What A Professional Means To Me.

Ok, this is another update.

Ok guys, yes I have heard of Mr Bourne blog today. And to that I say this. I will not allow someone to drag me down to name calling or allow anyone to deflect what this subject, is really about. The original conversation might have started out as a price war thing or what ever you want to call it. However, once that first DM came in, it stopped being about what someone charges, but instead became about someone who calls themselves a Professional. Acts on the up and up in public but brings out full-blown rude behavior behind closed doors.

It is not like we are walking up to him and going, Hay! I hear you’re a professional Photog, do you know how to do this and this? He is presenting himself as Professional Photog and a Professional Trainer.

Juvenile 2 faced behaviour is unacceptable in any profession and if you work with big names, rubbing elbows with them and trying to aligning yourself with their good name then you owe them and those that are looking to you for guidance the respect of keeping yourself in good public standing as well. Professionalism is deeper than face value, you have to be willing to live it in all aspects of your life not just in the public eye…

to the bottom of this article from another person who was sadly abused by the same said professional.

A professional to me is NOT someone who can make a lot of money at something they do, but instead one who knows their field inside out and produces top quality work from the knowledge they have gain though experience and training. They present themselves in a professional way.

Tonight on Twitter I had a run in with someone I though was a Professional and who I thought I respected in the photography field. Imagine my surprise when the so-called person removed the wool from my eyes himself.  First let me say, that said person made the comment and I quote;

‘I’m consulting with a wedding #photog studio selling against a studio doing $500 weddings. Our new ad – “We fix $500 wedding photography.”

Ok, I didn’t say anything when I read this. To a degree I do understand. It wasn’t untill I saw the next tweet that I thought I would reply.  I quote again;

“To all those defending the $500 wedding guy I have a simple statement – if you have a $10 head buy a $10 motorcycle helmet.”

Like I said earlier  I agreed to a degree with what he was saying. But I also understand the other side.

People are losing their jobs, and with a lot of our jobs going overseas these days. It is not like you can just go down the block and get another job like you could 10 yrs ago. People are not just losing their home they are becoming homeless and ending up in homeless shelters and some with their children.   People are just struggling to get by these days.  People are afraid to spend money and if they do they want the best bang for their buck.

Soooo I tweeted back “We are in hard times, people are trying to survive and keep a roof over their families head. :(”

Now keep in mind I thought I was dealing with a rational Professional.  So image my surprise when the FIRST DM from said PROFESSIONAL came in.  And I quote;

By the time the third one hit my feed I had to block him to stop reading his egomaniac racist dribble.

To top it off, he made sure he wasn’t following me so I could not reply to said DM’s. Wasn’t that nice? To bad he didn’t know me better to know I wouldn’t let a little thing like that stop me.

Does he know this other studio that has slashed their prices? Are they someone like me, just starting out and breaking into the field and feel they don’t have the right to charge the going price because yrs of experience isn’t in their back pocket yet? Or could they be someone with experience but have fallen on hard times and are just trying to keep a roof over their families head and while trying to keep their business a float.  Could they be someone with an ill family member and had lost business because they had to take care of a love one and now must rebuild their business? In this economy who am I to judge someone else for how they run their business?

I can say this was a real shock and an eye opener for me. I see no integrity in his words or the actions he took by trying to hide his true self behind close doors while attacking me. Where is ones integrity when you would put your business before your childs health? And to even suggest such a thing to a parent is NOT acceptable at anytime ever.  Is that really a Professional? To me no, but greedy Gus does come to mind. The only thing that I can see that he values is his wallet and ego….

I think the DM’s speak for themselves.


~ by mitzs on January 24, 2010.

84 Responses to “What A Professional Means To Me.”

  1. Welcom to the club! At least the “Big Wig” didn’t call you an “idiot” like did many of us here on Twitter.

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by shaznyc: New blog post. What a Professional Means To Me. http://bit.ly/7F5sBI (Vua @mitzs…

  3. I am finding that he has insulted or abused a lot of people on twitter. They are coming out of the wood work now. That someone could treat others with such little respect still just amazes me.

  4. I completely agree with you. I saw the tweet and was desperate to comment but tbh I felt entirely intimidated into silence.
    It’s all very well to demand thousands of dollars for your services but in reality few people can really afford such inflated prices.
    I am an ammateur just setting out so I guess I would offer $500 photography as he put it. The people I have been dealing with are quite happy with that quality and standard and would regard Mr Bourne’s position as daylight robbery I am sure.
    Maybe he is a stunning wedding snapper and has the ability and reputation that enables him to charge the earth, good for him. But everyone is different, and all weddings are different. There is a high demand for low budget photography, whether he likes it or not and that place in the market is bound to be filled by people who aren’t quite so full of their self importance.

  5. I think it sucks when someone tries to personally attack someone for an opinion on a professional matter. It really sucks and I am sorry that it happened to you. I found your calm demeanor in addressing the issue very refreshing and gave what you were saying much more weight. All the best to you!

    p.s. I saw you live in the hills of TN, I was just in the mountains right outside of knoxville it’s beautiful there!

  6. This is unacceptable behavior from the self-appointed “professional”. The comments are in such poor taste and totally illogical at that.

    I mean there is room for everyone. Why does he have to bring the others down in order to “prove” his work/worth? Sounds like an insecure wuss to me. If you REALLY believe you are worth the thousands of dollars you charge, then you don’t need to cook up lame ad punchlines like that.

    I so agree with your second last paragraph. Now that is what I call being a true professional. You go girl!

  7. I’m so glad this is happening to more people and it’s coming out! Thus far he’s kept his “opinions” to DM, calling people out for disagreeing with him and then (oh! The horror!) blocking them! That’s one way to build a fan base that has only opinions that conform with yours and who thinks you’re Mr. Mojo-Man! He’s built his following on giving away things and by being the kind of sycophant he wants following him – it’s apparently worked for him. He has his loyal followers and has the, even bigger, wigs endorsing him. But the truth always comes out. I have no respect for someone, no matter how good they are, or think they are, who has no respect for others and their opinions. This is, of course, my own opinion on the matter. I’d worry about being blocked, but I don’t follow El BigWiggo…

  8. If the $500 wedding guy has a great portfolio then I would choose him or her rather than pay $3000+ for the same quality work. I know a lot of people who charge less than the going rate and their stuff is actually BETTER than the big name people. That is called a free economy. That is the economy that we are supposed to have in America… where people can decide what they want to charge.

    Now on the other side of things, I have seen the $900 wedding photographer who produces the most God awful work. Clearly a case of someone buying a fancy camera, slapping photographer on their business card, and going out to the masses. Well, guess what… it is the couples fault for not choosing a good photographer. Do I get upset when they choose the other guy over me? Nope, not at all. I don’t lose any sleep over it what-so-ever. This is America and this kind of thing falls under the freedoms that we Americans have. Charge whatever you want.

    In closing, if the wedding photographer he is consulting for has a killer portfolio that blows the $500 guy away, then they wouldn’t need someone to consult for them to help their business.

  9. I also cannot believe how some people can insult other people online, the worst is when someone actually knows you and claims that you physically abused them in the past and wanted everyone to see it online, and you have no recourse, any one that has ever read it will believe it about me for the rest of their lives.

    As a Christian, a husband, and a father of 4 it was like a knife through the heart.

    Was I an inconsiderate butthead jerk many years ago, yes? But physically abusive-never!

    Even so my faith instructs me to ask to be forgiven for any pain I have caused, and yes I have forgiven this individual, and wish only the best.

    At least you were insulted by a stranger that you never mt.

    • Well I thought I would check for updates to your post, or even a reply to my reply. I see your a stickler for truth, and I notice on my previous reply that I wrote it quickly and passionately and overstated a few things, would you be a sweet-heart and edit my previous reply.

      Where it says I was an inconsiderate butthead jerk was incorrect, please change it to: once in a while inconsiderate, and one time a jerk, (that butthead part was so not me).

      And we have to be very sensitive about this next part, Karen (the woman that I am referring to) might actually read this post, Oh did I just put her name in here, please delete any names I mention.

      So where it says any pain I have caused, (I did not actually complete the sentence) please add after the word pain: when I terminated our living arrangements.

      Thank you so much, people like us that have been put down and called names on line have to stick together. You go girl.

      Bob abooey

  10. When a person is down and out “PRIORITY” takes over, in the times of losing jobs and homes I wouldn’t pay $3000 for wedding photos, I probably wouldn’t even pay $500 for wedding photos, but I would pay $300 for medication to help my family member get better. I wouldn’t spend $60 on a pair of designer jeans either, but I would pay “reasonable” prices to keep my kids clothed and have shoes on their feet. BUT you also have to keep in mind that “MOST” of these people charging an arm and a leg don’t want to deal with those of us that are a little (or a lot) down on our luck. They are choosing to weed out the good clients for the ones that will pay the “high dollars”. There are quite a few people out there that have never had to make “PRIORITY” choices, and when the time comes and they finally hit that low, they will only survive by how they treated the rest of us.

  11. The guy is an ego-obsessed dinosaur who just buys his followers by giving away prizes. I earn almost nothing from my photography but I enjoy it with a passion, and I do it will kit that isn’t cutting edge – that’s far more important to me. I know who I’d rather be, and it’s not him 🙂

    Keep shooting and stay happy and healthy everyone!

  12. One thing I’ve noticed on Twitter is there a lot of people who think nothing of attacking and/or judging what other people do.

    As for SBourne, I’m not surprised. A person can only hide their true motives but for so long. I understand where he was coming from with pricing, but the public insult was uncalled for. He has over 62K followers and doesn’t follow anyone back… that says something to me. Since he doesn’t follow anyone back, I guess it’s apparent he doesn’t really care what others think. But kudos to you for calling him to task on his statement.

    There are a lot of celeb photographers on Twitter and I follow a few of them–some of them have good helpful info to share. Others are just trying to promote their latest venture and sell the latest book.

  13. I can only assume that perhaps he’s about to hit hard times himself and doesn’t know how to handle it?

  14. Tim I hope someone takes a boot to his arse and tells him to stop acting like a jackass at least!

    Thank you everyone for all your support and feedback. And I am just sorry that there is more then me out there that has been subjected to his ego.

  15. this whole argument is ridiculous. this whole “you get what you pay for” thing doesn’t really apply to ART. beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. picasso’s cost millions and they’re fucking ugly so what does that tell you? i’ve seen more amazing art on passing trains. but that’s me, and again…… it’s art and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. personally i would (and did) much rather have creative fun photos from a decent person who could use the job. even if they weren’t that polished. especially when the alternative is to pay 10 times the amount for run of the mill, cookie cutter, proex family portrait looking crap that supports an obnoxious jackass who calls people names in dm’s to save face. if you think someone is a whore then let the world see it and if your such a hotshot it won’t cost you one single customer……cuz you’re just that good, and worth every penny. you get what you pay for with cars and electronics. you’re either born with an eye and mind for art, or you’re not. most of the best artists in the world will never make a penny. and that’s the beauty, they do it because they love it, and they just have to.

  16. I do think that $500 wedding photography as a blanket amount across the board is generally unacceptable and hard to make a living off of. However, I have charged someone that amount before as well charged others thousands. There are multi-layers to the market so there has to be pricing and service for everyone (which most adjust for a recession and readjust for booming economic times). Just as someone can buy Payless sandals and someone can buy Gucci sandals as well as all the midrange sandals like Aldo, Steve Madden and Jessica Simpson, there has to be a plethora of pricing. (Notably, sometimes more expensive shoes are BETTER quality, conversely, other times it is only the name on them that makes the price 😉 )

    Photographers are not obligated to photograph everyone for every rate just as Rolex or mid-range price Movado has no obligation to produce Seiko/Timex priced watches. Rolex, however, should market to Rolex buyers and accept that some people simply want and/or only can afford a Seiko. They should not worry about their Rolex customers going to get a Seiko or they are not targeting their true target market. I feel no obligation to be the 50 dollar portrait photographer nor do I charge 750 for portraits. Everyone has a choice…but a certain lowballing and decrease in quality will affect the market overall and that cannot be ignored.

    There are still some other concerns that have to be considered about wedding photography that are often ignored. Many clients claim to not be able to afford wedding photography, but can afford high budgets for other things that they deem important. If a client doesn’t value their wedding photography and are willing to spend more on their cake (saw an add where woman wanted to spend 500-1000 on a cake but 250 on a full day of wedding photography) than the images, that is completely ok…perhaps I am not the photographer for them. Photography and videography have long-term gratification, not short-term (i.e. can be enjoyed or be the source of attention [or worst case scenario, used for oneupmanship] on the actual wedding day) like the cake, dress, band or venue, so many clients view the latter as more important and worth the price. This is a reality, especially in our culture where short-term gratification has a high relevance.

    Understandably the respect has to be a two way street between clients and photographers. Clients cannot curse out a photographer who charges 10k, 5k, or the most common rate (fact) of 2.5K simply because they cannot afford it. Conversely, photographers cannot expect every client to want to pay their rate, even if they put in the hard work and time to earn it.

    It saddens me to see someone of Bourne’s stature writing this type of stuff. I have had great interactions with famous as well as below the radar photographers but I have also been attacked and insulted without cause by some photographers. Sorry that this has happened to you. As far as what embrownny wrote, he does follow very few people though he has a 60K+ following. He was actually following me for a while, which surprised me, but then later unfollowed. I hope he will think about the aggressiveness of these comments and not repeat such actions. Geez.

  17. ‘nuf said 🙂


  18. The free market train is blazing down the track and instead of getting out of the way he decides to stand in front if it like Superman. Unfortunately for him, he’s not (have you seen him)?

    Choo Choo!!!

  19. I can forgive a shooter charging a low fee for their services but I just cannot forgive charging for poor quality. I see too many people running down to Wal-Mart to buy a cheap dslr and printing business cards. I see them every weekend trying to direct their victims. Of course they are all “natural light” photographers because they know nothing about light, flash color balance or anything else a “PROFESSIONAL” photographer would know. Sad to say, though, the public has come to expect crap from most photographers because that is all they have been exposed to.

    If you are one of these shooters and care about photography and the industry which you are trying to break into (and there is always from for one more) do us all a favor and get the training you need to really put out excellent work. Your clients, your business and “our” profession will benefit.

    That said, I cannot see any reason to personally attack any individual on any public forum. In these times we should help each other out. I think it is called Karma.

    • Dear Barry,

      I have to say I agree with you. Never ever do I present myself as Professional photographer. I tell people that I am training to be one. I have not ventured into flash yet because I am still working on getting the best images I can in camera and not post production. This is very important to me. As for training, well it is why I am Kelby Training evangelist, belong to several flickr groups, and am part of a large photog twitter crowd. I am trying to learn from the best though videos, books, and advice from people I trust on twitter. I have fallen in love with this field and I am going to give it everything I have. Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  20. Wow. I also had a run-in with Mr. Bourne. I had a problem with a new Lensbaby and wrote to him about it. He lashed out at me in a most surprising, nasty Twitter direct message. I was shocked.

    I took the high road and explained to him I was frustrated with the problem, and should not have expressed that to him.

    He blocked me, but he did respond with a brief “appology accepted” note.

    I don’t have any ill will toward Mr. Bourne, he’s very knowledgable, and I’ve learned a lot from his podcasts. But I now know he has a hair-trigger temper and is more than happy to lash out at anyone. He has zero tolerance.

    I beleive a Dale Carnegie class on “How to win friends and influence people”, or perhaps an anger managment class would help him a lot.

    (muggle1 on Flickr and Twitter)

    • Ivan, did you ever get your Lensbaby fixed?

      • Yes! Lensbabies gladly accepted my defective lens and exchanged it for a new one. They also sent me a free lens case! They were awesome, and I also received a personal note from the owner! That’s what I call customer service, and they are a class A company.

        The response I received from Mr. Bourne was surely an unpleasant experience, but I have no ill will towards him. I’m sad to hear that others have had these experiences as well.

        As for me, I continue to pursue my passion for learning photography, and enjoy the wonderful people who are a part of the online photo community!


  21. Trudy, Rick, & Barry – VERY well said, and AMEN!

  22. I posted on Twitter that I was “very disappointed in @ScottBourne, assuming these DMs are legit”. He immediately DM’d me back in the same “my way or the highway” style, accusing the OP of being a troll.

    I flat-out told him I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, with all he’s done for the community, but he refused and blocked me from his account as well as the PhotoFocus account.

    Very sad. If there is another side of the story, I’d love to hear it. From Scott’s actions, however, I can only conclude that there really isn’t.

  23. Likewise, I saw that tweet and cringed. I elected not to comment, simply because I saw that there was no way to make any kind of meaningful progress on depicting “the other side of the coin” (which you did very well BTW).

    Thanks for providing a voice for “the rest of us”.

    I haven’t been following you on Twitter; I think I’m swapping whom I’m following!

  24. I attended one of Scott’s workshops a while back. I asked him a question about a camera function and he had no clue what the answer was. He tried to BS his way through an answer but I said that the camera didn’t have that function and he said it did and walked off. After I figured out how to do what I was asking I went up to him and told him the answer so he could explain it to anyone else who asked him in the future. His response was “I told you it was in the functions” and walked off without another word. The funny thing is that the answer had nothing to do with the functions at all! He is an egotistical pompous ass with a massive arrogant streak. I only hope that more people take notice and he never gets invited to teach at conventions again. In fact, I think all of you should take screen shots of your DM’s, print them out, and then send them along with a really nice letter to all of his sponsors. Make sure that they know what kind of trash the guy they are paying to represent them is saying to people.

  25. Wow, I can’t believe how much of a jerk this guy is. He said some awful and even threatening things to me as well. I’m going to take Bill Howard’s suggestion and send his comments along to his sponsors. I know I wouldn’t want to be associated with this guy. Do you know this guy makes a significant amount of his income by suing people over rights to his photos? Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand protecting your work and getting compensated but, it just goes to show the kind of guy he is, to spend a significant portion of his time and money that way.

    Great article. Thanks for taking the time to post this. People need to know about this guy. Its a shame too cause he provides some useful information, but then again so does going to the library or a book store. At least there you won’t get insulted or threatened by a pompous ass.

    • Jarrod, I am sorry you had to go this too. It is really sad. But have you ever been to Kelby Training. Now there you’ll find real professionals! I mean we are talking about Laurie Excel, Moose Peterson, Joe McNally, plus other great trainers.


    • I cannot fault him at all for protecting his work. I personally do not like lawyers and think our society is way too sue happy. But if someone infringes on your work then that is a valid reason to sue them. It doesn’t say anything about his character other than he wants to protect his work as he should. Now if he was suing people for stupid crap then I would agree with you.

  26. “agree with most, but tip 11 debatable. also, tip 20 image breaks tip 23! RT: @ScottBourne 25 photo composition tips http://bit.ly/6g0z6i

    when i noted via twitter how one of his examples in his post conflicted with another point in the same post, I clearly didn’t have a negative vibe – i just thought it was funny, so i made it clear that i agreed with his post first. i liked his posts and viewed him to be an authority, but it left a pretty bad taste in my mouth when I received this DM from him: “stop being pedantic life is better that way 10:44 AM Nov 30th, 2009” without giving me a fair way to respond.

    later on, i commended him for a post and didn’t hear anything back. I was pretty confused. it concluded at the time that it takes a pedantic person to look at every negative comment one receives, view it as being pedantic, and reply sarcastically instead of having a civil engagement. Regardless, this post has helped confirm my suspicions that he doesn’t seem realize that these comments are made by individual and real people, and not realize that dishing out seemingly private jibes will eventually work against him. this categorization of people into “pro” vs “idiot” doesn’t seem to mix with professionalism.

  27. why did you do a snipy thing like trying to bring rick sammon into this storm in a teacup? and where do you get off posting DM’s which are private messages….get over yourself and move on, yeah we all know he can be a moany bitch, but its your perogative not to folow him, so don’t.
    I can’t see him running around crying about it.
    life is too short, you’re gonna have to learn to deal with other people’s opinions, move on.

    • There were more than just opinions stated.

      Maybe we know why Rick no longer does the podcast with him.

    • Hello Keyhole,

      I sent the link to Mr. Sammon because I actually found Mr Bourne though him. Mr, Sammon is a public figure with a great reputation. I thought he should be aware of someone who he has alined himself with. Then what he does after that is up to him.

      Mr Bourne handles himself one way in public and then another behind closed doors tells me that he does not want certain people to see his actions.

      As you can tell from just some of the replies here he relies on intimadation to keep people quiet and it would seem this tatic has stood him in good steed untill now.

      Nothing on the internet is private and if you don’t want EVERYONE to see it you shouldn’t be sending it.
      I try to live by the rule, if i don’t want my mother reading it i don’t post it. I also live by the rule if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all (unless it is absolutely neccessary) and you are ready to stand by it.

      It wasn’t just enough to send several of us insulting DM’s lastnight that we had to block him to stop them. He then turns around and calls us trolls in his public feed. How professional is that?

      I may be a little fish in the big pond of twitter. However, I am not about to let some bully make me tuck tail and run. Nor would this have come about if he would have conducted himself in a professional manner that he claims himself to be.

      I appreciate your opinion, thank you for taking the time to stop by

  28. I think the way it was done was bad. But, at least in Miami where I live, a $500 wedding shoot will be bad 99 times out of 100. I’m not sure how you can make any profit unless you show up, shoot a bunch of images and hand a CD with unprocessed jpegs.

    The argument of an established pro going cheap to bring in income makes little sense unless you put in as little work as possible. I can understand if you’re starting out, but you’ll soon realize how much work goes into a GOOD wedding shoot.

    I can understand about undercharging when you first start out because all photographer make this mistake, I did too. But, honestly, unless you get very lucky, $500 for a wedding shoot is too cheap to be very good. You’re better off doing a couple for free to get the experience and to limit expectations.

    Again, agree the way the photog in question was poor, but the point being made has validity.

  29. I too have gotten some of Scott’s arrogant tweets – I’ve stopped listening to PhotoFocus since he got rid of Rick Sammon.

    I’m not sure what’s going on behind the scenes but he seems to take joy and doing stuff like the TWiP/PhotoFocus break-up and now dropping Rick Sammon from his podcast without so much as a word. Rick seems to be too much of a gentleman to call him out on it publicly, but it was great to see him post a short “‘nuf said” here.

    That said – I do really like his podcast work and he is smart and knowledgeable about a lot in the photography world… hopefully people coming out about this will let him see the error of his ways and we can move away from all this drama. The world doesn’t need it. 😉

  30. Scott Bourne is probably the greatest bully in the twitter universe. He is a pathological lier, and savors abusing people. But like mentioned above he likes to dish it out but can’t stand receiving the slightest amount of criticism.

    He has 60k+ followers, but those are all folks looking to win one of the cameras he somehow convinces others to pay for, yet seem to only benefit him.

    He has bounced thru more “personas” than anyone I’ve ever seen on the internet… First internet radio, then Mac “expert”, then iphone, then personal storage, now photography, yet he seems to leave a wake of destruction behind every single one of those endeavors.

    He now claims he is a photographer, yet uses mostly stock images on his blog. Try to find any of his images anywhere, you won’t, he is just an gear collector. He talks a good game but can’t really produce.

    I have worked with him, and can tell you that 95% of what comes from his mouth is a LIE. He likes to brag that he owns 5 houses, a Ferrari, a Lambo, etc.. NONE of it is true.

    It’s only a matter of time until he burns thru this latest persona, and burns all his connections in the photo industry, just like he has done before.

    Best thing you can do is ignore this self adulating idiot!


  31. Looking at Mr. Bourne’s Twitter account and the reaction of his followers, they are trying desperately to make the $500 Wedding photography the issue, *which it’s NOT*. The issue at hand is not the statement that $500 wedding photography is bad, no matter how you feel about it, it’s that Mr. Bourne’s rude and obnoxious behavior is wrong! He fires off most of his attacks behind the protection of “private” messages and accuses those who don’t agree with him of being trolls and makes the $500 bit the issue. I’m glad these brave ladies have made the messages, which were sent to them, therefore are THEIR private messages, public. I don’t want to continue to hear his views on $500 photography. He’s made his opinion quite clear (though he won’t afford other the same respect) – I’d like to hear him defend his treatment of others. I’d also like World Peace, but I doubt that will happen either…

  32. Such a good discussion going here. Even the folks who disagree, are being more respectful than Scott Bourne is to ANYONE! This is what blogs/twitter/social media are about. It’s not about agreeing, it’s about discussing ideas and sharing work/opinions etc. …interesting, no comments allowed at “photofocus”. I wonder why…oh yeah, its cause he doesn’t CARE WHAT YOU THINK!! And lets be honest, the ONLY reason he has as many followers as he does is because he gives away awesome free stuff. And if THAT’s how he wants to win over and keep followers, instead of just providing good info and advice, then he’ll probably have a lot of followers for a long time. But it won’t make him any more liked among the people he’s been rude to in private, and eventually it’ll catch up with him…

  33. Another thing I noticed this morning is on the iTunes reviews of the TwiP podcast – reviews from 2008 had people saying Bourne had slagged off the UK and they would no longer be listening. Seems like a case of an ego out of control to me. I’m sure if I started giving away 5D’s I’d have a lot of followers too!

  34. All,

    Great discussion – i think that twitter has to take the blame a bit. I don’t condone his comments and he does come across as arrogant but sometimes you just snap. You are write if you say he doesn’t understand how to use ‘social’ media -it is not a billboard for views people who care about their hobby / job

    thanks for raising it though. San Sebastian, Spain

  35. Ego unbounded, and you get flamed in the process. No professional should ever attack in professional discussions. It’s only signals lack of ability, lack of business acumen, and lack of ability. Sorry you had to hear the racist stuff on top of that.

  36. I have had a personal run-in with said “Professional”. We sat together for more than an hour and I personally did not see what all of his “cult” of followers see in him. He seemed very self-obsessed and belittled those around him.

    The worst part of it is that an organization I respect greatly has started jumping onto the Scott Bourne bandwagon, which is a shame.

    To Tim’s point, if organizations gave me a bunch of free crap, I could have a gazillion followers too, but I would treat them all with respect and nurture those relationships. I guess that is the difference between someone who would rather walk alongside the people he interacts with on Twitter as opposed to someone who is trying to see how many people will follow him.

    At any rate @mitzs, nice post and sorry you had to deal with all that junk.

  37. Thanks for sharing. I find it interesting that we are discussing the cheap discounted price of a $500 wedding shoot given the amount of free stuff that is given away in order to secure “customers” (AKA “followers”).

    Now I’m not that smart in Math but isn’t $0 even more of a discounted price than $500? 🙂

  38. Classic Scott Bourne, he is now claiming to be a victim… A victim of internet trolls, and that he is even receiving death threats…

    Folks, don’t believe a word of what this guy says, 95% of what he says is a lie.

    I am just hoping that his sponsors find this page and start getting an idea of what this guy is all about.


  39. Very interesting discussion. A lot of people can’t afford a professional photographer; their entire wedding budget might be $500 or less.

    It seems unlikely that amateur photographers who take on the low-budget work (that the “professionals” wouldn’t want to mess with) would lead to a “crash” of the industry. That just seems a little overly dramatic.

  40. […] received some harsh words via direct message from Scott. If you need to get up-to-speed read @mitzs blog post about professionalism (NOW with tons of comments) then @ScottBourne blog response to the topic of cheap photography, and […]

  41. I think the whole topic got out of hand and off topic really quick. here is my two cents. I consider myself a professional. In my opinion a pro is not just somebody with a camera. A pro is established in business and the community. A pro has back up gear, does business with contracts, business licenses, DBA, and pays taxes. I understand people charging $500 for a wedding but what happens when they drop the camera at a wedding and do not have a back up for that camera. The wedding couple are screwed. I have met Scott Bourne and I think he makes some valid points and does have some useful information. Do I think he handle the situation bad, YES, do I agree with him, KIND OF. I think his point is that more and more people are claiming to be pros with out the proper gear or business mindset. With all of these new photographers coming in to the market it does kind of get saturated. I hear horror stories all the time of hiring the $500 or Uncle Bob photographer.

    Chrisitna Says:

    It seems unlikely that amateur photographers who take on the low-budget work (that the “professionals” wouldn’t want to mess with) would lead to a “crash” of the industry. That just seems a little overly dramatic.

    I don’t think that is too dramatic. for example look at the travel industry. it used to be that we would have to go to a travel agent to book a trip. Now a days with the internet and all the value travel sites the travel agent industry has slowed down tremendously.


    Don’t take things to personally. Keep your chin and do the best you can do but don’t under value yourself or the photographer community. ( am not saying you are under valuing the community )I personally love the photographer community.

    • Hello Clark and welcome to my blog.

      You see, the things is, I am not a wedding photog. Never have been, never have claimed to be. But he didn’t stop to find that out he just attacked. So I know you’ll understand when I say, this isn’t about pricing but about how ones treats others while claming to be a professional. As for not taking things personal, wel,l his words hold no weight with me or a lot of others now. What he says or thinks just doesn’t really matter anymore. Because it is actions that speak louder then words.

  42. […] What A Professional Means to Me (a blog post and comments below) […]

  43. I was on my way to read the blog post based on the original tweet and the controversy it’s caused when I saw A.J. had posted about your DM confrontation. Thought I’d come here for some perspective first and then go read Scott’s post. You I know and trust. A.J. I know and trust. Scott’s still an unknown quantity for me (I’ll have to read his side first) but I think he’ll be hard pressed to justify the attitude here.

    I do understand his “go buy cheap drugs in Mexico” comment as an analogy regarding going cheap on something important. His delivery could’ve been better, but you only get 140 characters….. I think wedding photography is important. I want clients who think it’s important. One commenter above said they wouldn’t spend $500.00 on wedding photography. That’s fine, but that’s someone who doesn’t value what I do and I’m looking for people who do value what I do.

    Someone else mentioned people not being able to afford a professional. Most of us afford whatever we deem important enough. We had almost no money for our wedding. We went cheap on everything but the photography. Probably 75% of our budget was for photography.

    This whole economic crisis is unnecessary. The vast majority of people haven’t experienced a change in their economy (except that it’s gotten better). You can buy a house for less than half what it went for a few years ago in many markets. Other prices have come down because the media has scared those who still have jobs so that many of them quit spending. Most of the lost jobs are a result of people who still had their jobs hoarding cash because of the doom and gloom being reported everywhere. You stop spending and businesses have to cut back. They can’t roll back prices very far without becoming unprofitable (which leads to business failure) so they cut where they can. An easy cut is payroll and double up the work on the folks who are left.

    There’s a cascading effect at work here that is self perpetuating. The more people who lose jobs the more the folks who still have jobs hold back on spending. The less spending there is the more businesses have to cut and the more jobs that are lost. Just keep running through the cycle…..

  44. I still cant believe that people are arguing over the pricing and even giving that a forum. The reason for this post ISNT ABOUT THE PRICING.

    Its about the fact that someone DM’ed a person that disagreed with him a PATENTLY RACIST remark as a defense. To tell someone to go buy drugs for their children from Mexico because they make em in the back of a pool hall is staggering in its ignorance.

    1. Not all drugs are made in the back of pool halls.
    2. It assumes that Mexican drugs are of lower quality.
    3. It assumes that GIVING mexican drugs to a person is cheap.
    4. It makes traveling to mexico to get drugs disdainful.

    Do you know that at this moment, there are 2 hospital ships treating Haitian earthquake survivors. One ship is from the United States.

    The other ship is from MEXICO – The “Huasteco” – carrying 200 tons of humanitarian aid. How many pool halls would have to be working in order for this HOSPITAL SHIP to be stocked to help.

    Mexico is not a back arseword country, and speaking of it as a point to insult is categorically racist. If you cannot see that and still think that arguing his 500 dollar wedding argument is good – then you’ve missed the whole point.

    • Andrew, first just let me say thank you so much for sticking to the real topic of this post. I agree with you 100%. Thank you for taking the time to share your opinions with us.

  45. Firstly let me preface this by saying that I don’t think there is any place for rude, slanderous, obnoxious comments from anybody, anywhere. It just isn’t called for. I found out about this thread from Sabrina who DM’ed me after I forwarded Scott Bourne’s post on to my followers.

    When I forwarded the post on I had no idea about all the controversy surrounding this bloke – after all I live in far north Queensland, Australia and we’re a long way away from any of you! 🙂

    But the reason I forwarded it on didn’t have anything to do with the poster’s personality – it had to do with what he’d written. And I believe he made a lot of sense.

    I have been a professional travel photographer for coming up to 15 years now and have seen a lot of changes to my little section of the industry, as we all have I’m sure.

    But one of the biggest changes I have noticed (and maybe it’s just because we have more access to more opinions on the internet) is this attitude that people don’t seem to care how their actions affect others as long as they’re doing OK – or even if they’re not.

    Sure I know this is how capitalism is supposed to work but hear me out. As another poster said above, being a professional goes far beyond the images you create. It’s all about having the right paperwork, insurance, backup equipment should things go wrong. A second photographer on speed dial should you get sick and not be able to make it. Being prepared to complete the job no matter what is thrown at you. Day in and day out. That the photographs are usable is a given and are probably a bit down on the list of important things.

    And having all these pins in line costs money every year. Money that you need to make a bit back on on every job you do. If you don’t at least cover that operating cost then you won’t be in business very long.

    So if you can shoot those weddings for $500 and still pay for all that overhead, a wage and profit then good on you I say. That’s how business and competition works.

    But if that $500 isn’t covering that overhead (and I’ll include your wages in that overhead) then I believe you’re not only selling yourself short but the photography industry as a whole. So let me ask a rhetorical question.

    If you knew that by charging a low fee for your photography you could not really support yourself or make a profit would you still do it?

    If the answer is yes then I think it would be a kinder thing to do to look at making money another way and helping support such a wonderful industry. Many of our clients are failing to see the value in good photography these days. If the practitioners of good photography can’t appreciate the value of it then how are they supposed to sell the value to their customers.

    The laws of supply and demand mean that there are a wide variety of clients with all kinds of budgets for photography who can be served by different levels of photographer. That’s a great thing. But if the prices you’re charging are simply lowballing other people for the sake of getting a job then I think you should leave it to a professional.

    I pass jobs on all the time if I don’t think I can do it to the best of my ability. No shame in admitting that not every photo job is for you. I like to think I’m passing it forward and doing a favour for both the client and the photographer I recommend.

    So while I in no way am trying to endorse the comments made by Mr Bourne on Twitter I have to say that I do agree with the sentiments of his blog post – at least where the photography pricing bit is concerned.

  46. […] what anyone who calls themself a professional and a human being should do. You can read about it here on Mitzs’ […]

  47. Add me to the list of people who has recently unfollowed scottbourne. I had never heard of the man, but followed him because i wanted ot see what that “free camera” buzs really was about. I really didn’t pay attentopn to his posts too mcuh as they seemed to be all about promoting some blog of his. But when I saw the “we fix” twitter I did think it was rather obnoxiuos.

    I replied to him just saying “That message does not convey the professionalism, trust and positivity that clients are looking for in a wedding photographer”.

    I git the follwoing DM from him “ScottBourne Really – How many weddings have you booked? At what average? I’ve booked 824 adjusted for inflation at an average of 10k each.”6:46 AM Jan 24th

    Ooohkay… (never mind that my family has been in the business for 3 generations, although I am not currently working in teh capacity of a wedding photographer) I coudn’t of course DM him back because he was not following me and he also prompty blocked me.

    Ok, so this dude asserts that noone except for people who have shot more weddings and at a higher cost than $10k is entiteled to an opinion. Right. Reason number # to stop listening to him.

    Its not that I disagree with Scott Bourne about the fact that it sometimes feels annoying when photograohers are undercutting prices. I completely agree with him on that one. For example I am not a fan of micros stock sites and I don;t like it when people give images to magazines for free.

    WWhat i more reacted to was the fact that is this person is actually consulting some photographer on their ad campaig then his is giving them very bad advice.

    Yes, his “we fix” slogan might sound catchy to him. But the message is not suited to the audience he is trying to reach. It is usually the bride that makes teh decision of whom to hire for the wedding photography. She has been freaming of this most romantic day of her life since she was a little girl.She want s the day to e full of beuty and love and positive energy. That the images should be of good quality is of course a given, but she is above all looking for someone who is professional, trustworthy, sensitive. Someone who brings positive energy to this romantic day. Someone whoi will watch and be part of every moment of that most intimate day. Someone who she and her husband will share intimate kisses in from of. So to be a good wedding photographer you really do need to send a message that realys that you are capable of that. Typiclly a bride would not wants a smartass wisecrack at their wedding. Save those smart slogans for a different industry.

    Also, the ad slogan would potentially lead the client into legal difficulties. As we all know by now this was hardly original copy but rather an idea already being used by Office Depot in their TV commercials. A consukltant in this field shoudl be able to come up with their own ideas rather than just copy something they saw on TV last night.

    Finally, I do not understand how or why a phootographer who charges $10K would be worried about being “undercut” bu the $500 guy. I would understand a “$700” guy worrying about the “$500 guy”, but that is another scenario. I mean, a client that could even begin to think about hiring Scott Bourne for $10K, wuould never go shopping for a $500 photographer. Can you imagine the high society bride asking her husband to be “Honey, I’ve been thinking about saving some bucks and canvelling Bambi Cantrell and hiring that nice young man with that Canon Rebel,what do you think?” I mean really… if a photographer is really that worried about the $500 guy perhaps they really aren’t as “professiona;” as they think they are after all?!

    Finally, I recognize that it is the needs of people that decide the markets rather than we the “service providders”. I might choose not to cater to the $500 market, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a need for that type of photography and pohotographers who can fullfill those needs. Assuming otherwise would be as it would be riddiculous to assume everyone can afford a gold Rolce Royce. Face it, some can afford driving a ford focus, some a RR and some a bike. The bike guy had the same right to get from point A to B as the RR guy. A young couple, in love but not yet having established wealth and assets have the same right to a memorable wedding as the old industry magnate and his trophy wife. They just can’t be assumed to pay $10k on photography. Even $500 is a rather high price, especially since photography isn’t the ONLY think a young couple needs to pay for when getting married. Face it, there are diffferent markets with different needs. As a photographer you are free to choose what market you will cater to.

    Anyway, I don’t know who this dude is, but I have a learnt a few lessons from this.

    1) Never assume that someone who has lots of “followers” or a big web precense will always give you good advice. (Perhaps they have a big following just because they are handing out free stuff…)

    2) Marketing is about catering to the needs of your market. ALWAYS remember that, no matter what your market position is. Sarcasm might work in the cellphone service market or in selling laptops, but is inappropriate when it comes to marketing romance.

    3) If you have a good service to provide and if you are good at what you do, then highlight that in your message (ads and other communications) to the market. Believe in yourself. No need to try to put others down. Only people who have nothing good to say about themselves (because they do not believe in themselves) need to resort to using their valuable “bandwidth” to the makets in spiting the “percieved” competition.

    4) Price and quality often correlate. But not necessarily. Before choosing a mentor or role model in photography, study the photographs of that photographner and how they relate to their peers.

    5) Experience isn’t how many times you have doen the same thing over and over again. It is about what you have learned from your work, your succeesses and mistakes. Experience does often correlate with humbleness. The more you learn the more you see of the unknown. Making 800 mistakes and not learning from them is no better than making one and walking away enlightened.

    • Too bad you didn’t spell check, since this is one of the better replies I’ve seen to this whole issue. 🙂

    • Thank you for the compliment and my apologies for the horrendus spelling! I am laughing as I was re-reading it, but still hope my points came across. Do not see a way to edit the typos unfortunately.

    • Well stated!

  48. He is right in a way, I don’t see how you can get good wedding photography for $500, I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years in a fairly inexpensive area of SC and I charge a few times that. I just started my own business and have no formal training. So if you are any good you should be able to easily pull in $1000 or more, I would think much more in some areas. If you are having to do things really cheap, there must be a reason for it.

    • probabily because I am not a wedding photographer nor have I ever been one and never even helped someone shoot one? Really confused now? Yep thats right, Mr Bourne knows nothing about me yet he blogs like he does doesn’t he? This is not a money thing. What it is, is a sad attempt by him to redirect the real situation of his abusive, racist behaviour towards others from himself. It’s about one taking resbonability for ones action. It is about presenting yourself to the world as a professional trainer, yet waiting in some dark dm to attack others. I understand he will protect his profession, so will I. BUT what has he got to say about his Unprofessional behavior?

  49. I still think the issue here is his conduct not the subject he was writing about. And his ‘death threats’ comments are gobsmackingly pathetic and childish, I’ll believe them when he presents evidence. If you get death threats the only people you tell are the police, not your ‘followers’.

  50. Sigh…sorry to see another person I know get hit with the rude stick by Mr. Bourne. A few months back I made what I thought was a very innocuous comment regarding a post he made on his blog on Twitter. I didn’t even name the guy yet I got a DM telling me I must be an idiot for not understanding what he was saying in his blog. Of course you can’t reply back because he doesn’t follow back.

    I went a little overboard with my response on Twitter after finding he had also blocked me. So much so he made a comment about how I must not be a very happy person and photography could never make me happy that was of course RT’d by everyone. My guess is if he didn’t give away all the things his sponsors give him he wouldn’t have much of a follower base. I’m probably a little guilty for only following him in hopes of winning something.

    I’m a little sad to see that he’s worked his way in with the NAPP folks. They are so incredibly nice and supportive over there I have to wonder if they know what he is bringing to the table.

    • I was a little concerned about Scott Bourne cozying up to the NAPP folks. But they are a smart group and are aware of this. I would be surprised if we ever saw Scott Bourne teaching at PSW.

  51. Wow, it’s amazing how some folks behave online. And kudos to you for sharing “the rest of the story” with those of us following along on the sidelines.

    @Rob, I would imagine they are starting to get the word now over at NAPP. Or will be shortly, this guy has made a lot of online enemies in not time at all.

  52. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but Mr. Bourne must have got the idea for his comment “we fix bad $500 wedding photoghraphy” from this TV commercial:

    He copied their idea!

  53. Isn’t it amazing how many people Scott Bourne has bullied, insulted and demeaned? Having worked with him I am not in the least bit surprised. Maybe someone will put together a website, blog or twitter account were everyone who has been bullied by Scott Bourne can send in what he sent them for the whole world to see.

    I think it’s about time we let his sponsors know who this guy REALLY is, and tell them we don’t like how one of their “spokespersons” behaves online and we won’t patronize them until they stop supporting him.

    Here is a list of some of the companies that sponsor him or support him in some way. Send them a quick email, point them to this discussion, or better yet, send them a message via twitter to make sure your thoughts are seen by others.

    We can send them a message that it is not good business or customer relations to support and sponsor a bully.

    I am sending messages, hope you do too.

    Scan Cafe



    White House Custom Colour



    • Thank you Tony, for taking the time to track down all that information for us. It really is appreciated.

  54. Bad behavior is bad for the community, doesn’t matter if you agree or disagreed. This post shows me how someone can be behind a screen…

    But, you know what, it’s just one guy! There is a ton of others photographers out there ready to share. They can show you why low prices can be bad for your business not their businesses… For example, it’s up to you if you fix your tag price at $500. You have to work two times more than the one whom prices are at $1000 to have the same net income.

    I know, the post isn’t about price but behavior. I just want to show how photographers can help each others.

    At all, keep up the good work, keep sharing, and forget Mr No so nice Manner…


  55. I guess this sums up my opinion on Mr Bourne with identity crisis:

    “@FotoWala @mitzs @AshuMittal @markvgti @ScottBourne Blamin photog fr lowr pricin: Shortsighted. Say it is indicatn of CHEAPO product: Bias.

    @FotoWala @mitzs @AshuMittal @markvgti @ScottBourne contd..’Cause the industry is changin. If 1 can lower cost w/o affecting qlty: It’s a GO”

  56. Wow, Three sides to every story I suppose. His side, her side, and the truth. Too bad things have to be this way though.

  57. He has over 62K followers and doesn’t follow anyone back… that says something to me. Since he doesn’t follow anyone back, I guess it’s apparent he doesn’t really care what others think.

    Signal To Noise Ratio.

  58. […] can see how it unfolded here. Be sure to read the comments, as that is all part of the context of the argument. Mr. […]

  59. […] the deal for me. He made comments that indicated all $500 photography is bad, and engaged in a slappy-fight in the Twitterverse with someone else on Twitter, making points steeped in lunacy, and I knew I had discovered yet another voice I could remove from […]

  60. […] can see how it unfolded here. Be sure to read the comments, as that is all part of the context of the argument. Mr. Bourne’s […]

  61. Borrowing a statement from someone else….. If you are out of focus with Photofocus, try checking out Digital Photo Experience: http://dpexperience.com/

  62. Scott threw a temper tantrum at me and blocked me also because I questioned his egotistical comments about the $500 photographer. Then to call us all trolls for questioning him!!!!

    A couple things worth noting (and some have already been mentioned):

    1. He wouldn’t have the massive following if he (his sponsors) weren’t giving away cameras worth thousands ONLY to those who follow him.

    2. He refuses to follow back.

    3. He refuses to allow comments on his blog (for laughable reasons).

    4. He bashes microstock photography regularly, yet ironically “Nicolesy”, one of his contributors on Photofocus makes her living through iStock.

    5. He only responds negatively to people through DM because a) it is private and b) the people he is attacking cannot respond since he will not follow them.

    I love it that someone took enough time to find his sponsors! Please write them if you have been lashed out at by Bourne for no reason!

    AND thanks to Randy for pointing out pdexperience “where the focus is on YOU”. I love it! Kudos to Rick Sammon! I can’t wait to download Rick’s new podcast!

    If you want some truly helpful advice on photographer pricing, look at Lighting Essentials and search their posts, some fantastic articles on the subject (without someone telling you what scum you are if you don’t charge enough).

  63. Oh, and to clarify something I said. Bourne only uses DM’s for negative comments so that he maintains the outward appearance of being the good guy. That way his petulant little snot nosed ego-maniacal attacks on people remain private and not public.

    Not many people would take the time to paste screen shots like on this post.

    Then Scott has the opportunity to fall on his sword and be a martyr like he did the day after his little rampage. I wonder how his following would react if he treated people publicly on his blog the way he treats them in private DM’s and emails?

    Quite the cowardly way to behave. But, it works. When all you care about is money, people are only the means to the end.

  64. I was part of the whole “fiasco”. When I replied to him all I said was “You have to start somewhere” This is the DM I received from him. “ScottBourne
    I am blocking fools who think $500 weddings r a good idea & who don’t get the obvious point that u get what u pay 4”

    What a mature way to treat people who disagree with you.

  65. Sometimes I think that some photographers who are not that great at actually creating compelling images are trying to blame their own shortcomings and lack of sales success at “the other guys”>

    It is important of course not to undercut YOURSELF. BUt there is little point in worrying about what price crappy work sells at.

    I think when “some photographers” get a all huffy about “the $500 guy”, that is an indication that they are not very confident about the quality and value about their own work.

    Someone who knows that their work is valued at $10K is not going to feel intimidated that the $500 guy is going to steal their jobs. But if they see that the quality of their own work is not that much better than what the $500 guy can do, then the problem is NOt with the $500 guy, but rather with “the man in the mirror”. Perhaps at that point they should start considering a more realistic pricing strategy for their own work.

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