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Beginner, Enthusiast, Semi-Pro, Pro

csurry 16 9.2k 92
20 Sep 2010 10:51AM
Just wondering how people view themselves.

I am very much an enthusiast when it comes to photography, but because I have sold a few images and previously articles related to photography that I have declared to the revenue I set my status on here to semi-pro.

The reason I am asking is a thread on another website that someone sent me, where it was discussing my status and stated that I am a professional and thus should not have won the Countryfile competition last year. It was a question that the BBC asked at the time of selecting all the finalists and it is very easy for me to prove that I am not professional in terms of income, though I hope I am in terms of trying to produce the best work that I can. Apparently according to the posters I make all my income from workshops - I wish!

Interestingly a few weeks back I met someone who also told me how they envied all the foreign photography trips that I had done. Well yes I've just got back from Finland and add that to the trip more than two years ago to Norway and I really am setting the world alight in terms of jetsetting - not!

So how do you see yourself, and how do you think others perceive you? How do these perceptions arise?

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digipix76 11 577 England
20 Sep 2010 11:02AM
Enthusiast, Dont know how others perceive me.
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
20 Sep 2010 11:20AM
My wife and I were talking about your situation on Countryfile the other evening Cheryl and we both took a view that you are not a Professional as you don't earn your living from the photography. Simple as that.

Me? Semi-Pro. What others think? - Don't give a hoot! Wink
Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
20 Sep 2010 11:23AM
Can't really call myself enthusiast, as sometimes I am enthusiastic, sometimes not so....Wink
For wildlife stuff, compares to you, I am just a beginner.
For landscape stuff, compares to Paul Sutton, I am just a beginner.
For portrait stuff, compares to Shawry or Barone, I am just a beginner.
So, I am a beginner....Smile
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
20 Sep 2010 11:25AM
....as of next Friday, Pro...

Picture_Newport 9 659 19 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 11:29AM
I would say that I was a Semi-Pro for six years. Working as a wedding photographer and also part time to support my income, as I am sure many other wedding only photographers do. Recently I became a Pro having opened a full time studio One month ago.

I am sure all wedding / studio photographers are considered professional by others and the people who they work for as they are only ever seen as a working photographer.

Although I love what I do, I would say that I enjoyed photography even more when I was under the Beginner / Enthusiast umbrella, but then I suppose thats a whole new topic.


Pete Plus
16 18.8k 97 England
20 Sep 2010 11:32AM
This will be interesting because we've debated the idea of adjusting the way you view the site...and creating sections for members...usually this debate comes about because some beginners feel the site daunting or some advanced feel it lacks the extra needed to keep them enthused. So we added an option in your profile a long time ago to record your "status"
What came out from the debates is that people don't often know how to classify themselves.

A great example is Cole - a beginner? I think not! Maybe enthusiast is not the best word. It's one magazines have always used to define that middle ground - usually a keen SLR user who knows his/her way around the camera, can take a decent shot and understands techniques in one or several genres. So maybe you're not enthusiastic but certainly very competent which puts you in and I'd say high up that "enthusiast" category.

I never know where I should go these days...as a hobby I'm enthusiast, but as I earn my money from photography I could be classed as a pro? Although I'm happy with the enthusiast tag. I was semi pro before joining the publishing industry.
20 Sep 2010 11:50AM
Beginner myself, Never pretended to know all the technical stuff that comes with photography, that was the reason for joining a photography website in the first place to hopefully learn along the way
Scutter Plus
10 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:02PM
I put myself firmly in the enthusiast camp! Mainly because I can't claim to be a beginner after 30 years of trying to take photographs! I have sold some pictures; I have a website; but I wouldn't say I am a semi-pro because the number I have sold is small and the income no more that pocket money. I would agree with Cheryl's definition of semi Pro. Other people will always have their opinions and unfortunately these are often tinged green with envy/jelousySadSad. So stick to it Cheryl!! SmileSmile The definitions certainly don't have anything to do with ability in my case!Tongue

and Cole is NOT a beginner!!
brian1208 Plus
14 11.3k 12 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:03PM
Like you Cheryl "Semi-pro" because I pay for my hobby by selling my work (and have to give the taxman his dues) but I think of myself as an "Enthusiast" in the sense that its my main hobby (and a lot of my favourite work just isn't commercial )

As to how do others view me, well it ranges from "Bumbling Incompetent" to "Of course you take good pictures, you've got professional equipment". (The tax man keeps wanting to classify me as "Self-employed", even though I'm retired and don't run a business)
SteveCharles 15 2.3k 18 England
20 Sep 2010 12:04PM
Cole, if you have been into photography for at least the 5 years you've been a member here, then you're not a beginner.

I think the distinctions reveal a bit of a status obsession in photography, and are rather old fashioned for the current working climate. People have all sorts of sidelines and revenue streams. I'm a photographer, some of my work is personal, some is commissioned, I also hold down a full time job. I don't make the distinction.

I was reading just yesterday an article in the BJP about Juergen Teller and how he and others like him make no distinction between personal and professional work, something I've come across a few times and how it all fits into 'being a photographer'. That's the attitude I aspire to, rather than worrying about whether I can call myself a 'professional photographer' or not.
brian1208 Plus
14 11.3k 12 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:07PM

Quote:as of next Friday, Pro... scary

Good luck Ade, a brave move
Nickscape 11 708 9 England
20 Sep 2010 12:09PM
It depends whether you are talking about this in terms of money,skill or peer perception

From an article I once read I believe professional is defined in money terms as if you earn over 50% of your monthly income from photography, if you don't and earn some then you are classed as Semi-pro or non as enthusiast or beginner.

I'm difficult to put it these categories, my day job involves taking lots of product photographs but I wouldn't put myself in the professional bracket.

Peoples perception would probably class you Cheryl as a professional judging by the equipment you use and the time that you spend out taking your beautiful wildlife photos. So this would be different to your status in money terms.

This should be an interesting read as this thread develops.
User_Removed 10 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:18PM
There's also a subtle distinction to be made between making money from images and making money from photography. Not a distinction that the competition-setters make.

And then there's a difference between making money in one genre and entering a competition in another. Someone who earns their crust as a wedding tog would be disqualified from the Country File comp. Hardly fair.
Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
20 Sep 2010 12:23PM

Quote:It depends whether you are talking about this in terms of money,skill or peer perception

I agree.
Also, does time/duration you have been into photography determine whether you are beginner or enthusiast etc?
To me, if I put people like Cheryl or Paul as enthusiast, then I can't really put myself as enthusiast as well.

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