How do you compliment a photographer on his work?

27th May 2014

Do you know what the best compliment you can pay to a Motor Sport photographer is?

Maybe an even greater compliment than parting with your hard earned cash to actually buy a picture!

Well let me help you. My latest updates to the Hillclimb and Karting galleries have generated quite a number of kind comments regarding my 'style' of Motorsport photography. I have been encouraged by this interest and I thank you.

It's now quite a challenge for anyone wanting to make any sort of income from photographing Motorsport. Perhaps the same can be said about all forms of photography? I also specialize in live music and festival photography and that discipline is just as challenging to make money at.

Modern technology has given anyone with a few 'bob' to spend (only people of my era - and British - will understand that quote) the opportunity to capture endless numbers of digital pictures at almost no cost.

Digital photography allows a photog to fire away almost unlimited shots and then 'cherry pick' the successes. Call me old fashioned, which at fifty-nine I probably am, but I just don't 'get' this style of photography. I'm not sure that photographing action 'machine-gun' style proves that a photographer has any level of skill... apart from in editing, and even there, a photographer who shoots into the hundreds and thousands probably reveals that they have little sense of 'timing and composition'.

Add into this the capability of everyone to upload endless free pictures to Facebook and other free online galleries and you can see how this overload of images limits the ability of a Professional photographer to survive (meaning sell) his work. Who wants to pay for a pic when something similar is available for free?

This is a massive challenge to many professional photographers and is no different in 'little old Guernsey' than anywhere else in the world!

With the UK Motorsport Clubs and MSA seemingly relaxing some of their requirements to gain access to the Track/Hill/Beach this opens the opportunity for everyone to start taking pics track-side.

So where does this leave the professional photographer? Well a pro has to 'see' what the amateur doesn't. A Pro has to take full advantage of any access that they may still be able to gain to the track-side. A Pro must also work endlessly... meaning long hours. My experience is that hard work and persistence usually have to come before any form of success. That's a shame isn't it, but true!

Persistence, reliability, sticking to the job in uncomfortable situations and always trying to learn from your 'fails', mistakes and 'missed action' must always be part of your work ethic.

Also finding new angles to cover an assignment are important defining differences between a Pro and an Amateur photographer.

This takes me back to my original point and again I thank those who have contacted me to say that my work goes beyond simply taking pics of crashes and easy panning shots.

When a racer says that he can gather useful information about his set-up from looking at how his car is 'working' through a corner or how their racing line could be 'tweaked' after studying my work it makes me feel that I have added to and become a part of the racing scene. I am capturing real racing action. I'm not just cherry-picking the unfortunate racing 'offs'!

My chosen profession might not qualify as a 'proper job' (please don't tell my missus) but when I leave the house to go to 'work' it really thrills me and I wouldn't change a thing, despite the challenges.

This makes me a very happy chappie :-)

UPDATE:
Having considered this Blog again and taking into account the fantastic feedback I have had I've added a few more thoughts... A FEW MORE THOUGHTS... THE DEBATE GOES ON