Stephen Scourfield And The Value Of A Dollar
At the launch night for the Canon EOS 80D camera held last week, Stephen Scourfield made the candid admission that he knows how much pressing a shutter button costs - or rather how much it used to cost - $ 1.00.
This was in the days of film and we were paying for the colour transparency or negative film. No matter how you rigged it - you shelled out a buck a shot every time you pressed the release. And this was the time when that same dollar bought you a glass of beer. You had to have a pretty compelling reason to press that shutter button with that sort of equation...
It went up, of course, as the price of film, chemicals, labour, and equipment climbed. It went up astronomically when you changed the size of the film that recorded the image...rather like it does when you go from the very small format sensors these days to the largest ones made...fight it out amongst yourselves whether this is good, necessary, affordable, or whatever.
Back to Stephen. He said that he tries to get what he needs with the minimal amount of shooting. In that, he is guided by the remembrance of the old costs, and by the realisation that time spent shooting and reshooting will also be compounded later by additional time spent examining and re-examining all the files. I'll bet he has had jobs where he has overshot and then cursed himself for it.
Mind you, you can under-shoot as well. I have done this when I had blind and misplaced confidence in the focusing ability of a digital camera and took the quick image on the LCD screen at the back for gospel. Possibly it was, but as I did not examine it carefully enough, I took home a card full of out-of-focus images. Done once, this never has to be done again - if you can remember the shame of it.
Shooting always costs. It costs equipment, electricity, travel, petrol, time, lunch money spent in horrible hamburger joints, tyre wear, clothing wear, and brain wear. If models are involved it uses them up and they demand money for it. Studio space always costs, even if you own the studio. Especially if you own the studio - council rates officers can be the local government equivalent of the James Gang.
IT. ALL. COSTS.
So...the moral? If you are Stephen, you shoot with Canon cameras, you shoot with Canon lenses. You shoot the appropriate body for the job. You shoot the best one you can afford. You shoot well - you look at the light, you look at the subject, you look at the story and how a picture will help tell it. You don't hose down the landscape with mindless blasting away. You shoot things that will print and then you do the work of sorting them out...rather than letting them languish for someone else to choose.
Note for customers: You can short circuit some of the difficult decisions by trying out the new Canon EOS 80D when it comes into the shop. With the 18-135 lens on it you are nearly all the way to the images you want, even before you fire the thing off. You can order it on-line as well.
Canon 80d with 18-55 or 18-135 available for pre-order via our website.