Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Obviously I'm not professional yet

So full of confidence that my photos were brilliant and saleable, because everyone told me so, I signed up to a professional photo library on the advice of a professional friend of mine. Ten minutes after signing up I get an Email from the company detailing what is required. It was a bit of a shock. An eye opener. Yes friends I've got complacent. Newspapers, magazines, websites all love my photos. They're more than OK. In fact my local paper kept telling me the file sizes were too big, so I kept dumbing them down until I was sending them little more than thumb nails before they told me it was perfect. So heartened by the fact everyone loves my pics I signed up.
It seems since I started late last year and taken almost 10,000 pictures not one of them is good enough to be used by this professional site. On large format all my pics are of the 2.9mb size. Shooting in Raw was a pain to process so I never bothered, no one complained. I've had poster sized prints made of my pics that came out brilliantly.
These guys want file sizes of a whopping great 48mb minimum. Shit! Well that was my initial reaction until I read on. Apparently I can, with the appropriate software interpolate my images. Interpolate? Big them up. So if I shoot in RAW and get a 6.9mb file I can big it up to 48mb by this interpolation process.
Not only that I've got to pass an exam to get my account ratified. I must attain the required standard to be a professional photographer on their books. I guess that's OK because it's a major player in the world of photo images and they must maintain their own credibility. Their clients know that every picture will be perfect especially if they are paying top dollar for them. So sub standard photos are rejected.
Now I have to prove I can achieve this standard. To be worthy of inclusion. I could go to a site where they are not so fussy, but what's the point? If I am going to be professional I have to raise my standards not lower them. So with 10,000 pictures under my belt and not one of any use I've got to start again from scratch.
Am I disheartened? No not really. It's a blow. But then I know to achieve this level puts me above being just another guy with a camera. I have so much to learn.
One thing that struck me today. In my quest to become a professional photographer I have never gone backwards. I have hit brick walls and stood still for a while. But with thought I've over come and marched on. There's going to be quite a few brick walls before I get where I want to be. Even then I'll probably want to be better still.
So here's a little anecdote for you. I was discussing my photography with my Mother. She said "Your brother is obviously helping you." What? My brother died five years ago in a diving accident. "He's helping you from above." she said.
"So I didn't do any of this by myself then?"
"He's guiding you."
"No he isn't I've done this all by myself. I've got where I am by my own sweat."
"He's putting people your way. He's introducing you to the right people."
"So it's James idea that I write to "unsigned magazine?""
"he helps you."
"Well perhaps he can help me win the bleedin lottery."
Yes I know my Mother still hurts even five years after my brother died. Five years this week as it happens. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let him, even post humously, take the credit for my success. It's OK. When I die I'll have it out with him. We can argue until the end of time who was really the driving force behind my success (or failure) if it matters.

Rock on dudes

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