Haters Are Gonna Hate—A Surefire Strategy For Dealing with Trolls and Other Dregs of the Internet

Jasmine Star

If you’re new to this discussion, be sure to read the follow up post too.


This past weekend, Jasmine Star was the guest instructor on Chase Jarvis’ CreativeLive. (Just in case you don’t know, Jasmine is one of the most followed wedding photographers in the world, and Chase is one of the most followed commercial photographers in the world). I only caught part of it, but the part I caught was very inspirational and educational. There were some great takeaways about branding and business. There were a lot of tweets praising it. But I also know there are a lot of professionals out there who have bashed her online (sometimes behind anonymous identities). Guess what?

Hatahs are gonna hate.

Philip Bloom is one of the most followed and respected DSLR filmmakers in the world. He spends literally hours of his free time writing educational blog posts or creating educational training or review videos to help other filmmakers. Yet every now and then I see snide comments or remarks on a video he’s posted.

Hatahs are gonna hate.

Kirby Ferguson spends 3-4 months per episode of his “Everything is a Remix” documentary series. They’re fun and informative. But he’s been viciously attacked by some on his site by people calling his work a “remix” of stuff that they already know. (As if one can’t make a video about a topic unless that topic has NEVER been talked about before).

Hatahs are gonna hate.

Just last week, Andrew Reid of EOS HD (another informative DSLR filmmaking site) announced he was getting off Twitter due to hatahs giving him grief. The stress was just not worth it to him. (Thankfully, as of now he’s still tweeting away).

Hatahs are gonna hate.

If you stand out from the crowd, you risk getting chopped at.

Let’s face it. If you stick your neck out there to make a statement, or put your stake in the ground, chances are, if you get too good at it, someone is going to take a hack at you. So, I have come up with a full-proof, money-back-guarantee for dealing with the hatahs. I promise you, if you follow these steps, you will be able to squash the hatred.

  1. Get off the web. Close your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Dump your blog. Change your email address. If you ain’t on the web, the hatahs can’t get to you.
  2. Don’t become a success. I have noticed that hatahs seem to gravitate to people who are wildly successful. “Success” can come in many forms: making a lot of money at what you do; getting 10,000+ Twitter followers; reaching the 5,000 Facebook friend limit; getting five, six or even seven-digit views on Vimeo or YouTube; being asked to speak at CreativeLive (twice); getting put on some magazine’s Top 10 or Top 25 list; etc. No success = no hatahs.
  3. Don’t take a stand for anything. Hatahs also tend to seek out people who take a strong stand for something they believe in. And heaven forbid if what you believe in is something that threatens the status quo. (My wife and I have taken heat from some for the work we’re doing with Teen Identity.)
  4. Don’t break the rules. We all know that there are certain rules for how you are supposed to take photographs, or how you’re supposed to shoot and edit video. Regardless of whether or not your clients are thrilled with your work, don’t ever break those rules lest you want to deal with the hatahs. (Of course, if you accomplish suggestion #2, this one won’t make that much difference. You won’t be very interesting to the hatahs.)
  5. Don’t stand out or be different. It’s hard to take shots at someone if they’re mixed in with the crowd. But as soon as they stand out—whether physically by stepping away from the pack, or by looking or acting different from the rest—they become an easy target. So, to avoid the hatahs, do everything you can to fit in and be like everyone else.

Just for the record, by “hatahs,” I’m not referring to people who have a difference of opinion about a topic than you do, and engage in a thoughtful, mature, respectful dialog about that topic. But hatahs and trolls are kind of like pornography: you know it when you see it.

I hope you’ve found this advice helpful. And if you’re a hatah, the comment section is all yours. Have at me. (Just no profanity please.)

60 thoughts on “Haters Are Gonna Hate—A Surefire Strategy For Dealing with Trolls and Other Dregs of the Internet

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Daniel. Hopefully you’ll keep reading even during the times you don’t like my perspective. 🙂

  1. If you remember our Presentation at spa this year you know what we have been through. Fake profiles, jealousy,haters,etc. The problem arises when thoughts of these people began to replace your own creative freedom. If Your creative decisions suddenly become based on what the “haters” will do or say then they have become your customer. This means you are losing sight of your real customers. We noticed that the bigger we got, the more haters appeared. But we also found that the “crap” coming at us was a bigger deal to us than to our customers. And getting revenge at this people is not a direct action but an indirect action as evidenced by continued growth and success.

    1. So true brother. We tend to care more about the criticism of others (e.g. haters, colleagues, etc.) than that of the people in our lives whose opinions really matter the most.

  2. Very good post. I read some brutal things about Jasmine Starr from the so called pro’s who have been in the business for 10, 20 years and feel she has not “paid her dues..” I’m not a fan of her work but I am a fan of how she promote herself! I watched some of the Creative Live business parts of her presentation and she has very strong marketing skills, a charismatic speaking intellect, and the ability to connect and get people to stay connected to her

    1. I hear that a lot, about “paying dues.” I don’t know if I believe that’s why she gets flack. Jeremy Cowart has only been a pro photographer for about five years and he has a huge following and is widely respected and shoots celebrities. Joey L gets a lot of love from photogs and he was a kid when he got discovered. StillMotion as filmmakers have only been in business 5 or 6 years and are now sponsored by Canon, traveling the country, shooting for the NFL, and teach all over the world. In all of these cases the artists who follow them really like their work and associate their work with their meteoric rise. I seldom see them get much hate.

      I think Jasmine gets a bum rap from some photogs because her rise wasn’t due to her work so much as her business savvy. But, that woman has worked hard and suffered a lot to get where she is today. And she genuinely strives to improve her craft and doesn’t profess to be an artistic savant. Some pros may not like her work, but to say she doesn’t deserve her success because she hasn’t “paid her dues” is disingenuous. I feel they just don’t like HOW she got to where she is. Just my humble opinion.

  3. I get the same thing once in awhile where someone is ‘off their meds” and needs to rant. The best thing is to ignore these replies. They only get the light of day when we acknowledge they exist. It’s just no fun shouting profanities at a blank wall. Eventually they will just give up and move on.

  4. Ron,

    Really like your series of recent posts. They are practical, informative, and illuminating. This one on trolls is a great example.

    I have found that I want critical feedback on my projects because it helps me grow as an artist and a technician. Listening to audience response is one way I look to improve. The trouble with trolls are that they are not interested in giving honest criticism but rather to share their world view. A troll isn’t interested in a developing a constructive dialog, they only want to tear down my effort.

    The key I have found to deal with trolls is to be able to quickly discern which camp a comment comes from and to vett it accordingly. Is a comment well earned harsh criticism or or a troll? Sometimes it can be difficult to say. I do know that doing any public art is a risk and in the often anonymous web world, trolls are part of that risk.

    Keep up the good work,


    1. You hit the nail on the proverbial head David. It’s all about the real intent of the person providing feedback. Are they really interested in helping you grow; or are they just interested in tearing you down (most likely out of closet jealousy, but often disguised as a care for the industry). If you really care for the industry, you wouldn’t tear a fellow colleague down publicly, you’d offer your critique professionally and with compassion. And in private if the person posting his/her art didn’t specifically ask for critique.

  5. Hey Ron the self reinforcement I live by is this “If they’re hating, I must be WINNING”…on the flip side if I don’t get a snippet of haters I need to pick up on my skills bro. Jealousy and envy can be venomous to those who may not have the threshold to bypass and continue on their path to success. I love haters. Sad to say. But they motivate and inspire me to make them eat their words! Oh by the way, it kills them to see a successful person(s) in the spotlight. Continue to shine folks! Lastly, all of the aforementioned “Professionals” are awesome, and I’ve learn tons from them since I became a student of the filmmaking/stills craft. As Jay-Z says, “Brush that dirt off your shoulders…”

    1. I think you have a point Marcus from Philly. Sometimes we need haters and naysayers to give us a kick and spur us on. I guess, in a lot of ways, they’re like manure. (And I mean that in the nicest way). 🙂

  6. Hey man …

    I need to come back to Atlanta and hang out with my friends Ron and Tasra sometime soon. I miss you guys.

    This is a great post Ron. About a year ago I put a post up on my blog that was sort of an instruction manual for those who are drawing fire. (It probably comes as no surprise that I need it myself from time to time!) For me, it really boils down to something pretty simple.

    When I am under attack I ask myself if the reason for the attack is warranted. Sometimes that’s hard and I will admit that there are some that I simply delete. But when an attack is based on some level of thought I have to step back and think about it a little. Here’s the way I think …

    1). Is my position authentic? Do I really espouse (the word means “marry”) the position I am taking or am I taking it for convenience or publicity reasons.

    2). Am I stating my case in the most respectful way? I get a lot of flak for my “BBP, BGP” posts. People think that’s a base way of saying that a post will be controversial. I hear that.

    3). Is the position of the ‘attacker’ reasonable? One voice heard often represents many silent voices. If someone is saying something that is reasonable and numbers 1 & 2 above aren’t strong yeses, then I have some soul searching to do.

    I think the biggest thing for me is to remember that it’s a dialog. Even when I’m uncomfortable I need to take the time to take a breath and hear and make a decision about whether or not to react.

    Cool stuff man. Be well!


    1. I love your points JC. We would all do well to take any kind of criticism with a grain of salt, but also to step back and look for any truth, even if the truth wasn’t delivered in the most compassionate way. I respect the people who provide criticism in a professional manner that really opens dialog. Often times that’s not what I see though. I see flaming fireballs hurled at castles with the intent of really doing damage, not building up.

      Thanks for the comment.

  7. Great post as usual Ron. Love that you’re taking the time to put this stuff out there and give a lot of different kinds of folks food for thought. It takes a courageous man to do that!



  8. Love the post and great insight. It’s so easy for people to criticize and cower behind an email address or fake profile these days. I’d like to see people try and criticize face to face, I bet no one has the chutzpah to do that. Haters are wimps!

  9. A good read.

    On the plus side, since it took me over a year to get my first hater I feel like I’ve earned it!

    On the internet normal social manners break down so we see a lot of hate. I don’t think the same rules apply online so people also feel they can easily get away with it. I’m not a vengeful person but it would be good if we had some more accountability to each other online, as we do in real life.

    In the end I prefer the pub. When I fight starts in there it is over quickly and it doesn’t happen again!! 😉

  10. Great article wrong. Successful people always have something to offer and you can gleam very insightful points if you pay attention. You may not like some one in particular, say their style, their bravado, their approach, etc, but if you just let the drama go and LISTEN, you can always add another tool to your own arsenal.

  11. That is one thing about the internet, it gives you the courage of alcohol and the ear of the person you are throwing darts at without actually facing them. Seriously people need to stop the hate on all fronts, or if they are going to hate be consistent.

    If you are not a fan of J* then don’t be a fan, tune out, un-follow, and just let her be. If her advice is wrong in your opinion either address her in a email directly or ignore it. So many people say they don’t like XXXXX photographer because they are leading the newbies in the wrong direction, filling them with false hopes, and setting them up to fail…but then complain there are too many newbies in the business.

    In the end haters look like haters. People really need to focus on themselves, help the community without shooting others down. Because in the end, no matter how much you disagree with someones marketing, pricing, posing, use of lighting, clothing, etc, you are teaching the newcomers something 100X worse. You are teaching them that it is OK to disrespect just because you don’t agree with what they say. You are teaching them that if they follow photogs who are newer and buy into their products and seminars they are drinking the cult kool-aid. You are teaching them that this is high school all over again, so the most popular need to be checked so they kept in place, the seniors run the show.

    You are teaching them Crap! —– Seriously, just do you! Hating is not a good look, I don’t care who you are.

    And stop calling people face but comment anomalously or under fake account, that is a child move, If you got something to say own it! But don’t get reckless at the mouth.

    OK, I’m done.

    Great post Ron, I agree100% haters are just haters, nothing better to do I guess. They even hate on brides, now what does that say about our industry?

  12. It’s aggravating when people immediately label anyone with an opposing opinion as a hater, even if they have valid points to the reason they are so-called hating.

    1. True indeed, debating valid point is not hating at all, nor should everyone who disagrees be labeled as hating. I guess its all in the way people go at each other.

    2. I’m not sure to whom you’re referring Corey. Did you read my post? I specifically said that I don’t consider someone who RESPECTFULLY engages in a conversation a “hater.” We all know the difference between haters and people who hold differing opinions and can make them in a respectful manner. No one here is bashing on people who just have a difference of opinion. It’s the jealousy, back-biting, anonymous harsh criticism, the immature remarks. Like I said in the post, it’s like porn. You know it when you see it.

      1. Hey Ron.
        You should probably stop asking people if they read your post, it’s sounds condescending. It’s your blog, your right, but it goes against your overall message. y’know?

  13. Dear Ron,

    I’m going to do what people who believe that all people who dissent or don’t “go with the flow” can’t do: Post a logical rebuttal.

    Some of what you say is true, there are a lot of haters (“hattah” isn’t a word) on the internet, in all fields, including photography and there are a ton of them on photography blogs, looking to bash, demean and discount people’s serious attempts at creating art for no other reason than to take their own feelings of uselessness, their insecurities out onto the world.

    But just because you don’t like what you see, doesn’t mean you’re a hater or a “troll”, it also means that you are voicing your opinion. The problem is, that it’s easy to label anyone as a hater. It’s amazing at how you can go on public TV and lyingly accuse the President of being a Muslim, a Socialist and not being a U.S. citizen and be able to do so with impunity because you’re exercising your constitutional rights. But, good God, criticize a photographer and you’re a mean-spirited, loser troll who envies success, has no friends and lives a lonely, miserable life.

    Next month, there will be another photographer who is going to break each one of your five rules and, by your standards, will be a hate magnet. His name is Zack Arias. Let’s see: Get off the web? Nope. Don’t become a success? Nope. Don’t take a stand for anything? Nada. Don’t break the rules? Zip. Don’t stand out or be different. Puh-lease. By your criteria, Zack will be hated next month. Though I don’t doubt that people will hate on Zack the same way people hate on anything, Zack has over 26 thousand followers on Twitter. Twenty-six thousand. He has a loyal following because he does stand for something and he cares about the industry. Ergo, I disagree with your five criteria and, please, none of that “you didn’t get it, it was tongue-in-cheek” comment. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday and land in LA.

    I think you do a disservice to the people who critique with what they believe are valid reasons.


    Ray Carcases

    1. I appreciate your comment Ray. I want to address a few things.

      First, I know “hatah” isn’t a real word. But sometimes, you just gotta get ghetto. 🙂

      Second, as I said in my post, as far as I’m concerned, someone who engages in a respectful conversation, or who professionally and respectfully offers a differing opinion, I do not consider a hater. As I commented to Corey, we all know the difference.

      Third, and this may just be because you may not have read my blog very much to get my style of writing, but I am a fan of satire. I hate to have to explain these posts, but I guess sometimes it’s necessary. Perhaps it’s a function of my writing that it was not clear to you I was being sarcarstic. It’s a satirical device to make a point. I even tagged the post “satire.” So, in case anyone else is not sure…this was a satirical post, using sarcasm to make a point. I do offer these as real suggestions.

      People who critique with valid reasons and do so respectfully (as you just did here) I do not consider a hater. You made a dissenting comment on this post in a way that is mature and professional. I respect you for that and always welcome that kind of dialog.

      1. Ron,

        I understand satire, Jonathan Swift is one of my favorite classic authors. And, dude, I don’t read tags. Tags are there ostensibly for SEO purposes not as a disclaimer of sorts. I understand that you were being satirical that your point was “don’t be successful, don’t be outspoken, don’t go on the internet, etc.” was written to say that if you do these things (which in today’s world you should do if you’re going to use social media) then you have a greater chance of being hated. My point is that Zack Arias does all these things and he has an extremely loyal following. Maybe it was a function of my writing that you didn’t get the point in that it’s not the steps you outlined (for satirical purposes) that draw haters, it’s what they say. Content is king.

        You’re right that I don’t read your blog regularly. Nothing personal, it’s just not my cup o tea. But the last blog post I read was your defense of Jesh de Rox’s “Beloved” webcast and that had zero satire in it. You went out of your way to defend him. I don’t want to get into that again but you didn’t use satire to support de Rox.

        One thing that people need to understand is that to many people in the photography industry, if you’re a critic, you’re a troll, no matter how well-written and objective your criticism may be.

        Here’s a true story: I used to be a listener to the goingpro2010 podcast by Scott Bourne and Skip Cohen. It used to be my favorite podcast. One day, a listener asked how to manage a full-time job, a family, a side photography business as he was getting more business and trying to strike a balance. This resonated with me as I’m in a similar situation and I was looking for insight into my own situation. The remainder of the podcast was spent suggesting that he outsource his work and, in my opinion, a long extended plug for each one of the sponsors of their podcast. There was no mention of factors that cause this (maybe he’s spending too much time in post, he’s taking too many jobs, his pricing is too low..etc.), it was all “have X company do this for you” which is a ridiculous comment when you’re doing this part-time because the outsourcing model only works when you’re generating sufficient volume and you can’t generate that volume on a part-time basis.

        So, I posted a well-written comment on their blog that wasn’t hurtful, a personal attack or anything mean, but I called them out on it and told them that even if they didn’t have the answers (I can’t expect them to) that there are other factors that the listener needed to consider other than just killing his profit margin by outsourcing the bulk of his work to (coincidentally) all of their sponsors. I thought it was a disservice. My comment was deleted and Scott Bourne wrote me back calling me a troll. I replied that if I were a troll I wouldn’t have put my real name and contact information. He then wrote back and, in a lengthy email, elaborated and reiterated that I was a troll. This is a guy I used to look up to and defended (because people can’t stand the guy) and he labeled me a troll because he, in my opinion, used a listener’s question as one big plug for their sponsors. I still have the emails.

        So, I learned that being a troll doesn’t necessarily entail being a rude, crass, bore. It’s anyone that dissents and hurts the fragile ego of someone who, in my opinion, is trying to do a disservice. That’s why critics get mad. If you criticize, you’re a troll. If you criticize with a well-written, thoughtful disagreement, you’re a well-disciplined troll.

        BTW, I’ll leave the ghetto slang for you, Jasmine Star and anyone else who thinks it’s “cool” or “hip”. if I used that slang in my full-time profession, I’d be looked at like a fool.

  14. Ray,

    Did you read my post? I’ll repeat what I’ve said numerous times already. I personally do not consider anyone a troll just because they disagree with a point of view. I defined the parameters of “troll” in m blog post. It seems that you’re letting your experience on Scott’s blog affect how you are replying to MY blog post.

    I do not consider you a troll. I openly welcome and sincerely appreciate your respectful dialog, even if we disagree. (BTW, I don’t I think I was talking down to you as you suggested in your “child please” tweet.)

    I made a point about “satire” in my reply to your first comment because it sounded like you thought that I was serious about those suggestions. I wasn’t sure you knew I was being satirical.

    Yes, Zack has a huge following, and is highly respected. I love Zack. Literally. He’s a good friend. I can totally see why he’s respected. A large part is because of his dedication to the industry and the fact that he’s been in it a long time.

    Now, take Jasmine. A following equal to Zack’s. But she’s only been around 4 years, and IMHO I think that pisses some people off in and of itself. She gets far more attacks publicly because those attacking her don’t respect HOW she got there. If you disagree with her marketing, branding or her “ghetto” talk, so be it. But there are those who vehemently attack her in a mean-sprited way and that is the kind of thing I’m addressing. It’s just like Brian Palmer commented. If you don’t like how she came up, ignore her. But she’s not out there doing anything to objectively bring down the industry. She’s trying to help others achieve success in what is a hard business by sharing what SHE did, and by all objective means has been successful at doing it. For that, critics have lambasted her.

    Also, you need to re-read my “Jesh de Rox” post more carefully. The comments I made were objective comments about a general situation that I would write about anyone. It was not a “personal defense” of Jesh.

    Lastly, as far as using “hatah” instead of hater. It was fun. I don’t talk like that to my clients and readers of my blog know I like to have fun and entertain. To express my personality. That is part of the purpose of a blog. (Since you’re a Zack fan, do you think Zack’s “ghetto style” CreativeLive promo video was inappropriate? How’s that different? It’s just having fun with the medium.)

    Again, I do not think you are a troll. Your comments have been well thought out and for the most part respectful. That is totally cool. Unless you use profane language I would not delete your comment. (even if I DID think you were a troll.)

    And with, let me just say, “Fo sho’, peace out, ya dig?!

  15. I think what upsets people about Jasmine is that her photography is not up to snuff technically. She’s teaching streams of newbies the business and art of photography when she’s not adept enough to do it. Yes, she knows business, she knows marketing, she is queen of branding but when you get real about it the lustre wears off and you realize anyone with an L-Series 50mm lens in aperture priority shooting wide open applying wicked awesome actions (which will be trending out any time now) can do exactly what she does. Is that really a value to the art, the photographer paying to learn it, the clients?

    Jasmine can market herself like no one’s business, she’s GREAT at it and her knowledge in gaining such a huge following and creating so hype around her is what people are buying and it’s giving people false hope, false impressions of the industry that is overrun with photographers undercharging, overworking and underwhelming and she right there at the forefront – selling it. Selling the dream.

    To address that “hating”

    If all anyone ever hears about their work is “That’s amazing, it’s terrific, great lighting, oooh, love that lens flare” they are being done a great disservice and being denied the ability to improve and grow as photographer, artists and people. Not everything is amazing, a lot of it is out of focus, poorly composed, poorly exposed, and worst of all a lot of wedding photography is so stylized that the MOMENTS a photographer is supposed to catch are missed and poorly created instead.

    1. Thanks for the great comment Holly. Here’s my take on that topic.

      First, if a professional in the industry has an issue with how another professional is teaching the craft, I believe the respectable thing to do is reach out to them privately. No good can come about attacking them publicly. (Personally, I have made the mistake in the past, and I was regretful of it.) Or, if you want, address their style of photography w/o mentioning names. I frequently comment on the over-use of shallow DoF shots in DSLR filmmaking w/o calling out the specific names of colleagues who may use that style.

      Second, and this is where I know it gets touchy with photographers, her art may not be technically great (and she’ll be the first to admit that), but her clients love her work, and enough other people love her work to want to learn from her. There are many, many, for lack of a better word, mediocre artists who are great business people and thus are successful. You may not like the fact that anyone with an L-series lens shooting on aperture priority and applying wicked actions does can be a success at a photo business, but that is the nature of the beast. It is a business. She may not create “pure” and “artistic” photography, but there is obviously a business out there for it. To be frank: the average Joe and Jane cannot tell a great photograph from a good one from an “okay” one. If a Jasmine or anyone else can create photos that enough people want to buy, more power to her. I still see her working hard to improve her craft. Is it her fault she has thousands of others who like her work and want to shoot like her. What’s she supposed to say, “Sorry. I can’t teach you to shoot like I do because the really great photographers don’t think I’m good enough. Once I’m good enough, then I’ll teach you?” That would be stupid. It’s not like she’s performing heart surgery and is not qualified to do it. It’s a subjective art form. Art is subjective. What may be crap to you is art to someone else. We sometimes seem to forget that.

      Lastly, the industry is never propelled forward when you attack another professional publicly. Even if you do it politely. (Again, I’ve been guilty of this, so I’m not trying to be pious. I make mistakes too). I personally believe TurnHere.com’s videos are not very artistic, nor do they excel the craft of video making. But I won’t go out of my way to bash them because of it. That helps nobody (meanwhile they”re laughing all the way to the bank.). That doesn’t mean I don’t care about the art of filmmaking. I do. I express that care by teaching what I know and trying my best to counter what I may think is bad art. I do not help the industry by attacking or heavily criticizing others in the industry publicly. That is what I’m addressing.

      1. I think the public domain is the perfect venue to address how another professional is teaching. If it doesn’t have the ring of truth it doesn’t matter, and if it does it’s information and opinion worth sharing. I think if a professional is out there teaching they should be an expert. Jasmine IS an expert, at marketing herself but that’s and she’s selling to other photographers but she’s marketing it as photography education. She can’t TEACH how to be Jasmine Star because she is the ONLY Jasmine Star, you have to BE her to BE her. Lord knows you don’t actually have to be good at photography to have clients LOVE your work and pay top dollar for it. Her clients do and will continue to to do so, but make no mistake they do so because her marketing of her product has been executed flawlessly and there’s a certain prestige at having the great J* come shoot your wedding.

        Let me say I don’t care that ANYONE can do what she does, it’s a fact ANYONE CAN; this is why the industry is so over saturated with photographers and will continue to be. Technology is better, more accessible and cheaper than ever and people are hungrier than ever for the knowledge and education to use it properly. We’ve got the flood gates open, photographers streaming in left right and center all hungry for a little knowledge, dying to learn how to make it big. There are more photographers than jobs for them and THIS is why people like J* are teaching, not that “I want to help others become great” for the low low price of $1000+ a day fluff she’s been selling (quite successfully)

        No sane person would attend a college or university to learn what they need to succeed in their chosen field if their professor lacked the qualifications to do so. And yet people are falling all over themselves to pay small fortunes to learn from people that sold a class, because they are REALLY REALLY good at selling. If this was the case at a reputable school enrollment would drop, and outcry would be heard. I can not, will not defend any professional out there teaching when they don’t have the knowledge to be doing it.

        I went to college for photography and all my teachers a)Worked or were working in the field at a professional level b) held a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and attended teacher’s college c) went through a rigorous interview process and d) retrain constantly. I received a top-of-the-line education I’m technically on point, my photography has a soul, some meat to it and by golly none of it sees the light of day in public if it doesn’t. My tuition including books, equipment and studio use, top of the line computer facilities and print money was $5000/year and I left with the knowledge to work ANYWHERE in the photography industry from production, art direction to fashion, editorial and yes, even wedding photography because “when times are tough you can always fall back on weddings”.

        I don’t shoot weddings and I think anyone who swells people the idea that it’s the be all end of of photography are putting people out of business before they get started. They’re taking the money, banking it while the people that took their $1k+ fluffshops are struggling to make minimum credit card payments because they weren’t given adequate tools to survive in the pirahnna pool that is the over saturated wedding photography market.

        There’s an old proverb that I think of when I see these workshops advertised.

        “Those that can, do, those that can’t teach.”

        Because if they were, really were at the top of their field they wouldn’t be running so many workshops, they’d be work-ing.

        Public discussion is good, very good, because it gets people asking questions, reminds people of their values, and can help them make the decisions that are right for them and them alone. No-one is beyond reproach and naming names should be encouraged if it’s honest because there’s just not enough honesty our there amongst the pitch.

        1. Love the dialog Holly. Thanks for participating. I think we may have to agree to disagree on whether addressing another professionals teaching experience publicly is good or not. I’ll give your comment more thought. Much of it is really HOW one goes about addressing. I think you can safely say that a lot of the critics of Jasmine have done so in a manner that is mean-spirited and/or down right unprofessional. Or, they poke fun and hide behind anonymous masks. I hope you’re not condoning that kind of public dialog.

          Regarding education, and who has a right to teach, what are your thoughts on people like JoeyL or Jeremy Cowart teaching photography? Or a studio like StillMotion teaching filmmaking? In all cases, the years of experience is around 5, with no formal education among any of them. What say you? Also, what is your take on the new model of education that CreativeLive has made popular? I would sincerely like to know your take.

          P.S. I’ll try to refrain from saying “if you read my blog.” 😉

          1. Joey L shoots at a level that well exceeds the likes wedding of photographers like Jasmine Star – he ha a solid technical background he understands the technology and how to use it. He shoots medium format digital on Phase and has worked his ASS of shooting, not SELLING. He doesn’t teach a workshop every other week because he’s travelling the globe WORKING. When a company I know approached Joey L’s agent to participate in a tradeshow and teach a workshop they were told Joey doesn’t do that. Now I know he has a taught a few workshops, most recently at the photography tradeshow out in Dubai but his workshops were very reasonably priced and he offered two types at two very different price points 1) 2 day long workshop where you learn by doing a commercial shoot from concept to production (had to submit a portfolio to prove you were advanced enough to be there) and 2) a lecture style class about the commercial world and his own experiences.

            You know what? Both options were a helluva lot cheaper than a J* workshop, more worthwhile and a lot more technically challenging.

            Don’t even compare J* and Joey L head to head. It’s like comparing the dude who directed “Pirahanna 3D” to Harmony Korine early in his career. Apples and Mangoes man.

            The most critical difference between Joey L and Jasmine his body of WORK speaks for itself. You can look at his work and go, Yup, Joey L shot that an hell would freeze over before he’d ever post a less than perfect pic up his site. I have been to Jasmine’s site and seen stuff that’s been out of focus and blown out. I DARE you to find a single Joey L example of that sort. Dare you.

            Here’s another thing, when Joey started because he was so young you better believe he faced some MAJOR MAJOR challenges and criticisms and he had to prove himself and rise above and he’s so much stronger for it. but again.

            Apples and mangoes.

            Creativelive is popular because people have a hunger for knowledge, this I addressed in my last post, I think learning is great. I think creativelive making it more accessible is GREAT everyone should be learning all of the time. You can never learn it all. There’a difference between selling a dream and selling education and all I am saying is some people are selling dreams packaged in slick design and marketing. I question the value of a lot of these seminars, retreats, workshops and “experiential teachings” as I should be, as everyone should be before they pull out that VISA and CHARGE.

            1. I mean seriously you want to compare?

              Joey’s Blog: http://www.joeyl.com/blog/

              Jasmine’s Blog: http://www.jasminestarblog.com/

              One’s garish self promotion, the other is educational, insightful and actually has a post mentioning other photographers. *GASP*

              I totally forgot one other thing, the anonymous commenter poking fun thing… that. The twitter accounts, the blogs, the kool-aid comments; this type of commentary can also be healthy because healthy doses of truth and reality hide behind satire and these anonymous commenters are like superheroes protecting the vulnerable from evil. Not a single person is reading an anonymous tweet that says something negative and says “OHYEAAAAAH, obviously!! I’ll agree blindly” but it makes people question, it encourages people research things. And the only way these guys have power is because some of them just may be right and can’t say it any other way. Clark Kent wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in life if people knew he was Superman all along.

              1. Also, regarding the allusion to anonymous commenters, etc. What in the world is heroic about calling people names behind a veil of anonymity. You really think they’re protecting you? You’re talking to a semi-geeky comic book fan, so let me drop some geeky knowledge. Super heroes hide behind masks to legitimately protect loved ones from the bad guys. The people you’re calling heroes hide behind masks out of cowardice. The only people they are protecting are themselves. Plain and simple.

                Also, the great literary and filmmaking satirists of the world did not hide themselves.

                I sincerely appreciate your passion Holly. Thanks for engaging.

            2. Whoa. I obviously stuck a nerve. My point was not to compare Joey L and Jeremy Cowart to Jasmine technically or skill-wise, even I’m smart enough not to do that. 🙂 My point was that number of years has nothing to do with it. It’s how people respond to the art they create. (And whether you like it or not, enough people like Jasmine’s art to want to learn from her). You mentioned that you have training from all these professors who have extensive knowledge and years of experience. You said nothing of the quality of work, etc. As far we we know, the professors you studied under have bad work. As you yourself pointed out, “Those who can’t teach.” 😉

              You and many other people think Jasmine should not teach photography because her work doesn’t back it up. First, that is an opinion. Maybe it’s based on years of photographic knowledge and training, but it IS still just an opinion. Second, and most important, that isn’t even really my point. My point is HOW we as professionals in the industry go about relating to one another when we DO have a difference of opinion. We can tear down. Or we can build up. If the the extremely masterful photogs in this industry would respectfully, privately reach out to the Jasmine’s of the world and say, “Hey, I see you have a major influence and you’re doing some wonderful things. That’s great. I’d love to help you hone your skills so that you can get your work up to a respectable level. Would you be open to that?” Be a mentor. Be a leader. Be a coach. If photogs did THAT, instead of name calling, character bashing, etc., you would see a much different industry.

  16. Holly – You explained the Jasmine Star issue eloquently and without personal attacks. Bravo!

    Ron – I read your reply. I don’t want to belabor stuff because we both think we’re right, that’s not going to change and that’s fine. At least you’re trying to engage in discourse which is a professional reaction and that I can respect.

  17. Ron, the issue of whether or not photogs should comment publicly or not is sorta weird, considering that you’ve written so copiously on the topic on your own public blog. Furthermore, if these “mockstars” are continuously flood the Twitterverse and FB with post after post after post, pimping their “workshops”, then it is clearly open for public debate.

    I believe that these untrained shills/spokesmodels/faces are bad for my chosen industry, and I will not let it pass by without a fight.

    You’ve made your position quite clear by supporting people like “Jesh de Rox” and “Jasmine Star”. We are all known by the company we keep.

    If you truly care about the integrity of the photographic field, you may want to choose our battles with more discretion. There ARE valid workshops out there. But not many.

    1. Thanks for your comment Peter.

      First, the issue is not commenting publicly, the issue is using the public forum to harshly criticize someone in particular vs. confronting them privately. (For the record, I have done it only once on this blog and I’m ashamed I did. I have since taken down that post).

      Second, public debate is all good. It’s all about how you go about doing it. I obviously have no issue with public debate. 🙂

      Third, I don’t keep the company of Jasmine or Jesh. I just call shots as I see them. As far as this post is concerned, I did mention three other professionals in this post, I just happened to use Jasmine’s photo (frankly, she’s better looking than Phil Bloom, Andrew or Kirby, no offense to those guys. :). I assume the issue of Jasmine vs. the other three has come up more b/c I probably have more photog readers than filmmaking readers. Or maybe there’s just a more heated feeling about Jasmine than the other guys.

      Fourth, Chase Jarvis is arguably one of the most respected photogs in the business. Tens of thousands of photogs and major Fortune 500 brands respect his work and his ethics. He and his team saw fit to invite Jasmine back for a second round of CreativeLive. You may not respect my opinion on the topic, but given his level of cred in the industry, I think that says something about Jasmine as well. Furthermore, Zack Arias himself praised Jasmine and her ethic and hustle when he was first on CreativeLive.

      Two highly respected photogs in the industry giving public praise to the very same person all you are hating on. Are they being “duped”?

      Lastly, is it your contention that I DON’T truly care about this industry?

  18. Also: comparing the number of “followers” that Jasmine may have vs. Zack is like saying that Lindsey Lohan has more followers than Stephen Hawking.

    Jasmine is a spokes-shill. Zack is a photographer.

  19. Ron – THIS story made me literally laugh out loud! I loved it! It really hit HOME with me as I have fell victim to several cyber bullies / hatahs / trolls ALOT lately. It all seemed to escalate when I found not one but 4 of my photographs on a photography hater site, one was a person photo of my own child – an out take from a session that I thought was funny. All of the mean and rude comments really sent me over the edge. I have also dealt with a few local Facebook “friend” trolls which I have since washed my hands of. Just wanted to give you a pat on the back because I thought it was great!

  20. Hi Ron,

    I read your blog because I love movies and I enjoy how you can be levelheaded and passionate at the same time. Also appreciate your honesty and perspectives.

    I am not a big fan of rockstars in the photography industry. I don’t hate or attack them but I just don’t go gaga over them. I teach some workshops and I am passionate about education for the creative industry. Good education had made a world of difference for me and my business. I teach because I wanna pass it on.

    On this issue, I share your stand that you don’t condone public tearing down. I had my fair share of encounters with trolls. If we haven’t got a few people hating us, it is likely that we had not done anything significant.

    I suspect the public flogging of J* has to do with the fact that she is a public figure. We say a sorts of stuff about politicians, governments, celebrities & the movies they made. I do not suppose we would personally write to politicians, athletes, celebrities or movie directors if we hated what they do. Although, we should probably do that more. Likely, we will vent our frustration/opinions online.

    “The movie suck!” “They played a lousy game!” “He is helping his cronies!” We do not contact public figures privately because most of the time we feel we are too small to affect a change or too remote to access their inner circles. So we voice our opinions in the public forum.

    Can you imagine the poor fella reading comments like this? But that is the price to pay to be a public figure. This happens. It comes with the territory. The more public we are, the likelier it would happen. The onus is on the public figure to shape public opinion with a team of publicists, PR agencies…phew, I am glad I am just a ordinary citizen.

    I hear you and your Christian sensibility and compassion about correcting someone gently. I would do that with people I am close to and care about. Even by confronting gently and honestly, I’ve lost some relationships. Can we apply that to the public figures of our industry? I don’t know.

    1. Thanks for reading Louis. Your comment is dead on. Particularly the part about “if we haven’t got a few people hating on us, it’s likely we hadn’t done anything significant.” I can’t think of any siginficant figure in any profession who doesn’t have his/her fair share of public detractors. Well, except for maybe Tom Hanks. I don’t think anybody hates Tom. 🙂

  21. I have another theory…

    This craze over celebs is just a phase! Back in high school days, girls in my class LOVED Backstreet Boys. There were the best band, the best vocals, etc…Do they still love BSB today? There were so many things that I loved 10 years ago that I just loathe today. I’ve had my phases my idols/heroes.

    I won’t waste time trying to convince people who are the REAL SOLID photographers and who are just fluff. Over time, with perspective and wisdom, most people will come to their senses.

    At the meantime, I focus on what I do and care about: my craft, my business, my clients, my family.

  22. Hey, took me a while to reply to this post, but I already commend on FB, so…forgive me.
    Anyway, this post, I can’t agree more with most of part. I got some trolls in Vimeo, and tons of them on youtube. I was upset with a few of them, and replied back with harsh words (I don’t back down easy… kind of jerk often, haha!), but I tend to ignore those nowadays.
    One thing that I didn’t really agree was one of the examples that you used, specifically Andrew, aka, EOSHD. I don’t usually go bash people online, but when I read his post, it makes me doubt what really makes him one of reliable resources about filmmaking. Most of his stuff is very self centered and stubborn. He likes to get emotional and offensive to others. He really asks for it very often. I understan that he does spend lots of time researching and sharing news and info on his blog, but his personality really turns away many people from visiting his blog. Read some of his comments on his blog and tweets.
    But I get your point, though. Some harsh and mean comments online hurts people who most of time do not deserve. Different people have different perspectives on same thing, like one photographer, or even a piece of gear. As you said, as long as it’s done with respect and care, it’s healthy discussion. If not, ignore and move on with our life.
    Thanks again for a great post, Ron.

    1. Hey JJ, Thanks for your reply. Admittedly, I don’t follow EOSHD too closely, so I can’t comment on what his content is like. I got the impression from others on Twitter that they like the content he provides. But, I also agree that some people may write in such a way that begs for haters to attack.

      And as far as YouTube is concerned, it’s a double-edged sword. YouTube is essentially haters central.

    2. I totally agree with you JJ Kim.
      I discovered the EOSHD Andrew Reid site because he talked about anamorphic shooting. As I continued to visit his site I realized that his information wasn’t always accurate and when people questioned it he immediately became defensive. He is quick to jump to insults and name calling. I also noticed that a lot of the comments were non combative statements or juts simple questions. I personally think it is very unprofessional and eventually decided to no longer visit his site or even listen to what ever he has to say. To say that haters are just going to hate in regards to him is unfortunately not true. He starts the fires that burn in his home.

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