What constitutes PROFESSIONAL????

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by RMThompson, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    Ok, on another thread, you'll see that I am building my website. On my website I put the phrase "professional photographer".

    In essence I assume I am professional, even if I know I have a lot to learn, simply because in my mind I've sold pictures and taken pictures for money.

    In 2007 I plan on purchasing a business license to make it "legal" but a recent discussion with a photographer I know said you aren't really professional until you join the "Professional photographers of America Guild".

    I don't see how that can be true. By definition professional means "following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain" so if you've ever charged someone to take a picture, you should be considered PROFESSIONAL on some level.

    (I don't mean this to say that my photographs are of a top notch level, I know I have much to learn and much equipment to buy in the next few years)

    Now in some states, like mine, certain occupations require certification of study in your chosen field (for example: cosmetology) but i have yet to see ANYTHING for photography.

    So what do you guys think?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've heard this discussed before...from what I can tell...it's not black and white...there is not definitive definition of 'Professional Photographer'.

    Some people will say that if you sell something, you are professional. Others will say that you need to earn the majority of your income from it to be professional. Still others will tell you that you need to be part of some organization (usually members of that organization will tell you that).

    There are professions that do require some sort of licence or affiliation to practice. Doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. I'm a Certified Engineering Technologist...but I would still consider my self a professional if I wasn't a member of ASET, who gives me that designation.

    I like to take a more general meaning of professional. IMO, to be a professional...someone must demonstrate a level of competency and conduct them selves in a 'professional' manor.
     
  3. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    So should I put it on my site?

    Or wait?
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you feel that you are competent enough to to the job you are advertising...and that you can conduct yourself in a professional way...then, IMO, you can call yourself a professional photographer...but be prepared to take some flak from people like your friend the photographer.

    Or just avoid the issue and just call yourself a photographer. I don't think it will matter much to potential clients.
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As far as i know, at least in Germany, one could not call oneself a photographer if that statement is related to a business (as it would be in this case) ... since then photographer refers to a profession.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    All that is necessary to be a professional photographer is to hang out a shingle (sign). There is no photography license.

    You will need to register with the state as a retailer. This means you will be required to keep records, collect sales tax and pass it on to the state.

    Pete
     
  8. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Professional photographer means you shoot images for money. You don't need a degree for it, you don't need to go to school for it, you can just do it. It's not a profession alike a doctor or a lawyer where you need an education to do it.
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ok, seems to be rather relaxed in the US.

    it is different in other countries though
     
  10. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    From what I can tell, unless I am selling my photos directly, if I am just selling my service, I only need an occupational license, NOT a retailer.

    For now I am only selling the service of me taking the pictures and the post process work. I give my clients a cd with all my work on it and its up to them to do what they want!

    Every client gets a free 8x10 gift from me!
     
  11. photogoddess

    photogoddess TPF Noob!

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    Depends on the tax regulations in your state (or country). In California, while taking photos is a service, because it results in tangible goods (prints, cds, etc) 100% of what you charge is subject to sales tax.
     
  12. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I would leave the label professional off as well. Clients already know you are a pro that is why they are checking you out. To conduct your biz in a professional manner means that you need to comply with sales tax and the government. And follow the (at least) basic rules of commerce. PPA is a great organization. Keep in mind that they are an organization. I like to quote the great Groucho Marx "I would never belong to a church that would have me as a member"
     

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