Photographers: Pro vs. Amateur - 3 Critical Questions to Ask

Photographers: Pro vs. Amateur - 3 Critical Questions to Ask

By Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh - http://stephaniecavanaugh.com

All images copyright Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh. All rights reserved.

So you call yourself a photographer, but are you an amateur or a pro?

As a photographer of many years, I have come across this interesting debate and found two articles that highlight the difference.

In the first article, “What Makes You A Professional Photographer?”, author and photographer James Brandon, breaks it down into dictionary definition to put an end to the debate. He further discusses how most amateurs want to be professionals, however, professionals often miss being of amateur status due to the tainted purity that goes hand in hand when money becomes involved. Additionally, he goes on to discuss how amateur status can include people who produce better work than professionals and often make money as well, but not as their primary job. He concludes by asking why is it not enough to be a talented photographer, with quality above the rest, and discusses the disconnect associated with the title, “professional”.

In the second article, “Calling Yourself A Professional Photographer Is Overrated”, author and photographer Anna Dabrowska, discusses why we feel the need to clarify ourselves with the label “professional” at all and how we perceive the term. She further breaks the discussion down into dictionary definition, gives a brief history of the word, and looks at how it applies to modern day photography. She discusses how there are some very talented and brilliant photographers who produce amazing work, but are little known and don’t make money at it. She concludes by stepping away from the technical terminology and instead concentrating on the importance of how you see yourself and how you feel about your photography. 

Drawing on these two articles and my own experiences as a photographer (pro/amateur intentionally omitted), here are three critical questions to consider when using the terms “professional” and “amateur”:

  • Money Honey - Is photography your primary source of income?
  • Quality Matters - How does the quality of your photography rate?
  • Pro vs. Amateur - Does the label really matter to you and how you feel?

I hope you’ll take a deeper look into this debate and within yourself, to determine how you feel about the labels “professional” and “amateur with regard to your own title.

 

About the Author:

Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh - Hi, I'm Stephanie ... pleasure to become virtually acquainted. Please note the views and opinions communicated here are my own and not representative of any particular group or organization. I am a photographer and marketing manager, currently in a social media marketing specialization through Northwestern University and Coursera.

Interests, ever-evolving:  Photography, painting, art, science, medicine, astronomy, yoga, travel, the world, culture, language, education, women's rights, human rights, making the world a kinder, more beautiful place.


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