Podcast #33 – Conversation with Carlos Baez

podcastKerry and David talk with Carlos Baez about the recent controversy over the new video called Engage (http://engagingfilms.com), using specialty lenses, getting started with lighting, trends in wedding photography, staying inspired, and much more.

Carlos lays down the challenge to Camera Dojo listeners to post images taken with a single light source. To submit your images, add them to the comments on this page.

Be sure and check out Carlos’ website at http://carlosbaez.com and check out his DVD at http://www.photographymentor.com/school/seethelight

Show Hosts

Kerry Garrison (http://kerrygarrison.com)
David Esquire (http://esquirephotography.com)

This podcast is also available on iTunes.
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Kerry Garrison lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife and two dogs. With 10 years of experience shooting products and 5 years of experience in the wedding industry, Kerry brings a good deal of technical know-how and can explain topics in easy-to-understand terms.

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12 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    The podcast and interview were great, but it did seem like Carlos came across a little bitter at the newer photographers. Granted, he has had some very bad experiences, but I think he overgeneralized quite a bit. Now, there is no excuse for a new photographer not to know what a CF card is or how to properly set an aperture, but let's not overlook some of the brilliant new photographs taken by new photographers. While he may not bother to look at the 3" lcd on the back of his camera, the immediate feedback, among other advances, has helped some photographers greatly speed up their learning. And shooting in RAW and using 3rd party programs like Aperture have been a great blessing to the new generation of digital photographers that enjoy and have skill using such programs.

    Instead of complaining about new photographers, it would be more helpful to focus concretely on problem areas and suggest ways to improve.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don't know Carlos Baez but he sounds like a very insecure person with a very high and mighty demeanor…

    Carlos goes on an on about how great he is but if this is the case, why is he worried about how cheap and bad the new photographers are, after all they will never be able to compete with him, right?

    He mentions how he was inspired by Joe Buissink, the difference is that Joe is a very humble and inspirational photographer and you will never hear him put anyone down or toot his own horn.

    While, according to your own words, you are a great photographer, you still need to learn how to be a humble individual, Mr. Baez.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I listened to the interview, and I think one of the best points brought up was that there should be some sort of license or permit in order to consider yourself a 'professional' photographer.

    Carlos said he thought he would get some heat from the newer photographers for this, but I am still fairly new to it, and I wouldn't mind doing whatever I needed to do in order to earn the right to say I was a professional. In fact, I never say I am a professional. I say I'm an aspiring photographer.

    Needing a license (just like you need a business license for the state or your county you live in) will weed out those who aren't serious, or just after someone's money, because it won't be worth the effort for them.

    Being trained and licensed would add additional credibility to a field that already gets a bad rap for the bad behavior of a few. There are a lot of us out there, I suspect, who wouldn't mind additional regulations, etc… because we love it and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and be happy and make our clients happy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I too got very bad vibes with this interview. I feel there is always something more to learn from everyone who shares their experiences. In the case of Carlos, I doubt i would want to spend any time in his company. He did com off very arrogant and bitter as another person stated.

    Seems to me there are two camps when it comes to "newbies" in the photography field – those that are bitter and those that embrace the change. Those that are bitter resent the newcomers and complain rather then see the cold reality of change. Those that embrace it see it for what it is and go about using their knowledge to help others and at the same time profit from it (DVD's, seminars, blogs, etc.). I would suggest Carlos take this later route but highly doubt his personality would work with others.

    As to licensing, I feel that is a bad road to go down. Maybe a license for something that has to do with health or safety but beyond that, it's best the market takes care of it itself. Photography is an art not a science. Let people have the freedom to pick and choose what they want not some bureaucrat that thinks what art is best for them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    To Carlos Baez's credit, there are a number of beginners out there presenting themselves as professionals. I recently experienced one of these that was hired by my niece for a recent family event. When she walked in I suspected that she didn't have a clue. When I saw her shooting with a pop up flash from 20+ feet away, I had a good idea that her shots might not be that great. I could go on… Anyway, the proofs were posted on her website and all my doubts were confirmed. Composition was poor and almost all were hideously over-processed. Bottom line for me…that's why you need to see a photographer's work prior to hiring them. If they don't have anything to show you, then you probably don't want to hire them. So I understand where Carlos is coming from on this.

    That said, after hearing the enthusiasm and zeal of Roberto Valenzuela in his interview, Baez did come across a little stiff. Valenzuela would be a hard act to follow. Either way, I learned something from both. Thanks for the podcast.

  6. iramrolon says:

    Good one. I like the passion he has for the profession.

  7. Iram Rolon says:

    Good one. I like the passion he has for the profession.

  8. Mike Wilson says:

    I'm new to the podcast and I've been going back through them from the beginning, and this is the first interview that left a bad taste in my mouth. I can understand the frustration of the long-term professional to the newbies who are cutting into their profits and potentially dragging down the industry, but licensing just isn't the right way to go, and comparing shooting a wedding to someone building a wall in your house is ridiculous. If you screw up the construction of a wall it is dangerous and can hurt or kill people. If you screw up a wedding people's feelings are hurt and they (rightfully) get upset, but no one dies. Regulating an art form is just anathema to me.

    As for protecting consumers. There's ALREADY a way to tell whether a photographer is a good professional or a fly-by-night outfit. It's called their portfolio. If someone who's looking to get a wedding photographer and finds someone on Craigslist to do it for $1000 and hires them sight-unseen, well… they get what they pay for.

    As for the legal protection from lawsuit, why can't you just set up your company as an LTD? And buy an insurance policy that protects you from such lawsuits?

    I too got a "bitter professional" vibe from Carlos. He's an amazingly talented professional photographer, and it's very sad to see that he thinks he's at all competing for clients with $1000 photographers. The person who wants to get a $1000 photographer off Craigslist is not going to be the kind of client who's going to pay Carlos to shoot their wedding for $15,000… and he should know that.

    • kgarrison says:

      I have looked at numerous wedding photogs who have amazing portfolios on their websites to discover that the pictures weren't even theirs, that they hired models for the images, were images from workshops, and all kinds of other shady practices so no, I do not think you can judge a photographer on their portfolio alone because with enough shots you will get a small handful that you can manipulate to look their best but that does not mean you can do is consistently, under pressure, and deliver a usable product to a customer.

      When we are talking about wedding pictures specifically, these are one-time only captures, you can't just reshoot like you can with a product, if you blow the wedding shots you have lost the images for one of the most important days in someone's life.

      "IF" photographers could be licensed, then we could get bonded and have even more protection. You are quite right that a cheap budget minded couple is not going to be looking for someone like Carlos, but on the other hand, people charging $250-$500 for weddings do devalue the entire market.

      • Mike Wilson says:

        While I agree that people charging $250-$500 does devalue the entire market. I've heard the same exact thing from Stock Photographers with the microstock industry. But the flip side is that I'm listening to podcasts and reading blogs like yours where pro photographers like yourselves are saying you're guys are fully-booked for wedding and engagement shoots for the season.

        And while I agree with you that shady practices like photographers stealing others' work for their portfolio happens it seems to be the exception rather than the rule. I've heard many times from you folks and many others in the industry that the VAST majority of your work comes from word of mouth. People see the work you did for their friends and families and they hire you based on personal recommendation. It seems pretty rare that photographers get cold-called from someone who just came across their website or their ad. So again, the market works and I'm not sure why it needs regulation.

        I'm also not saying that having a photographer ruin your wedding photos isn't a personal trauma. But other than getting very upset and some tears and a lawsuit etc. no one is actually harmed. It's very different when you're talking about a building contractor or an electrician or a doctor or a nurse etc.

        I'm curious how you'd set the bar for getting licensed in the industry.

        • kgarrison says:

          My family runs a landscaping business, we had to be licensed in order to legally put plants in the ground and put in sprinklers. A badly aimed sprinkler wont kill anyone either. To get our contractors license we didn't have to go to the testing facility and dig a hole and put a plant in it but we were tested on basic skills and knowledge of certain legal issues. A Professional Photographer license would be very similar. If you dont know which f-stop would provide less of depth field between two choices, you probably shouldn't be charging to shoot weddings.

          I certainly would never condone having to submit images to some board before you are considered "good enough". Being licensed means you have a given level of knowledge and adhere to a set of business practices and standards such as timely delivery of images after a shoot. Licensing and bonding provides protection for both you and your clients.

  1. January 27, 2009

    […] with a single light source. To submit your images, be sure to add them to the comments on this Page at Camera […]

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