Reading Response #6

This week, read Briggs Chapter 6 and the articles Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition and 11 Tips for Better Candid Photography by Darren Rowse.

Some organizations like the Chicago Sun-Times and Sports Illustrated have laid off photojournalists to cut costs, opting for freelancers and crowdsourcing instead. What do you think: are there arguments for keeping professional photographers on staff? Or is that era over?

Respond in a comment to this blog post by 9 a.m. March 22nd (the day before our next class).


11 thoughts on “Reading Response #6

  1. I would have to agree with Kayce on her point of view with freelancers vs. professional photographers. As she stated above, it isn’t an easy occupation to be apart of. You have to be creative, free, and extremely educated on the use of a camera and all aspects that it has to offer. However, the more the generations pass, the more society becomes acquainted with cameras (ie: iPhones) and leave taking pictures as a new hobby that now can become an occupation. Do I think it’s entirely fair? No, but that happens all the time in the real world. People with prestigious degrees lose jobs everyday over someone else that has something so simple like knowing an executive at the company. So I don’t think its fair but I think its life, and it’s all about learning, growing, and pushing yourself even after unfortunate incidents like this.


  2. After reading Brigg’s Chapter 6 and the articles, Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition and 11 Tips for Better Candid Photography, it doesn’t really surprise me that organizations like the Chicago Sun-Times and Sports Illustrated have laid off photojournalists to cut costs, opting freelancers and crowdsourcing instead. With all of the new technology, especially in smart phones, anyone has the ability to become a photographer. I know that with my iPhone 6, there are so many features that come with the camera app, which allows me to edit my picture any way that I want. My camera on my phone also has the option to capture 1080 HD pictures, with other new features such as the 240-fps slow motion and time-lapse video. I also have a Canon Rebel T3i digital camera, which many professional photographers also have, (or even a better camera that this) and I do not see a difference in terms of clarity or quality of my pictures on my iPhone or digital camera. So, what is the point of having a professional photographer when anyone can take just as good of a picture? Well, according to the articles, there is much more that goes into photographs than one may anticipate. For instance, having the correct angle and/or light is crucial as well as other important factors. However, this is not something that really matters anymore, in my opinion. In many of the articles that I have read that pertain to news, most of the pictures I see online are not by professional photographers. I feel that the pictures that are taken from news organizations can be taken by anyone on the street with any camera – as long as it relates to a particular news topic then that’s all that really matters.

    Of course it saddens me that photographers are being let go of their jobs because I feel that the work that they do is not something that’s particularly easy. Professional photography comes with a lot of time, effort and creativity. It’s just unfortunate that these talented people are not really needed anymore. In conclusion, I do not feel that there are arguments for keeping professional photographers on staff, because like I said, anyone in today’s society can be a somewhat good photographer with all of this new technology.


  3. I can understand why some organization lay off photojournalists, the economy is still in a rough spot and they probably can’t afford them anymore and using freelancers and crowdsourcing are a cheap source of labor. But I do think the professional photojournalists do have an argument for keeping their jobs. I think freelance photojournalists think that just because they have a camera it makes them as good the professionals, they even use websites like Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition and 11 Tips for Better Candid Photography to guide them, resulting in lackluster sloppy photos. On the other hand the Professional Photojournalists had to work at learning how to get the perfect shot so that their photos look presentable. I don’t believe the era is over for the professionals I think if they were given a chance to adapt to what photojournalism is now they would still be able to keep their jobs.


  4. While i agree with some of my classmates about anyone being a photographer, I don’t think it’s possible to be fully equipped with the skills. What I mean by this is that anyone can learn all the proper skills needed in order to take pictures but what they can possible lack is passion. I can see why Chicago Times or Sports Illustrated needed to cut off some staff, which includes their photographers, because of money issues. With all of the new technology, many print company’s start cutting off unnecessary jobs from their companies in order to not lose too much money. The reason why the companies hired their photographers was because they had the required skills needed for their job and knew exactly how to do it. Without them, they have to train their journalists with these skills. It’s a tactic that many companies are doing now to save themselves money, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are good at it. Many jobs require passion and photography is one of those jobs that need passion in order to make your work fully shine. The photographers who have studied that would know more rather than the ones who are still learning the skills. Yes, anyone can learn how to capture quality pictures and learn about DSLR’s, different bodies, different methods and have all the equipment but it really comes down to the passion. Personally, I view photography as a job that requires a great amount of passion. It’s really hard to put in words, because it is something that anyone can do; point and shoot. I feel like there is so much more than point and shoot, balance, simplicity and such. The beauty of photography is that it can be inspiring and catch emotions which everyone can do, but not everyone would know how to do it in the best possible way.


  5. Like Courtney explained previously , I don’t think there are any arguments with keeping a professional photographer when you can simply learn yourself and become one.Briggs explains how anyone can simply become a photographer when they understand simple things like perfect their angles and capturing the right image with correct lighting. Not to mention, we live in an era where everyone is a “model” or “photographer” now. In my personal experience Ive taken photography classes and I’ve learned all about taking the right photos and how long they needed to be put in the developer when being in the dark room, I’ve also learned the difference between photos when it comes to quality as well. As for amateurs , things like YouTube or even articles like the one given to us to read (11 Tips for Better Candid Photography) can inform us on how to take photos just like a professional photographer. So yeah that era is over , we don’t need professional photographers anymore.


  6. During winter break, I assisted two sports writers in covering a high school wrestling tournament. With eight matches taking place at once, the three of us were quickly typing results as they came in, analyzing them, and conducting interviews, while a professional photographer was taking pictures. In such a case, when much is going on which demands the journalist’s attention, having a separate photographer makes the entire process run more smoothly. I believe this rings true with most of sports journalism, and likely in other cases as well. However, this scenario is not necessarily a standard, and in many cases, it is more efficient in time and cost to require a journalist to photograph or to crowdsource.

    While I like to believe that professional photographs are of higher quality, with new technology and online tutorials and tips (such as ‘Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition’ and ’11 Tips for Better Candid Photography’), it is becoming easier for the average journalist to emulate such technique. Briggs acknowledges this from the onset of his chapter on photography, noting specifically that digital and film cameras are not even a requirement anymore as smartphone camera capabilities have improved. Smartphones and other technology are especially useful in the speed in which they can be shared. A camera phone picture can be edited and uploaded to social media in a minute, where film cameras sometimes require development or a more extensive upload to a computer.

    In other ways, crowdsourcing can be very advantageous. During the campus gas leak, I was asked to take a photograph by a local reporter, who was unable to come onto a private campus. Other obstacles may prevent journalists or photojournalists from retrieving a quality photograph–such as natural disasters, war zones, or limited accessibility. A random source may be able to provide a perspective that was otherwise not considered, or many contributors might together create a more complete and diverse visualization of a situation.

    How one obtains a picture is contingent upon the situation, making photographers not altogether unnecessary, but requiring journalists to have some point and shoot skills. However, no matter the story, pictures are always important in sharing it, and attributing those pictures adequately is of the greatest importance.


  7. Briggs chapter 6 states that “Photography is all about moment.” While books and stories like “11 Tips for Candid Photography” allow non-professionals to take good photos, it’s harder for them to capture the right moments. I can see the benefits of using crowdsourcing, but professional photographers know what to look for and how to frame the right moment. People who read a book on accounting do not automatically become professional bankers, better than the ones who study accounting for years and have experience. So why should magazines and newspapers (online or paper) use images from crowdsourcing or nonprofessionals? I can see the benefit it has for those companies: one less person on payroll. But then what are we in college for? So in a few years someone can decide that they can outsource what we bring to a company just so they spend less money? Also, professional photographers can be beneficial too. A picture is worth a thousand words and images of good quality will have more feedback and bring more readers. I would rather see a clear professional shot than a blurry or awkwardly angled image in a news story.


  8. I agree with my classmates that after Reading Brigg’s and the responses that the argument for keeping photoJournalists around is becoming a tough one. As stated by my classmates anyone can be a photojournalists now with the technology that has been developed into cell phones. You don’t really even need to own a digital camera anymore to take really great pictures thanks to the iPhone. I can see how this is an option for news organizations to keep costs down – freelancing and crowdsourcing make sense. However, I do feel bad for this profession because it was once seen as an art, a skill that not everybody could just do or become. I think in the beginning of Chapter 6 Brigg’s makes an interesting point that at one point the process of making photographs involved chemicals and darkrooms, which created “a significant barrier between those who could and those who couldn’t.” I like how Brigg’s also talks about Photography being about the moment. I agree with this and the “ability to capture the moment is what separates the professional photojournalist form the amateur photographer.”
    With articles giving people tips and guidelines for taking better pictures I think that the ability of the average photographer will change and people will become more in-tune with what makes a good picture. This is something that is easily learned especially when you can look up information as you can today.


  9. I think that this week’s readings prove that in today’s day and age, anyone and everyone can be a “photographer.” Most people own devices that have the ability to take images, which is really all that’s needed. As unfortunate as it is, I can easily understand why more news outlets are beginning to depend less on professional photographers for their content. It seems like the easiest and most cost efficient way to get the images is through people who were there at the scene and were able to quickly snap a few shots. Regardless of who is taking the pictures, photography is still necessary to the journalism industry. Photos are part of telling the story, as Briggs said in Chapter 6, “journalism without photographs is like writing without verbs.” Therefore, no matter who takes the pictures, the industry will continue to have a need for them. So maybe we should all take “11 Tips for Better Candid Photography” to heart because we just might have to take our own pictures for stories in the future…


  10. I don’t think there are arguments to keeping a professional photographer on staff. After having read Brigg’s Chapter six-it exemplifies how easily journalist and anybody really, can become a decent photographer. All it takes is knowing the ins and outs of capturing the perfect angle of your subject as mentioned in the other required articles. I’ve taken photography classes in high school which were rather difficult to follow, I’ll admit. Nowadays though-as Briggs had mentioned our smartphones are built incredibly, allowing us to be our own photographers. Smart phones and other devices are easily accessible, with instant sharing and higher quality images from updated built-in cameras. New technology has really made a mark in the industry, things just aren’t old-school anymore. It’s quite ridiculous yet true that our devices give us the capability of becoming and doing whatever we want. I’m not by any means a photographer but my i-phone 6 sure knows how to take some fancy photos- it’s just about the way I edit them. Not everyone has a creative eye of course so learning the editing ropes definitely is a plus but easily done as well. I feel that freelance photography is extremely popular as well now. Flickr is a wonderful example of shared photos, we literally can find anything off that site. I wouldn’t lose hope for professional photographers because freelancers still make money as well as copyrighting photos allows you to still receive payment for your work which is great. While we still can find great photos online, photographers can still make money off suing if they think their work has been used so no worries for photographers! They’ll still get their money somehow.


  11. After reading chapter 6 and the additional assigned readings, I felt total justification for the career of Photography. Photography used to be this thing that was so uncommon and seen as a joke, but now…everyone and anyone is a photographer. Whether they use their cell phones, tablets, digital camera, etc. While I myself really enjoy taking pictures and have a digital camera, I don’t necessarily think organizations are wrong for outsourcing professional photographers. Don’t get me wrong, being a professional photographer requires one of the hardest things ever…and that’s the ability to be creative and free. However, as generations have passed, i feel like it is much easier for people to become exceptionally well at taking pictures. I mean think about it. People are being born into a world where phones have wonderful high tech cameras built in. They are starting young and developing an eye for capturing moments. Like the readings explained, there is so much that goes into photography, including composition, editing, angels, lighting, etc. But it is easy to get the hang of if you apply yourself. Therefore, I do think that organizations hiring freelancers opposed to professionals is a good idea. It brings new and fresh ideas into the mix and it saves that organization money. Do i feel bad photographers will lose their job? Of course. But the beauty of being a true photographer means you will be happy making no money for something you absolutely love doing, in my opinion at least.

    Quoting Briggs, I think this hits the nail right on the head. ” But digital photography, including the ubiquity of cell phone cameras, lowered the bar on capturing images to the point where anyone and everyone is a photograph.”

    As well as this, ” journalism without photographs is like writing without verbs.”


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