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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:52 pm 
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I don't want this to turn into the typical debate, I just have some thoughts on my mind and just wanted to rant for a bit.

I was showing someone my photos  earlier this week, of course I was showing my 4 star plus album, and the comment was "Your photos look so professional". The second comment from another was "Well, you are, aren't you?" I had no idea how to respond and started a discussion.

I have a career completely separate and unrelated to photography. I have yet to make a single dime off my photos, although people have asked to buy them, I've just given them away because I haven't been at this long enough to have any reasonable creidability. So no, I'm not "professional" despite the fact that some call my photos (I disagree with them) "professional looking".

Someone in the room came up with the question, "well have you been professionally trained?" again, I struggle with this. I've never paid for any courses or anything, but I am in constant contact with professionals who critique my photos and I have read and practiced tutorials written by professionals, so I guess the answer to this is yes? Maybe?

My final thoughts is that the phrase professional photographer has been made pointless in the general public from constant misuse. You may be a good or bad photographer but this has no correlation to weather or not your a professional or not. I've seen photos from fellow friends that far exceed anything that a few so called professionals produce.

Anyway, that's my rant. Feel free to add and discuss.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:36 am 
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"You may be a good or bad photographer but this has no correlation to weather or not your a professional or not"

Correct, there are no shortage of good or even great photographers. But only the professional photog is paid for his work, regardless of perceived work quality.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:21 am 
i disagree with Westcoast on this one.

I believe that some people can be professionals with being paid.

It's about demeanor to me. If you get paid to be a professional but you're a hack, then maybe you're just a click monkey.

There are hundreds of kids employed by Disneyland to take photos of people when they enter the door, do I consider them professional photographers?

no. the most of them know nothing of photography and many of them don't even know the model of their cameras or what aperture even is.


but a professional can work his way from free to 10,000$ an event and be a professional the whole way through.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:21 am 
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I agree with palakaboy that there are some rubbish photographers that get jobs in photography and there are also some amazing photographers who struggle to find a job.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:49 am 
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If you get paid to be a professional but you're a hack, then maybe you're just a click monkey.

great line!
2 of the most esteemed Romanian photographers are 2 commercial photographers that don't even know how to use Lightroom/PS. And they lack creativity & imagination,everything that they make looks static.
In comparisson,I know incredibly talented artists that are not getting enough recognition. The lack of quality education & also a certain lack of imagination,altogheter with certain limited mentalities make most of the public (that represent the clients of any photographer) a non-viable target for the true photographers...& this is why lousy commercial photographers win.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:00 am 
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I suppose some of the thoughts are based around semantics are you a professional or an expert. In that a professional makes money from and has a full time career in photography whereas an expert knows all the theory behind what they are doing and can take good shots no matter what kit they use.

You come across similar discussions in most of the arts; musicians, actors, painters but hardly ever in other careers doctors, lawyers, supermarket staff. If you are not a professional are you an amateur, naturally gifted or lucky?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:40 am 
like i said before.

you're a click monkey. you're not getting paid for what you're supposed to get being paid for, you're clicking a button and actuating a shutter.


it reminds me of the scene from the movie "300"...
http://youtu.be/lIr8u0j08gU


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:43 pm 
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@palakaboy
"I believe that some people can be professionals with being paid"

Do you mean: can be professionals "without" being paid?

As the Industry tends to only compensate people deemed professional not amateur, and we're not talking about the basic denominator of photography.


Last edited by WestCoast on Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:20 pm 
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To be a professional you have to be paid don't you? Isn't that what professional means?

That could be a 'click monkey' in a department store who takes uninspired photo's of kids for dodgy competitions, he's a professional isn't he? And maybe in his spare time he takes awesome shots that never see the light of day and he never gets paid for?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:20 pm 
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If your a professional then you have a chosen vocation where there's typically a long and drawn out education involved, if you've managed to get a decent living together from years of hard work in your chosen vocation you deserve to be called a professional. To me being professional doesn't necessarily mean getting paid to do stuff but means your at the top of your tree whatever your chosen path is. If you deem yourself a professional whilst working for Disney or Walmart taking snaps in a booth then there's something wrong but if your a novice showing a portfolio and somebody says "hey are you a professional" then it's a great compliment and i'd take it and probably say "No but I do take cash".

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:40 pm 
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Well even the dictionary cant agree upon what a professional exactly is.
On one side it states that a professional is someone that is on a high degree within it's given area of expertise. On the other side it states that a professional is some one that makes his livelihood with their profession/job.

For me the problem arises that it's all in the eye of the beholder. A good lawyer will be called a professional. But a good mechanic that repairs your car often only remains the mechanic. But is the mechanic less of a professional?

The click monkey's job ain't being a photographer, is being a money generator. And if you're a click monkey that is very good at persuading people into taking their pictures, then I have no problem calling you a professional.
Only not a professional photographer, but a professional money generator.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:54 pm 
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Well... there are 2 things - amateur and profesional - taking it from filmography.

Amateur filmmaker needs to pay for everything and get everything to make a movie. Movie might be less good looking but still had a point and its personality.

However, profesional filmmaker does it to make for money.

Its not a way if you are good with it or not. its the way what can you do with it. if you make good looking photos, you are just a hobbist :) hobbist with some profesional training - yes, if you are with pros, and they teach you, its training, course, call it how you like.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:11 pm 
WestCoast wrote:
@palakaboy
"I believe that some people can be professionals with being paid"

Do you mean: can be professionals "without" being paid?

As the Industry tends to only compensate people deemed professional not amateur, and we're not talking about the basic denominator of photography.


sorry bout that. typing late in the night normally leads me to alot of typos.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:51 pm 
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Any comments on the "professionally trained" thoughts that I discussed above?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:35 pm 
Professionally trained? doesn't mean diddly squat to me.

Like I said before. it's in the demeanor of your work ethic.

In my industry, I see people call themselves "professional wedding photographers" and interact with them constantly.

people who shoot specifically for their portfolio as opposed to shooting for the couple.

who get paid to show up in jeans and a shirt.


but I've also met photographers who dress up, and shoot for the couples best interest and not their own.


oh and yes, attire is very important in my line of work.


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