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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 31 Mar 2008 (Monday) 16:11
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At what point do you consider yourself a "Professional" photographer?

 
DucoNihilum
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Mar 31, 2008 16:11 |  #1

I've been working for my school newspaper for a while

http://blog.dnpen.com (external link)(for the photos I take for the paper. Let me know what you think if you have time)

but I don't really consider myself a 'professional' photographer yet. It's a college paper, I am getting paid, and I have a press badge and everything- but I wouldn't consider myself a 'pro' yet, maybe a 'semi-pro'. At what point would you guys consider yourself a pro?


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cosworth
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Mar 31, 2008 16:19 |  #2

When you make %50.01 of you income from photography.

Or

b) You make money on %50.01 of your shots.

This has been debated ad infinitum here by many wanting to validate their choice to label themselves. Being a former pro shooter, I don't consider myself a pro now. Some argue that once you have attained that status you get to keep it.

It's a certain promotion from GWC though. :)


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danir.photography
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Mar 31, 2008 17:54 as a reply to  @ cosworth's post |  #3

You're a pro the second you say you're a pro. Who gives a damn what anybody else says?


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cosworth
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Mar 31, 2008 17:59 |  #4

When you misrepresent yourself to a potential customer you hurt the industry. I care.


people will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional
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bbqKing
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Mar 31, 2008 19:12 |  #5

cosworth wrote in post #5232497 (external link)
When you make %50.01 of you income from photography

I'll have to agree with that.




  
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tracknut
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Mar 31, 2008 19:27 |  #6

I'd think being "pro" would have more to do with having a legal business, treating your customers well, adhering to the professional standards set by other photographers, and a dedication to learning the art of photography.

After all, making the call based on percentage of income from photography would elliminate anybody who has other income (say investment income), or on the low end of the scale would make a pro out of the high school kid who sold a few photos and had no other income.

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eddarr
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Mar 31, 2008 19:33 |  #7

It's more about the quality of the pictures than the title. If your quality is high, others will tell you that you are a professional. And pay you as a professional.


Eric

  
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Stocky
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Apr 01, 2008 00:24 |  #8

I think pro has to do with the money not with the quality of your work. The people at your local Walmart portrait studio are welcome to call themselves professional photographers if they want. I have seen a few stock image sites that define Pro as someone who makes more than half of their income from photography, but unless someone is asking a specific question like that then you can use what ever criteria you want.


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opus13
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Apr 01, 2008 01:33 |  #9

Being a professional in any field is simple: If you can justifiably charge for a service or product, and the customer finds equitable value for said item or service. Percentages don't matter.

Essentially: If you get paid to do something because someone wants you to do it.


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Aaagogo
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Apr 01, 2008 02:51 |  #10

everyone's reply is correct in it own sense, be it technical or ethical, but i think this one is the best.

after all, it's all about the money, is it not? ;)

eddarr wrote in post #5233668 (external link)
It's more about the quality of the pictures than the title. If your quality is high, others will tell you that you are a professional. And pay you as a professional.


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digirebelva
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Apr 01, 2008 07:38 |  #11

Look at it this way, in other professions when are you considered a pro...usually when you are getting paid to do the job...A lot of people can take good photos..The difference is, the pros are getting paid to do it, while the others (my self included) are hoping that somebody likes what I have done well enough to buy it.


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RTMiller
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Apr 01, 2008 08:17 |  #12

cosworth wrote in post #5232497 (external link)
When you make %50.01 of you income from photography.

digirebelva wrote in post #5236814 (external link)
Look at it this way, in other professions when are you considered a pro...usually when you are getting paid to do the job...A lot of people can take good photos..The difference is, the pros are getting paid to do it...

By your definitions, the person at Walmart is a pro. I have difficulty with that definition. Although there may not be a perfect answer to this question, I tend to put more weight on the quality of the pictures taken than I do with the percent of income they generate for someone.



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Tandem
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Apr 01, 2008 08:30 |  #13

When you put "photographer" on your tax return.


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RTMiller
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Apr 01, 2008 08:40 as a reply to  @ Tandem's post |  #14

Perhaps we get to hung up on the word "professional". As opposed to the word "excellent" or "great".

You can be an accountant. You make your money doing tax returns. That makes you a professional account. That doesn't mean you are a "great" accountant or an "excellent" accountant. It just means you are an accountant.

I think we erroneously equate the "professional" tag with "excellence". That may not always be the case.

I think it would be more meaningful and/or flattering to be called a great photographer or an excellent photographer than it would be to be called a professional photographer. I see many people here who don't make their living primarily from photography but they take pictures as good or better than many professionals I have seen.



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cosworth
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Apr 01, 2008 08:46 |  #15

RTMiller wrote in post #5236980 (external link)
By your definitions, the person at Walmart is a pro.

They are.

I am quite certain Annie Leibowitz is a pro. She gets paid $250,000 a shoot. But in reality my "eye" sees here as a theatrical stager who shoots her work. Quality is in hte eye of the beholder.

Now if I go work for Wal-Mart to help pay my mortgage does that invalidate my talent?


people will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional
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At what point do you consider yourself a "Professional" photographer?
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