Photographer at work on the beach at Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Picture: Photographer at work on the beach at Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

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This one just left me shaking my head. Sure, there are probably times when you think the words “Photography Experience Not Required” might be completely applicable or acceptable. But how about in a job listing for a camera store?

I got an email saying that a local camera store near me was looking for a customer services sales clerk. This isn’t a professional photographers type of store as much as it is your classic consumer-oriented small camera store that has survived places like Best Buy moving in down the street. So just for giggles I skim through the want ad listing. All standard fare yada-yada until I get to the part that says “Photography Experience Helpful, but not Required.” Say what? Excuse me? A camera store not requiring it’s employees to have photography experience? It may be a bit extreme, but could you imagine an Engineering position saying “Knowledge of Mathematics Helpful, but not Required,”?

I’m sorry, but a camera store not requiring photography experience seems like yet another grand step toward lowering the bar as to the quality of help, knowledge, and expertise of the people put into a position where some basic level of knowledge should be expected on behalf of the consumer. I remember many moons ago my old bosses didn’t want to hire photographers because they were worried about the eventual competition aspect. But after so many employees who had little to no photography experience washed out, it became clear that bringing people with a solid level of understanding or experience with photography ultimately reflected on our business well to our clients and the service we were able to provide.

All I can say is that any camera store that doesn’t hire or require its people to have photography experience is not a place that I plan on patronizing. Seriously, have a little more respect for your customers.

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Gary Crabbe is an award-winning commercial and editorial outdoor travel photographer and author based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He has seven published books on California to his credit, including “Photographing California; v1-North”, which won the prestigious 2013 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal award as Best Regional title. His client and publication credits include the National Geographic Society, the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, TIME, The North Face, Subaru, L.L. Bean, Victoria’s Secret, Sunset Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, and many more. Gary is also a photography instructor and consultant, offering both public and private photo workshops. He also works occasionally a professional freelance Photo Editor.

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