What’s the difference between a Photographer and a Cameraman?

Many years ago, when photography was kicking off in Malaysia, most people who became photographers were people who didn’t have a high level of education, and didn’t have a good command of English. They figured it’s easy to become a photographer. “Just point and shoot only mah,” was the motto. Learn the techniques to expose a picture, learn developing negatives and printing. You didn’t need a lot of education to do that.
It was sort of perceived as an easy way to make money and start a business. Sound familiar? Let me bring you to the present moment. Digital cameras are so cheap now. The first DSLR in the world cost almost a 100 thousand ringgit. Now you only need to spend less than 2k and you can get a body with a lens. “Just point and shoot, and download to the computer only mah,” is the new motto. You didn’t need to learn about exposure to start taking pictures, the camera does that for you. You didn’t need to learn how to develop negatives, printing, push processing and all that. Anything you want to learn can be found online. With the LCDs built into the camera, you can see your results immediately and make corrections. The learning curve is so much easier now. Anyone can learn to become a photographer.
And most people take on assignments with little thought, letting the client push them around, and they shoot everything they see like a headless chicken running everywhere. They have no strategy. They don’t really know what they want. All they know is to point and press the shutter and they end up with thousands of frames and 99% of it is useless (ok I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the point). These people are the Cameramen. And all they know is to buy a cheap DSLR, cheap lens, cheap flash, then start taking on jobs and they don’t really think before they shoot. And they let people think that its an easy job being a photographer, “just point and shoot only” was widely perceived by the public.
But most people don’t get it. They don’t understand what it means to be a photographer. Let me tell you this. As a photographer, taking pictures is only 10% to 20% of the job. The rest is planning, doing your homework, research, surveying the location, communication with clients, presentation, workflow, logistics, preparation, etc. But you need to be GOOD at that 10-20% of the job. Your mission is to make that 10-20% as easy as possible and as quick and efficient as possible. You need to have a tight strategy when shooting, and you need to know what you want before the shoot starts. In order to know what you want, you need to know what is the big picture. And you need to know what the client wants as well and WHY they want it. Then you can add in what you want to achieve and meet your client’s needs as well. Most clients prefer a photographer who has his own style and way of doing things. After all, they are hiring you for your creativity. Not just to point and shoot. (If they want a guy just to point and shoot, I usually refer them to the cameramen ). And that’s why as a Cameraman, you only get paid peanuts and you can only demand peanuts.
Here’s the difference between a photographer and a cameraman.

Copied from: http://pudeansdraman.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/are-you-a-photographer-or-cameraman/

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