Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The question has always stirred my mind. I find myself asking what this really means. Photography today has gotten extremely sophisticated with the high end cameras produced and the ridiculous amount of software that can create beautiful images with a touch of a button. It's an industry full of new and exciting things that stir up many debates and increase competition among other photographers. But the more I think about it the more I ask myself if I am a "Professional Photographer." It was hard to even call myself an "artist" for the simple fact that most of the people around me call themselves "artists". These terms were sort of tainted to me, but I got around figuring out a way to deal with it.

Quoted from DIYphotography.net JP Danko explains in a simple perspective what a "Professional Photographer" is.

"The value of a professional photographer is their necessity to run a profitable business.

Let me be frank: if you can’t run a profitable business, then you are an amateur photographer, out there taking pictures for fun.

That’s not to say that you have to be a full time working pro. Or, that you have to generate a full time income.


You can be a part time professional, shooting weddings on the weekends. Or a mom taking baby photos in their spare time. Or surf bum shooting stock.

It doesn’t matter – as long as you treat your photography as a business – then you are a professional photographer – because in order to run a profitable business you need to produce great work, you need to earn a decent income for your time and you need to deliver."

And as I read that I immediately came to terms thinking "yeah... I'm totally not a professional photographer. I'm more of an artist." But artists do get paid don't they? I mean they can sell their work in art galleries, to collectors, or anyone interested in what they have to display. Of course many of these artists do and don't get paid as well as "Professional Photographers" am I right?

To me "Professional Photography" is, like what was stated above, a photographer who runs a profitable business. Someone who can make a living being a photographer. But there are photographers who claim themselves as "Professional" and take pictures of "models" and have nice cameras, and software, and spend money on expensive lenses, and say that they have expensive equipment thus making them a "Professional" at what they do.

On Dictionary.com being a professional at something means:
"undertaken or engaged in as a means of livelihood or for gain"
So, for anyone who is a "Professional" at what they do I give them many props. You're hard at work doing work for people that need your services. As for the artists... I also give you props just for the fact that you are out there creating work for yourself and understanding the fact that some people will get it and some people won't. I guess it's good to be a professional, but I'm just not sure if that's something I want to label myself as.

Of course there is etiquette, being able to present your work in such a strong matter, and displaying something you are so passionate about to people. Am I "Professional" then if I display my work in such way.

Again, Dictionary.com states that being a professional can also mean:
"a person who is expert at his or her work"
I think I'm an expert at what I do. I went to school to learn the ins and outs of being a better photographer. I've dived in Photoshop for many years learning the proper ways to produce photographs for web and print. I've done a couple of exhibits to showcase work I am passionate about. So, am I "Professional" enough?

I'm not sure what category I fall into. I do feel that I am an artist and I create this kind of art to let people know what's going on in the world. I take pictures of things that are real and what is happening right in front of me. Sometimes they could be surreal and sometimes they can be just plain photographs, but that's the kind of work I produce. But on the other hand I've had clients who needed my photographic services. I was very "Professional" when it came down to pricing, product idea and finished output. I did what I could to provide them good service and deliver what they needed.

So, what does professional really mean? I don't have a profitable business, but I'm an expert at what I do. I don't make much money doing this, but I take my art seriously.

I think there is a fine line calling yourself a professional or not. I don't care to be called a "Professional" at all because I don't run a profitable business, but I am a "Professional" when I need to be.

Can anyone tell me what the term "Professional" means? I'm still trying to figure out, because I'm at a cross between being an expert at what I do and knowing that I don't run a profitable business. Am I an artist or a professional?