My Life As A Souvenir Photographer

You know what i'm talking about.  You head out on a cruise on a lake or are getting off the lift at your favorite ski resort or checking out any one of the, must see, tourist destinations throughout the U.S.A. and there they are, poised with their camera in hand ready to position you in front of that beautiful backdrop, green screen or natural view, a photo that, they tell you, you just have to have.  The final product waiting for you when you finish seeing or doing what you came to see or do.  Some hate it and some love it.  And for four years of my life I lived it!

For some reason the photography community as a whole has shunned this group.  They aren't talked about in any way shape or form in any photography magazines, podcasts or industry websites.  This is never used as an example of the type of experience that you should have if you are interested in being a professional photographer.  The critics say this isn't real photography.  You point and click what they tell you to point and click.  You use the default settings that the management tells you, you must use.  You are a pawn in a game that is making someone else millions!  While some of these things may be true, I disagree that this isn't a valuable experience.

I believe that you get out of life what you put into it.  If you keep your eyes and ears open you will hear and see things that can show you something new.  By doing so you can learn and grow in ways that you never thought possible.  I was lucky enough to move into management at one of these venues and then worked my way into managing one of the largest venues in the country.  In doing so I learned valuable skills where color processing, digital imaging and photography business management were concerned.  I learned how to process and print film negatives.  How to transform negatives into digital images as well as how to manage the monetary aspects of a photography business.  I was part of the transition from photos on film to the digital age.  I sold old chemistry machines on Ebay and helped work out the bugs in new imaging software.  I agree that I didn't learn depth of field or the rule of thirds or the exposure triangle.  What I did learn was part of the puzzle that has led me to where I am now.  I look back on that experience and know that I got out of it as much as they got out of me.