What does it mean to be a professional photographer? Many people will assume that the tag “professional” automatically means that you take amazing photos. But is it true that only pros are great photographers? In this great video, Mark Denney discusses three reasons why you don’t have to be a professional to still take great photos. And if you’re a hobbyist like me, you’re gonna enjoy this.
1. Skills have nothing to do with income
When we think of “professionals,” we mainly refer to people whose entire income (or the majority of it) comes from photography. But, this has nothing to do with the skill set. You can still have amazing skills as a photographer even if you make a living from something completely different. After all, what makes a “professional photographer” are not just the photography skills, but the marketing and business side as well.
On the other hand, when people ask you if you are a professional photographer, they often don’t refer to your main source of income. If you say that you are a pro, people automatically think that you take amazing photos. If you say that you’re just a hobbyist, people may think that you’re not that good. However, keep in mind that it has nothing to do with you and how good your photos are!
2. Gear really doesn’t matter
Okay, hold your horses, sometimes gear does matter. But, you also need to think about other aspects of photography, the knowledge and the skills someone has. And as a hobbyist, you can still be very educated and talented.
Another thing to consider is the differences between cameras. There sure is a large difference between a $100 and a $1,000 camera. But, between a $1,000 and a $2,000 camera, it’s not that drastic. So if you’re a hobbyist, you can still make awesome shots even with cheaper gear. As Mark points out, he’s never seen a great photo and thought “Oh, if it was only shot on a better camera!”
3. You shoot only what you like
As a hobbyist, you have one huge advantage over those who make a living from photography. You only shoot for the love of the art. You only shoot things that make you happy and that you’re passionate about. Of course, it’s not that professionals will accept any gig that’s offered to them. But still, you start looking at photography with different eyes when it starts paying your bills. I believe there’s more pressure. As a hobbyist, you have that luxury to just keep photography something that makes you happy and helps you express yourself.
Personally, the third point is why I chose not to turn pro when I was supposed to decide. I didn’t want to obsess about investing in gear and I didn’t want to ever have to shoot something I don’t like just because I needed to pay my bills. And honestly, I didn’t want to deal with people either. Many years later, I don’t see myself as a great photographer. But even though I’m not a professional, I certainly have improved. This, I believe, proves Mark’s point that you don’t need to be a pro to make great photos. Or at least to make better photos than you did a few years ago. : )
[3 REASONS You DON’T NEED to be a PRO to Make GREAT PHOTOS! | Mark Denney]