While doing a little reading on the Spray and Pray photography method
people always joke about, I came up with a name – David Jay. After a little reading, it seems he (used to) sell a 10 step approach to theoretically making megabucks in photography. One of the techniques was just shooting wildly at an event and praying something comes out. It seemed that whatever he charged for his system (code for scam) on this site, thephotosystem.com, gave you little. Yet Jay figured out how to get people to pay for his “advice” and has done well for himself.
If you think just holding the shutter down will get you something valuable, you are sorely mistaken. Especially at weddings – those are the most sensitive events you could ever photograph. Apparently David Jay photographed one couple’s wedding and he made a neat little slide presentation during the reception. It all seemed to go well. Then the couple received the DVDs of their wedding and were shocked. The vast collection of images they received were junky, poorly exposed and motion smeared.
Now there is the chance that this email traffic is all bogus. Maybe. But here is Jay’s response page:
So this at least appears to be true. You will have to be the judge of that. If I had majorly blundered a shoot, I would never try to sell the customer additional web products, I would just try my best to amend a poor situation.
But then notice that David Jay’s photo technique site is down for “revamping”. And it’s very easy to find other forums talking about his photography methods. And, he’s no longer doing photography. Read Gary Fong’s (Lightsphere inventor) commentary here about these methods. Fong indicates that though he does not agree with Jay’s teaching or shooting methods, he does admit that Jay is a brilliant businessman.
The theory is that press, regardless of good or bad, is essential to making money. Keeping people on your website and selling purportedly valuable products is one of the ways Jay made his money. But looking on his site, you’ll see that he’s positioned himself as a speaker and must get plenty of invitations to do talks, even though his actual product is questionable at best. No doubt the guy has charisma, but so do….well, you know.
Compare this to the Teton Photography Group symposium held in Jackson Hole on September 7, 2013. Here, the presenters did not sell fake techniques of just shooting a bunch of random stuff and hoping that something comes out of it. None of the presenters, all professional photographers, advocated doing anything of the sort. Instead, each of them presented methodical techniques for improving images. The 70 attendees received a full day of ideas and inspiration for their photography and, at least I hope, came away with something valuable. Based on the feedback I received as a speaker, that was the case.
Jay’s suggestion of not bringing a lot of fancy equipment to your first few events seems
well founded. You don’t want to be overwhelmed. But why in the world would you show up with gear you are unfamiliar with and put someone’s special event on the line? I for one would never do that – I would feel horrible if someone relied on me to make beautiful images of their event and then came back with yellowish, blurry junk. My rule has always been:
No untested weapons in the field.
If you want to learn more valuable techniques, there are far better out there. Photography at the Summit (Sep 29-Oct 4, 2013) is one of them. It’s expensive but you get to work with real photographers who produce real products. They don’t just talk but can and do deliver.
Since there seems to be an amazing demand for this information, I have begun work on a photography DVD series. It won’t tout bogus spray and pray methods or other junk. It will get you away from the Green Mode or P setting, though.
Fong related a horror story (half way down on this page) about a photographer who went
to an international shoot, tried manual instead of P(rogram), and blew it. She tried photographic basics at the customer’s expense. Again, it may not be true. But the potential is there. This DVD series will be full of useful information on improving your photographs and stepping up your game.