When Mary Sitolo set her wedding day, she started scouting for service providers. One of them was a photography firm that was to capture one of the most important moments of her life.
“I made advance payment of K200 000 with an agreement to finish the balance a week before the event,” she said.
The young bride, however, was disappointed that two weeks after her wedding, no single photo was given to her.
“After making several follow-ups, the photographer gave me photos that I am actually disappointed to even share. They were very bad, but I had no choice other than to accept them,” said Sitolo.
Her story is not an isolated one as the art of taking high definition (HD) pictures continues to take over the photography landscape.
While other HD photographers are nailing it, others leave a lot to be desired.
Jesus Can Multimedia Company owner Innocent Nkhwazi said there is need for the art of photography to be respected as a proper profession by creating clear institutions and organisations that can control quality.
“Many young people have joined the photography business without having basic knowledge of taking pictures,” he said.
Nkhwazi said making photographs has sadly been diluted by the demand due to social media trends.
“Now, because the demand is there, everyone with a camera or access to it pose as if they know the dos and don’t’s of the craft. It is not fair to the profession. This is a career that needs training,” he said.
In a separate interview, Mwai Kachulu of Mwai K Multimedia Company said with the proliferation of ‘HD’ photographers, the majority of whom are not properly trained, the onus is on the clients to do a little more background check.
“Many people get excited when they see a photographer advertising on social media. They do not even take their time to establish if the photographer is established with an office and a proper clientele that can vouch for his/her art,” he said.
Photographers Association of Malawi (Photama) president Lucky Mkandawire said technology has contributed to the poor quality of some photography work.
“Since the coming in of advancement of taking photos, many people without basic training in making photographs can wake up and declare themselves as photographers. The result is poor quality photos or over edited photos that do not reflect the truth,” he said.
Mkandawire said at Photoma, members have identity cards and are classified as amateurs, advanced and professionals based on experience.
“I wish these wannabes would come to our association, join the group and get a chance at being given some basic training. Photography is art and one needs to specialise which aspect of photography one is good at,” he said.
The photama president pointed out that due to the liberalisation of the market; it is difficult to control those who are not professionals in the art of making photos.
“All clients have to do is to make sure they ask for reference or some kind of identification, otherwise we have other photographers who use other people’s work to get clients,” he said.
Mkandawire said taking a photograph goes beyond just clicking a camera.
“Photography is an art that requires skill, training and talent,” he said.
Mkandawire, however, said the fact that the number of photographers is growing is good for the growth of the art of photography.
“Every occasion needs to be documented and the documentation must be perfect and artistic,” he said.
Mkandawire further advised photographers to specialise in one field of the art and develop more skills from there.