April 13, 2024

Interview with John Ricard on Photography Trends

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photo of John Ricard.

Website:
https://www.johnricard.com/

Country: United States

Photography Genres: Fashion Editorial, Headshot, Portrait, Street

Fave Camera Brand: Nikon and Leica

Socials:
Instagram | LinkedIn


What’s in your camera bag?

  • Nikon Z9
  • Nikon Z7
  • Leica M10
  • Leica M10 Monochrom
  • Leica M9
  • Nikon 17-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm
  • Leica 35mm Summilux, 75mm Summarit
  • Profoto A1 flash
  • Profoto B2 Strobes

Are there any specific equipment or gear innovations that you believe will have a significant impact on the industry in 2024?

AI being embedded into professional cameras much like it is embedded in cell phones. This will enable even more people to take professional quality photographs quickly and easily. It will be beneficial to the art of photography, but it will also likely be harmful to the professional of photography since more regular people will be able to produce great photographs without hiring an outside photographer.

Where do you get the latest news on new gear? Where do you usually buy new gear?

I am a senior writer for Fstoppers, so I get a lot of news there and on PetaPixel. I also follow YouTubers like Peter McKinnon and Tony Northrop. I buy new gear at BH Photo and used gear at KEH.com.

How is photography making the world a better place in 2024?

I’m not sure that it is making the world a better place. On an individual basis, however, photography allows people to capture their own personal memories, and that is a truly beautiful thing. Photography also helps document social problems, I suppose. A lot of misconduct by police officers has been documented by regular people using cell phones.

Cameras will continue to get more and more technological advances. Oddly, a lot of people can’t even operate half of these features. Many of them are not truly necessary to the process of taking good photographs. Autofocus, for example, keeps getting more advanced, and more features are constantly being added to cameras.

Meanwhile, it isn’t that hard to get an in-focus photograph of someone who is just standing in front of your camera posing for a picture. Some of these extra features also take away some of the fun of shooting. The camera does so much of the work that all we are doing is pushing a shutter button.

headshot of a women by John Ricard.

If you could pick a photography mentor in 2024, who would you pick? Why?

Jeremy Cowart. He’s a great photographer and very innovative. He’s always willing to experiment and come up with new ways of making art.

The unavoidable question: How do you see the use of artificial intelligence or machine learning impacting photography in 2024?

I have taken online quizzes where they show a series of photographs and ask you to decide which is the real photograph and which is the AI photograph. It is already hard to distinguish between real and computer generated imagery even though the technology is still very new. I can only imagine that AI will get even better with every passing month.

It is funny to me that photographers are quick to use AI based retouching programs like Retouch4Me and Evoto to replace retouchers, but then they think AI based technology can never replace the photographer. I think they are mistaken and that AI will replace photographers in some areas. Headshot photography is the area I expect to be hit the hardest by AI generated imagery.

No one particular source. I suppose YouTube would be the most logical answer. The only problem with YouTube, though, is that there are a ton of working professionals who are not sharing their workflow or secrets on YouTube. So, we viewers are often getting a distorted view of the industry because we are learning from bloggers instead of actual working photographers. I know several full-time working photographers who have never made a YouTube video. These photographers have a lot of valuable information, but it is unshared with the masses.

If you could give one piece of advice to a beginner in photography, what would it be?

Shoot what interests you. When I first started shooting, I was always focused on shooting images that I thought would sell. It didn’t occur to me to also photograph whatever I personally found interesting about a scene. I was always thinking about my client first. I think a new photographer should learn their craft so they understand composition and exposure and things like that, but they should also develop their vision and have something that they are drawn to photograph and share with the world.

Lightroom was a milestone. I kept wishing for something like that to be invented when I first went digital. Photoshop is designed for working on a single image. LR is designed to manage and adjust thousands of images very quickly. Photo Mechanic is another indispensable program for me. I use it to name photographs, move them into folders and write captions. LR can do these tasks, but Photo Mechanic does it much better.

photo by John Ricard.

Any thoughts on the relationship of NFT and photography?

I’m unsure about the whole NFT and Crypto thing. I bought 1 NFT from a photographer who would build a whole virtual community for people who bought his NFT, but that project seems to be totally dead in the water. I wasted like $2,000, I think, on that NFT. I don’t think NFTs as we know them today will ever be a thing. I’m hoping Crypto comes back into being profitable. I invested quite a bit into it, but it was a losing investment for me.

What is your biggest strength and your biggest weakness as a photographer in 2024?

I am an expert in posing people, lighting, and subjects and composing a photograph. My biggest weakness is often a need for more motivation to work on personal projects. I tend to be more motivated by client work than personal work.

What is the biggest challenge in your photography genre in 2024? What are the solutions?

One of my main areas of focus is Headshot Photography. AI can already create a headshot for someone if that person supplies a series of self-images to an AI interface. I believe this technology will get better in a year or two. I can see AI having a devastating impact on headshot photography. I see AI hurting this genre more than any other genre. I don’t think wedding photographers, for example, have anything to worry about.

What is the most important factor to consider when choosing a photography niche or specialization in 2024?

If you want to make money, pick something boring that people will pay for. If you want to shoot for yourself, focus on photographing what you love -dogs, car races, flowers, whatever. To create your best work, you will need to be motivated, which will come from your love of the subject matter.

John Ricard.

Shoot what interests you.

John Ricard

Is there anything else you would like to add or any final thoughts you would like to share about your artistic journey, inspirations, or the impact you hope to make through your photography?

Sometimes, I worry about where photography is headed in terms of being a viable career path for a talented artist. However, my love for using my camera to connect with people and to share their stories has never died. I love taking pictures today as much as I did decades ago. I’m still excited by new technology. Getting my Z9 was as exacting as getting my Nikon F4 so long ago.

I am looking forward to eventually getting a Leica M11.

You think we missed an important question? Feel free to both formulate and answer that question here! Any final thoughts? Feel free to add them below.

Is there anything you think camera manufacturers are doing wrong?

Yes, I think they need to make cameras that are truly different from the other cameras in their lineup. Sony, for example, makes all sorts of A7rMKIV and A7MKIII and A7rMkV. Is there really anything different about these various models? Not really. The images and shooting experience are mostly the same. Leica, on the other hand, made a regular M10, a black and white version of the M10 and an M10 with no rear LCD screen.

These two cameras are dramatically different, even though they were variations of the same model. These three cameras were more different than Sony cameras that came out over a period of 5 years. More companies need to be bold enough to make truly unique cameras. Neither Sony, no Canon, nor Nikon makes a really stripped-down, simple.

  • Favourite photography digital tool in 2024
    — Retouch4Me is working for my headshot photography retouching. However, the interface is not well designed, and the plug-in runs very slowly. If they could make it run smoother and make the interface less ugly, it would be good.
  • Your favourite Photographer in 2024
    — Jeremy Cowart.
  • Which photography conference, workshop, event, exhibition, etc., would you recommend to photographers in 2024?
    — Photo Plus in NYC and anything hosted by BH Photo.
  • Which social media platform do you use the most as a photographer?
    — Instagram. I do a daily photo project known as a 365 Project there.
  • Will you use or experiment with NFT in 2024?
    — No
  • Do you think the always-improving cameras on smartphones will result in less work for professional photographers in 2024?
    — Yes
  • Can you name one unconventional location or setting that photographers should explore to create memorable images?
    — Shooting in the rain. Every photographer talks about how weather-sealed a camera is, but you never see photos taken in the actual rain. If you google “photographs taken in the rain,” you see a bunch of photos of rain on a pane of a glass window taken from inside a house. So why is the obsession with weather sealing on cameras if no one is actually shooting in the rain?
  • In your opinion, which photography trend will dominate the industry in 2024?
    — Selfies -unfortunately. And a lot of videos.
  • Must-have photography gadgets or tools for aspiring photographers?
    — Knowledge of manually setting exposure.
  • Name one unconventional source of inspiration that photographers should explore for fresh ideas in 2024.
    — Old black and white movies.
  • One underrated photography technique that can instantly enhance a photographer’s portfolio.
    — For street photography, stop shooting buildings, funny signs, and reflections. Approach people and ask them if you can take a quick portrait.
  • What is the most innovative use of technology you’ve seen in photography recently?
    — Jeremy Coward doing 60-second photo shoots and creating dozens of strong mages in under one minute.
  • Which online platform or marketplace is currently the best for photographers to sell their work and reach a wider audience?
    — I’m with Getty Images, and it works well for me.
  • Who to follow on social media or take inspiration from in 2024?
    — Jeremy Cowart.
  • What is your motto for 2024?
    — “Shoot every day.”





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