© em.fotografik | Emerge Inc. 2022

The sad truth about professional photography….

The video below pretty much sums up what it’s like for many of us making our living as a professional photographer in today’s world of mobile phones and everyone with a thumb thinking they’re a photographer.

People don’t seem to understand or appreciate the ridiculous amount of time we invest in honing our skill or the ungodly amount of money we invest in our equipment.

Most people don’t even seem to think there’s any skill involved in creating beautiful images. They seem to think it just happens by some sort of magic and that we are just monkeys pushing a button. We are simply a conduit for that magic to happen but we aren’t the ones actually creating it. But they couldn’t possibly be more wrong. Without extensive knowledge of lighting, lots of planning, excellent management and leadership skills, scientific and analytical skills, and buckets of creativity, your images would be nothing more than boring snapshots.



I remember a horrible experience one client telling me that she didn’t have the budget to pay my full rate and asked me to photograph her at a hugely discounted rate as a favor because she simply could not afford anything more. I reluctantly agreed because I thought she was a friend, but told her that she would need to do her own make-up as I could discount my services, but it wouldn’t cover the cost a professional Make-up Artist. She then asked if she could book my regular Make-Up Artist (MUA) and I told her sure, but that my MUA usually charges ¥30,000 (roughly $300) a day. To which she replied, “could you please book her”. Needless to say I was pissed!

1. Because supposedly she no more money and was on a tight budget, but was magically able to come up with another ¥30,000 ($300) for my MUA.

2. Because she valued the MUA enough to pay her full price but tried to stiff me for a discount.

She saw the value and skill in having a professional MUA on set, but tried to undervalue my skill and expertise as a professional photographer.
People often overlook the “Professional” part of our title description mainly because they are used to dealing with a lot of non-professionals who wrongly claim to be professional just because they happen to have bought an expensive camera or they are just clueless to begin with. Sadly, this is the sort of crap that we as professional photographers have to deal with on a daily basis.



We are under-appreciated, undervalued and yet are expected to perform miracles.



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em. is a Fashion | Editorial Photographer and Music Video Director based in Tokyo but travels the world shooting for various publications and brands. em. is also a Profoto Master Lighting Instructor who teaches photography and lighting courses worldwide.

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