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cameracat
cameracat  108578 forum posts Norfolk Island61 Constructive Critique Points
12 Jan 2013 - 9:38 PM

Now this might come as a surprise to Left Forum..Smile Because I agree with him 100%, Because he has hit the nail firmly on the head in all areas....Grin

LF's Point 4 in particular makes a good point about serial whingers, Just take a look at any past forums, Especially where " Wedding Photography " is concerned, You will find the same old crew, Giving it large about this and that, Like they are the only ones entitled to call themselves Wedding Photographers, Its a good idea to check the PF's for verification....Tongue

Those working in any business or trade, Who slag the competition at every available opportunity, Behave in a totally unprofessional business manner, One wonders just how professional they are at what they claim to be professional at....!!!

So as Lefty has covered the subject so thoroughly, I'll bog of to do something more interesting like basket weaving....Sad

Whatever....Wink

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paulcookphotography

A very interesting thread!

I do think too many photographers call themselves 'pro'. And pro isnt a description of how good you are, its supposed to describe that photography is your profession (and i would add your MAIN income)

However, how do you define profession? I have photography friends who are wedding photographers, or do studio work, or work in media. One is also a forensic photographer for the police and another (like i do at times) does DOP work for movies and music videos. All very different disciplines, but all make their main income from photography

I started work as an assistant to a studio photographer, went into press and media work, ran a business teaching folk on holidays for a while, the occasional green screen work at events and whatever, and other things too, and eventually moved into the work i do now. Thats a mixture of digital art and photography where i do book illustrations, album art, sell in galleries or at my exhibitions, photographing building restorations, some dog/horse portraits and some editorial work. But i dont shoot weddings or 'mainstream'. Am i still a professional?

Everyone has to start somewhere, obviously, and these days you have to be adaptive in a competitive market. Sometimes you have to so other non-photographic work to pay the bills too!

Personally i see the 'pro' tag as a bad thing. Its not as clear cut as it once was, and its too easily used by some, and used like a sword by others

KathyW
KathyW  101793 forum posts Norfolk Island12 Constructive Critique Points
12 Jan 2013 - 10:25 PM

To a certain extent I can understand the OP's irritation at what some would consider to be very bad photographers passing themselves off as professionals and attempting to sell their work. However, not knowing who the perpetrator of the heinous crime is, I don't feel I can really comment further... As I am one of the scorned "semi-pros" (had to check what box I ticked for that one!) it could be me!

However, I too have to agree with everything that Left Forum stated in his post. It is a struggle for photographers producing top quality images to sell their work these days, so many of them are no longer full time photographers. Photography is an increasingly popular hobby, the majority of people have a camera of some kind which is capable of producing very good shots for the family album so why hire a pro to take a few snaps?

There is no doubt that photography is a business that is increasingly hard to make a decent living from, and newcomers asking basic questions about weddings etc annoy the "pros", but we all have to start somewhere, and I can remember when this site was home to several top pro photographers who were not afraid to share their knowledge.

adrian_w
adrian_w e2 Member 63280 forum postsadrian_w vcard Scotland4 Constructive Critique Points
12 Jan 2013 - 10:26 PM


Quote: I'll bog of to do something more interesting like basket weaving....


Well unless you're a fully qualified basket case I hope you don't intend to charge for it!! Wink

I've been a photographer for about 50 years now, never sold one picture although I have given a few away to friends.
Been a painter (artistic, not decorator) for 10 years and in that time I've sold 10-12 pictures because some people like the work I have produced. I have no formal qualifications in Art, I'm self taught/ night school attendee. I'm never going to be commissioned to do a portrait of Kate Middleton, or anyone else for that matter because my work isn't good enough. So should I stop offering my paintings for sale because I'm not a "professional"? Leave the market free for those who do painting for a living?

Last Modified By adrian_w at 12 Jan 2013 - 10:27 PM
KathyW
KathyW  101793 forum posts Norfolk Island12 Constructive Critique Points
12 Jan 2013 - 10:29 PM


Quote: I started work as an assistant to a studio photographer, went into press and media work, ran a business teaching folk on holidays for a while, the occasional green screen work at events and whatever, and other things too, and eventually moved into the work i do now. Thats a mixture of digital art and photography where i do book illustrations, album art, sell in galleries or at my exhibitions, photographing building restorations, some dog/horse portraits and some editorial work. But i dont shoot weddings or 'mainstream'. Am i still a professional?


I think that apart from that impressive CV, a quick glance at your portfolio leaves one in no doubt that you are a professional Paul.

paulcookphotography


Quote:
I think that apart from that impressive CV, a quick glance at your portfolio leaves one in no doubt that you are a professional Paul.

Thank you, Kathy.

I was really just trying to bridge the two sides though. I guess in some ways you can look at some work as being 'professional quality' even if they are not technically professional, but there are professionals (like my friend who works with the police) who, outside work, does little more than snapshots of his kids.

Its a fine line but i think 'professionals' need to meet the 'semi-pro's' and amateurs in the middle somewhere and realise we all have a place and our own specialities and capabilites

KathyW
KathyW  101793 forum posts Norfolk Island12 Constructive Critique Points
12 Jan 2013 - 11:34 PM

I suppose at the end of the day a "professional" is someone who makes their living from photography. There are many amateurs out there that produce work to an equal, sometimes better, standard but have no wish to earn money from it.
I agree that the pros have to realise that the enthusiastic amateurs that sell the odd pic and shoot weddings for friends are here to stay. At the end of the day, it is the quality of the work on offer that will make or break an aspiring pro. Good business sense and marketing is essential, but that is true of any business. When my other half had a garage he never considered the kerbside enterprises and diy mechanics to be a threat to his livelihood, and he never once slagged off the neighbouring garages, had no reason to, and likewise - the good ones thrived on excellent workmanship, reliability and honesty. It should be the same with photography - the fly by night wedding togs shouldn't really pose much of a threat to seasoned pros, the public gets what the public wants and is prepared to pay for.

thewilliam
12 Jan 2013 - 11:40 PM

There used to be a sign on the wall of our local Calumet:-

I can look you in the eye and say that I'm not unemployed, I'm a professional photographer.

StrayCat
StrayCat  1014504 forum posts Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jan 2013 - 12:03 AM

The instant someone mentions to me that I might be able to sell my pics, my reply has been the same always, and that is I wouldn't enjoy it if I had the pressures of doing it for money. The way photography is for me, it's a way of stimulating my senses since I retired, getting out and enjoying a good walk in a park, and seeing things I never noticed before. It's relaxing, for the most part. To put time restraints and the stress of having to produce wouldn't povide the pleasure I get out of it as a hobby.

paulcookphotography


Quote: The instant someone mentions to me that I might be able to sell my pics, my reply has been the same always, and that is I wouldn't enjoy it if I had the pressures of doing it for money. The way photography is for me, it's a way of stimulating my senses since I retired, getting out and enjoying a good walk in a park, and seeing things I never noticed before. It's relaxing, for the most part. To put time restraints and the stress of having to produce wouldn't povide the pleasure I get out of it as a hobby.

I totally agree with your sentiments.

However, as you say its a retirement hobby for you. For me, i am a 38 year old father who needs an income, and theres plenty of younger folk trying to make a living to start a family and even younger looking at photography as a career or to follow their parent(s).

As i said, its what you put in and what you want from it, but although i may not have many other work experiences outside art and media, i do see an almost stand-off from those who have made a living and those looking to make one. Personally, i'd like to encourage folk to follow a dream, ambition or their degreees. I, for one, didnt quite have it that way and have fortunately made my passion pay for itself and become a business. Dont get me wrong, its not a way to get rich or famous (not that it was on my agenda), but some things are in your blood and should be ecouraged

Anyway, i think its digressing from the thread (my fault lol)

StrayCat
StrayCat  1014504 forum posts Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jan 2013 - 12:52 AM

From what I've read and seen on the subject, I believe it's getting tougher and tougher to make a living from photography every day. It might be a lot easier to become a rock star today, let's face it.Wink

pulsar69
pulsar69  101611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jan 2013 - 12:56 AM

I am what I would class a 'Professional' as I do this for a living and its my only source of income. I however started as a 'weekend warrior' as do many photographers so will not pretend to jump on the bandwagon and start shouting at newbies. Everyone starts somewhere and as hard as the business is in the middle of a recession its better to spend your time working out how to gain new clients than how to stop others doing the same.

The only time i really get my back up is when so called professionals such as we have one or two in our area produce utterly disgraceful levels of work and charge the same prices as i do for it, running their businesses as purely commercial enterprises with little or no interest in the art or social side of wedding photography, sometimes even employing others to do the work.

For me this is a love and a dream career being paid to do something i love doing, the day it stops being that is the day i will find something else to do , no point in harping on and pointing fingers at others we are all responsible for ourselves and life is just too short.

Herge88
Herge88 e2 Member 739 forum postsHerge88 vcard England4 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jan 2013 - 12:59 AM

With all due respect I don't think the OP was suggesting that semi-pro's or even enthusiasts shouldn't be able to sell their work, rather she was alluding to a particular pf and website which I had a look at myself and it is truly awful. The owner of this site by their own admission has virtually no experience, and yet is offering to cover any photographic need, and even offers a free no obligation consultation, and while there is nothing to say that they shouldn't do this, it really is quite cringe-worthy and laughable, this person has almost certainly never made a penny from photography and yet call themselves semi-pro.

I myself make a reasonable part time income from my camera, so I would be the last person to suggest that others shouldn't do the same, I think it was the sheer cheek of calling themselves semi-pro that got the back up of the OP, and they just wanted to let off a little steam, and what better place to do it than the forums eh?

paulcookphotography

Maybe, but you have to remember that the forums are made up of Pros, semi-pros, enthustiasts, amateurs and everyone in between who each have an opinion and experience

paulcookphotography

as a wise jedi once said:

Who's the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?

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