Women in Photography

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by david_eicher, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. I will try not to make this sound Chauvinistic. Actually I am pretty much retired after 35 years of Newspaper work along with 28 years of Wedding Photography. Most, probably 445 out of my 450+ weddings, were done on Film. During this time, out of say, any 10 Photographers I saw, only one was a woman, if that. Now a days it seems like it is almost all women. Of course I have since left Orlando and moved to a small country town. It seems the big influx did not start to show up until the advent of Digital Photography. Otherwise I think it might still be a male dominated business. Was wondering how it has gone with the current Wedding Environment? The Brides usually do a majority of the hiring when choosing a Wedding Photog, so have the males of the industry noticed a marked drop in their business since more and more Women have showed up? Women tend to hire women is what I have noticed more and more. Since I retired from Weddings, I've settled into shooting Little League and enjoying the little ones. Just wondering how other Photogs see it now adays in the Business world?
     
  2. It seems like if there are more women, women will tend to get hired. I still think who is hired is more based on talent and personality, but there are more choices now. I am only 5 years in, so I'll be curious to see what people who have been around longer say..
     
  3. I think it's wonderful to have women artists using photography to capture the world as they see it. I always have at least one lady with me at weddings and I enjoy, admire, amazed at how beautiful the photographs they make as it shows how they see the world. I think we compliment each other. I divide up what each of us will cover at a wedding and what we will work on together. I find the ladies getting ready photographs are so much better with a woman photographing them. They see many little nuisances happening at a wedding and I love what they do. They add a lot to my business.
    Kudos to all you lady photographers!
     
  4. cross-posting would be frowned upon David. Maybe talk to the moderators and let them know which of your posts (here or Business Forum) you want to keep.
     
  5. Bill - what lovely words. I agree that each gender compliments the other.
    As far as weddings go, I think it's inevitable (and understandable) that a Bride will prefer a female photographer to capture the more intimate moments of her preparations. I've noticed that a lot of male-owned photography businesses have introduced female co-workers for this reason. The same could be said of female physicians - there weren't many of those twenty years ago either. It is not simply the case that 'women hire women', as the OP has suggested. There are other occasions and many reasons why I (or a client) might sometimes prefer to work with a man. I hope this allays the OP's fears that we're putting you 'guys' out of business.
    There is also greater financial pressure on us than ever before - households now generally need two full time workers in order to make ends meet. In that sense it's necessity which causes us to encroach upon what has previously been regarded as male territory. Photography happens to be a good outlet for many female talents, as Bill has said.
     
  6. Thanks Lindsay!
    Took a peek at your web site....lovely photographs on your slide show.
    Just a thought to help, would it be a good idea to tell where you are located on your main page? I see from your tele # you are located? Don't think U.S.A.!
    The lady that works with me has been doing weddings for 30 plus years! Together we bring over 50 years of experience! Do our photographs look old? We're both in our sixties and still love weddings but not as many as years ago! We've both discussed the future and we're going to work this, albeit slower, for another ten years!
    Thanks for your comments. Smiles & Fun!
     
  7. Hi Bill,
    Her initial home page (before you choose Flash of HTML) does say where she is based, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire are all Counties in Southern England. Her target audience would have a pretty good idea I would guess. It's also stated in other bits of the site.
    It is a lovely website. The brides in the gallery all seem to have been touched by the beauty gene! I know it's sneaky to ask, but did you work on skin smoothing as part of your post prodcution? Do you do this level of finishing for all proofs, or just final album prints?
     
  8. Photography is a rewarding and great profession for women.
    However, in nude photography, seems that the men have "more passion" doing this. :)
     
  9. Duncan,
    Thanks for pointing that out! I didn't notice it. Would other prospects click to flash or html and not notice? Just a thought.
    Have a nice weekend!
     
  10. However, in nude photography, seems that the men have "more passion" doing this. :)
    Dunno about that. I prefer to be clothed when I take pictures. :)
    In respect of the original post, I work as a male/female duo and can vouch that there's a lot of benefit. Women can be very instinctive and produce emotionally textured images that have a real subtlety to them. They can also go some places that men can't (obviously vice versa, too), and can have a different dynamic with people.
    And if I think about my favourite wedding photographers -- people whose sites I've bookmarked because I love their work -- by far the largest part of them are women. I've got a critical eye and don't impress easily. But it seems I have a strong, if unconscious, preference for certain types of work. I'm not surprised if that's reflected in the trends of the wider market.
     
  11. As far as weddings go, I think it's inevitable (and understandable) that a Bride will prefer a female photographer to capture the more intimate moments of her preparations. I've noticed that a lot of male-owned photography businesses have introduced female co-workers for this reason. The same could be said of female physicians - there weren't many of those twenty years ago either. It is not simply the case that 'women hire women', as the OP has suggested. There are other occasions and many reasons why I (or a client) might sometimes prefer to work with a man. I hope this allays the OP's fears that we're putting you 'guys' out of business.​
    No fears Lindsey, as I said I am pretty much retired. Just query those still having to work ;-)
    I do remember seeing husband/wife teams of varying degrees back when I was working and agree that a woman would have better access during certain parts of the wedding days. Portrait Photography, especially Kids seems to be another area where they are making very strong gains. Part-timers in particular. Being they have their own children and can use them as models, it is easy via sites like Facebook, to show off their talents to other women. Since women do a majority of the hiring, I still tend to think they will look at more women to consider, than men, unless the man gets good referrals from others. I have no qualms about them being in the business, as they do bring a different point of view. It would have been nice if my wife (girlfriend at the time) would have been interested in joining me for some of my gigs, but she was not.
     
  12. I've been thinking about this too, and I'd say my favourite photographers are 50/50 male and female, with an age spread from about 35 to lates sixties.
    Thank you Bill and Duncan for the kind words. I hope I'm not intruding on David's post by answering, but the brides are indeed beautiful, some of the shots are editorial so the girls are well-known professional models. There's no direct skin smoothing on any of them, although the lady looking out of the wood-store has a general diffuse glow applied to the whole picture. I don't have time to do too much work on individual pictures (I batch with my own finishing actions) - I find that if the lighting is right (soft, diffuse 'beauty light') then that in itself gives the skin a flawless and creamy appearance. If I remember correctly, they were all shot with the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS L . I've never been big on sharpening.
    Duncan - all proof images are fully finished - the extra effort really does get you more sales. I've just finished a set from a portrait shoot - 100 proofs. 98 going into a panoramic Jorgensen book.
     
  13. David, there are certainly some talented female child photographers around, and I'd agree that they out-number the guys. Perhaps parents feel that their children will be more relaxed when in front of a lady photographer. All that said, most of the commercial/advertising photographers I know are male, and they're extremely good. If you look at the different genres across the industry, there are probably more men overall. I was at a large wedding and portrait convention earlier this year and I think almost half were female. The year before, I'd guess around 30% were ladies.
     
  14. Both men and women are generally comfortable with women photographers. But not many women are comfortable with men photographers. This probably explains why people prefer women photographers.

    Also, in many cases the photographer is the lower-earning member in a family. Since on average there are more cases where the husband has a higher paying job than the wife having it, chances are higher that the under-earning wife would opt for part time photography as an extra supplementary income (as opposed to an under-earning husband doing it).
     
  15. I learned with film. I think it has instilled a sense of perfectionism in me that would have been harder to adhere to had I learned on digital.
    If anything, I think Wedding Photography has opened up to be more artistic, and I think that appeals to more people in general. I think there are just more varied types of people who want to get into Wedding Photography with the advent of digital, so it may just seem like there's an influx of Women specifically.
     
  16. Perhaps this opinion could be attributed to the nature of men and women in general. Please don't take this to offense, ladies, as if you have read any proven data on gender differences, you'll see more than stereotypes.
    For the very same reasons that women are better at using visual landmarks for directions while men are better at using cardinal directions and distance, women are finding photography more appealing with the shift to digital.
    While the best photographers, regardless of gender, do not rely on automation alone, the ease of digital photography has taken the diligence and technical precision required to master the art away. No longer must we spend hours in a chemical darkroom, but instead place our files onto our desktop without total fear of not getting it right the first time. Instead of actually learning guide number charts and using distance calculations, we can place a flash on auto and let it meter for us.
    The female brain just isn't always wired to think about the hassles that usually accompany film. Male brains are prone to this technical diligence.
    Another example of this is how many men seek the most complex and up-to-date photographic gear they can to achieve technical superiority, while women are usually content with their kit lenses on an entry-level body.
    Now, I'm not criticising the skill or artistic nature of either gender. I'm simply making observations as to how each of us operate. Annie Leibowitz is a wonderful photographer, as was Ansel.
    Take from that what you will.
     
  17. Ryan - total nonsense.
    I'm amazed that thinking still pervades. I can point you at women who are combat fighter pilots and men who can't figure out how to tune their TV set. Seriously, let's get a bit more enlightened, please.
    At best, you could perhaps say there are people who mistake the process for the goal, and sometimes they are men. But it's nothing to be proud of, and (as a man) I certainly don't count myself among them.
     
  18. The female brain just isn't always wired to think about the hassles that usually accompany film. Male brains are prone to this technical diligence.
    I'm amazed that thinking still pervades.​
    Thanks Neil. As am I. A gross generalization to say the least.
     
  19. With the male female split it's also interesting that a smaller proportion of women get into using off camera lighting in a big way - on strobist.com for example the readership is reckoned to be 94% male.
     
  20. Ryan - total nonsense.
    I'm amazed that thinking still pervades. I can point you at women who are combat fighter pilots and men who can't figure out how to tune their TV set. Seriously, let's get a bit more enlightened, please.​
    A combat pilot has been Professionally trained to fly and to do a specific job by the Military. Far different than someone who picks up a DSLR and then calls themselves a Pro Photographer.
    Some of what Ryan states I can see when talking to some of the Female photogs I have met. Their way of analyzing their photos is pretty much by looking at the LCD. Apertures and F Stops have little to no meaning to them. Of course this is not all of them, but alot of these Part-timers fall into this way of thinking. Still it is fun to help educate them some as a few of them have quite a good eye for a photo, but then some rush right out and buy the biggest megapixel camera they can afford and then stick it in Auto mode. Of course I am sure there are some males doing the same thing. I think anyone, Male or Female, that were lucky enough to learn Photography with Film first, will do much better when learning Digital than someone who starts out with just Digital.
     
  21. Let's be careful, folks. Generalizations are generalizations because there are usually some kernels of truth to each of them. I am female, and I can see Ryan's viewpoint. When I've trained new wedding photographers, most of the young males were really into the technical side and most of the young females weren't. When I was learning photography, I had to fight to learn the technical side, but I did. But there is that word, 'most'. Not all. Specific individuals will vary from 'most'. I guess I am an example, since I am into off camera lighting in a big way. What does that say about women in wedding photography? Not a lot, except that one can generalize but then, must leave room for individual characteristics.
     
  22. Selection for flight training depends on a complex set of aptitude test. You only get in if you've got the skills and the personality before hand. Training isn't what makes some people suited to it, since its purpose is to develop the innate characteristics that exist already.
    If there were some fundamental relationship between gender and aptitude for technology there would be no female pilots, physicists, doctors, engineers or scientists. And yet, since there are hundreds of thousands of women in all of these jobs, we can safely assume the premise is flawed.
    Some people care about the picture and the result. Some people care about the camera and the process. Gender is immaterial, since there are men and women in both groups.
    If someone wanted to generalize they could say that in their experience they'd encountered more weighting one way than the other. Which may be correct, but not significant, since it also says as much about that person's experience, education and social circle as it does about stereotyping.
     
  23. "The female brain just isn't always wired to think about the hassles that usually accompany film. Male brains are prone to this technical diligence.
    Another example of this is how many men seek the most complex and up-to-date photographic gear they can to achieve technical superiority, while women are usually content with their kit lenses on an entry-level body."

    Ryan, I know you don't mean to be insulting, but this is ridiculous. I'm a woman. I enjoy film. Actually I prefer it. I'm also very interested in gear, both film and digital, read equipment reviews, and develop my own bw film at home. While I no longer have access to a darkroom, I enjoyed printing in the darkroom very much. Either I'm some kind of freak, and so are the other women I took photo classes with, or these are misguided generalizations.

    I am far from content with a kit lens on an entry level body. :)

    I think there are probably men who are content with kit lenses on entry level bodies, just as there are women who are. But I don't think that preference one way or the other relates to gender.

    As time goes by hopefully these kinds of well meaning but misguided views will fade away and we'll all just be individuals - some who enjoy film, some digital, some using both, some more technically minded, some more intuitive, some both, some more interested in gear, some less, etc.
     
  24. When I was a kid, I was given a camera. I took it apart to see how the aperture and shutter worked. When my father got a top-of-the-line AF SLR (one of the first made), I read the manual cover-to-cover and taught him how to use it (and he's an engineer). I was an 11 year old GIRL!
    I read Strobist. I have a four-year degree in photography from RIT. I have spent more time in darkroooms--my hands immersed in fixer-- than is probably healthy. I don't use auto anything, I light off camera, I own more bodies and lenses than I can count. Oh, and I HATE generalizations. Except perhaps that one above about men and nude photography ;)
     
  25. Sorry, Neil, but your basic premise is flawed. You can't say that because there are some examples of individuals who don't match a generalization, the generalization must necessarily be false. Completely aside from the original question of whether men or women are more or less technical than the other group, I think Ryan's original comment was clearly expressing a generalization and not a hard and fast rule. The only way to prove or disprove such a generalization is with statistics. As Nadine said, people are individuals, and I agree with you too, that individuals should be treated as such, and not as faceless representatives of some statistical generalization or stereotype, but that doesn't mean that generalizations aren't sometimes interesting or useful.
    Regarding the original question of whether men or women are more or less technical, personally, I really couldn't care less. Living in San Francisco, the distinctions between male and female are sometimes distorted beyond recognition anyway. Isn't the whole point to find something interesting and unique from each voice, regardless of what bits happen to belong to the photographer?
    I'd bet that Vanessa and Alex would both agree that their interest in photography really has very little to do with their lady bits, and much more to do with who they are and how they relate to the world around them. I mean really, who takes a photo thinking, "hrm, how do my bits feel about this shot?" Well... maybe those nude photographers...
    I'm with Neil. I like to wear clothes when I shoot.
    Most of the time. :)
     
  26. When I was a kid, I was given a camera. I took it apart to see how the aperture and shutter worked. When my father got a top-of-the-line AF SLR (one of the first made), I read the manual cover-to-cover and taught him how to use it (and he's an engineer). I was an 11 year old GIRL!
    I read Strobist. I have a four-year degree in photography from RIT. I have spent more time in darkroooms--my hands immersed in fixer-- than is probably healthy. I don't use auto anything, I light off camera, I own more bodies and lenses than I can count. Oh, and I HATE generalizations. Except perhaps that one above about men and nude photography ;)
    Alex for every one of you at 11, I would say there were probably 20 boys doing the same thing back then. I am not saying a women/girl is incapable of learning the technical side of photography but 25 years ago, I am sure they were quite the minority. My question was more on the Digital end and was THAT the magic door that opened up photography to a larger mass of Women who now are taking photos and wanting to be Pros? I believe it was, some have learned as much about it as they can and others still shoot in Auto. Of course, I am sure there might be some guys doing the same. Either way, I say Digital was the magic door for Women and them getting really serious about photography.
     
  27. I worked at a photography studio back in the days of film and darkrooms run by an older man who we use to joke was as old as photography. We had 2 women photographers during the years I worked there and both were good, especially with children and brides. It's not so much women that I have been seeing a trend of over the years but I think because of the move to digital I am seeing younger photographers (some probably still in their teens.) I met someone last year who was in last year of high school and shooting their first paid wedding gig.
     
  28. Over the years there has always been a scarcity of women wedding photographers in my area and David rightly points out that there are a lot more women wedding photographers around since the advent of digital. Years ago I conducted short photography courses for adults who had purchased a new SLR ( film ). There were many talented and PASSIONATE women amongst them, often outnumbering men 2 to 1. Stating the obvious here but women have a very different perspective on life to men, I think they are able to represent love and romance in an image as good as any man can. BTW most of those women were very interested in Black & White and home processing, I would say the ratio of women to men with home darkrooms was at least 2 to 1. This is my observation.
     
  29. Sorry, Neil, but your basic premise is flawed. You can't say that because there are some examples of individuals who don't match a generalization, the generalization must necessarily be false.​
    It's not important, but refer to two points: (i) - I positioned the example against the premise of a 'fundamental relationship', not a generalization; and (ii) I made an observation about generalizations in my final sentence. Both points are defensible.
    Back on topic...
    I agree with the point a few people have made that there is a relationship between digital and immediacy of results, and that many people have exploited it to reach the point of getting decent results without developing technique. Cameras with face detection, scene mode, built in stablisation and artistic filters can make it possible for anyone to produce work that appears to be of high technical quality without actually understanding what they're doing.
    I just don't think it's a trait that has to be predominantly female by necessity. I've seen plenty of examples of men declaring themselves as expert specifically because they know how to use the features of their camera. I'd prefer just to consider a breakdown between those who understand and those who don't, and leave it at that. The whole gender issue is just a meaningless distraction.
    How many people can meter accurately just by looking at the light, can work all day with a camera that has one shutter speed and one aperture and still get good results, can leave their flash at home and be confident they'll never need it, and can limit themselves to one frame and still get a killer picture? Because that, for me, is a decent indicator of expertise and grasp of the principles and practice of photography, and I know plenty of people who can do all of those things. I also know plenty of people who can't. Men and women fall into both groups.
     
  30. IMO, this is all relatively nonsensical, and indicative of a residual tendency toward chauvinism on both sides of the gender spectrum.
    There is a generalization to support every argument either way depending on the bias going in. A boy reading a manual cover to cover at age 11 is countered with the generalization that men don't read manuals or road maps at all ... which is the butt of many social jokes. Neither tells the truth on an individual basis.
    My second shooter is a woman, she also happens to be an engineer educated at U of M. I know more about the mechanics of lighting and camera operation than she does ... not because of gender aptitude, but because of much longer experience. She is good with children not because she is more sensitive than I am, but because she's a mom focused on 2 small children right now ... yet I'm just as good with kids. Brides are just as comfortable with me shooting them getting ready as they are with a woman ... which has nothing to do with gender, but because they hired ME for my eye as proved by my samples.
    When I initially hired my second as an assistant, being a slight woman, the only question was wether she could schlep my heavy gear bags. She said yes, and that was that ... she schlepped with the best of the beefy boys I'd used in the past. So much for that generalization and bias.
     
  31. Just to add to Marcs comment. I have used women as second shooters, they are brilliant. Focused (sorry ) and on the ball, rarely missing good candid opportunities or a feminine moment, moments which can give your coverage a distinct edge. They are also organised which helps me a lot !
     
  32. I've had a good laugh at Ryan's comments, reminiscent of the male dinosaurs in sitcoms. I'm sure Ryan isn't like that in real life though.
    What is being overlooked here is the fight that women are still going through in terms of equal opportunities and equal pay in the workplace. In photography at least, we have some semblence of equality. Fundamentally - you can't argue that women have been subjugated through the decades and haven't had the choices that men have always enjoyed. Throughout recent history they've been tied to the home, into domestic roles that have had little to do with free choice and everything to do with society and tradition. Consequently there is an enduring belief that we must be inherently domestic creatures who are content with a 'gentler' approach to life. What utter boll*cks. As the world has changed and opportunities for us have increased, you'll see women emerging in every profession. But don't forget we're also largely responsible for raising families, running the home, taking care of men, and sadly we can't manage three full time jobs at once - hence our numbers in specialist occupations remaining consistently lower than our male counterparts. And as children, we're still conditioned to play with dolls and wear dresses - folks, please understand the difference between this and Ryan's insistence that females suffer from a cerebral deficiency! I could equally assert the old chestnut that 'most men are incapable of multi-tasking and so find it hard to juggle the demands of running a home'. In reality, most men are equally capable of all of this, it's just that they have been raised to expect somebody else to do it all for them.
    I actually remember an instance in my childhood where I was given a toy baby and a doll for Christmas. I remember asking my mother why the giver had chosen those items. And my mother said 'because little girls like dollies'. I didn't want a s*dding doll, I wanted an Action Man and a model Ferrari.
    My female friends are the most technical people I know. Many are photographers, from varied backgrounds - including design engineers, chemists, IT specialists. I myself am from an academic background and I'm from a technical family (military pilots, engineers, IT designers). Perhaps that's my point - if we're allowed to develop freely, rather than being conditioned into one role or mindset, then arguments like Ryans become moot, and the divide between the sexes might not be as great as we think - a notion which men like Ryan might find unsettling.
     
  33. I almost forgot .... wasn't somebody called 'Hilary Clinton' running your country for quite some time, while the 'frontman' had his 'male bits' somewhere he shouldn't have? I wonder what side of his brain was dominant? Certainly not the technical side.
     
  34. A terminology question: I notice that many men will call women "ladies", but then they will use the term "men" for their gender group. I lived many years in Texas and it seemed more common there...chivalry? Sexism? Neither? If you are going to say "ladies" shouldn't you then also say "gentlemen"...and if you say "men", you should then say "women"...right? "Lady Photographers" and "Gentlemen Photographers"...Just wondering...and does it matter?
     
  35. Sorry, what dollies verses action figures, and what men think or don't think, has to do with the photographic question at hand escapes me.
    Women are shooting weddings. Perhaps more than in the past. Why that is, is pure conjecture. Based on enough evidence over the past years, it appears that more PEOPLE are shooting weddings, so based on the population split it seems logical that a percentage will be women.
    What that percentage may be is also pure conjecture and antidotal. How many are full time professionals and how many are part timers is also an unknown.
    I've personally seen no evidence that one gender is better than the other at doing this. I doubt I ever will.
    Photography has a rich history of women in photography going all the way back to its inception ... and some of those earlier times were a lot more demanding technically than it is now ... that is for sure. The mind is overwhelmed with all the famous female talents that contributed to the advancement of photography ... but the same holds true for talented men who did the same.
     
  36. "Sorry, what dollies verses action figures, and what men think or don't think, has to do with the photographic question at hand escapes me."
    Marc, it was a commentary on the (somewhat contentious) points Ryan raised regarding his views on 'the photographic question'. He gave his reasons, I responded by giving mine. My earlier response was along the same lines as yours - that I believe the talent is evenly spread and cannot be gender-dependent.
     
  37. There is a parallel in software development. Until the 80s and early 90s when programming involved learning the internal details of operating systems and having to use C and assembly language, there were very few women in the programming field.
    Today, writing software is a lot easier, with drag/drop IDEs and easier front end languages like Visual Basic, C# and Java. And there is a much higher percentage of women software writers today, and some of them are much better than their male co-workers.
    The male brain vs female brain differences are probably a very likely explanation for this change.
     
  38. >> that I believe the talent is evenly spread and cannot be gender-dependent. <<
    Talent is definitely gender-independent, but brain wiring is different and dictates different approaches to photography in men and women (there are always exceptions of course).
     
  39. Nish, going back to my last-but-one post, I must disagree that there are more women in technical posts 'today' because jobs are 'technically easier now'. To re-iterate, I believe it's down to more opportunities for women to enter fields which previously were male dominated due to the relative structure of our society at that time. Women who attempted to move outside of the box were, for a time, disadvantaged both in terms of their income, and the prejudice they encountered in the workplace. Times have changed and the role of breadwinner is no longer necessarily the priority of male household members, and employers are mindful of that, so the more technical jobs are becoming available to women in the name of equal-opportunity. This fundamentally explains what you're seeing. For you to say that talent is gender-dependant really doesn't make any sense.
    I fully appreciate that there are differences between men and women, both good and bad - but I don't think it extends to one's computational abilities.
     
  40. I guess I'm thick sculled ... I still do not see what other fields and social barriers have to do with photography. The long, long history of influential women in photography is a fact. If they had to overcome the so called "hard wiring", and social barriers, etc., etc. ad nauseum .... a whole bunch of women from all sorts of backgrounds did a darned good job of it : -)
     
  41. >> For you to say that talent is gender-dependant really doesn't make any sense. <<

    Lindsay, I did not say that, in fact what I said above was "Talent is definitely gender-independent".
    And yes, I fully appreciate the points you mention, my stance was more on the lines that it's not scientifially backed to suggest that male and female brains are identical in behavior.
    This is so from a very early age. Even in pre-toddlers boys and girls show starkly different behavior and responses. Overall I do not intend to say that women can only do jobs because they are easier, but I still believe that women find some jobs easier to do compared to men (and the reverse holds true too) based on the nature of the task.
    Also some of the best wedding portfolios I've seen via photo.net were from women. If I had to choose a wedding photographer, I'd probably be biased in favor of a woman photographer :)
     
  42. Female and male brain function differ profoundly in all mammals. To insist that this is not the case may be understandable when most of us want equal opportunities for both sexes, but it is still wrong. Rather, the two sexes may use different strategies to master individual skills. Of course, there is considerable overlap, but it is easy to identify skills where one sex has a definitive advantage, e.g. in various medical procedures in which a video display unit guides the operator.
    However, the known sex differences would hardly be of importance in photography. If it were the case, we could tell from the output - the photos, and I don´t think that we can.
     
  43. This is a question and not an observation. Are women better at making women look beautiful and men better at making them look sexy? If so does this color the pictures we take at weddings?
     
  44. I'd say that men and women are fairly equally good at making women subjects look beautiful and sexy. But men photographers in general seem to suck at taking portraits of male subjects, whereas women don't seem to have this weakness. (this is my subjective opinion of course).
    It seems (straight) men don't really know what is "good-looking" or "appealing" in other men.
     
  45. To add an example, my wife and sister can identify beautiful men and women equally well. Whereas in my case, while I can very easily identify a good looking woman, I can never tell if a guy is attractive or not.
    Of course I can easily tell if a guy is well-dressed or if he is over-weight, but I have never been able to apply those meta-factors that we use when judging good looks and beauty in general on male subjects! I would like to think I am not an exception here and that most men are like me in this regard.
     
  46. Lindsay, I did not say that, in fact what I said above was "Talent is definitely gender-independent".
    Nish - sincere apologies for mis-reading that!! Crumbs, I thought it didn't make sense (-: (-:
    Good points about how female photographers view male subjects. I certainly agree that men often don't understand what it is that women find attractive in men and, and if I can be so bold as to say this, often believe we're only interested in physical bulk. 'Appeal' for women, can be subtle and hard to define. However I can make a good guess at what 'most' men look for when they first appraise a woman. Perhaps you've taken us a little closer to the reasons why a some people might prefer female photographers, in the context of how they see and respond to their subjects. Sven's point is interesting - can we tell from a set of images if the photographer is male or female?
    I was reading on an other forum recently that there is, apparently, an increasing demand for male boudoir photography. But the guys are requesting female photographers. My (straight) male friends say that they wouldn't want to disrobe in front of a male shooter for a whole host of reasons.
     
  47. My (straight) male friends say that they wouldn't want to disrobe in front of a male shooter for a whole host of reasons.​
    This reminds me of certain fundamentalist religious people that insist on having gynecological surgery performed by a female surgeon.
     
  48. I think Ryan has a point. Of course it is a generalization but it is also a "generalization" to say that men are taller than women. The fact that it doesn't apply to everyone doesn't change the fact that it is still true of most.
    In my experience, male photographers are more interested in the technical side of photography than female photographers who seem to focus almost entirely on the artistic side of the craft. Again not everyone but on average. And if anyone doubts this, try this little exercise: ask a male and female photographer what type of camera they own. The male will probably give you a more detailed response than the female who is likely to say simply "Nikon"/"Canon". For women it isn't about the technology but the art. And digital makes it much easier for those not technically inclined to shoot a wedding. And by the way, there are HUGE differences between male and female brains both structurally and functionally. The people who deny this are the ones who are "behind the times"- fMRI research is as cutting edge as it gets...There are also huge gender differences in vocational preferences for technical vs nontechnical jobs. I am not suggesting either sex is better but we are undeniably different.
     
  49. "we are undeniably different"
    Thank goodness!
     
  50. I just got married 2 months ago. I didn't look for my photographer based on gender. I just happened to find a guy on facebook and I liked his photography style so he is who I went with.
    The gender issue happens in other professions as well. I am a massage therapist, and most men and women prefer and request a female therapist. Massage therapy is a female dominated profession.
    My own preference is male when receiving a massage as well as my preference with my OB/GYN.
     
  51. They kept waiting for 150 years since the dawn of photography dominated by male. Now they came out.
     
  52. At 63 years of age with 3 daughters, a wife, and working as a critical care RN in a female dominated profession, I can tell you with great certainty that that there are fundamental differences in how men and women view the world. The stereotypical male/female roles are alive and well and to deny that excludes one from fully understanding the universe. You can be "modern, enlightened, and PC" and eschew that view only at your peril. Of course this difference is expressed in photography. Many of the above posters have explained it well, but I just want to get my vote in on the subject. Of course there are many exceptions to the rule, but not so many that the "rule" does not have merit. Embrace it! Vive la difference!
     
  53. Lurking around with heavy camera's full of technique and knowledge of this technique looks to me the reason men dominated the business. But with digital every fool can take an image with an average good exposure. So more people will enter the easy earning business of (wedding) photography, including more women doing it on the side. I know some female colleagues who hate to bring much gear and mostly don’t carry much stuff. The weight is still a problem for most women. The quality of the images are different, women tend to see things differently. There’s no right or wrong is this aspect.
     
  54. ah, what fun to come back over the weekend and see so many interesting responses.
    For the women that said that they took offense to my statement... I do remember implying that your style has absolutely no bearing on the quality of your work, nor that women were any more or less photographic artists than men based on gender alone.
    You should not be offended by a gross generalization, simply because it is just that. Please, research some gender stereotypes that have scientific backing. Some of them hold up, and some do not. It's decyphering that data that helps the argument.
    For a case in point, here is the first google result i found for "Men and women directions." The article is from Reuters. I'm not saying that it's fact because it's on the internet. I'm saying that it's plausable because there is so much verifiable data within reach.
    http://preventdisease.com/news/articles/tell_men_directions.shtml
    The original question asked was 'why there is such an influx of female photograhers since the introduction of digital photography,' and that was the question to which I was responding. Yes, there have always been women who have loved film and f/stops just as much as men. This was not my argument. There have been many female photographers with mounds of talent and experience over male photoraphers. This also, was not my argument.
    I don't believe it's insulting that women, on a very general scope, are not interested complex gadgets. This is one of the largest reasons that point and shoot digitals are predominently designed and marketed towards women. Many of them are full-auto with easy to discern buttons and menus. Why?
    Cost is a factor when designing cameras, sure. However, point and shoot cameras are most commonly used for snapshot situations: In the bar with friends, at a wedding reception, walking down the street, going out to dinner, taking the kids to the zoo, taking the kids to the park, etc. Why should many be bothered with a slow and clunky SLR with too many buttons when you just want to capture that moment? What instead might be desirable is an easy to use camera that fits in your purse (or satchel in a man's case: Indiana Jones had one!), does not take up a lot of space, and does the simple-enough job of capturing memories. Many would argue this and say that as a woman, you want to carry a DSLR around because it's better image quality and you prefer it, or that you even prefer film altogether. You are right, but you are not the typical demographic. If you have a point and shoot camera, does it mean that you are a girl with a purse that doesn't know anything about photography?! NO! It just means that you are using a camera that was purposely designed with a compact size, fewer features, and more automation for a person that prefers it. Why are many point and shoot cameras built with a light blue metalic or pink case? Is it because camera companies think that men like pink? Why are all professional SLRS and DSLRS black (with the exception of Pentax, and those are entry-level anyway)? It it just because it draws less attention, or was there purposeful thought in whether or not they should offer a color choice?
    I've broken into a tangent; let me recompose. This post may cause a bit of a whirl-wind, but let me implore you to reconsider my argument. I am by no means targeting the individual. Marketers never target an individual and their taste; there's no money in it. Marketers target groups with generic preferences that are just specific to design into their products. When applying this to cameras, there are thousands of considerations that go into product design of a camera model to make sure that all features turn into benefits for a particular target market.
    This, in turn, shapes the course of the types of people you see using the types of gear that is made, which returns me to my statement about women with entry-level bodies and kit lenses. It's not cheapening or masogynistic to say that women are generally more content with this type of outfit, no more to say that men are never content with entry level gear and are always looking for more. It's simply an explanation to the question asked.
    Once again, thanks for all of the intriguing responses.
    -Rk
     
  55. -This is so interesting and I am planning on coming back to read it when I have more time on my hands to read every entry. Ryan, just so you know, I did not take offense in any way to your post :) I too, think it is quite interesting.
    -As for me, I work with my husband...mostly only on weddings and every once in a while he will come and help me with something else. I feel like his work compliments mine as we see everything so differently, not to mention we treat our clients so differently. He thinks it is rediculous that I become best friends with most of my brides and that we tell each other so many personal things, but for me it works and I feel like that is how I am successful in the industry. A lot of times I feel like people book me for who I am and not my talent, as I am by far not a great photographer :)
    -As far as the equipment, I think the world has finally accepted the fact that women are responsible for so many financial decisions and a point and shoot is no different. I was in Office Max the other day getting some file folders and saw how many beautiful products they had for my office space and started talking to the associate (who was male) about it and he said that women are responsible for 75% or purchases and they realize that. In fact, I left there with file folders that were a soft blue with espresso swirls all over them, stationery to match and stickers too :) And of course they were more expensive, but it got my attention...
     

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