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I don't care if you've spent thousands and thousands on gear, if you don't have the skills to use that gear in ways that consistently produce professional results, you don't yet deserve to call yourself a "professional" and probably shouldn't be seeking professional work until you have such skills. A human, camera-toting version of a coin-operated photo booth isn't a professional photographer any more than a vibrating Stratolounger represents a professional masseuse.
Just because someone purchases a hammer, a saw, and other carpentry tools, perhaps the best hammers, saws, and what-have-you that are made, doesn't mean they automatically have the skills and experience to hire themselves out as a custom home builder or seek employment as a journeyman cabinet maker.
I somewhat regularly see brand-spanking-new and new-ish photographers on photography forums who obtain paid, professional work and, once the work is obtained, they're asking people in the groups to tell them how to shoot the work they've obtained.
Are you shitting me? You went after a gig, scored the gig -- probably on price and bullshit promises -- and now you need to ask others how to make good on what you, no doubt, warranted to the client/customer you can deliver? Nice con... because that's what it is, a con.
Oh? The client/customer suddenly threw a curve ball at you with something unusual for part of the shoot and you haven't a clue how to shoot that curve ball part? Too freakin' bad. You should, at least, have a clue, more than a clue, how to shoot practically any client-thrown curve balls. If not, don't go after paid professional gigs you're not yet qualified to shoot. At what point are you qualified to take on those gigs? That's certainly a gray area. Probably different for many. But here's my advice: don't let your ego (your Twinkletoes as I wrote about in my last update) be the ultimate deciding factor. You know, because you've snapped a few good pics when you were shooting just for yourself.
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Don't get me wrong. I'm not against asking for or giving shooting advice. But there's a big difference between seeking advice from others while you're learning and relying on others to tell you how to do something you don't have a clue about, but you already warranted to someone else, a client or customer, that you can deliver the goods. (Either directly warranted by lying about your experience or indirectly by virtue of your hyper-inflated "pitch," selling yourself as the "professional" photographer for the job. Most any photography job.)
I certainly don't know how to shoot everything so, if/when I'm asked about shooting something that I don't know how to shoot with a fair amount of skill and knowledge, guess what? I don't take those jobs. Instead, I steer the client to some shooters who, IMO, do know how to shoot it. (And that's happened a fair number of times.)
Again, this update isn't me being bitter or angry about inexperienced, unskilled or marginally-skilled photographers going after paid work they are likely too green to competently produce. It's not me complaining there are too many photographers pursuing paid work these days. It's not me saying less-skilled and less-experienced photographers can't become skilled and experienced photographers warranting being paid. It's simply me saying photographers, like any other skilled professionals, should first pay their dues by investing in learning plus spending plenty of time practicing what they've learned. Once they know what they're doing via learning and practice, i.e., they've become skilled, truly skilled, then go after paid work and start accumulating professional experience.
Just because you can do some tricky looking shit with PS, LR, or some other software or apps doesn't make you a professional photographer any more than knowing how to make a few good meals in your kitchen makes you a professional chef. You might be able to handle being a short-order cook at Denny's with those marginal skills but short-order cooks aren't chefs and, just so you know, Denny's doesn't hire chefs. They hire cooks. Similarly, most professional photography clients aren't looking to hire the entry-level short-order cook versions of photographers. They're looking to hire the chef versions. Can most anyone become a chef or a professional photographer? Sure. But it doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen without a serious investment in learning followed by plenty of practice.
The pretty girl in the photos is Paris. Snapped it in-studio against a grey seamless using my Mola "Euro" beauty dish for a main light, slightly camera right and also slightly warmed with a small piece of Roscoe's "Bastard Amber" gel attached to the Mola's glass baffle. A pair of medium Chimera strip boxes, either side from behind, provided edge-lighting on the model. I also boomed a small, rectangular, soft box overhead from behind for a hair light, attaching black foil to the bottom of the hair light to flag it, i.e., to keep its light from bleeding onto the seamless.