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Selling work


This topic is locked.

Reason : no need for witch hunts

PinkK 9 80 1 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 5:13PM
After seeing an image today, which lead me to a pf....and a link to their website, I feel quite irritated.

Why do people so often think that because they own a camera that they can call themselves a 'photographer' and can create a 'photography' business as they think their work is worthy of selling? And put that they are a 'semi pro'...when they've never had any training whatsoever.

Why would someone put on a website that they are be available to come and take images for you for any event, when all they have taken are a few snaps of the local area, a park bench and some family snaps....all of which are of terrible quality. And if you're going to have a write up about yourself, try getting it spell and grammar checked first!

Then there's the other end of the scale where there are people who have amazing images of the highest quality who just have them on websites to share them with others to enjoy and want no financial gain from them.

I know which of them I would call a 'photographer'. I don't call myself a 'photographer', I simply enjoy doing photography.

Truth can hurt...but surely if can save embarassment in the long run can't it?

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knownowt 7 24 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 5:33PM
Have a camera and take a photograph, call yourself a photographer. I have no problem with that. As to the merits of said photograph that will always be subjective. Training to call yourself a "semi Pro"? I missed knowing that you needed traing for the description of semi pro. There are many very talented people out there, that have no training what so ever. Conversely there are also many with years of training that in my opinion are amateurs. Unfortunately there is no standard to acheive before you call yourself anything in photography. On occasion I have being paid for a photo shoot. Does that make me a semi pro or a pro? Personally I would disagree with either.
Herge88 11 40 4 England
12 Jan 2013 5:43PM
I am aware of the pf in question, and although I agree that there is no hard and fast rule for calling oneself semi pro, it is quite embarrassing when someones work is so bad a child with a toy camera could do better. As I make almost half my income from photography I can consider myself semi pro, although in fairness there are many better photographers than me on here who make nothing.

I totally see Kaleena's point, and there is nothing we can do about it, but occasionally its good to rant.

JackAllTog Plus
9 5.0k 58 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 5:50PM
Buyer beware, so many individuals and organisations have poorly skilled people delivering services. The only thing I believe in now is a regular recent portfolio of past projects in the same area as the job in question whether photography or anything.

Also for one off events - backups - People and extra tools.

But many people are continually suckered into believing the best is always achievable - take a moment for a reality check.

Trades people do have to start somewhere so let them be cheap and start at less important events, or be 2nd gun for another professional.

Do any of the photo bodies do regular checks on the quality and the work and the kit of their members - would a photography kite mark help separate us weekend warriors from the full-time experts??
thewilliam 9 6.1k
12 Jan 2013 5:58PM
We live in a world of "fake it 'til you can make it". Why should photography be any different?
scottishphototours 14 2.6k 2
12 Jan 2013 6:16PM
There's no such thing as a semi-pro.

You're either doing a job, receiving payment for that job and paying your taxes - or you're not. If you're doing the job and not paying your taxes (or correct NI rate) then you're a tax evader - not a good thing to be these days...

And by the way - there is a BIG HMRC push to make sure that people who make money through photography are registered and paying the right taxes. You should see exhibitors faces at wedding fayres when the doors open and the first group of 10 people through the doors are HMRC inspectors asking for business cards and personal details...priceless!! You can bet they're on here looking at websites too...
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 6:20PM
The people being discussed here are not really photographers but camera operators. They are ten a penny. They are the photographic equivalent of the bloke who buys himself a spanner and a plunger and calls himself a plumber.

Try buying a grand piano and calling yourself a pianist! Someone will soon call your bluff. But photography is so technically easy these days that it has blurred judgements. Buy yourself a decent camera and and you can take a technically sound photograph. My four year old niece can point my CSC at her mum and hold it still enough for the IOS to cope. She finishes up with a very nice pic of her mum, well exposed and sharp.

Someone should pay someone to do that? What astonishes me is not how little some of these alleged 'semi pro/ pro' photographers earn but that they earn anything at all.
Herge88 11 40 4 England
12 Jan 2013 6:29PM

Quote:There's no such thing as a semi-pro.

I beg to differ, if you make only some of your income from photography then by definition you are semi-pro, fortunately for me I pay my taxes and NI, not really sure what that has to do with the original post though.

GlennH 13 1.9k 1 France
12 Jan 2013 6:37PM
I think there are a lot of semi-pros knocking about. Professional photographers these days are also often tour guides, B&B owners, teachers, writers, and pundits. The deference lent to the status has always been a little daft to my mind, and those that quote their pro or semi-pro status at every opportunity inherently fishy. Unless a job is servile of course you're intrinsically a dabbler (an idea that actually I find difficult not to subscribe to - 'proper' pro photographers really do work).
benjita1 5 2 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 6:38PM
I agree with most comments, I cant see any problems with photographers selling there work, if people buy it then there's oviously a market for it. What gets me are people who say they can do weddings and special events that dont have a clue. I sell my work because people want to buy it, its how alot of us can afford to purchase new equipment etc.... And on that note I am HMRC registered!
Herge88 11 40 4 England
12 Jan 2013 6:46PM

Quote:I agree with most comments, I cant see any problems with photographers selling there work, if people buy it then there's oviously a market for it. What gets me are people who say they can do weddings and special events that dont have a clue. I sell my work because people want to buy it, its how alot of us can afford to purchase new equipment etc.... And on that note I am HMRC registered!

Here here, as you say its the people that claim to be able to do weddings, portraiture, etc that have no idea, they are the problem and what the original poster was alluding to.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
12 Jan 2013 7:29PM
This is a subject that comes up, in one guise or another, on the Forum with alarming regularity.

I can understand it if some skilled, talented professionals (and there are a few) become annoyed if find they are losing work because less skilled, less talented would-be professionals are taking away their business by deception or dishonesty. I don't know what their remedy is - other than trying to expose the poor quality work of the cowboys.

But, then, there are a whole shoal of red herrings that frequently swim into the argument. The professional/semi-pro/freelance/amateur classification is one of them.

The "amateurs stealing work by giving their services free" is another.

If we accept, before continuing, that all generalisations are dangerous ( Smile ), then there are a number of factors that are often overlooked:

1. There are many amateur photographers with varying amounts of training (or none) who produce hugely better quality work than many full-time professionals (and for very good reasons).

2. No person has any god-given "right" to earn their living from photography. They can only do so if they have the necessary skills, talents, business experience and general acumen to compete in a fast-changing marketplace.

3. In photography, as in writing, there has always been a significant amount of the commercial demand met by part-time freelancers. Generally those are people who earn their living from a regular 9-5 job which pays the mortgage and the school fees but who submit photographs or writing to publications "on the side". There is nothing wrong with that if they are paying their tax and producing work of a marketable quality.

4. I sometimes get the impression that the most outspoken critics of amateurs and freelancers are "newbies" who have only been full-time professional photographers for a few years and are finding the business more difficult that they imagined it would be. Certainly I know personally of no full-time professional photographer in my area, with 20/30/40 years experience under their belt (and I know quite a few) who complains about their work being "stolen" in the way some of the serial whingers on this Forum do. In fact quite the opposite. In my camera club there are half a dozen superb professionals who will go out of their way to help other members earn a few s from their hobby.

5. Frankly, if someone who is going to spend 1500 - 2000 on wedding photography does not properly research the abilities and experience of the photographer to whom they are awarding the commission, then hell mend them. In part, if there are cowboys about, some of the blame must lie with the gullibility of customers.
StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
12 Jan 2013 8:30PM
It seems photography is one of the few careers almost anyone can dabble in without having to pass some sort of qualification testing.
cats_123 Plus
14 4.8k 28 Northern Ireland
12 Jan 2013 8:33PM

Quote:It seems photography is one of the few careers almost anyone can dabble in without having to pass some sort of qualification testing.
what about estate agency GrinGrin
p12owe 5 101 2 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 8:49PM
Whilst I sympathise with the sentiments of the OP I have to say, caveat emptor.
You would not commission the work of an artist without thorough knowledge of their work, so surely the same applies to a photographer. Many members on the various photography sites have websites that would lead you to believe that they are professional photographers. Whether they really are Pro's, semi-pro's or just enthusiastic amateurs matters little, as a quick perusal of their PF is usually sufficient to establish any talent (or lack of), irrespective of any other hype.