A question that people ask me quite often is how long have I been a photographer. My response is typically what makes me a photographer at all? I know many people that have cameras and shoot often but they are shooting on automatic, they have no knowledge on shutter speeds, aperture, iso, equipment, etc.
If you take photos and get paid for doing so does that make you a professional photographer? I ask not to demean anyone but to get a clear understanding as to what everyone considers a professional. Often times I will share my rates with a model looking to test and they tell me they have a cousin or a close friend that is a photographer as well. They then go on to tell me they would prefer to go with the friend because of the price difference.
That works for me, I am not saying I am a professional photographer. Although I do work out of a studio with professional equipment and I am sent on assignments with expenses paid. Does it depend on who your clients are?
photo credit: G’Oni Jones [snapshot of the studio]
This is a question I am not sure how to answer but I can say this… Remember people you pay for quality. When paying for a shoot you paying for everything. The quality of the studio you are walking into, the equipment being used for the full project including pre/post production. Most importantly the usage of the photos, the time, the creativity and originality of the photographer/person taking your photos. You are paying for piece of mind.
I am big on connecting with the subject. You should always have a clear understanding as to what they are trying to do with the image. Many attributes go into making our clients happy that its somewhat disrespectful when people try to compare our services to a local neighborhood camera owner that is interested in shooting with for free.
If you have a luxury car, lets say you own a Ferrari. Would you have your neighborhood mechanic work on your Ferrari? Would you have the same person that worked on the roof of your home paint your car?
I do not think the question should be are you a photographer or how long have you been. I think a better question is are you a professional photographer and how long has that been your occupation. You do not have to be a professional photographer to achieve rock solid results from time to time. Nor does it mean people should not want to work with you. Personally I think everyone should have a camera and take photos. My grandparents have accumulated tons of photos throughout the years. This does not mean They are professional photographers. If you ask them I am sure they would agree to not being photographers at all. They simply used the tool the were provided with to capture memories…
If taking photos makes you happy, who needs a title anyways? Just take photos and be happy!
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