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Dear Models (and "photographers") 
OK, prepare yourself because I'm writing this from a place of unhappiness.

Dear Models,

With very few exceptions, your boyfriend is not a photographer. Yeah, he may own some kick-ass equipment. Yeah, he may be able to get a couple good shots (with or without photoshop) out of the 300 he shot. Yeah, he may be able to help you get content for your porn site, but still, he's not a photographer.

I may own a calculator, but I wouldn't dream of calling myself a mathematician.

A few events occurred recently that have led me to make this post but, believe me, this is nothing new. It seems that some of the best aspects of technology become some of the worst, and this is just one example. Digital cameras keep getting cheaper, getting models has never been easier, and it takes just a few moments to print out a business card. But, I digress...

Here's why I'm writing this now. I was just hanging out with a very good friend of mine who is an AMAZING photographer and is suffering mightily. His main source of income is shooting headshots (we are in LA, after all). Sadly, his business has slowed to just a trickle recently because every aspiring actor has a friend with a digital camera and they think they don't need him anymore. Know what this means? My friend is freaking out while actors around town submit crappy headshots at auditions. (You get what you pay for, people.)

The other recent event has actually happened three times in the last few months. I have met three separate "photographers" who call themselves "photographers" and talk about "clients" and "jobs" who, in the course of conversation proved to be completely oblivious to how to take a photo. That's THREE so called "photographers" who had costly photo equipment, handed out business cards, but didn't know why their images weren't coming out right all the time. One of them didn't know how to or why she should set her white balance, and the other two DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT F-STOPS AND SHUTTER SPEEDS.

You know what? That's fucking low. Really. Everyone and their mother is a fucking "photographer" these days. You make all of us look bad.

I am in no way claiming that I'm the be-all end-all of photographers. I am not the best photographer out there. But I am a photographer. I am committed to my craft. I practice. When I got my new camera, I sat down for a day with the manual and learned how to use all of its features. I do research, take classes, attend seminars, and I always strive to increase and improve my knowledge. I take it seriously. We all started somewhere and I was once a novice too. But I didn't have delusions of grandeur and I didn't start out by giving myself a title.

You want to be a photographer? Great! More power to you! But please listen carefully to what I'm about to say. Go take a fucking class. Go learn about photography. Learn how to use a fucking camera. DON'T go spend buckets of money on the most expensive camera out there. DON'T buy strobes. DON'T invest in Photoshop. Real photographers can go outside with an SLR on full manual and take good photos that need no retouching. (Don't know what an SLR is? Guess what? YOU'RE NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER!) If you like to take pictures and you want to be able to call yourself a "photographer", you'd do yourself a favor to spend your money on education first.

Still want to call yourself "Photographer"? Take this simple quiz. If you can answer "yes" to all of these questions, then go ahead. You've earned it!

1) If, to call yourself a "Photographer", you had to pass a test like a lawyer taking the bar exam, would you pass?
2) If you go to a shoot and you want the image to look a certain way, do you know how to achieve it IN CAMERA?
3) Can you duplicate it?
4) Can you go through your shoot without looking at the LCD screen on your camera after every shot?
5) Sure, you've taken some nice photos of your model girlfriend who is perfect and knows how to move and directs YOU during the shoot, but are you capable of making some no-account non-model look good?
6) Do you spend more time shooting the photo than you do trying to fix it in PS?
7) Does your work speak for itself?

I can cook an amazing dinner, but I wouldn't call myself a chef.
I can bring you Ibuprofin if you have a headache, but I wouldn't call myself a doctor.
I can flog you til you say your safeword, but I wouldn't call myself a domme.

There's nothing wrong with being a hobbyist. If you're a GWC, then own it. Do what you want to do, but don't shit on me and my fellow photographers.

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