Photography is all my life!

When we shoot a picture, even if it take few minutes or less than one second, we put our mood of the moment inside this picture, in other words we put our soul inside and whatever people can think, it's ours, more than that, it's us!

It's our personality, it's a part of ourselves and on this point there no bad or good photograph, there is only a photograph with the essence of the photographer inside, and that is a fact!

Photograph in a subway
Photograph: personnal vision of the subway © Patrice Laborda

Some time, i shot photograph that people does not like, like this one on the side. it was shot in the subway at an extremely shallow depth of field (f/1.4), only one person is in focus at the far end of the train (no this person is on the right side).

Nobody like it ! ... and so ? I shot this photograph for me, for my own pleasure, i even post process it in Black and White.

I printed it in big (1.5 meter high). This photograph is all my life, it's a part of me, even more than that, it's ME!

If some one steal it, i will become crazy simply because it's a part of myself.


You think it's a piece of crap ? why not, but it's my piece of crap and whatever people can think, i love my piece of crap.


Beginner photographer or professional photographer, we all have pictures that no one like, or just understand it, because we put some feeling inside, strictly personal feeling of the moment captured. Even a picture of a badly composed with a bad light of a simple plate of junk food is personal and no one can claim the right to use it, at all!

It's not because people are a beginner photographer or professional photographer that our photographs should be stolen or use without our consent !


Just take a simple example of how you can feel when some one use your belonging against your consent, you are upset, very upset, especially if it's used to make money directly or indirectly with it.

Few years ago, a guy which is a professional photographer, put a picture of a plate of food that he has cooked, on his website, to show to his visitors how look the recipe. Few month later this guy saw his own picture on TV, used without even a mention of his name by a morning TV show .

Immediately the guy call them, and the first question was : Are you a professional photographer ?

Professional photographer or not, at this point who care? they are using a picture that this guy shot!

Anyway, over all after few minutes the TV show hung up the phone, so the owner of the photograph sent them an email.

The answer was roughly: Your picture is a very common picture without creative composition nor lighting creativity of a very common dish ... blabla ... blabla ...

In another words they said that it's photograph was a piece of crap so crappy that it give them the right to use it without paying him nor mentioning him as the photographer.

The creator didn't have the money to file a case, but when i red this article, i was so angry that i seriously considered to send him some money to help him to file a case against those thieves. Did the TV show bought the camera were the picture was shot with ? Did the TV show bought the plate were the dish was ? did the TV show put the food in the plate? Did the TV show spent time to shot the picture ? Did the TV show post process the picture ? Did the TV show put the picture online ... and so on ...


Photograph : My son watching the world melting
Photograph: underwater in the swimming pool © Patrice Laborda

When we shot a photograph, we might like the photograph which is considered by others not a good photograph.


We like it because it remind us many things, many personal feelings that us and only us can understand, for us it can even be the best photograph of the year, and appear to every one the crappiest picture of the year.


We can love it because of the feeling we have for this photograph, even if it's a very common picture of a landscape made thousands of times by billions of people, we like it because this one is ours, it's us who made it, it can be a piece of crap but it's our piece of crap!

When i heard that some company or people are using photograph to make money, or not, for whatever reasons without even asking if they can use it to the owner, for me it's a pure thief's case, and as thieves they should be judged exactly in the same way as a robber which is caught for robbery.

Our photographs, snapshots, whatever people can call it, if it's made by us, even if the pictures of this point of view was made trillions of times, it's us who did it, it's our belonging!

It's so easy to ask, especially nowadays with internet, depend how you will use our photographs, or what is the purpose, often we might give you the photograph.

Recently a young man ask me a big format picture (4k) to put it as a background of his desktop computer, i just told him "OK, but no commercial use nor whatever", like what by just asking gently, politely it become easy.


Also, quite often, when people ask prices for a session photograph, or for a picture, they are like the sky is falling on their head and their answer are "usually"

  • All that, for a picture were it took only few seconds to do!

Seriously ... First at all photography is all my life, and if you ask me to shot a picture of you, it's because you like the way i do photography, you like the part of me that i put in my photographs.

Photograph of "Le déjeuner des canotiers" from Auguste Renoir
Photograph of "Le déjeuner des canotiers" from Auguste Renoir ©

This kind of comment reminds me a story of Renoir (Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the impressionist painter who, exasperated by the insistence of a trollop fortunate woman to possess a master piece signed Renoir. So he agreed to paint her canvas, he brought the woman to his workshop, put a blank canvas on his easel, seized his brushes and in fifteen minutes, tack sharp, Renoir finished the canvas, signed it and announce a huge price to the woman. The latter, offended by the asking price, said:

  • It's a lot of money, Master, for only 15 minutes of work!

And Renoir answered:

  • It's not 15 minutes of work, Madam, it's all my life.

But some people don't understand, or they do not want to understand this part, this feelings about photography, those people are more pragmatics, they are just telling you that the "work" is not worth the money ...

Ok, let us speak about money if your are down to earth and do not want to see what, us photographers, put in our photograph.

- How much do you think it cost to become a photographer (the price of the studies, the course, the scholar material, the years spent to learn, etc ...)

- How much it cost to the photographer to buy a DSLR camera (a minimum of 2 are needed)

- How much it cost to the photographer to buy a pro level lenses, (yes lenses and not only one lens)

- How much it cost to the photographer to buy filters, holders, lights, flashes, umbrella, soft boxes, tripods, post processing software, computer, external hard drive, storage and back up hard drive, internet, etc ..., etc ...

Roughly, when i take a look at my photographic material, it's more than that, and i even don't speak about to renew nor repair obsolete material!

After the material, let's speak about a photography session with the ins and the outs.

- Let's start with 1 hour to 2 in transit, and i do not take in count the gasoline of the car.

- 3 to 5 hours in session time (often more).

- 6 to 8 hours editing, proofing, converting, etc...(very often more).

- 2 to 3 hours uploading pictures and some office tasks.

- 3 to 4 hours between phone calls, scheduling, meetings, emailing, answering questions, printing, showing, etc... etc...(quite often more).

So over all let say 20 hours of work just for 1 little photography session.


When people goes to the restaurant, do they eat for free?

When people goes to the market and see all the vegetables exposed in front of them, do they take it for free?


Seriously, photographer is one of the most underestimated job. Most of the people think because they see a photograph exposed on a website that they can take it, they don't do it on the market with the vegetables, so why they do it on a website ?


I know the answer ! First they think that they can do whatever they want hidden behind theirs screen, but the most important is: Photography is not all their life.

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