Life as a Professional Event Photographer in 2020
I've been working behind the camera since high-school way back when you would spend a few days waiting for your film to be developed. Everything was time-consuming from choosing film type, paper stock, print size, and lab notes. It all took time and being indecisive was not an option for becoming a successful photographer. Getting amazing photographs took so much effort and knowledge. As a film photographer, you had to be extremely confident with your settings to properly expose and get a satisfying shot. The barrier to entry was magnified by one's ability to master the challenging craft and the equipment was expensive . Still true today but not so much the latter. Many more camera options are available today since the adaption of a modern digital sensor was introduced. From a cell phone to full Frame camera the digital sensor has unparalleled sensitivity to capture light and increasing image quality every year. The wide spread availability of digital cameras allows anyone to create a decent photograph. Where does that leave the professional?
Today exists a dwindling group of photographers, myself included that have lived through a transition from analog to the now fully digital age. This endangered generation of photographers will produce images that will likely be identifiable within this period of unique image creators. Together we make up a small group with a fundamental hands-on historical understanding of photographic creation while entering the hyper-digital age. Harnessing a deep appreciation for the medium slowly diluted in the widespread inundation of various personal cameras. We are defined by this transitional experience reflected in our approach to the craft. The photographs created now will be the last to represent a combined analog mindset alongside today's image-saturated "insta" culture.
So much has changed working as a photographer going into 2020. For over a decade one can instantly view his or her work with each click of the shutter, recently exaggerated by the adoption of mirrorless SLRs. These systems allow the photographer to confidently capture so much more with instantaneous results shown even before you take the photo. Having modern mirrorless camera technology combined with a great eye will allow a talented photographer to capture every detail with far less interruption than in the past. In addition to the modern camera the number of tools available during post-processing combined with raw output is nearly unlimited in allowing for precise refinement. Regardless of the equipment at hand one thing hasn't changed, that being the creative behind the camera who is most responsible for delivering engaging images with relevant subject matter.
Within this image saturated age we point our cameras at a demographic that has grown up immersed in images and gone are the times of approaching a camera-shy subject. It's satisfying as a photographer to point the lens at someone of the Gen Y & Z and have them pose with no instruction. It's not uncommon for them to grab a friend and even ask for a few more shots. They are fully aware of the frame, aligning almost effortlessly with a proper surrounding and background. When I began as a photographer a verbal sales pitch was always a requirement of the job to entice non-professional subjects to gather in front of the camera. Guiding each person or group before every click of the shutter. Today with just the slightest grace you point they pose and you shoot.
With all this in mind I feel now more than ever it's increasingly harder to stay relevant and stand out from the millions of photos being posted daily. With this in mind I try not to veer too far from my lane as an event photographer as I do not wish to water down my skills especially on the business side. With such a fine tuned identity I offer my clients more than great images, they are confident that I'm invested in their success as event planners or recognized brand looking to enhance their identity and engage their audience. My familiarity with the “event” space came with years of experience that is always changing. Included in my approach is a combined style of the past and today. It is plenty to have on my plate and I enjoy the challenges that come with the responsibility of clearly representing every unique event through the lens.
I hope that being part of this endangered generation of photographers allows me to create unique images that separate my work from the rest. I believe that there is value in this mindset and my clients recognize its desirability and value. I’m excited to adapt to the changing landscape where the past lessons can greatly benefit the future. 2020 and beyond demands an engaging experience now more than ever. A professional photographer's job is not only to document the story relevant to our evolving taste but elevate the images beyond what's readily available by your everyday photo taker.
2020 and beyond demands an engaging experience now more than ever. A professional photographer's job is not only to document the story relevant to our evolving taste but elevate the images beyond what's readily available by your everyday photo taker.