It is a famous debate topic in photography community about who is amateur photographer and who is professional photographer.
We wish to resolve this debate with our perspective.
So lets begin!
Lets go basic. What is Photographer ?
Definition of Photographer is changing time to time and person to person so we will go with the dictionary.
“A person who takes photographs, either as a job or hobby” – Cambridge Dictionary
Definition is simple “A person who takes photographs” It can be anybody who has a camera and takes photographs either is doing as Job,Business or Hobby.
Now, What is Professional?
“having the qualities that you connect with trained and skilled people, such as effectiveness, skill, organization, and seriousness of manner” – Cambridge Dictionary
It specifically mentions the “Qualities” word.
Qualities such as Trained , Skilled , Effective, Organization & Most important Seriousness of Manner
Lets combine these two definitions lets see what we get,
“A person who takes photographs, either as a job or hobby who has qualities such as Trained , Skilled , Effective, Organization & Most important Seriousness of Manner“
If we can agree to this, we will call this definition for “Professional Photographer“.
Photographers usually categories Amateur or Professional on the basis of
- amount photographer is charging?
- level of camera he has
- How fancy his equipment’s are ?
- How much experience that photographer has?
- Is he doing the full time or part time?
- does he speak English fluently or not?
- most funny one is “he/she has a photography in his blood?
These are all invalid criteria which photographers have made for themselves to satisfy their own ego and hiding their incompetency.
Nobody is focusing on quality of the photographs taken by the photographer.
Lets think about it and not be judgmental about what a person appears to the eye.
again quality is very vague term and changes with person to person.
But lets keep it simple as it is,
- Is the work satisfies you and your customer?
- Did you gave your 100% into the work?
- Do you think you could have done better but simply not chose to do it better, just because customer has not paid you enough or its a lot of effort to put in.
If answers of these question are positive then you know quality photography.
If its negative then there is something you need to work on and get better.
Going further lets see what are the other qualities makes an photographer a professional photographer?
- Registered business
- Whether you are doing it in part time or full time. If you are earning money from this work. Your business need to be Registered. It authenticates your work.
- Business Account at Bank
- Mostly photographer get paid in cash or on personal bank account. This has no proper record on how much business you did or what are the clients you have. Maintaining the proper business account creates a transaction portfolio. This will help you in further bank loan process which will help you to grow your business.
- Visiting Card
- Visiting card looks not important thing to many. But it has been very effective point of contact till today. It shows your business has location and this work is not just a temporary thing.
- Many photographers have their Facebook pages for their business but not a website. Having a website is important step for having online presence. Website has your personal touch. which facebook or other directory listing website does not have. Your website not only shows your work but also how you think? How you work? what are values and quality you put into your work? Its great way to communicate and convey your message with your customers.
- Do you send out invoices for your work ? Invoices are important in managing business financials. It shows your business is professional and pricing are specific to particular task. You can list out task you are going to do for your customers and its cost. It sets a level of expectation for you and your customers that way its easy to fulfill that expectation as you both are on the same page.
- Pay Tax
- Again financial domain. Many photographers try to avoid pay taxes or their customers deny to give taxes so they take in cash payment. It might seem a short-time success of saving money. But over the long period you are missing its valuable benefits. Such as paying taxes shows your professionalism to your bank. It helps in loan procedure. At least 2 – 3 years income tax is needed to get a bank loan.
- Time Management & Commitment
- Time is most important factor of them all, if you are following time and give importance to time. You will earn respect from your customers. Disrespecting time means get disrespected from your customer. Being late on event or delivery of photographs or album makes bad impression on customers. Its the point where you lose your expertise on the field and customer gets the upper hand to dominate you and your work.
- Registered business
These are the most important 7 aspect which makes you a professional photographer.
We hope we shared a different perspective on the matter. If you like this article share it with your fellow photographers.
Wish You Professional Photography Every Day!