Friday, 21 October 2011

What type of Photographer are you?

Do you apologise for your skills as a photographer?

What type of photographer are you - Professional; Hobbyist; amateur; freelance?

Why do some people feel the need to qualify what type of photographer they are with the statement “I am a hobbyist/part-time/amateur/so and so Photographer” as though it is in some way an apology for their skills? Professional doesn't mean better, it is simply an indication of earning a living.
Some people think a professional photographer must be better at making images than they are. Hey, you only have to look on Flickr or on Google+ and you will find thousands of images taken by people who treat photography as a hobby yet whose images are equally as good, if not better than those from some of the 'professionals'.

There are some 'professional' photographers who, in the current economic climate may be struggling to earn enough to live on, does this mean they have suddenly lost the right to call themselves a professional photographer, are their images not as good any more? They are still a photographer, still making images, still creating art.

I took early retirement a year or so ago and that has given me the luxury of being able to spend more time with a camera in my hand. I sell images via a picture library, some for use in calendars and some for articles in magazines, and so my main earnings are coming from the sale of photographs. I could not live on the income from these sales, my image making has not changed, I am not better than I was the day before, but suddenly I am able to add the qualifying statement 'Professional'.

We are all in the business of making images, whether it is an image of your pet, a member of your family, or a landscape in a gorgeous sunset, just be proud of your images. Please don't put yourself down by adding anything before the term photographer unless you wish to indicate what type of images you take - HDR; B&W; street photography; portraits; etc,. You are a photographer; an image maker; an artist; call it what you will, but please don't let yourself fall into the trap of feeling that you have to apologise for your skills as a photographer.