What makes a professional a professional?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Cinka, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    Yesterday I was at a coffee house and noticed their apple tree was in bloom. I whipped out my camera and took a quick shot. I probably won't use it for anything, just a nice picture of apple blossoms. About 5 minutes later, a grandma with a point and shoot grabbed her camera out of her purse and took pictures of the same apple blossoms.

    In this day and age, where EVERYONE has a camera and easy access to the web, printing, and book making, what sets the professionals apart? I'm sure Grandma took a nice picture and most point and shoots are decent quality - at least 6 megapixels. Let's say she wanted to sell that shot. Am I now in competition with every old lady and kid with a digital camera?

    How do you rise above and set yourself apart?
     
  2. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    When i got hired for the newspaper here at my school, the advisor told everyone that the difference between an amature and a pro is one dollar. Its kind of true , becasue how many old ladies and kids with point-and-shoots are selling their images? On the other hand, the pay for newspaper was $250 a semester so i quit. One thing that will set you apart though may be image quality. Everyone says that a dSLR wont make you a better photographer, because "its the photographer, not the camera" and sure, thats probably true, but nobody said anything about lenses. I couldnt get most of the shots i have now with a point and shoot. You dont get the soft out of focus areas and super wide angles among other things, using a p&s. But yeah, everyone is competing these days, thats why i'm not majoring in photography.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    I've heard this discussion before...and there doesn't seem to be a firm answer.

    Some say that if you get paid, you are technically professional. Some say that one must earn most of their income from photography to be considered a professional photographer.

    Someone might say that it doesn't have to do with money but more in the way that you act and present yourself.

    Some will say that it's the equipment that you use...I don't agree with that, but the general public seems to think that if you have professional looking equipment, that's all it takes (some 'photographers think this too...which is sad & funny).
     
  4. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    I'd say that the difference between an amateur and a professional is getting paid 1$ repeatedly...
     
  5. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    just to make sure you arent talking about me , i'll clear this up a bit- Its not using professional LOOKING eqipment, but using eqipment that gives you professional results. But thats definately not ALL there is to being a pro. I'm not one, and i have some good gear.
     
  6. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    I guess it's sort of scary to think that everyone has a camera and often intimidating when I see excellent photography done by some guy on vacation and not for professional reasons.

    Someone once told me that you can't be a professional until you're willing to call yourself so.

    I think equipment has a lot to do with it. I once shot a major live band with a point and shoot and the photographer next to me had a big fat lens and Canon 5D. She actually laughed at me. It was then I decided to save up and get a better camera. I didn't get good shots either. LOL.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    No, not talking about you.

    Yes, part of being a pro 'should' be knowing to use good equipment (or at least the right tool for the job).

    But if someone take photos with a Holga or a cell phone cam and sells them for $100,000...does that make them less of a professional?

    In many ways, photography is an art...and 'professional artist' could really mean anything.
     
  8. twocolor

    twocolor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My husband says that knowledge and information is the key to setting yourself apart from the others. I am CONSTANTLY trying to learn more about being a better photographer. My head is usually burried in books, magazines and websites that give me ideas, info, know how, etc, etc. Everyday I try to do something that sets me apart from EVERYONE, even other professionals, that's what drives me and my business.
     
  9. A professional is someone who gets paid for the work she does, while pursuing it as a substantial part of her livelihood (not an ancillary hobby and/or minor additional income augmentation).
     
  10. Dioboleque

    Dioboleque TPF Noob!

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    I'd like to start off by saying that I don't know anything about anything...

    With that said, I'd say that 'being a professional' is solely about career status and is not a judgement of quality. I wouldn't say that I'm a photographer but rather that I am someone who enjoys taking photos, and someone who enjoys taking photos is just as capable of producing the same quality photos as a 'professional' but has no intention of selling their work. I would think that being a professional is just as much about selling yourself as it is about selling your photos, and the selling yourself part is what will set you apart from others.
     
  11. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    This whole question revolves around what you mean by 'professional'.
    The straightforward definition of a professional is 'someone who makes their living by doing something'. So a professional photographer is a person who does photography for a living.
    However, 'professional' does not always mean 'good'.
    There are professional photographers who's pictures are dire because they don't really know that much about what they are doing - it's just done by the numbers.
    And I've known professionals who were truly original and creative because they lived, ate and slept photography.
    Some people become professionals because they think it is easy money and glamorous - and in some respects they are right.
    Others become professionals because they have to. Doing anything else is not an option.
    By the same token there are amateurs who can take better pictures than a lot of professionals because they take it seriously.
    In the end 'professional' is just a word, nothing more. It's the images produced which count.
     
  12. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I thought Google knew everything...but I searched for the answer to this and proved my theory wrong.
     

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