Is the Quality of Portrait Photography Better or Worse than it was 10 Years Ago?

The question of questions… the quality of photography being offered to clients better or worse than it was 10 years ago?  We all know that the profession of photography has undergone some huge changes and we all know the horror stories that come from having so many untrained people with a camera offering services to the buying public, but I have to be honest, I see some amazing work being generated by many of the younger photographers.  Those photographers who have taken the time to actually learn photography and then have applied all the creativity that new technology has given us to take portrait photography to a new level.

In a creative profession like photography, creativity, vision and artistry are never in short supply.  What is in short supply is consistency, professionalism and the ability to get paid a good price for a great product and all of these are linked together.  When a professional knows his or her craft to a point there is no doubt they can produce a salable image no matter what obstacles are put into their way, as well as have paying clients (not their photo buddies) tell them their work was well worth what they paid for it, it builds confidence.  With confidence there is professionalism (the way you dress, conduct yourself and handle clients).  With confidence comes the realization that you are selling the image you created (which is priceless to our clients) and not a particular size of photographic paper.

I think the images being offered to clients have improved over the last ten years, but I think the photography in those images has dramatically declined.  What I mean by that is that many photographers today would be very hard pressed to sell their photography without major corrections in Photoshop (which should have been corrected in the camera, not in the computer).  When I talk with young photographers they are amazed that I will show a client the images straight from the camera, even from an outdoor session and sell very large portraits and packages from them.  Most of my final work has no more done to it than used to be done in negative retouching back in the days of film.  Some young photographers might think that learning photography, to be able to do this is too difficult, but my average “order” has less than 30 minutes of editing done to it and that includes everything from downloading captures to final print.  You never “pay the price” for knowledge, you only “pay the price” when you don’t take the time to acquire the knowledge in the first place.  And the good news, it is never to late to learn what you need to know!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on April 14, 2012.

One Response to “Is the Quality of Portrait Photography Better or Worse than it was 10 Years Ago?”

  1. How can I say AMEN!!!! any louder? The principles never change, it is only the applications of the principles that have changed. When I preach the gospel of, “get it right in the camera”, younger and newer “photographers” look at me like I’ve lost my mind. I think all photographers entering the profession should have to learn using film. It would give a much stronger platform for them to work from.

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