by Skip Cohen
With every step in the evolution of imaging, there are always artists who hit the panic button. If you look at the last few decades of milestones, we had people upset when color came into the black and white world.
Then, we had photographers and even a few retailers upset when auto-focus lenses replaced manual focus. In the late 80's, I remember Calumet throwing Nikon out when it was announced they'd no longer manufacture manual focus lenses.
Digital came along, and once again, there was this quiet rumbling of discontent. I'm guessing it was the offspring of those artists upset over color, interrupting the black and white world who were most worried. They couldn't help it; it's in their genes.
Over and again, we've had moments when imaging has changed, as technology continues to push the evolution of imaging in other directions. So often, I hear artists upset because anybody can be a photographer today. But, here's the difference - It's not the gear that makes the artist - it's the skillset. "Uncle Harry" may have better equipment than you, but he doesn't have the skillset.
Photographer, artist, videographer, and educator, David Nguyen, made the point last week when he shared the video below all shot on an iPhone 11 Pro Max for a full wedding! He was a guest and wanted to put his iPhone through his own fun test. I'm not suggesting anybody should do this professionally, but David's skillset makes a great point. And as he mentioned, he was a guest at the wedding, not working professionally.
Technology isn't going to slow down for any of us, and "Uncle Harry" or "Debbie Digital" are going to keep getting in the way at weddings. Often they'll have better gear than you. But the difference is your ability to be a storyteller. It's your skill set in understanding lighting, exposure, and composition.
And in talking with David, when I asked for permission to share the video on the SCU blog, he reminded me of another important element that separates the pro from the hobbyist at a wedding..."As professional photographers, we also contribute by directing the portrait sessions, interacting with the people to create moments, and helping the B&G keep track of time." The intensity in relationship comes out of the trust established with the couple early on - usually starting in the engagement session.
Uncle Harry can only create an album - as a professional photographer, you can create the first family heirloom of a brand new family! There's a difference between great images and a great story that captures memories the bride and groom might have missed.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.