What Exactly is a Professional Photographer
What Exactly is a Professional Photographer
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I have a really hard time calling myself, “A photographer”. It gives you a label, what you do, who you are. Like, “I’m a doctor”, or “I’m a used car salesman.” It’s super easy for me to say that Al is a sculptor, but when asked what I do, the answer is…”I do photography.” See, that doesn’t give me that I’m a professional photographer label. Al insists that I am a professional photographer. It’s how I (try) to make money, I have sold my photos online, in stores, and at art shows. In terms of the dictionary definition of professional, I guess I’m there. But still…..
So what has been an ongoing dialogue both in my head, and with the hubby, has now evolved into my 2017 goals. I honestly can’t remember the last time I said I had goals for the new year, never mind wrote anything down, which I have done. The idea grew from a blog post I read last week. Funny how the universe works, you think about something long enough and almost certainly you will be handed some sort of an answer. This post on Improve Photography, 43 Goals to become a real photographer, got the wheels turning even more, and gave me some good ideas. 43 goals is kind of a lot, and some of these don’t apply to me at all. And, some of these I have done, or do already. But there are a few that I am going to implement, and I also came up with a few of my own.
First on my list was to take my photography seriously. Learn something new, perfect methods, and most important, find my photographic voice. I have a pretty good start on finding my photographic voice, but I need to refine it somehow, make it all mine.
This is one of my favorite photos from 2016, and also a very popular image as far as sales go. This is certainly in a voice that I like and want to explore more.
This is another favorite, and is similar to the raven in that I have used textures to make it unique.
But, I also like the pureness of wildlife photography. Nothing fancy, just showcasing the animals for what they are.
And black and white is pretty cool too.
Another goal is to shoot something everyday, no matter what, no matter where we are. This….is going to be hard. But sometimes when you look hard enough, you find some very cool things. Cobwebs on my heart is another 2016 favorite.
Two things that are mentioned in the article are, going through your images at the end of the year and picking 10 of the best. And also, using Lightroom to help you rate your photos as you edit them throughout the year. The article recommends choosing 1 image from each photo shoot that you can give 5 stars to in Lightroom. Then print these 5 star photos and place them in a book. I am doing both of these. I have gone through last years images, and picked some favorites, and I’m getting prepared to make my own little photo book with my best stuff for 2017. I just need to find a book.
This image is definitely in my top ten.
Learning new things is certainly something that every professional needs to be doing, always. There are so many things I don’t know about Photoshop, and I want to learn all I can. This image is different, but I learned some new things while making it.
I’m also doing the 52 week challenge again, that always get the brain thinking.
My end goal is to feel comfortable saying..”I’m a photographer.” Hopefully it won’t take a full year to get there. I would also like to make enough money from my photography to get a new camera. Al wants a camera of his own, so we can shoot together, especially when we visit the horses. So he could have mine.
Ok, your turn. Do you have goals for 2017? Would you like to share?
Hello Mary. You are THERE my friend. Awesome photos, and looks like you’ve really got some skills in Photoshop. I need to learn so much in it! And now that I’m retiring after Sunday, I plan on sitting down and really learning at Photshop and Lightroom both. I have been “semi-professional” for a couple of years, but never really made much money, just enough to get a tax-break a couple years. I am planning on trying to remedy that next year as well.
Good luck, and thanks for the link to the other great article!
Love your work!
Thanks so much Dennis, that means a lot. And how exciting, retirement and a plan to learn more and more. Lightroom and Photoshop are both so amazing, so many things to learn. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
you are a fabulous photographer… you see the things behind the things and you can tell a story without words… just with a photo… and so much photos encourage your readers to ponder about the photo and they maybe learn to see the things a little with your eyes… they eyes of a photographer…
Thanks. That all made sense to me.
Dearest Mary, hello!
I know what you’re saying. I’ve had this conversation in my mind for years about many things that I do, not necessarily professionally, but I’ve said, “I play the harp but I’m not a musician. I write poetry, but I’m not a poet. I teach, but I’m not a teacher, etc…” After 15 years of teaching now, I can finally say, “I am a professional, I am a teacher.” But I know that I’m still learning, in fact, I learn EVERY DAY in my profession, and I’m learning every day about photography and poetry. YOU in my eyes, are a professional, but I think I’ve come to understand this term a little differently. A professional is someone who never, ever stops learning. It’s an attitude of wonder and curiosity, humility in realizing that one can adjust according to trends, the times, the people who you serve. And your photograph is constantly evolving into delightful and surprising imagery as you follow the ebb and flow of nature’s beauty. ENJOY!
Your photography is definitely professional enough to call yourself a photographer. Mom’s goals are to get her business running really well, and to get us all more involved in our dog sports and competitions. We shall see how it all shakes out.
Hello, Mary! Your photos always amaze me. Beautiful images and captures. I wish you much success with your photography and all the best in 2017!
Goals are wonderful. I think everyone else considers you a photographer so it’s just a matter of getting there in your own mind. I’m sure you will.
My first goal is to actually set some goals! I tend to get in ruts, or happy routines, and forget that I need to move forward as well. Thanks for the reminder!
Lol…I don’t usually set goals either, we’ll see how it all goes.
I love your photography. My goals always involve learning new things. My biggest one for 2016 was to learn how to teach my dogs new things far more effectively than ever before. I took courses all year long to work toward that goal. I’m almost there but, of course, at the expense of other things. My 2016 has taught me that you can’t improve at everything. You have to focus. I’d love to devote a year to photography…
I think you’re a photographer already but I admire your drive to keep learning more.
You have taken your photos to new heights, Mary! I’m in awe every time I visit your site!
Thank you for sharing with us, Happy 2017. :)
Thanks Amy, and Happy 2017 to you too.
My main goal this year is to change how I react to Ducky’s reactivity. I started a course early this week; but between the holidays and needing to study for my Vet Assistant course, I haven’t had much time to devote to it. I’m hoping to get back to it tomorrow or Sunday.
BTW, in my humble opinion you are definitely a professional photographer!!
That is a great goal, and taking a course to help sounds like the way to go. Best of luck! And Thanks!
I worked with an excellent professional photographer for several years and he made a definitive distinction between “photographers” and “picture takers” that made total sense. It’s like the difference between two musicians – both may play the piece perfectly, but one adds heart, soul, emotion, and the other just plays the notes on the page. I think of you as an artist and a photographer; to be good – *really* good – at the second you need to also be the first, in my humble opinion. I feel you were naturally blessed with both. It’s interesting that you should talk about this, you reminded me that I had a hard time calling myself a writer and not just saying “I write” even after I’d been freelancing for a few years, had sold several hundred articles and had two monthly columns in newspapers. Funny how we tend to see ourselves…or not see ourselves. I’m looking forward to the beautiful, unique images your heart and artistry bring forth in 2017.
This is a wonderful analogy, I will certainly keep that one in mind. And ya….why can’t we just give ourselves credit for what we are, or what we do?
Mary, whatever avenue you pursue, you just keep that positive attitude for success!…:)JP
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