This morning I was sitting at Starbucks drinking my trenta iced coffee with caramel sauce- yeah I'm that guy, LOL- and while minding my own biz, a lady next to me saw that I had my website pulled up on my laptop. She also overheard me talking to another photographer about studio lighting.
So then, the eavesdropper, (disclaimer, she was a very nice lady) asked me if I was a photographer. Of course, I jump for any chance to talk shop about photography, and I immediately told her I have been for around 25 years. She asked me if it was a hobby or if I was a professional, and I told her I hoped its professionally at this point in my career. We shared a nice laugh and she started talking about her experience with photographers- some that are hobbyists and some that are self-claimed professionals.
Now, my question to viewers is the title above. I want to start a discussion about this ongoing stereotype in the world of photography. I think many folks looking to hire someone decide based on what they’re paying for, but when you’re shopping for a professional photographer, what do you look for that separates the hobbyists from the professionals? Comment below what you think makes a photographer a professional. Does that person have to have a studio? How long should they have been doing this before they become pros? Should they have a website or business cards that says professional on it? Is it the way they dress, the type of equipment they have, is it that their website looks fancy, they only do photography for a living and no other jobs?
I've been doing photography for about 25 years. I have professional grade cameras and lenses. I have a professional looking website. I have had training and schooling for my skills. But despite all of this, there are days I still feel like a hobbyist because I'm always trying to improve and grow. I work on my photography outside of being paid to do it, but there was a time I didn't know what type of photographer I was. Over the years I have developed my skills through hard work, dedication, searching, researching and practicing. I feel like photography is a living breathing thing that’s fluid and changes, but is this what determines professionalism?