The Slow Climb to the Top

The Slow Climb to the TopTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

There is a large discussion on what constitutes a professional photographer. The strictest definition is one who makes a living from photography; a looser one would be someone who makes money from photography. It was suggested by a photographer who makes his living from the trade that a pro: a) knows their gear, has skill, talent, and their own style; and b) can be expected to produce high quality results whatever they are shooting. Hence the name of this post; learning your craft is one thing, being able to produce a unique product on demand is something else. I was talking to a friend who noted that digital had to mean that photography costs a great deal less than before. I explained what my camera cost and told him what the life expectancy of that body was and asked him how he expected a photographer to survive on his low-ball quotes. As another example, I had to shoot some photographs to illustrate a magazine article. The worst part about it was the time frame. I hate to have the subject chosen for me and being under pressure to produce it. To make a long story short, I think I am much better off as an amateur and I have respect and a lot appreciation for those who climb to the top in professional photography.

11 responses

  1. Depends how you view things. I am a highly skilled and talented artist. I sold my art in galleries for many years. Then I chose to leave the business. Does that now make me an amature? I say I am still a professional. Money has nothing to do with it. As a photographer I haven’t sold much. I would consider myself a professional now because of the quality of the work I do and how well I know my equipment and software.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 14, 2015 at 1:13 am

  2. Jeb

    When faced with a discussion on what constitutes the body of any aspect of an art form, I always remember the line ‘leave it to our police and administrators to see that our papers are in order’ as some Confucius or other, once said.

    Like

    July 14, 2015 at 5:28 am

    • Yes. But unfortunately, this discussion comes up a lot. And with the ubiquity of photography the definition dictates some perspective on a person’s work. Rightly or wrongly.

      Like

      July 14, 2015 at 5:34 am

      • Jeb

        In the only professional art form I have experience of, trained and non-trained worked alongside each other, skill set was very variable, so the master craft-person definition would not have worked.

        Definition of being ‘successful’ is working for two weeks a year (minimum), but the paid aspect definitely constituted pro status. But says nothing about craft ability. Its the business end of things.

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        July 14, 2015 at 5:52 am

        • Getting paid for something does not make you good at it, the corollary of which is that there is a better chance of getting paid to do something if you are good at it. Unfortunately good marketing and business skills can go some way to advance mediocrity.

          Liked by 1 person

          July 14, 2015 at 6:35 am

  3. You make some very valuable observations here.

    Like

    July 14, 2015 at 6:41 am

  4. I agree with what you wrote. I have never made any money from photography, but that’s not why I do it. I don’t consider myself a professional, but that’s not material to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 14, 2015 at 7:06 am

  5. I think one’s work should speak for itself. If you put in the hours, study your art, you’ll soon become a pro. Our culture puts too much value on dollars earned. As you said, getting paid doesn’t mean you’re good. A fool and his money are soon parted after all! 😉
    You’re a pro in my book, Victor!

    Like

    July 14, 2015 at 9:30 pm

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