keep in mind that the skills needed to generate a successful ad image are only 10% photographic. The rest? Client interaction, on-set conduct, conference call etiquette, budget finagling, crew management, general problem solving, the care and feeding of buzzwords and jargon — and knowing when to go with the flow versus when to make suggestions that might nudge the project out of the everyday and towards something more transcendent …

via planet shapton.

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  1. hear hear.
    It’s easy to replicate an idea, but starting from a blank piece of paper is whole different ballgame.

    • Not if you own the right roller coaster.

  2. Whenever I hear somehting like that, someone saying “anyone could have shot that”, I always think “but they didn’t”.

    • Not only do we share the same name, we share the same exact thought.

  3. 7 out of 10 times when someone says “Hey, Anyone Could Have Shot That” they are wrong. I also agree with Clint Davis

  4. 45 years since developing my first roll of film I’m proud to be 90% photographer… 10% polite. All the other talents may be necessary for the ‘business’ of photography. Me, I make my photos and you take ’em or leave ’em.

  5. actually right about 7 out of 10 times , ….anyone could have shot that … with weekend warriors and housewives selling their work on flickr and citizen photographers with hipstamatic nonsense photos. and digital point and shoots….even Professionals get trapped in the snapshot of todays photo mania….there is sooo much post production its hard to tell…….
    but in my case…..shooting for .”real ” money …it changes everything…….

  6. First llook at the person uttering those words. Is it a) someone who knows what he’s talking about? Then you can start worrying. Is it b) anybody else then consider it a compliment: you made it look so simple. In reply ask for their portfolio. It’s better than getting mad ;)

  7. for those photographers who believe, “i could have shot that,” i simply ask, then why isn’t that shot in your book?

  8. I think of things like this when someone starts ragging on photographers like Terry Richardson or Juergen Teller, those sharing the “snapshot” style and making big bucks doing it. Obviously they’re doing something everyone else isn’t doing, whether it be behind the lens, with a client, or with the subject.

  9. I agree with the editor, making the image is only 10% of the job.

    When your not only dealing with the client but an agency as well you have two sets of people to please. The meetings, brain storming sessions, logistics, planing, budgeting and costing, people skills, technical knowledge, problem solving….. and then making the image. When you are dealing with jobs that run into the thousands there are many pieces to complete the final puzzle….. you have to find the fastest most efficient solution. Anyone can copy an image, or idea/concept but to start with a blank canvas?

  10. Fashion photography is a lot more than 10 percent. Thank god I’m in fashion.

  11. 10% ? If that was the case then all the producers and art buyers who tried to be photographers would be shooting instead. But I would agree with the other statements.

  12. Right. And then when the image fails the client’s expectations, does the photographer get 10% of the blame?
    Yeah but look how beautiful his invoice is, remember how cool and savvy he was on the phone and how sweet he was to his crew. . .

  13. As an ex Producer, Agency Art Buyer and wife to an ECD, I can see the editor left out one important factor; never underestimate the value of a good caterer! Agency people and clients alike love a good feed in meetings, the studio and on location. Pay the bucks and go gourmet. LOL!

  14. I think most of you are missing the point. There are many photographers who can make the shot but if all thing are equal then a client would much rather work with an ethusthuastic, easy going pro rather than an ego maniac.

    Unless you are shooting still life our job is about the people we work with. In order to create a successful image involving people, especially portraits, this requires getting the most out of your subject. This requires people skills and if you dont get that then you are in the wrong business.

    • Not being a “ego maniac” is a given. The 80’s are over. A great attitude, enthusiasm, (ie professional) is very important. No one is disagreeing with that sentiment
      but 10% is greatly undervaluing the actual photography itself. If you are producing McPhotography then no worries. But great images are made by great photographers. End of story. Do you think AB’s choose Nadav Kandar because of the catering the “care and feeding of buzzwords and jargon” etc?

  15. Only 10% of the career may involve shooting. But when working on a specific project, the creative efforts are more than 10%. A brilliant group of images and a successful campaign will probably be remembered longer than any other detail of the production.

    With the current trends of happy snaps, and documentary images, signature styles are rare – many image makers can and do shoot similarly. Many of the images we see in media today aren’t difficult. Some final images are composites or heavily shopped as well. The more unique, valued, established the artist the less crucial the rest of the ‘90%’ listed above.

  16. You can’t shoot the job if you first can’t get the job. And without being hired in the first place, then no, you could not have shot that.

  17. I think this is both comforting yet problematic for those trying to gain traction in this business because these are soft-skills that can’t be conveyed until you have an audience with a prospective client or been hired to shoot the job. Certainly these professional and relational skills can’t be effectively communicated in an email blast or a 5×7 followup card.

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