Event Photography tends to register pretty lowly on the Photographers richter scale, with many established photographers looking down their noses at it. But why is this?
One reason I believe is the use of models in other aspects of photography! Personally I rarely use models on the workshops I run, as this is a not true representation of the people I photograph at an event. In the type of photography I do I rarely see a model, they are members of the public, and that can make my task all the harder. Hopefully in my workshops I will show delegates how to get the most out of their subjects in the minute or two that they will have them on their backdrop. It is a lot easier to work with an established model to show of your skills, but try plucking someone from an audience and working your magic (without Photoshop!!).
Unfortunately this stigma of Events being a poor man's trade amongst the echelons of the photography world occasionally get enhanced with sub standard photography produced by some Event Photographers and their "It's near enough, it'll sell" mentality not only harming our reputation, but also their takings and future bookings. Personally I feel my success (if that is what you can call it it) stems from trying to produce, and constantly trying to improve my service to the customer. I often have it levelled at me that I must be a master of Marketing to have got Pellier Noir to where it is in a relatively short space of time. A master marketeer is the furthest from the truth as it can possibly be, I rarely, if ever, cold call, I never pay for advertising and year on year the number of events we cover diversifies and raises. I am not alone in this, as several of my closest Event Photographer colleagues also experience this phenomenon.
So why are looked down upon? Jealousy? Maybe, but I don't think so. The Event Photographer that produces the goods and the experience for their customers will continue to thrive and possibly earn more than the average wedding or portrait photographer, a reason for jealousy? Possibly. Another reason could be that the main Photography Societies and Associations have no formal recognition or qualification for Event Photography. We often read of photographers being made Masters, or Associates ,or Fellows of said Associations or Societies, but these are ALL for photography other than for events. Some societies have Event Photographer sections but don't in my opinion offer their membership the same attention as other sections within their Society. This is detrimental to the members and continues to harm the name of Event Photography. I really wish they would embrace rather than exploit the sector.
There is no hierarchal tree within the Events sector, unlike portraits, glamour, weddings etc where over the years photographers have be elevated to almost god like status. In a small handful of cases this is justified. However I believe with events being a relatively new photography discipline that peers have not yet been formed amongst the latest crop of photographers for the above reasons.
Photoshop also has to come into play here at some point too. What many non Event Photographers tend to forget is that we do not have time to post process images, they have to be ready to go with alterations to an image to be minimal, and only using whichever software the Eventer happens to be using to display and print his images. There simply is not the time to export images to Photoshop and create pieces of art from a photograph, it has to be good to go there and then. For this reason I believe that Social Event Photography is actually harder than many other forms of photography.
I believe Event Photographers should be given better recognition within the Photography World, but it seems the only ones capable of doing that is ourselves. For that reason alone, never mind a financial one, we should all continue to strive to produce the Best and the most PROFESSIONAL products and service we possibly can.
Thank you for reading