You may think this post is going to be a rant and it is but perhaps not in the way you will expect…
‘Everyone thinks they are a photographer’ and the truth is everyone is. In the same way that everyone is a cook. Some do it well, some do it badly, and lots are somewhere in the middle. Just because you can’t cook a Michelin starred dish doesn’t mean you’re not a cook, in the same way just because someone can’t take a technically good photo doesn’t mean they are not a photographer. Some of the best photos break many a technical rule because the story they tell and the emotions overrule any/all technical errors.
In the same vein you don’t have to have amazing top end equipment to be a good photographer. There is no doubt good equipment helps especially in testing conditions (low light, fast subject etc) but excellent photos can be taken with even a disposable camera with the right degree of skill. Of course just because someone has good equipment doesn’t mean they can take a good photo!
An awful lot of photographers seem to get hung up with everyone and their son buying DSLRs and claiming to be photographers, and many even charging for their services. Yes it will affect some areas of photography more than others especially where rules are broken (unwittingly or otherwise!) but in general there will always be clients who want not just ok but great photos. If the good photographers continue to work to improve their work they will continue to get those clients. There will always be someone cheaper (and those more expensive!), but if they can carve their niche, produce consistent attractive work and provide good customer service they will continue to attract clients.
Also several good photographers can take a photo of the same scene producing three very different images, all can be good images but they will appeal to different people. Just like art there are so many different styles. A great example is the below experiment conducted by Canon. They asked 6 photographers to photograph the same man in the same studio. Each photographer was told a different story, and each had their own style which resulted in 6 very different portraits.
Ultimately stop worrying what everyone else is doing and concentrate on your own work 🙂