Amazon Kindle Unlimited Offer: 1-Month For FREE!

What makes a professional Photographer

macc1 9 6 United Kingdom
1 May 2013 8:14AM
I was recently asked to quote a price to do a wedding photoshoot for a couple that I have known for over 10 years, I duly quoted the couple and they seem to accept my quote, But last week the sister of the bride phoned me to say that she thought the price was a bit over the top as I was not a professional photographer and I had not got any qualifications, suffice to say I have my own photography business and website and have been trading for over a year now and some of my shots are on my profile.

I asked the sister what qualifications would a photographer need to be a professional, Her answer was training and certifacates to say I can shoot proper pictures, I laughed at this comment especially as I had completed 2 x 2 week training courses. The upshot was they turned down my quote because the seemed to thing I was a not a professional photographer.

My question is what makes a professional photographer, I have spoken to numerous photographers that I have known for years and who have been taking photos for over 20 years and they all said the same thing .... this was just an excuse not to use you because they thought you were too expensive.

What do other members here think ??
Big Bri 20 16.7k United Kingdom
1 May 2013 8:30AM
I think she's confusing the question "are you a professional photographer?" with "are you a good photographer?". The two are not necessarily the same.
I know plenty of people who take fantastic photos, but don't make a living at it, so would not be described as "professional", and I've also seen plenty of examples of "professional" photographers producing rubbish.

Unfortunately, there are some people for whom reasoned argument is never possible, and you just need to move on.
Buchephalus 12 30
1 May 2013 8:39AM
Sounds like an excuse, particularly as the sister phoned regarding price. Equally well the difference between an amateur and a professional is one accepts payment for their services and the other does not. Both could be as equally good or bad. If you're in need of qualifications then join the 'Societies' as far as I'm aware they offer both qualifications and training courses. However it's also possible that the bride or brides sister has been reading one of the bridal magazines and this is one of the 'must ask' questions you should ask your prospective photographer. There's probably a price quoted that they should be paying as wellSad Perhaps not the clients your looking for anyway!
mikehit 12 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
1 May 2013 9:03AM
mixing friends and business *shudder*.
Mixing business and friends and a sister who thinks she knows what she is talking about.....pass me the valium.
alansnap 17 577 26 United Kingdom
1 May 2013 9:23AM
Agree with Big Bri. A pro is someone who makes all or part of their living from photography. Doesn't mean they're any good! I have done a few weddings for friends and they've been very happy with the results, but I'm not a pro. If you're going to charge I would make sure that the couple know how much time you will put in for prep, recce, doing the job, post processing and time with them to help their choices and make up the album. You know that already I guess, but you need to spell it out.
This is another example of the "democratisation" of photography. People have easy access to good cameras so "anyone can do it, it's not that hard" becomes the attitude. Not everyone can - I saw people out in Amsterdam on holiday with their spanking new low end SLRs using live view to take their shots. Boy will they ever be disappointed by all the out of focus photographs,
As others have said, if you're going to charge don't mix friends and work.
sitan1 Plus
13 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
1 May 2013 9:36AM
Just stick professional in front of your name on your cards and website that should do it Smile
Your friends obviously thought you was going to do it dirt cheap then got upset you gave them a professional quote.
They probably tried the guilt tactic to get you to come back with a cheap price and as that didn't happen will use someone else out of spite.

Not sure what makes a professional a professional as some people think if they rent a studio with some lighting and get a big DSLR they can put that title in front of their name.
Just your approach sounds professional to me so keep doing what you are doing and stick to your guns.

Simon (not a professional)
cats_123 Plus
17 5.1k 30 Northern Ireland
1 May 2013 9:42AM

Quote:they seem to accept my quote
did you ask them to sign a contract?
conrad 17 10.9k 116
1 May 2013 10:06AM
Yes, sounds like a typical case of someone expecting a friend's price, or a freebee, and then being disappointed at being quoted a professional rate.
thewilliam 13 6.1k
1 May 2013 11:47AM
I've learned NEVER to make customers of my friends.

One good friend, now retired from high-end commercial photography did a job for his partner's best friend and charged her one quarter of his usual rate. The friend then told everybody how she'd been ripped off and would only grudgingly admit that she had some excellent images.
thewilliam 13 6.1k
1 May 2013 11:50AM
Most punters don't seem to understand the fixed costs of running a business so they feel ripped off even when the mates-rate is less than cost recovery.
discreetphoton Plus
16 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
1 May 2013 12:28PM
I usually open a conversation like that by explaining the overheads like liability/ indemnity insurance; backup kit; start-up costs; training; peripheral hardware; additional hours editing work; years of building experience to build consistency; stress etc. By the time you go through that list, most people are happy to stump the extra bucks. I find most people want to know what they're paying for anyway.
1 May 2013 1:01PM
Good friends will always expect to have good friends price i.e. way cheaper than the cheapest quote they could get.
peterjones 19 5.1k 1 United Kingdom
1 May 2013 2:52PM
From a professional point of view and I don't know the circumstances under which the couple "booked" you but if a relative of the couple rang me to speak about the price I would be very sorry but I would have to speak to the couple themselves rather than a relative or friend.

One also has to be aware that whilst many couples want the cheapest at any price some are fearful that their wedding pictures may not be as good as they would suppose; they may even have some fixed criteria of a professional in their minds ..... whatever that may be!

pulsar69 17 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
1 May 2013 3:32PM
To be fair if you ask most people what a 'professional photographer' is they will answer the same way

'Someone who's profession is photography'

Pretty clear cut really if you are a bricklayer , then bricklaying is your profession, if you are a mechanic then that is your profession.

It is then also pretty easy to understand why sometimes the lines get blurred when people who have professions then engage in paid photographic work as well and it then becomes difficult to understand what their profession is ?

Before becoming a 'Professional' photographer i was a retail manager and for a while did both, however whilst doing both i remained as a professional retail manager and a practicing photographer and did not call myself a Professional till the point at which I left retail and started the photography business officially .... I realized shortly after taking wedding bookings on that you cannot truly give the right amount of time to your clients if you are trying to hold down another job. Wedding photography is very time demanding when its taken seriously, and you can soon spot those who haven't spent a decent amount of time editing photos - it stands out a mile.

From what you are saying you are already a professional photographer , qualifications are a very debatable subject especially in the wedding photography field as there are boards out there that any old tom, **** or harry can join with a few quid and turn out to be a completely hopeless photographer, the recent reports of photographers being sued in the Sun and Mail involved photographers with so called 'qualifications' and there are only one or two real bodies i would consider to be highly regarded in photography fields.
Paul Morgan 20 19.5k 6 England
1 May 2013 3:35PM

Quote:What makes a professional Photographer

A single person that likes to be called "WE" Smile Smile

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.