Emily Soto has switched to the 5d MK III

Started Apr 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
David Franklin Senior Member • Posts: 1,053
Re: Emily Soto has switched to the 5d MK III

I agree with a great deal of what you're saying, with a few exceptions.

What you're basically describing as the work of a true professional is only actually describing the work of a tiny fraction of working pros. Even though my work more closely resembles what you describe in your post, there are still things I do differently from the pros you describe. I own 85% of the gear I ever use (except when working on stage at another studio), and only rent anything if I have to; this is usually true of the vast majority of shooters not liiving in New york, Chicago or Los Angeles, because, for one reason, there are no longer photo rental houses in most other large and medium sized towns, and, therefore, the work culture usually doesn't support clients happy to pay for such rentals. The same goes for the various "digital techs" that so many times are mentioned in stories of high-end shoots. One may still need multiple assistants, grips, gaffers, prep people or stylists and makeup artists, but, in my experience, the shooters who require "digital techs" are the same ones who used to have to ask to borrow one of my assistants to tell them how to light complex shots when they sometimes rented my stage. Unless your AD or PE is over your shoulder trying to direct PP in real time, most knowledgable shooters don't need such a creature, or a good assistant will do as well.

Next, I would never leave the actual shutter pressing moment to another person, unless the shot is a static studi-shot product that I have already worked on behind the camera for a long time to assure its relative perfection; then, who does the actual exposure is irrelevant. I also carefully choose all my own gear, making sure that it is suitable for the application and know exactly how to use every bit of it, including camera, lenses, and, especially, all types of lighting. If I don't direct assistants on a shoot to do the set up, I direct other lighting or staging professionals, but don't rely on them figuring anything out on their own. This is not true of some few very famous shooters who don't know much, but know what they like; in most city markets in the US, this will not get you very far.

Again, very very few (maybe even no one at all) still shooters actually get $50,000.00 per day to shoot anything anywhere, at least in the last 5 or 10 years when budgets became tighter. Don't confuse this number with the budget of the shoot for the day, which can easily exceed that, as it must sometimes cover enormous expenses, personnel, studio fees and/or travel. The sum of which the photographer himself or herself recieves as a photo fee would be but a fraction of the day's budget. I've personally never made over about $13,000.00 a day in actual photo fees, and in the last ten years, usually much much less that on my very good days, and, I consider my self to be pretty well paid for what I do. Back in the 1960's and up through most of the nineties, photographers could command enormous fees in a few cities and industries, and they still can today, but no where as often nor as at such high fee levels as they did in decades past.

Furthermore, yes, I've used Canons, Nikons, Leicas, Hasselblads, Pentax 6x7's, Fuji 6x8's, Phase One's, Imacons, plus 2x3, 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras over the years and have gotten useful work out of them all. Right now I'm shooting with Canon, just bought a 5D3 and like it very much, wouldn't think of shifting back to Nikon (shifted to Canon because of the 1Ds2) right now, and just plain don't think very much about it very much at all. I've got a lot more important things to worry about.

As to the lady who is the subject of the OP's original point, I like her pictures a lot, and if she feels comfortable with the 5D3, ad do I, that's great, but that fact wouldn't necessarily influence me as to what I choose to use. As others have said, she could probably take some extraordinary pictures with just about any decent DSLR. It's not so much the camera, or even lens, that makes the biggest difference in the success of image making, but the knowledge, creativity, sensitivity and hard work of the person behind the camera.

Keep learning; share knowledge; think seriously about outcomes; seek wisdom.

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