"Photographer"

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by explody pup, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. explody pup

    explody pup TPF Noob!

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    Probably a tired old subject, if so, then let this thread sink.

    I was visiting some friends lastnight (pot luck dinner, I made pierogis, mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...) and met a few new people. I was screwing around with my camera and was asked by one of them if I'm a photographer. I use my standard "sometimes I pretend to be" answer and my ever-supportive friends chime in that yeah, I am a photographer.

    This is flattering, I'll admit, but I can't agree with them. I may use a camera, but that doesn't mean I'm a photographer. Same way someone who builds a bird house isn't really an engineer, or someone who balances a checkbook isn't really an accountant. But I am, admittedly, a freak about semantics. The only way I would call myself a photographer is if I made a living at photography. That's where I personally draw the line. I'm simply not a photographer. I'm a chemist. That's how I pay the bills and buy the food. I'm a chemist who likes to take photographs.

    Anyhow, what do you fine folks think?
     
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  2. Walt

    Walt TPF Noob!

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    I agree. Photography seems to draw that line of thinking a lot. Another common field is painting (House type). A lot of people who pick up a brush think they are painters.
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Being a photographer is a state of mind. I have known quite a few people who took pictures for a living but I wouldn't have described them as photographers.
     
  4. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    Since I gallery sit every Saturday at a photography gallery, I too often get asked if I'm a photographer. I usually stumble through something like, well kinda, I just do it for myself, blah blah...
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Websters says that a photographer is...
    Sure you're a photographer, it's just what kind of photographer are you?

    amateur
    professional
    landscape
    sports
    journalist
    product
    portrait
    street
    and on and on.
     
  6. ahelg

    ahelg TPF Noob!

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    I agree with ksmattfish. A photographer is someone who takes photos. It's just a matter of what kind of photographer you are.
     
  7. malachite

    malachite Heavily Medicated For Your Protection

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    I just draw the line between amateur and professional. Professionals do it for a living, making 100% of their income from it (or try to). Amateurs do it all for fun and are still allowed to make a few bucks here and there (some state tax laws require you to make more than 50% of you earned income from a specific field before being able to qualify yourself as a 'professional' to attain the writes off's)

    Maybe tune the "pretend photographer" up a few notches and say "I play one on the weekends".......................
     
  8. explody pup

    explody pup TPF Noob!

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    Ahhhhh... well yeah this makes a lot more sense than my rigid definition. :oops:
     
  9. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    mal, what states is that? I plan to write stuff off for photography since I plan to do it for a career, but it probably wont be 50% or more of my income for the first while unless im lucky. :0)
     
  10. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Talk to an accountant. As I understand it, the IRS wants taxes filed if you make as little as $400 a year (not that I think folks who make that little are worrying about it), so I think their definition of "professional" is anyone making any money. There is more information on how they decide whether you are a "hobbyist" or in business at the IRS website.

    What you can write off, how you can write it off, and when you can write it off varies. I visited irs.gov and quickly realized that I wasn't really interested in figuring out their complicated and arcane tax laws. Some of the paragraphs actually hurt to read. I talked to a tax guy who recommend some tax software, and then he's going to help me get the best refund possible. It costs a little, but it's a bargin to avoid the headache.
     
  11. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yup, all the government forms, tax forms, etc, are very hard to understand and take forever and a day to read......the first page. :0) Its going to be fun filing for the first morgage, its the same situation, hehe.

    Right now I have an accountant that does that stuff for me and he's reasonably priced. But when I move, I dont konw if Ill be able to find a trustworthy accountant that doesnt cost an arm and a leg. And since Ill be doing stuff on the side, itll make the tax process that much more complicated. I was thinking of going with Quicken but the business version is EXPENSIVE and so is the personal version, but not as bad. I wonder if the personal version lets you do some business stuff on the side.
     
  12. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    I'm a professional art photographer. One who tries to make 100% of his living from it, yet only makes 10% :p
     

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