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robtimko asked:
Zack- If it's the general public we are looking to woo, why do so many of us put so much weight in the approval of other photographers when it comes to critiquing? One could argue that a photographer can better tell you "why" they don't like a photo, but isn't that moot when your audience looks at it differently? Doesn't the saying "You don't need to be a baker to know when the cake tastes like sh..." hold true?

That’s a good question that merits some discussion.

I’d ask you if you want to be a McDonald’s photographer or a Farm to Table sort of photographer. Ever been to one of those independently owned burger joints that only uses the best beef, bread, and veggies for their burgers? Where the patties are hand made and grilled and all that? $10+ burger kind of place. We have a few of those places around Atlanta and they are amazing.

The “general public” buys a lot of McDonald’s burgers. 

How many burgers does the farm to table place sell? 

If someone wants to make burgers that compete with McDonald’s then they don’t need any kind of feedback from a chef. Some bread and some not yet out of date meat and they are set. The bar of expectations to meet or beat McDonald’s isn’t very high. 

Same with photography. Want to make in focus photos of kids that are decent exposures? You don’t need any feedback from other photographers to do that. Anyone can do that. I buy the school portraits made of my children. They are horrible photos but they are photos of my kids and I love them because I love my kids. Show me the exact same photo of someone else’s kid and I’ll critique the hell out of the photograph and tell you why no one should pay a dime for those prints.

Daryl Dad hires you to photograph his kids. You do a mediocre job doing so. Daryl Dad is probably happy because he looks at the photos and sees his kids and the job is done. You could stop your career and respect for the craft right there. You have a happy customer on your hands. Who cares what I think or any other photographer thinks for that matter.

You come asking me though. And I’m more of the farm to table sort of burger guy. I put a McDonald’s burger in my mouth and can tell how much it doesn’t taste like real beef. There’s been no care in the making of that burger. There’s been no love put into the making of that burger. It’s crap beef on crap bread with crap dressings. Yuk. No thanks.

Billions and billions sold. General public is quite accepting of the crappy McDonald’s burgers. 

Want to be a farm to table sort of photographer? You’re probably going to want to talk to some experience chef’s and cooks. People who know about choosing and sourcing the right stuff. People who know about temperatures and cooking times and the types of grills and stoves and all that stuff that goes into making an amazing burger. Gas vs. Wood vs. Charcoal. 

You’ve been making burgers in your backyard for a few years and you’re thinking about opening your own restaurant. There’s a lot that goes into that. It’s a huge step up. You’re going to have so much to think about. Consistency (something McDonald’s has down pat) is going to be important. Other menu items and how they pair with your burgers is important. Offering specialties that are unique to you are going to be important. Are you going to get that sort of specialized information from the general public or from people who are already doing what you want to do?

At the end of the day it will be the general public who walks into your establishment and decides if your burgers are worth five times more than a McDonald’s burger. You will, in the end, be serving the general public and not other chefs and cooks. To get to that point though you’re going to need some chefs and cooks helping you out.

Cheers,
Zack 

43 Notes

  1. bbd1968 said: Dude, “You’ve been making burgers in your backyard for a few years and you’re thinking about opening your own restaurant. There’s a lot that goes into that. It’s a huge step up” is damn near a perfect metaphor.
  2. tolleyphoto said: I wish I could reblog this because your perspective on this is absolutely worth sharing.
  3. zarias posted this