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- Charles Haacker
- Mentoris Primus
- Posts: 1900
- Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
- Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
- Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
I have always defined it by money: if you sell pictures and get money in return, you're a pro. If you don't, you're an amateur.
We all know that the root Latin amo just means love. Amateurs do it for the love of the craft. Any craft. Professionals do it for money, though in my experience they also love what they do.There's an old joke: You start out doing it for fun. Then you do it for friends. Then you do it for money. That can apply to lots of things.
The problem as I see it is confusing pro v. amateur with "good" v. "bad," or at any rate mediocre. Any pro will tell you they have seen "pro 'work'" that was just plain awful. But they got paid for it. So it's "professional work." We also know, as Min points out, that there are amateurs (lovers) who are consummate craftspeople, taking a back seat to no one, but they do it only for the love of it, the fun, and personally revel in their own craftsmanship. The kudos are very nice icing on the cake.
I got into photography as a profession because I loved it, did it for friends and they loved it, so I went to college and got a degree and then felt I had to turn pro because I had invested all that time and all my G.I. Bill and my wife's blood and sweat to get the degree. I bet Duck can tell you about "difficult" clients, and the insurance he has to carry, and if he started in film days about the sheer terror of a job going bad, lost, ruined, whatever. When I was working we mailed (mailed!!!) our color film to a mail-order lab in Seattle. We inherited them from the previous owner. They were terrific and in 16 years never, ever, not once screwed up an order or lost or ruined film---never! But we sweat lead every single time we bagged up 17 rolls of 120 film and mailed it off. Until it came back we had no idea what could happen. We had no idea if I'd totally screwed the pooch by any number of screwups possible, starting with having the sync lever on the camera in M instead of X (folks who go back far enough will know what that means).
Today I volunteer to shoot events. I deliver everything free. I do a frankly damned good job, every bit as professional as if I were billing it all back. I am a professional at heart and can never be anything else. I am not an artist, never was, but I am a consummate craftsperson. I always came back with the picture and I still do. But as a volunteer there is a sea-change in my own psychology. I would be crushed if I completely blew a job, but I also would not be sued! For the 16 years we had that !@#$!! studio I lived in basically constant terror. I was never cut out for it. So being a once-professional-now-amateur is for me the best. Just the best! So if I sell a few purdy pitchers on Shutterstock, well swell. And if I don't,
This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)
There is no light like back light. No, really.
- Mentoris Maximus
- Posts: 2693
- Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:38 pm
- Location: WV
- Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
no question to the truth of that... for me, I aspire to do "pro quality work", but really don't care if it produces money. The freedom to do what I want is a major plus to not doing it for a living. But obviously if one were say a National Geographic Photographer who traveled all over the world, well... that might certainly be worth giving up freedom for.
Also, some... Min is a good example, do photography for a cause. That perhaps is attaining an even higher standard than doing it for money.
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