark. It was tedious work.
Today, of course, we do it digitally. We can save an image as we go. Make a mistake, and take a step back.
After thinking about it for a while, I realized that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Learning the “old school” ways prepared me for the future. When somebody complains that they don’t have the patience to do a little digital retouching, I mostly just think it’s a good thing they were born after than me. It’s likely that a lot of today’s “internet photographers” would be working underneath that sign making Quarter Pounders With Cheese. Oops. Did I write that?
Make no mistake. I’m not talking about people with phones or cameras who are just documenting their lives, their children and their travels. They are having fun.
I’m talking about the photographers who want to make money from their pictures. Photography, like any art, takes time to learn. Often, it’s painful. Just as importantly, if you want to make money, take the time to learn the business of photography. Too many new photographers under charge for their work. If you start out low balling it’s very hard to raise your prices, If you give your work away on the new stock websites that don’t charge people who need pictures, you are just strangling yourself in the name of “getting known.” WordPress is doing a deal with one of them now. Just sayin’.
Why am I talking about this now?
I always do.
But, I was listening to something the late Anthony Bourdain said about getting older and mature in your work, whatever it is. We are bound to teach those coming up. We are bound to be generous with our time.
I think that about once a week, I’ll teach. Right here on Storyteller. For free. That’s the other thing. We shouldn’t be making money from other photographers no matter how much we need it for our cash flow.
What would you like to learn?