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Beginner, Enthusiast, Semi-Pro, Pro

User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
20 Sep 2010 12:25PM
Break a leg Ade! Wink

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gcarth 14 3.0k 1 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:31PM

Quote: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.
I agree: I don't really think it should matter if a photographer is professional or amateur because there are many amateurs nowadays who can give professionals a run for their money (in competitions like Country File, at least).
Professionals tend to be capable of more consistent results but I don't think there's such a gap between pros and amateurs these days, with all the relatively cheap modern digital technology available to amateur enthusiasts.
jken 11 1.7k 1 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:34PM
It's a difficult one this, i sell my images at craft fairs, i do a fair bit of studio based stuff (product pack shots etc, in fact shooting shoes today then horses tomorrow) and i sell images to magazines when i can but, i also run a small design and print business and earn my living that way also, i don't split what i do into two categories as i see it as the same business which enables me to offer my clients everything under one umbrella so to speak and i also have two separate sites?

At fairs i'm told "oh!! your a professional" well maybe the approach and print quality is but i wouldn't put myself next to an experienced pro who has 20 years plus experience and say "yep just like him i'm a pro" as i only have about 8 years experience.

Don't really know which pigeon hole i'm supposed to perch in I suppose.

sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:37PM
Like any criterion referencing system - you only get reliable and valid classifications once you define the parameters of the classifications themselves. As anyone with research experience, or experience defining marking schema will know the problem is that this is so much easier said than done. Take semi-pro for instance: do you need to be earning over a certain proportion of your income to be no classed as semi-pro rather than pro (e.g. 10%, 50%, 90%).

Can't really call myself enthusiast, as sometimes I am enthusiastic, sometimes not so....

As Pete has indicated, Coles post nicely demonstrates the problem. In my mind Cole is certainly not a beginner, but I have to respect his interpretation of enthusiast. Perhaps a new classification is needed here - experienced. But again, what are the parameters of this concept?

brian1208 Plus
14 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:44PM

Quote:Take semi-pro for instance: do you need to be earning over a certain proportion of your income to be no classed as semi-pro rather than pro (e.g. 10%, 50%, 90%).

at one level, I sort of think that if you have to pay tax on any money you make as a result of your photography / image making "pro" of some sort should be part of your classifcation? (semi, almost, fully , was once etc Wink )
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
20 Sep 2010 12:47PM

Quote:was once

"Has been" ?? Grin

I don't put myself in a box, in any aspect of my life, unless I am forced by officialdom to so so.
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
20 Sep 2010 12:48PM

Quote:Break a leg Ade! Wink

I'ver certainly been breaking wind Wink

Classification... what a debateable point...

Lets think of a few other ways we could put ourselves in bags...

Medium skills
Advanced skills
Expert skills

No Sales
Casual sales to friends
Sales to non friends, occasional wedding/craft fayres
Main source of income

Point and Shoot user
Entry level DSLR user equipment
Mid range DSLR user (50D, D90 etc.)
Lightweight Pro DSLR user (5D, D700 etc.)
Pro spec cameras (1D, D3, Hasslbald etc)

Technical motivation
Artistic Mootivation

Literal photography (record shots)
Creative Photography
Digital Artist

Uses Program exposure
Uses Aperture or Shutter priority
Uses Manual exposure

Has no EPZ awards
Has RC EPZ awards
Has GE EPZ awards
Has HC EPZ awards
Has EC EPZ awards
Has POTW EPZ awards

sure the list could go on Wink

I guess my point is, you can categorise in many ways, but which one is right?
zed 13 551 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 12:55PM
There's only one way to find out.........................

ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
20 Sep 2010 1:06PM

I'd go with... .

New - limited skills
Medium skills
Advanced skills
Expert skills

I've been doing lots of research on other pro togs (for obvious reasons) and you'd quite a lot of them in the "medium skills" bracket, but many of the amateurs on here in the "expert skills" bracket.

I don't think money earning should be the benchmark we measure skill by. A fantastic sales person can sell themselves to brides with a flashy stand, some 1/2 decent shots of models and their patter.

So now how do we define what constitutes "medium", and how do you move from "New" to "medium", who decides?


SteveCharles 15 2.3k 18 England
20 Sep 2010 1:14PM

Quote:I guess my point is, you can categorise in many ways, but which one is right?

ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
20 Sep 2010 1:19PM
lol - think you've hit the nail on the head Wink

none of them are right, but we are all "photographers"
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
20 Sep 2010 1:22PM
Or just "togs"! Wink
javam 13 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 1:30PM
Entusiast by a process of elimination when it comes to my EPZ profile. Sometimes it seems i am more enthusiastic about buying kit than using it though.

Not sure what other term would apply, semi skilled, intermediate, lucky...
User_Removed 11 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 1:34PM
Returning to the original point...Competition organisers are merely attempting to make their potential catchment as inclusive as possible by excluding 'pro' photographers. They're just trying to make sure that any old Joe or Joanna in the street think they have a chance of winning it because they wont be up against 'pro' photographers. It's simply a sales technique.
LensYews 9 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2010 1:36PM
Perhaps a beginner is someone who is enthusiast and wants to learn more about photography, but lacks at this stage a full appreciation of the skills, techniques, processes and possibilities of photography. An enthusiast is someone who has attained an understanding of the above in their Genre and is working towards mastery of their goals in photography. Semi pro is someone who has seen an opportunity to earn some money from their hobby and identified a suitable client base for their product and fully pro is working with photography day in and day out, the equipment is a toolkit, the skills are adaptable to whatever scenario the customer presents them with and their reputation and earnings stand of fall on the quality of their product.

Personally I have myself down as an enthusiast, HMRC have me down as semi-pro and one or two competitions have excluded me because I earn a little money from a different genre. However I know I still have a long road to travel before I reach my photographic goals, and there are many new skills and techniques to be learnt along the way, and pitfalls to be avoided I'm sure.


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