Monday's musings

>> Monday, November 1, 2010


On being a "professional" photographer

PROFESSIONAL: Following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain.

I guess I feel motivated to write a post on this subject because on blogs everywhere, I see where people have started their own photography business  from no 'know-how' or 'formal' education in the field of photography. Just RAW talent and a desire :) (Which is great, if you're awesome) BUT, then some turn around and feel themselves fit to pooh pooh other beginners with the same love of photography.  Deeming their work not good enough in the "new professional's" eyes... (Which is NOT great, even if you are awesome) I ask, who's place is it to judge others Art? Isn't Art defined by how others intrepret it? And if others (clients)  deem the work worthy of pay who are we to judge otherwise?

I agree there IS bad photography I have done my fair share.  I think that's how we learn, unfortunately for the people we "shoot"  0.o  Everyone has to start out somewhere right?

But really, what do we gain by putting others down?  I've seen some of my friends become "professional photographers" I'm someone's "professional photographer friend"   I think this happens all the time so easily because, for me anyway, it was a fun hobby, and when people first (usually my family &  friends)  saw my work they started wanting me to take their pictures, and then their friend's pictures and so on.  Are we, as "hobbiests" or "enthusiasts" supposed to keep taking pictures for "free" or, do we start to charge something for our time?  Which for me, (as I think for most) is a precious commodity. 

Well, I decided to charge for my time.  Making me, by defintion, a "professional."  Though I definatley don't feel like a professional.  There are some CRAZY awesome  photogs out there that are what you'd consider a 'professional' in the traditional sense.  A lot of them have done this (photography) before the digital explosion and encroachment of digital hobbiests and ammatuers on their turf. 

So I guess my point is, we all have friends who already are, or are beginning to dabble with the idea of being/ becoming a photographer.  It's all around us with the increased sales of DSLR's to regular 'joes' :)  the wealth of information that can be found on the internet in different forums, and the ENORMOUS amount of workshops geared toward ammatuers.  Be supportive, be happy that they share the same love of the Art you do, be happy about their successes, be happy about your successes, but please don't take that (your success) as a free ticket to berate others with the same dream/goal.

~Jenn  an accidental "professional" photographer

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

~Ansel Adams

3 peeps say:

Anonymous,  1.11.10  

A more defined definition would be:

The word professional traditionally means a person who has obtained a degree in a professional field. The term professional is used more generally to denote a white collar working person, or a person who performs commercially in a field typically reserved for hobbyists or amateurs.

Therefore being a hobbyist cannot make you a professional. Sorry to disagree, but people should never charge for a poor picture.

I have a friend who can afford a nice camera, calls herself a professional, and then sells her work. The photos are (I hate to say) terrible. I cannot find it in myself to tell her, but another part of me feels like she is taking advantage of people that don't know better. I am not a professional, but I do know why some photos are better than others. What do I do?


Perplexed in Oregon

Anonymous,  1.11.10  

On another note, I feel the point of making any sort of art IS in fact to judge! Isn't that the point? Isn't that how we get better? Not all judgement are cruel.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Perplexed in Oregon

Jenn @Cuddlesandcameras 1.11.10  

Perplexed in Oregon,
I have to agree with you that being a hobbiest doesn't make you (what I'd call) a "professional" That's probably why I never feel comfortable calling myself a pro, I don't know if I'll ever feel completely comfortable with that term either, as photography is an on-going learning process, I don't think you can ever know too much. I also think, Like maybe in this case with your friend that people who hire these "professionals" that will shoot your whole wedding for $100 bucks have to know they get what they pay for. However if your shelling out thousands on a real pro for your wedding then your expectations are naturally going to be a lot higher. Right? I feel like it's really not worth discouraging the up and coming photogs as they get weeded out from natural selection anyway. The ones who really put an effort into actually knowing what photography is all about are going to get further in this career.

Sorry I don't even know if this makes sense, sometimes I just ramble... much to my detriment. lol
I guess it's just hard to believe that people who were once (sometimes recently) in the exact same place as the 'newbies' can be so haughty. We all start somewhere. Some jump feet first and get a reality check (like me);) and some practice and hone their skills sometimes years BEFORE they ever make the decision to become a professional.
Ok, I'm rambling again, SORRY! Hope I made sense lol

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