What is the value of a photographer? What is a good photograph worth to you?
When you seek out a surgeon do you simply find one with a scalpel? Is that the value of that doctor? Is his/her worth tied up in the cost of a single piece of equipment or is it based on the combination of years of training, experience, and equipment?
I ask because many people no longer see the value of a good photographer. How can I tell? I think it is because “good enough” seems to be replacing quality. The world is inundated with images. We see them everywhere all the time and our standards are starting to wan. We even carry cameras with us everywhere we go: cell phones which have practically replaced the mediocre point and shoots.
To compound the problem, people have become bargain shoppers. There is nothing wrong with a good bargain for some products, but that concept is not transferable to everything in life. We live in a world where the mantra is “we sell for less.” With regards to photography, I would say the mantra has become “we settle for less.” Good enough is now synonymous with quality.
Is a photographer’s equipment important? Sure, but only to some extent. If you run across a “professional” photographer who only uses their iPhone then I would highly question the results they can produce. Be wary too of the camera gear hog (like dear “Uncle Bob”). If a person has thousands of dollars of equipment but no real evidence of good photography, then I would say they are not good photographers.
Perhaps you are a photographer. It is up to you to raise your own standards. Return to seeing the value of a quality photograph. Be diligent and ruthless with your photo finishing. If an image is a little out of focus then it is not a quality photograph. Get rid of it! Always strive to be better than you were the last time you picked up your camera. Do not settle for good enough!
Perhaps you enjoy fine art photography. If you are someone who is a consumer of photographs, consider raising your standards as well. Finally, don’t be a bargain photographer shopper for those important events in your life. Why? Because in the end, all we really have are memories and photographs.