|These AI-generated images were created by feeding a textural description into a program called Midjourney v4. They were posted to Facebook's AI Art Universe page by Giuliano Golfieri.|
In this issue:
- The Shrinking Market for Photographers
- In the Pipeline
- Tethering to your Laptop via your phone's Wi-Fi hot spot
- RV Life / Our New Home
The Shrinking Market for Photographers...
When you're a work-for-hire photographer and you move to a new city, you have to establish your client base all over again. But things are different now - in the age of smartphones, everyone's a photographer. In fact, photographers are slowly suffering the same kind of career fate as audiologists (the ones that outfit you for expensive hearing aids, which are becoming more affordable thanks to the self-testing possible with bluetooth-enabled smartphones) or a Knocker-Upper. (And don't get me started about the new wave of AI-generated photo-realistic images which are amazing but will no doubt put a lot of photo illustrators out of work.)
So where is the market for the skills the traditional photographer brings to the table? Let me rank what the most common options used to be. Many of these insights come from personal experience and also many interviews of photographers for Cameracraft magazine over the years:
- Advertising - This will never go away. The world of advertising understands the benefits of a good concept, flawless execution (including mastery of lighting) and high resolution images.
- Fashion - Can you even imagine the fashion industry without imagery? And yet the marketing folks there churn through photographers, as they're always looking for a "fresh, new look" in their fashions as well as their imagery. If they liked what you did for them six months ago, it will be seen as stale now. Time to hire someone else.
- Corporate Head Shots - Much more stable source of income than the fashion industry, since if they like you, you have a customer for life.
- Travel Photography / Tourism industry - completely saturated; plus there are a gazillion stock shots you can license for one dollar.
- Stock Photography - see "Travel Photography" above. (Plus, the position of "Photo Editor" (who used to have a budget for licensing images) is now in the "Milkman" category.)
- Sports - Smartphones can't do what today's flagship cameras can do in terms of subject tracking, the ability to shoot telephoto, or sheer resolution. On the other hand, publications like Sports Illustrated just shoot 4K video now and capture freeze frames after-the-fact. Decisive moment? HA!
- Photojournalism - The need for this will never go away, but the market for it certainly has shrunk. So many newspapers have cut their budgets for photographers, relying on smartphone images from their staff writers instead. Image magazines like LIFE and LOOK are long gone, and I would argue that sites like Instagram are not modern-day equivalents. Even National Geographic is cutting back, relying more on stock images these days. And really, when's the last time you remember seeing a photo essay (other than in Cameracraft magazine, that is)?
- Wedding photography - Nobody understands what a wedding photographer does, as evidenced by all the complaints about why such photographers charge so much. Plus, people like the smartphone shots that people take over the official photographer's shoulder just as much as the official image! I've written about Wedding Photography Horror Stories in the past. So, like camera manufacturers, the way to succeed in this space is to concentrate on the high-end, high-production style for wealthy clients, like the kind done by Keda Z (https://www.kedaz.com).
- Filmmaking - a tiny and saturated market, but boy do they understand the value a skilled photographer brings to the table!
- Family Portraiture - These too are falling in popularity, except for those that want a family heirloom. And even that can be a hard sell, since modern heirs don't want to be burdened with more stuff like physical canvas prints.
With that in mind I've taken on a contract position as a headshot photographer for a company that specializes in branding for real estate agents, with an eye toward pivoting that into real estate photography. It will help pay the bills as I ramp up my business in our new home of Plymouth, Massachusetts. (More on that below.)
One of the first things I did as I prepared for my first assignment was to solve a long-standing technical problem I had shooting tethered(ly) to my laptop. I'll talk about that next after a few announcements.
In the Pipeline
A supplement for the Sony A7 IV has been released covering new features for Firmware 1.10. Contact me with your proof of purchase if you haven't already received your copy. The supplement is free.
Tony Phillips' book on the Fujifilm X-H2 and X-H2s should be released in December. Email me to be put on the notification list (Gary at Friedman Archives dot com).
After that, Tony will be writing about the newly-announced Fujifilm X-T5. (And I'll be compiling another notification list.)
Sony 7R V - Yes, I'll be explaining this camera in the usual ridiculous detail. (Am reading the manual now. Did you know you can now swipe UP on the display screen to get to the Function menu?) Let me know if you'd like to be on the notification list.
Tethering to your Laptop via your Phone's Wi-Fi Hot Spot
[Continuing from about on my contract photographer position... ] A day of shooting head shots for real estate agents will be filled with periods of shooting and then periods of image selection and retouching and form filling-outing, meaning lots of time where the camera is turned off. My goal is to be able pick up the camera and immediately start taking pictures, having the pictures instantly show up on the laptop without any futzing with memory cards.
Easy, right? Lots of tethered shooting options already exist, right? Nope - none of the usual methods worked for me. What's the problem?
For starters, Lightroom, Capture One, and other usual programs that claim to support tethering over USB don't actually work with Sony cameras. The only program that worked for me was Sony's Imaging Edge Remote desktop software, which times out after 5 minutes of inactivity. I don't want to have to re-establish the connection every time I pick up a camera. The other option, configuring the camera to upload pictures via FTP over Wi-Fi, is great for when you're sending your images to an FTP server somewhere around the world, but it's not at all obvious how to send it to a laptop on an internal local network using your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hot spot. What’s the name/address of the FTP server in that case?
After much trial and error I figured it out. It works great, and I share the secret with you here in this downloadable .pdf file. You're welcome. :-)
How We Lived / The New House
If you've been following the blog for the last year or two, you'll know that we moved to Boston in 2020, then to Plymouth 8 months later. We finished the basement and I built myself a dream studio and produced a lot of great work in it (well, I thought it was pretty good, anyway :-) ). But the complex wasn't built very well (some people STILL have leaky roofs and cracks in their foundations), and the Homeowner's Association fees went to subsidize gardeners who didn't know how to weed nor work an irrigation system. Plus we were told just how many lawn ornaments we were allowed to have in the front yard (and which kinds of flowers), how many pets we could have (and what size), and even dictated whether we could smoke or not in our own home. This really rubbed my wife the wrong way.
So we started looking for another place to move to, a place where we could do what we wanted and could switch to a different landscaper if they weren't doing their job. But the real estate market was so hot at that time that once we looked at a house, we were told that if we wanted it we had to submit our best and final bids at 5:00 PM that day which would be binding. No chance to even look around!
Normally I'd say "It doesn't make sense to buy at the top of the market", but we chanced upon a builder who had snatched up some property from an old Boy Scout camp on a beautiful wooded area next to a pond, and he was building houses one at a time at what we considered were very reasonable rates. And we didn't have to compete with others at escalated prices for the privilege! So we set out to have a house built to our specifications.
But we sold our house before the new house was finished, so we lived in our motor home for two months awaiting completion. Photos of that adventure are sprinkled throughout this section.
I will say this - if building a house were easy, everyone would do it. It was nothing but headaches, with builders who didn't like to communicate. (Actually the whole ordeal is worthy of its own blog post. But who would want to read it?) I'll also never understand the appeal of RV life, but lots of people have fond memories of past trips in their own life. To each their own.
|Working in our respective offices|
|Oh, look... something ELSE in the motor home needs fixing!!|
|At least I brought a tripod so I could get a little creative between periods of crampedness. Sony A7 IV, eighteen 15-second shots merged with StarStax. Light on pier and trees came from a flashlight.|
|The night before the movers came...|
|The day the movers came...|
It’s good to see that the recent chaos has almost ended for you!ReplyDelete
Hi Gary. I do find that with the latest versions of Capture One, I can tether to Sony A74 and A7R3 without problems 95% of the time, and that last 5% just requires a reboot of computer and/or camera. So it's a little unnerving sometimes for a couple of minutes, not as rock solid as I would like, but somehow always ultimately works.ReplyDelete
Contrast this with my Nikon D750, which never failed to tether; or my Nikon D810 which failed HALF the time until I got a power booster from Tethertools, and then worked 100% of the time. (But you had to be LUCKY to discover the Tethertools option; not even Tethertools in their advertising explained about the USB3 tether problems of the D810.
Never a dull moment.
Thanks for your great work.
I remember trying capture one pro in the past and having it work... Don't remember what happened when I tried it this time but it hit ruled out immediately.Delete
Always glad to hear about your adventures. My wife and I have built three houses and know the frustrations.ReplyDelete
My condolences! 😢Delete
Love that you moved cat into motor home with you. A beautiful cat.ReplyDelete
The cat wasn't too happy about it... Especially when it started to move.Delete
Congrats on your new home!ReplyDelete
Congratulations to the whole family 👋ReplyDelete
Hi Garry and family (including cat) thank you for sharing your story. The house looks great, and I hope that you will finally settle in the right place.ReplyDelete
Agree with your assessment on the use of a professional camera or an iPhone. I did some test competing with my son and his iPhone, and I used my Sony 99MII. Straight out of the box, his pictures were better, (not looking at composition) because of all the software in the iPhone, that makes sure the picture looks good. His night shots were actually really good !!!
But clearly I can make pictures, that an iPhone just can not do.
I wish y'all all the best in your new home (Looks great).
Best regards from Holland
Thanks Frans! You're discovering what I discovered last year. See my post about computational photography: https://friedmanarchives.blogspot.com/2021/09/computational-photography.htmlDelete
So... who wakes up the knocker-uppers? :-)ReplyDelete
Always enjoy hearing about your life, as well as photography stuff - just want to suggest that your wife arrange her pillows in more of a wedge to lift her back so her head isn't bent so far forward.. She's asking for neck and back trouble laying like that...I'm in the midst of recovering from a neck spasm from lying wrong in bed - it's move down to my back and am having horrendous pain - BUT - thankful for some muscle spasm fixes I found on YouTube!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I'll pass it on.Delete
I'm betting it will be awhile before the RV gets used like that. Congratulation on your new home. It's my home it will provide you with the peace you seek.ReplyDelete
Let's hope so! Thanks. 😊Delete
Absorbing all of your information from the rear bed in our RV as we travel from IL to WA to visit my son undergoing chemotherapy. As this is strictly a family visit, I decided my new iPhone would be good enough and left my Sony at home. We are in a rush to get there, and I keep seeing missed shots if only I had the time to stop and frame the image with a tripod. The snaps are good enough for social media, but agreed never the same.ReplyDelete
Love your new home, especially when I noted the RV garage in your last photo! I’d read a post about your home building process, as I’m sure it would contain helpful insights by nature. :) Thanks for taking the time to blog.
There's always the tension between enjoying your experiences and the strong desire to document them. I feel your pain. Hope your trip is worthwhile.Delete
Moving is the worst. Building to specs, like remodeling, is even worse. Just did it, like you did, at top of market—forever house? I hope so. Or i am moving into your basement.ReplyDelete
Did you plan for a “dream studio” in this new house too?ReplyDelete
Yes indeed! Early next year.Delete
Per your comment about not being able to wirelessly tether Sony cameras to Capture One, I had the same problem at one point.ReplyDelete
After spending some time with C1 support, it turns out that the problem was having Imaging Edge installed on my PC as well as C1. Removing Imaging Edge fixed the problem. Some sort of driver issue.
Damn technology! Thanks for sharing what you learned. That must have been what happened when I tried it.Delete
Hi Gary I used to be a professional photographer for about 30 years in the days of film, based in the UK. With reference to dwindling jobs for photographers I used to do processing and printing and shoot photos which kept me very happy and working. When the Digital world came along I decided to do my earning a living doing various jobs while continuing what I love best, taking pictures and learning to do it digitally.ReplyDelete
A local photographer I know says his business is going well taking boudoir photos, his studio does a makeover of the person and then shoots glamour type photos. If anyone out there is struggling they may give it some thought. All the best and always find your blogs very interesting and helpful. Hope you enjoy your new house and it meets all your requirements. PS I have had a darkroom or studio in every room in our house except the kitchen (the bathroom was used to wash a huge number of fine art fibre based prints!!!
Good to hear about your friend. That kind of photography often increases people's self-esteem so it's a useful service.Delete
And you know, if it's not printed on fiber-based paper it's not art! 😂Delete
Congratulations on the house move (if only I could get there as well!). Re Filezilla, I use it, but the interface looks nothing like yours ...ReplyDelete
Seems your blog software does not like People putting in their name. Anyway, I love your cat!ReplyDelete
I haven't been dabbling around in the market much lately, but I am slowly getting back into the game. My a99 died the a99 death and I'm not a mirrorless fan. So I am starting to branch out into Medium Format (Hasselblad). Have you ever considered doing a Medium Format write-up? Will you come to the PNW to give classes any time soon? We could go for a photo walk. I realize you'll be busy with the House and all, but you need a short vacation after all the stress.
There has been no demand (from where I sit) for a book on medium format digital cameras like Phase One or Hasselblad. Most likely the main reason is that owners of such high-end cameras think of themselves as serious photographers and they don't need no stinkin' manual to figure things out. Also I've done seminars in Seattle several times (I think you were at one of them, if you're the Rene I remember) and would surely like to do it again.Delete
What is "the A99" death? I still use A99M2 and A77M2. Don't have desire to go mirrorless primarily because I am not as photographically active as I was. However, medium format does spark my interest. I haven't used medium format since I stopped shooting with film.Delete
Congrats on the new home; may all your troubles be minor from now on. Hope the cat has settled in OK.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Chris! The cat seems much happier now that the space is bigger and he can smell familiar furniture. :-)Delete
I really think in 5 yrs smartphones will catch up to cameras...computational photography will take overReplyDelete
Time will tell, but I do know the gap between the two continues to shrink.Delete
Gary, have you tried SmartShooter 4 from TetherTools? It works with Sony. Just used it on our volunteer family portrait weekend at Fort Hood last weekend. Works as a stand-alone or with Lightroom.ReplyDelete
I always thought TetherTools was a hardware company that just sold a bunch of other people's software on their website (44 products on https://tethertools.com/tethering-software/ How would anyone know to choose SmartShooter 4?? :-) Anyway thank you for the recommendation. USB tethering is certainly faster than what I'm doing and if I can turn on the camera and start shooting immediately without having to re-initialize everything it might be a good way to go.Delete
Gary, I am still out here (hard to believe) and I enjoy catching up with you and what is going on in your world.ReplyDelete
Love your blog. True, true! I had a good run as a photojournalist. Sorry for the poor folks, that can after us.
Keep up the good work.
Glad to hear you're still out there, although that "Anonymous" moniker makes it necessary for me to guess who you are. :-)Delete
Hi Gary, good to see you are getting settled! Wishing you well from the Tulsa PHOTOG group!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Bill! I come across your group's creations on Facebook occasionally and they're always impressive. You have talented members!Delete
Great blog Gary life was never meant to be dull and relaxing thats for sure enjoy your New Home thank you for all the blogs look forward to them all the time .ReplyDelete
Hi Gary. One suggestion re: building your own home. "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" made in 1948, withReplyDelete
Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. I think you will get a real kick out of it.
Just returned from a Disney trip with a friend. Her iPhone 14 took photos just as good as my a6000 (if not better tbh). I still enjoy the creative control that the phone doesn’t offer. Otherwise it’s getting harder and harder to decide to shlep along the bigger gear. It’s taking away some of the fun of the hobby :(ReplyDelete
After meeting you at Manchester UK I have been using my little Sony - almost exclusively - the results have been so good that the DSLR sits in the cupboard unused! I still read your blog and wish you well. All your fault! John Mayhead - the old guy on your course years back!ReplyDelete