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What makes a professional photographer?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MeSince83, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. MeSince83


    Apr 3, 2008
    Hi, I'm just wondering. What criteria makes a professional photographer?

    I can't find anything on the web that would tell me what a professional photographer is. It certainly isn't the quality of work because I've seen cases where pro photographers looks a lot like amateur. I have some people I've done work for that tell me my work is better than some pros. So... what criteria makes a professional photographer?
  2. Thaddeus


    Jul 24, 2008
    i would say the same qualifier as any other trade, sport, or hobby ...the compensation of one's services/skills/specialty for profit.
  3. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Basically, a business license and/or selling prints for a proft. That is the dry and short answer. Than there's probably more elaborate ideas of what "it" could be.
    (My bratty brother, who has a photography degree and shoots with a Hasselblad H3D would disagree with me)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2008
  4. Selling your work for living. And those who sell work as part timers are semi-pros?
  5. Bright Angel

    Bright Angel Guest

    Take photo ... take money.
    Short and sweet :wink:

    Professional Photographer - The second oldest job in the World :rolleyes: 
    I bet some Professionals on here sometimes think it's the ..... :biggrin:
    (By the way they've been treated)
  6. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    Pro = paid. Nothing more, nothing less. That applys to anything.
  7. over 1/2 of your income from job=pro. Meaning you can live at the poverty level and still be a 'pro'.
    Despite what some may try and lead you to believe pro does not always equate to some heaven sent skill any more than your equipment does.
  8. dan1son


    Sep 24, 2007
    Not sure it should require half your income to come from it to be considered a professional. If you're going like that, Tiger Woods isn't a professional golfer. More than half his salary comes from endorsements... so he'd be a professional advertiser. :) 

    From Merriam Webster
  9. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY
    Considering that I drive to and from work every day in all that crazy traffic in NYC does that make me a professional driver? I agree with the comments made by the others.........getting paid for your services (even if it's a part-time venture).
  10. i would not disagree that tiger woods is a professional advertiser.
  11. ryan davis

    ryan davis

    Aug 23, 2007
    I would think, as in many professions
    Ability to do the job
    Continuing education
    Would someone say " he's a real pro "

    Just having a camera, and being able to take good photos, does not qualifyanyone as a pro. It may qualify you as someone who can take a descent photo.

    Most folks with Digital cameras , would like to be considered alot better than they really are.
  12. isayx3


    Apr 12, 2008
    Corona, Ca
    He is a professional athlete (who gets paid to be in ads)...the definition of a "professional advertiser" isnt someone who makes money via ads...its more someone in marketing who comes up with the ads.
  13. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    I'll go along with the definition that a pro is anyone who gets paid to shoot. But the term pro also implies that one has the skills necessary to stay in business. If you are a hack and do a poor job, even if you get paid, word will spread, and nobody will hire you, and you won't be a pro for long.

    On the other hand, an amateur is someone who does it for the love of it. Amateurs can be as good as anyone can get, or they can muddle along pleasing nobody but them selves.
  14. I think most professional photographers are cynical introverted people who are so consumed by getting the shot that they detach themselves from the rest of the world in order to see things from the outside. Oh and they make money doing it! That's my definition.
  15. scooptdoo

    scooptdoo Guest

    there you have it.as clear as a bell.
  16. I buy into the the term "Professional Photographer" meaning working full-time as a photographer, and not having any other means of support.

    A professional photographer gets paid to provide photographic services for his/her clients.

    They belong to a professional organizations, pay dues, and pay for insurance. They market themselves, develop business strategies, and pay taxes. They do their own billing, collections, and accounts payable. On top of all this, a professional photographer has the skills to increase their business, year after year.

    Some photographers, hover around the poverty line, while some (very few) photographers are in it for well over seven figures a year.

    Just because someone sells a couple of prints here and there, does not make them a professional.

    I realize there are many "weekend warriors" out there, who do a very good job (even better than some pros), and earn a nice second income, but in that, it is a second income.

    Just my .02, from a full-time professional
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