When I was in high school, I started messing around with my dad’s DSLR. It was a Canon EOS 20D, and we had two different lenses for it. I started carrying it around and taking pictures of stuff I thought looked cool. Then I took whatever Photoshop skills I’d been accumulating since the 7th grade and started editing the hell out of everything I shot. It was an entirely new hobby for me, and I eventually started wanting to make short films and try putting together a portfolio.
“Funny…You don’t LOOK like a professional photographer.”
“Really? What does a professional photographer look like?”
“Well, for starters, you only have that one camera!”
“Will I be needing more?”
Thus began the conversation– and the engagement session. I’d met the bride and her mother (really awesome people, by the way) when they hired me, but this was my first encounter with The Groom. At first I figured he was just trying to break the ice. I’m still not sure if that assessment was right or wrong, but in either case it was quite possibly the longest two hours of my career as a photographer. Yes– a professional photographer, damn it.
There has been a lot of talk recently about what the difference is between amateur and professional photographers.
Comments by industry big shots, such as Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer who proclaim that there “is no such thing really as professional photographers” (well maybe not pro cat/flower/sunset photographers posting to Flickr anyway).
Or, when venerable institutions such as the Chicago Sun Times decide to lay off their entire photography staff – you do start to wonder – what exactly is the difference between amateur and professional photographers?