Thursday, February 9, 2012

The perils of the profession

The perils of the profession
I was recently grumbling about some of the obstacles that news photographers have to overcome on a daily basis, most of them due to human, yet understandable ignorance of the hows and whys of cameras and the way light works (no, we can't shoot through 9 foot floral arrangements placed around podiums, nor do we have time to erase a microphone sticking in someone's eye; we can't magically make someone's face appear from behind a table arrangement, or get the photo you want for your news if you have your tables mashed up against walls, and we hate it when you hold an outdoor event that puts the sun directly to your back - so do the people who have to view the event in the blinding sun). 

If I had a yearning to come out of retirement, I think I could make a fine living teaching businesses,  corporations, and individuals how to get the best bang out of their news photos. 

I have a list of about 100 things that absolutely irritate professional photographers, and not all of them are due to human ignorance, as evidenced by this filtered photo.  Only cable, electrical, and phone-line installers realize how many lines cross the skies. And, of course, photographers. No, I can't teach any one about that, but there are still 99 other things on my list, and well over half are avoidable.

After note: I received a lot of emails telling me how to remove overhead lines. Yep, I know how to do that; I have Adobe Photo CS5 Premium, along with a host of other bells and whistles programs. This photo was more of a lesson. And when working for a newspaper on those tight deadlines, sometimes there was no time to pretty up a photo, especially when shooting from the field. And, in the old days, what you shot on film was what you sent to the editor, unless it was for some sort of illustration, which meant it had to go through various processes out of the photographer's reach. Also, even today, there are newspapers that frown on editing a photo by removing anything from it. Naturally, switching lenses and changing your viewpoint can yield different results, but there have been many times that I had no choice except to shoot those ugly lines-in-the-sky.

6 comments:

Jackie said...

My hubby gave Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 for Christmas. It is what I requested, and I have yet to open it. I think I'm a little afraid that I won't be smart enough to use it!!!
Smiles,
J.

Lew said...

You are teaching us a few things about photography with your images and your words here on "crisfieldnews". And you are teaching us about Crisfield and other places around the world. Photographers are often at the mercy of people and events beyond their control, but you would expect event planners that want the event photographed would take a little advice on room arrangement and lighting. Newsprint is not the best medium to show off photography. The Washington Post has in recent years sent subscribers a glossy calendar with "non-newsy" prints by its staff. I was surprised by the quality of the images.

You have shown us the news, the beauty, the mundane and the unusual of the world you have traveled! I like the b&w doorway in shadows and the sequence of shots on Australia is awesome!

Patty said...

Thank you, Lew. That is a very nice comment and received with much gratitude. I usually get those kind of comments in emails. It is always nice to know that people around the country enjoy my photos, which reminds me, I just saw that I have posted over 11,000 photos in 3 years. That is a lot of work.

Have a wonderful weekend. Stay warm.

Patty said...

Jackie, don't be afraid of it, and once you learn it, don't let it control you. I am so old school, I sometimes feel guilty about filtering photos, and many times what I post is what I shoot. Though in my retirement, I find it fun to play with filters and have more filtered photos ready to post.

My editing methods are normally what is accepted by newspaper editors: a little burn, a little dodge where needed, and a decent crop if needed. But, I learned very early on that no matter how you crop a photo to make it more eye-appealing, it is still subject to be butchered in the editing room due to space.

GingerV said...

what ! you complain about one line.... I can have what seems to be 50 lines running within 10 feet of a historic building.... Camillo just rolls his eyes when I say "can't they put them under ground!" or something to that effect, but not quite so nice.
enjoyed passing through.

Patty said...

Oh, Ginger, you slay me like a knight. My husband has heard that so many times, he knows what is coming before I open my mouth. Be it one or a half-dozen lines, it is always a pain to work around them or on them when it comes down to getting rid of them. And, yes, they seem to be everywhere.