16 July 2013

Riding on Top of the Wave

Art Model, Emma ©2013 Terrell Neasley
"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse!  As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position, and be bruised in a new place."
~Washington Irving

There is a lot of stuff going on in this business of photography. I can spend the rest of the month in constant discussions without taking a rest and still never touch on half the issues. This is definitely an interesting time in photography...a new paradigm shift, possible devaluation of the services, and trends that will, in all likelihood change how we capture and manipulate light. There is enough to make you wonder whether or not you even want to venture into this thing. You may even contemplate what gear you decide to purchase, and the brand or format. As with all times of change, transition is a definite challenge. My goal is to ride it out like a surfer on a wave. In which case, it is highly important to be on top of said wave, as opposed to being under it!

Art Model, Christina
©2013 Terrell Neasley
What do I mean with all this? Lets look at a couple of points. If you've been reading my blog lately, I've touched on problems for the pro photographer. Look at the news and you can see the Chicago Sun Times firing its entire photo staff. You can read about copyright infringements for photographers in record numbers. There is an increasing expectation of free/cheap services from photographers. Many wedding planners will spend big on food, flowers, the dress, and the venue, but when it comes to the photography, they look for the deal or find the cheapest person holding a camera they can. Let their house catch fire and the first thing they grab is the photo albums. I've been in situations where I've watched a client pay huge sums for everything else to cater an event, then call me and ask me to photograph it for credit and exposure. There is not one event or situation I have worked where the "exposure" ended up as a future gig that made me money. And until they start taking photo credits in lieu of cash for my rent, I'll continue to charge my regular fees, thank you very much.

What about the future of DSLRs? Are these big cameras gonna last? Are they still necessary? I'm predicting that within 2 years, a major camera manufacture will introduce a mirrorless full-frame DSLR. I think its inevitable. Some include the almost 3 times crop sensor like the Nikon 1 system, the 2 time crop Micro Four/Thirds format like the Olympus OM-D, or my fave, the Sony NEX system, particularly the NEX-6 with the APS-C sensor found in DSLRs. Canon is still trying to find its way into the mirrorless market. Some of these gimmicky features like built-in wireless/GPS may be handy for some, but not the masses. But mirrorless technology? Yes, this is coming to a DSLR real soon. Big and clunky will be a thing of the past and that's okay.

Art Model, Alethea ©2013 Terrell Neasley
Times are a-changing. I'm not stopping my photography, so I want to be on top of this wave, hanging ten. I can even tell my own tendencies have adjusted. With travel becoming more and more important to me, weight is of a major concern. I want smaller gear. While I'm still partial to my Nikon D800E for fine art, I don't really want a DSLR second body like I used to have when I shot Canon, along with almost every L-series lens out there. There's not another full-frame to complement my 800e (that I like) and I don't want to duplicate that platform. The D7100 may be close, but I still prefer full-frame. Depending on the money, I think I'd opt for the Sony RX-1R (for $3000) when becomes available, as my second body.

"It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory."
~W. Edwards Deming

Art Model, Emily ©2013 Terrell Neasley
What I would really like is the Leica M Type 240. Now we're talking about a SYSTEM here. Check out this review. If you don't read all of it, skip to the end. Spoiler: He buys the camera! The Leica is the Mercedes of 35mm format of cameras. Its a rangefinder and is definitely not cheap at just under $8 grand. I would love to travel with just a rangefinder and a single lens, probably the 35mm prime lens. That set up would put me $11,000 in the hole. I can do a lot of traveling on $11,000, or actually $7,000 (the difference between the Sony and the Leica). The thing is that, I just feel like I need to be a Leica owner. There are just some things you need to do at some point in your life. If you haven't done it yet, I think its a must to fly first class on a good airline. I always thought it was trivial. I mean, everybody gets there at the same time, right?

Under the Super-moon,
Art Models Christina, Emma, Emily, Alethea
©2013 Terrell Neasley
No. First Class is the shit. Even if you only experience it once, you need to do it. In addition to that, get behind the wheel of a luxury car on an extended trip...not just a test drive. Whatever you have to do, make that happen. You'll never look at cars the same after that. And in the same light...I think I need to be a Leica owner. You don't have to own the plane you are flying First Class in, nor the Mercedes for your road trip. The same cannot be said of this Leica M Type 240. Renting it would not be the same. You must own it.

I'm certain there is still room on top of this wave, but as any surfer will tell you, you're going to have to practice, get to know your way around a board, and understand the water. In photography, understand the light. Get to know your way around the new technologies. And practice, practice, practice.

2 comments:

Joanie said...

Today, in downtown L.A. I saw a hastily scrawled sign that claimed "Wedding Videography, Photography, DJ!" on limp, yellow posterboard.

I'm thinking that's a first class outfit. How 'bout you?

I'm frightened for anyone who hires that person.

Also, in one of the biggest magazines in SoCal, I saw a tog's ad offering wedding coverage for $895. I can guarantee the ad in the mag cost more than that. And the photos included in the ad were crap.

This is a time to specialize and market to only the clients you want. People who want a "deal" will get what they pay for. Those with taste and an eye for quality will find those capable of delivering and won't blink at the price.

Photo Anthems.com said...

Hey...stop giving away my secrets!