April 15 is known as Tax Day in America. Within the professional photography community it is a day of rage. In 1984 terms, it is their Two Minutes of Hate. Up to a third of photography business profits might be consumed due to taxes. One would be prone to believe the rage would be against the government for excessive taxes, but the rage actually takes the form of hating those who avoid taxes (not illegal) or dodge taxes (illegal).
Complaints, sarcasm and mocking abound:
Other days, this hate is directed against those who take cheap pictures, or have friends take their pictures, or who buy their own cameras. See this blog post, where a bitter photographer vents using ridiculous calculations (while ignoring inconvenient benefits of buying a camera you can keep forever). In his world, everyone should work 100 hours to pay him to work a day or two ($25 per hour is the average US wage and $2500 is apparently his wedding price). And what does this $2500 get a new bride? Usually not full copyright release or sometimes not even digital prints, but the photographer usually keeps both of those to safeguard for himself (and never use except to sue the bride). Photographers tend to hate people editing their own pictures of themselves or not giving the photographer the proper homage.
Why do these photographers hate all sorts of people wielding cameras who are not “professionals” (and I admit I am painting with a broad brush)?
It comes down to competition. Photographers are not above using unionist tactics: threats, force, and the strong arm of the government. Photographers hate the digital revolution which has placed professional grade equipment into the hands of amateurs. They now have to compete with “free” quality photos by people trained for “free” on YouTube. As such, it is harder for them to command $1000 for a couple of pictures sold on mediums that are marked up a thousand percent. One unpardonable sin is any photographer that releases pictures in RAW and/or without copyright.
Those who cannot be reached by the strong arm of the state are belittled. Professional photographers mock photos that people did not pay hundreds of dollars to procure. Sure, some self-labeled photographers are subjectively terrible, but my experience is that consumers tend to love their terrible photos. I have seen them on walls and office desks and in wallets. I smile and nod, “Color popping. Oh, very nice.” The really funny thing is that for all the smugness of the photographer community that they are bested by cheap amateurish images. And this is not even mentioning that many amateurs take high quality photos.
When the general public sees professional photographers advocating licensing or government certification, consumers should fight back. The professionals wish to use the government to force competition from the field. The professionals wish to stop people from having abundant and cheap personal photos. It is an impoverishing mentality. Consumers should hail the digital revolution as liberation from the tyranny of smug elite core of photographers. Consumers should hail the plummeting prices and cheap alternatives. If professionals believe they are worth their prices, let them prove it in the free market.
On a side note: For newbie amateur photographers, I suggest the Canon 6D ($1,399), which rates better than the more expensive Canon 5D Mark ii. When this is coupled with the 50mm 1.4f ($350), the images are spectacular.
From the comments section on one of the links: