I wanted to make a post to rant a little bit, but more or less just describe a day in the life of…well..me. I am a Kansas City portrait photographer (along with concert photographer, event photographer, photojournalist, etc), and I have learned a few things in my time.
1. The Massive Divide
I think there is this massive divide in Kansas City between the group of people who respect art and see it for what it is as a viable business, and people who believe that paying for a form of art is lunacy.
I’ve noticed it when running ad campaigns especially. I will get someone who wants a couples photo shoot and they tell me their budget right up front, and things are just gravy. Sure, sometimes it may not be the amount I’m after, sometimes it is, but I know up front what they’re working with. This is how things are supposed to be.
And then…. you get the “Freebie” as I call them. The people who call, wanting you to take their engagement photos or photograph their band for free (or next to free), claiming it will be “good exposure” (what a pun). No, it won’t be good exposure. My work is exposed to the world in magazines and massive websites alike all the time. It’s an insulting thought process to photographers and really, to anyone who works for a living. I don’t ask you to do your job for free, so please don’t ask me. I understand if you’re low on funds, but save up so you can have quality photos taken for a fair price, and don’t just settle for someone of lesser quality when I can’t spend my day doing free work.
2. Location Limitation
I don’t quite know why, but I always feel limited in the locations available. As a concert photographer in Kansas City, there’s always venues to shoot at and shows going on whether it’s local or national bands. As far as locations go for portrait photography, you always feel limited, such as “well, do I want to go to the West Bottoms or a park?”.
The thing I’ve learned is sometimes you can go 20-30 minutes north, south, east or west of Kansas City and find beautiful open fields and lakes that most people could end up envying. Kansas City has forced me to become very resourceful and creative in ways that most cities aren’t forced to be, in my opinion.
3. This is a City of Art
Regardless of my earlier position on what people monetarily value art as, this city values its art as a whole as something higher than most places I’ve visited. We have the Country Club plaza that shows off some beautiful fountains, we have an art district with amazing stores and shops that display gorgeous paintings and photographs, among many other places.
The beautiful thing about Kansas City is the people that live here. I feel blessed to be a portrait photographer in Kansas City. I feel the same as the concert photographer, event photographer, businessman, and citizen.
Yes, there’s challenges I must work through here, but maybe by bringing light to the issues, they’ll slowly change and evolve. All I can do is continue doing what I do and do it as well as I can. Keep on keepin’ on, Kansas City.