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It’s Time for Pro Photographers and Hobbyists to Call a Truce

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I’m a professional photographer. I also recognize that, increasingly, this designation seems to be losing its impact.

Besides being able to deduct equipment purchases on your taxes, what else does the title bring you?

How many of us are making it solely from our freelance photography income today? And what prevents someone who earns their primary income as an accountant or chiropractor from also calling themselves a photographer?

Let’s not get so hung up on the labels. I think it’s time for pros and hobbyists to call a truce.

Emerging from the Darkroom

Yes, I understand the reasons that traditional pros resent hobbyists, amateurs, “mamarazzi” or whatever you want to call today’s prosumer photographers.

Let’s look at the photographers with roots in film. I am among those who cut their teeth shooting film — miles and miles of it.

We’ve only recently emerged into the light, with our pasty-pale complexions, after spending a good portion of our careers “souping” film or developing and printing in the darkroom.

We had to learn contrast control, film latitude and exposure the tedious way. We shot, took notes on the settings we used, processed the film, made prints and confirmed what worked versus what didn’t.

Then we’d go out and do it again.

We spent a fortune in film, paper and chemistry, and we had no shortcuts in learning how to expose. We had to reconcile what our meter saw, what our eyes saw, what the camera recorded and, finally, how to make a good printable transparency or negative.

So you can imagine our annoyance when we see a newcomer show up with the latest, greatest DSLR that exposes 95 percent of the scene perfectly. It’s only natural to feel a little resentment at those who haven’t paid their dues.

Camera Owners Aren’t the Same as Photographers

It’s also true that, while having a DSLR makes photography easier, it doesn’t make you a good photographer. It only makes you the owner of a good camera.

A lot of hobbyists don’t seem to recognize the distinction.

Most DSLR owners, from expectant parents to vacationers, start with the objective of documenting events. They almost never make enlargements bigger than an 8 x 10 print. Most of their images live online, to be shared with friends and family on social networks.

Gamut, resolution, color temperature, file size and pixelation are meaningless to their online viewers, because at web resolutions, those flaws aren’t noticeable.

When I compliment the images I see on Facebook, I’m generally complimenting the photo’s subject on how good they look. I’m not complimenting the photographer, because at 72 pixels per inch, it’s just too difficult to tell if it’s actually a good picture.

But I’m sure there are many camera owners who, after hearing compliment upon compliment on their photos, start to believe they should be doing this professionally.

So they hang up a shingle online. They have invested in photo equipment, a suite of Photoshop plug-ins to mask their mistakes, maybe the magical one-touch skin softening software. They have not spent time learning the ins and outs of how to light, work with makeup artists, and all the other skills of established professionals.

And because it’s so easy, and because they make their living doing something else, it’s only natural to charge a fraction of what the pros charge, right?

Calling a Truce

So here we are. Now what?

First, you should realize that whether you’re a crusty old pro or a DSLR newbie, you can’t be everywhere to shoot everything. There are plenty of pictures for all of us to take.

So how about this for a compromise:

If we old pros promise not to snicker when we see you shoot on program mode and light a group of 20 people with your built-in pop-up flash and kit lens, will you newbies stop telling photography customers that you can do everything we can do for half the price?

Sounds fair enough to me.

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93 Comments (Open | Close)

93 Comments To "It’s Time for Pro Photographers and Hobbyists to Call a Truce"

#1 Comment By rose On August 4, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

I agree with you and I'm fairly a newbie in photography, I've only been shooting professionally for 3 years. However, as a Graphic Designer/Web Designer for over 12 years, I understand your points. Many of the things I learned in school that took hours in photoshop can be accomplished in two steps on a plug-in for lightroom/aperture...also...even on the iphone now!

Technology has come a long way, but I agree that learning the ART takes time and practice and really learning your craft. My background also is journalism. I began to study the old pictures of Time Life, and the photographers behind them..learned about hEnri cartier bresson and wanted to look through his eyes. I started to get involved in the"lomography" movemet and learned about old film cameras....I wanted to go backwards!

and so here I am..still learning...any photographer that thinks they know it all is just that, a know it all....as for the customers who buy the cheap stuff...you can compare that to the customers who would pay 250,000 for a 200 year old painting. Yes, most of the bread and butter today are brides and families, but you will have those brides etc who value the art of photography and pay for it. The only ones really hurting are those photogs that underprice themselves.

#2 Comment By Paul Danger Kile On August 10, 2011 @ 6:34 am

If I run a foundry, and we are in a recession, then I am NOT going to hire a professional photographer, I AM going to buy aluminum. We ARE in a recession, and complaining that your fans, the ones that love your work so-much that they want to be you, are devaluing your work is pathetic. Imagine if professional ball players complained because anyone can buy a good basketball these days?

Everybody starts somewhere, and technology is making everything easier, that means that you pros can produce more, it doesn't mean that I am, or ever will be a pro.

My ability to put photos on the Internet is irrelevant. The magazines don't accept unsolicited photos, and people that need pros do not accept unsolicited photos.

#3 Comment By Talbert McMullin On August 10, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

Paul, I think you are completely missing the point. Trying to explain why you are missing the point would be a waste of time and energy.

#4 Comment By Krystal C. On August 10, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

My husband is a pro, with more than 30 years under his belt, I have been a 'semi-pro'. The one at work that everyone gave the camera to to get everyone in the shot.. and then I started working as an assistant to my husband shooting weddings then after many classes I felt comfortable as a second shooter.

After six years of exclusively weddings we are opening up a 'brick and mortar' shop to showcase our work and to have a place to shoot during Illinois winters. I told the people at my work that was what I was doing, and the first thing out of most of their mouths was how I should charge very little, (give it away pricing) so I would have 'lots of business'. In my town of 8,000 there are about 8 mom's with cameras that are doing that and 1 pro (Master CPP photog) who charges the price range I am looking at in town.

I've done the marketing classes, and read the benchmark surveys. In order to pay my bills, including insurance, rent and household bills I need to make $X per year.. which means I can do 400 sessions Okay, or 150 great sessions with great results. As well as our wedding photography.

It was hard to come up with real numbers. But if someone wants to do photography full time, they need to know what it takes to do it.

I'm all for people taking images as a hobby, but when they would have to shoot 50 sessions to pay for the camera and lens that they are using; it makes you realize that they are doing it for fun, and not because they are looking at income.

#5 Comment By Paul Danger Kile On August 10, 2011 @ 11:45 pm


I was not directing my comments in your direction. If that's what it looked like, then I am truly sorry.

I agree with every comment made by the amateurs above. Many of those comments cover the same ground that I did.

I am a 43-year-old man; I know exactly who I am. I am not going to stop "when the dazzle wears off."

The economy is the real reason that business is tough.

So why did I use the word “pathetic”? Here’s what I was thinking: I have had two of my favorite photographers; write some pretty nasty things about amateurs, on Facebook:
-- One told a story that included, "and then the fists were flying," why were the fists flying? Because someone at the racetrack admitted that he didn’t get paid to take photos.
-- The other one used a derogatory word for amateurs, and claimed that they were hurting his business, multiple times.
-- A third photographer also claimed that he would assault other adults, but his ire was directed at the racers themselves.

Here is what I was trying to say in less abstract terms:
-- These three people weren’t losing business, because of the racers and the amateur photographers. The economy affects the racers directly. Some of them lost work, and most of them lost sponsors. They need to buy fuel and tires, and those things are extremely expensive. If they don’t buy a pro’s photo, that’s about the fuel, and the tires, and not the pro’s expertise.
-- The pros biggest fans in motorsports are amateur photographers, and racers. These are also the people that read their words on Facebook.
-- Calling their biggest fans names, or threatening to assault them, even in jest, is pathetic.

I know that there are professionals in other areas of photography that have the same wrong beliefs.

Have fun,

#6 Comment By Andrew On August 16, 2011 @ 7:36 pm


How about that for a truce: I promise I will do *everything* you do, with the same quality, composition, lighting, direction, image processing and everything else think you have -- for FREE. And you -- you will carry on whining? Also, for free? How do you feel about that kind of truce?

My point is that I have steady income from my day job and photography for me is a form of entertainment. But I think I'm good at it and I can do a lot -- it's just that I'm lazy and not interested. Therefore, I don't charge for my services. And more than that, I spend my time and money to educate myself (you also missed that point: nowadays we have Kelby TV and Strobist and numerous ways to quickly ramp up the knowledge -- to learn *exactly* same things that you discovered over the years using your "try-and-fail" method).

The thing is -- the world has changed. The ship has sailed. Easy photography business has tanked and won't emerge ever again. Quit.

You remind me of a typewriter dealer complaining about "how easy it is to write using computers nowadays".

#7 Comment By Talbert McMullin On August 17, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

Andrew, I don't know what Peter thinks, but I think you're bonkers, and I'm getting a good laugh at your post. Point is, when you try to get something for nothing, you usually get nothing for something. If your services and product cost nothing, they they are probably worth nothing.

If I charged nothing for my services and products, I would not brag about it.

#8 Comment By Paul Danger Kile On August 17, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

If you are a guy like Stuart Little, or Trey Ratcliff, then you have fans who are amateur photographers, so you teach classes to them. If you aren't that good, then you just insult them online, and hope they will go away. It's anywhere from unprofessional to pathetic, but that's what these people do.

This movie describes exactly why we do it: [2]

#9 Comment By oliver On September 11, 2011 @ 6:20 am

Guys, being a photographer doesnt require any license, exams, or any certifications, so whenever a "pro" charges higher than the "hobbyists", there is still no way to whine about it because the beauty of photography is freedom of expression. I knew a couple, who was charged a much higher price than the usual for their anniversary, the guy just bought a new camera instead of paying the "pro", so who's fault is that?! he can get the same quality pictures, with the same price, on top of that, he has a high end DSLR to wipe to the face of the "pro"

#10 Comment By Paul Danger Kile On September 11, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

Great photography is a struggle for me. I am no Trey Ratcliffe. I am not even an Uno, or Dos, Ratcliffe [obligatory_rimshot/] (I don't know where Trey is from, but Texans usually have a second generation Junior, and that person always uses the name "Trey", even though that's not his wallet name.)

Anyway. I went to the website of a pro that is rude about amateurs, to see what his pics were like. There were ahandful of low-rez pics there. Three of those four are worse than what I delete. That's r

#11 Comment By Paul Danger Kile On September 11, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

D'oh! That's what I get for writing on a tiny phone screen... Anyway, the proof is in the photos. It's just as Oliver says. There is no licencing test. No State Medical Board. Nothing. It's like that with computer programmers. I only worked with a few that were really bad. They were better at acing an interview than actually doing the job. Photography is like that. One might be able to get work, based on claiming, "I have been a pro for 30 years," or whatever, but the proof is in the photos.

#12 Comment By Talbert McMullin On September 11, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

Hey, Paul. How about a link to the website of that rude photographer?

#13 Comment By Paul Danger Kile On September 11, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

No thank you. There are many sites where people are upset about amateurs calling themselves photographers. It could be any of those people on any of those sites. If your photos are exceptional, and I have no reason to believe they aren't, then no worries.

#14 Comment By Talbert McMullin On September 11, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

Aw, come on Paul! Be a sport!

#15 Comment By Andrew On September 11, 2011 @ 10:30 pm


There's absolutely zero correlation between price you're paying and quality you're getting. For instance, I think you really overpaid for your website: I found 3 issues on different pages there. Even if you got it for free, its still was too much. One can only hope to get good quality by paying lots of money for something -- but without good quality control on customer's part the result will always be worthless. Your website design, functionality and content is a prime case in point.

All in all, the bottom has fallen out of the professional photography market. There's nothing any of us can do about it. The technical knowledge that took pros decades to master now available for $19.99 a month in unimaginable quantities. One can spend day, week, month, year and learn things that took others a lifetime to learn. One's lifetime stride to learn all technical aspects of photography worth exactly that: $19.99 a month.

And as you pointed exactly right, since that lifetime experience nowaday costs virtually nothing, it worth virtually nothing as well.

#16 Comment By Talbert McMullin On September 11, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

Andrew: Yeah, I had to rebuild that site. It was attacked by a hacker in France. I learned my lesson on that one and that was to update my template when the distributor tells me to!

#17 Comment By Paul Danger Kile On September 12, 2011 @ 1:11 am

It's like that for computer programmers that don't have salaried IT positions too. During the recession that they called dotBomb, 78,000 IT and telecom workers lost their jobs in the Dallas Metroplex alone.

The magazines wrote about Silicon Valley startups tanking, but it affected entire cities. My house was in a housing complex just north of Telecom Corridor and most of my neighbors had foreclosures.

The economy does come back, but these are jobs that can be put off. New Human Resources System? Yeah, we are going to put that aside and buy some more aluminum, because we can only afford raw materials now. The boss is getting married? He didn't get that bonus, so instead of a professional photographer his brother is going to help out.

That's what's happened. It has nothing to do with the number of amateurs that post, and saying so just means they need to follow someone who figured out how to make them a into a fan and customer, and not you.

#18 Comment By Talbert McMullin On September 12, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

Wow, Paul, nice glum picture you present for us, not that the most observant of us suspected. For those of you who expect things to get better, don't hold your breath.

The business of photography (and everything else) will continue to change, sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst. We just don't know. That kind of uncertainty makes for a very unstable economic situation.

What a wonderful time to be retired!

#19 Comment By Demon Lee On September 21, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

I do shoot Digital, but many clients are now beginning to understand why I never sold my Canon 1N 35mm or my Bronica ETRSi (6x6) when the see and hold a real print with real negatives, so I never feel threatened by weekend warriors or wannabes, because the dark art of Developing and Printing Film was lost to most a generation ago..!!

When the camera on your phone is as good a a cheap DSLR, most of them will disappear back into the woodwork again and the Pro's will get on with what they have always done - watch the next 5yrs, even the camera manufacturers are expecting this.

#20 Comment By Talbert McMullin On September 21, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

Demon, are you thinking that camera manufacturers will start making more film cameras again? What about film manufacturers? You think film will be around in five years?

#21 Comment By Demon Lee On September 21, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

Talbert, I don't think there will be much change in the current situation with film and film camera production and use, it has pretty much settled down now, but to give you an example of the problem, whilst at my Suppliers last Saturday picking up a replacement 50mm Lens, an elderly lady just off on holiday came in and picked up 12 rolls of APS Film...!!!

I think the main shift we will see next is that with improvements in technology, the entry level DSLRs will disappear as who will want one when they can shoot on the latest camera phones? Much of what we have seen with Camera Owners calling themselves photographers is because they are taught photoshop etc and not photography, so when they can shoot and be happy with a pic off a phone, these amatuers will disappear from the market and manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon will concentrate again on the Pro DSLR Cameras and Digital Film Cameras (like the RED) and the pro-sumer market will dry up...

For Digital I shoot on a Canon 1Ds MKIII with a MKII as a backup, but when I stick the 70-200mm L Series Lens on my Canon 1N 35mm and I print landscapes or portraits at A3+, the quality is amazing, the depth of field beautiful... in fact, I would say the advancement of quality in Lens Production makes shooting on film even more enjoyable now. I managed to get an adaptor to use my EOS Lenses on the Bronica thinking that if I never got any decent results, it was still £49.99 well spent, but the 24-105mm (f4) and the 85mm (f1.2) give incredible results..

I will keep an open mind on the future, over my 27yrs I have seen many changes and I am likely to live to an age where I will see many more!

#22 Comment By Talbert McMullin On September 21, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

Good points! I've been into photography 42 years now. Film is getting better, though I miss K25.

#23 Comment By Demon Lee On September 21, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

K-25 (195-2001 RIP) Now you are talking Photography... originally a derivitive of the Film Industry available (in slower versions) this was in a class of it's own and it's a shame that Kodak would not licence continued production to a smaller company to carry on producing it for us boring old farts.. I would kill for some rolls to shoot it again...

When starting out I did an apprenticeship backed by Kodak and Agfa (before they agreed a common developing process for Tranny and Negs) in Processing and learned that a lot of professionals shot on K-25 and the company putting me through the apprenticeship made 5x4 Negs from them the quality was that good...

We will have to cut this out, the others will get bored with us old guys chatting about 'the good ol days' ha ha, many of them will have never enjoyed the pleasure of film, the hours spent huddled over an enlarger (I started of with a Zenith and ended up with a Durst L1200)

Interestingly however, coming back to film the biggest market has been Eastern European Countries over the last few years, film is King in places like Lithuania..!!!

#24 Comment By Alab del Rosario On April 18, 2012 @ 12:19 am

What's wrong with using Kit Lens ? I can duplicate the effect of your f/1.2 aperture in photoshop in two minutes

#25 Comment By William On August 15, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

I've been interested in photography since i was a child, however, growing up during the 80's cameras still used film and my parents were not willing to spend the money needed to feed my hobby as they saw it. Now, I'm married, kids of my own, with a new canon. I respect those who used film and are able to develop photos the old way, to me that is not only a profession skill but it's an art all in itself. I am currently taking lessons to learn how to use manual mode, to use external flash, remote flash, reflectors etc. It's time consuming and difficult at times to try to take a great shot all through manual mode and do little editing on photoshop. I believe what it is said, the better you take a photo, the less time you have to use photoshop to fix up your mistakes. I am still a newbie at this, however, I do get annoyed at seeing people use automatic, program setting all the time, point and shoot, and than use software to make their photo "perfect." To me, the individual did not learn nor did he/she appreciate the work he/she should have put in. I know when I take a photo, no matter how long it takes me to get it done correctly, I feel a great sense of pride in seeing the results and even more pride in hearing individuals compliment the work, especially those who are emerse in photography. I take pride in learning the correct way and I do my very best not to take the easy way out. I think what makes a professional photographer a professional is not only his/her career resume but the method they use, the time and energy they take to sit, wait, stalk for the shot they need and if they don't see it, to create it through a vision. Anyone can point and shoot and photoshop, but in my opinion the real photographer is the one that takes the time to make the perfect shot by using the environment and the manual methods. Thats just my humble opinion.

#26 Comment By Talbert McMullin On August 15, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

@alab: Yes you can do that but it looks like Photoshop. Yes, I use it...minimally. I'm like William, I started with film in 1970 and did not start shooting digital until about eight years ago. If you never shot Kodachrome 25 using a 4x5, you cannot imagine what I am talking about. My 4x5 "chromes" have been in dark storage ever since and they look as good now as they did when I first shot them in 1975. Idea: Find someone who shot Kodachrome 25 or for that matter K64 in any format and ask to take a glance at the slides. It will blow your mind.

Yes, I still shoot 4x5 sans Kodachrome. But Velvia 50 is still with us and is not bad either as long as you don't photograph people. Like I said, find someone who used to shoot Kodachrome (any format) and see what I mean.

#27 Comment By Fahmid On October 8, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

Well as basic economics price will fall for anything when supply is exceeding the demand.With the help of technology. now a days anyone who is a little serious can take a descent photo. Like any other art being a good photographer takes time, study and practice.How many of your client can appreciate a good photo rather that a photo being glamorous and high resolution? I think there line is blurry between pro & armature in lower & middle market but at top market only pro will take the photos. (pro does not only mean you are a good photographer but you know how to sell what you produce with a good margin).

#28 Comment By Alex On November 16, 2012 @ 2:02 am

Anthony Hereld you are so right! I couldn't have said it better myself.

"Yet another "photography is dead" type article from a pro photographer. This is 2011. No one cares if you used to shoot film, and it certainly doesn't add any credibility. It's the modern day equivalent of walking uphill both ways to school.

What you "old pros" need to get a handle on is your outdated business practices. You don't own the market anymore, the internet and social media has changed all that...forever. It's not about your 20 years experience or darkroom war stories. The consumer cares about price and the final product.

If you guys were half as good about marketing yourselves as you are about whining, this would be a non-issue."


"If we old pros promise not to snicker when we see you shoot on program mode and light a group of 20 people with your built-in pop-up flash and kit lens, will you newbies stop telling photography customers that you can do everything we can do for half the price?

Sounds fair enough to me."

Yeah, that sounds like you're asking for a truce. Stop crying about this, you started somewhere too. And lets be honest, not everyone wants to spend thousands to work with someone as condescending as you.

#29 Comment By Luke On December 12, 2012 @ 12:01 am

You can always tell the wannabe pros on posts like this. They always mention someone "shooting on program mode" or using "a cheapie lens." None of that matters, and if you're a real pro you know that it's not your gear that makes you a "pro." It's your ability to bring home the pictures (and in turn, the bacon) regardless of whether you're shooting with a bag of $10000 cameras and lenses or a pinhole. Lots of your idol photographer use program mode, believe it or not. To think that someone using program mode is an indication of "amateurish" behaviour only points YOU out as the amateur.

#30 Comment By fikree fauzi On December 17, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

i'm working as a full time photographer, capturing political occasions... i started using camera in the digital era and have no idea what is darkroom, we keep shooting a thousand and thousand picture and select just a few picture...

personally i think this is a bad habit as a photographer, they keep shooting everything even its not important...

recently I made my own effort to learn using 35mm film, its very slow process but i tell you what... the slow process allow me to think about the subject and 1 roll 36exposure actually teach me how to appreciate the moment and i can put the feeling into it.... that's actually the meaning of 'capturing vs shooting '...

now give the new camera owner 36 shot, i swear they gonna say 'its impossible'.. that's the reality.

#31 Comment By Debbie On January 8, 2013 @ 2:59 am

This is a question for the professionals. Two years ago, I decided that I would like to become a photographer. I am currently unemployed; I worked all of my life until ten years ago when my husband and I adopted our granddaughter. The daycare closed and I live in a small town without many jobs available. I had noone to care for my granddaughter so I decided to stay home with her. I have always enjoyed taking pictures. Last year I worked part-time for a professional photographer and attended several classes she offered. I have been otherwise studying on my own and aquiring professional equipment over the past two years. At this time I have all of the equipment I need to start my business, I've learned photoshop on my own and taught myself how to use my DSLR. I have not been to a photography school, but I am in the process of getting certified online with a school. I feel that I am just about ready to start my business, but my question to you professional photographers is........at what point can I call myself a professional photographer? I have not yet made any money because I have not yet charged anyone, but I have had people to ask me to take pictures for them. I personally do not want to say I am a "professional" until I feel that I have earned it; was just wondering what I had to do to get to that point? This is meant as a statemen from someone seeking help, not someone being ficious.

#32 Comment By azdustdevil On January 14, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

Debbie, there are several sites on the web that give you a general idea of how much to charge. Those change so find a good one and bookmark it for future reference.

Also, if you have a day job, keep it. If you don't get many sales, just relax and enjoy it as a serious hobby anyway.

Good luck to you!

#33 Comment By Alex Neville On January 23, 2013 @ 4:34 am

Noahs Ark was built by amateurs- it was professionals who built the titanic!

#34 Comment By Trevor C On February 11, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

"Camera Owners Aren’t the Same as Photographers." Either are people that hold certificates from some photographic schools, it only means that they have studied photography for a short time but you can do the same privately without obtaining a certificate. I have been a photographer and studied photography since 1953 but do not hold certification. Does this mean I am just a camera owner and not a photographer? Pompous dope. Pull your head out of your own arse.

#35 Comment By Martin Bayhorse On February 15, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

Im actually quite surprised at the amount of negative responses to this article. I don't have time to read every one But I support the article entirely. Even going back to the advent of all auto everything cameras, the business of photog changed Not only the auto everything but personal computers and the web as well Way too much subject matter out there and now everyone with a damn smart phone thinks there an accomplished photog somehow and it does burn my [email protected]@. A publication I hold a freelance contract with has changed so much in how they do business I don't even ask for an editorial schedule anymore. They fill their pages with some of the worst imagery Ive ever seen in print with submissions from sloppy novices just happy to see their name in print. Month after month Its become nothing more than a beginners photo contest "literally" and they used to publish images and articles by pros the likes of which could be seen in National Geo. Sad but true. Thank god the one thing you cant really teach or install in a cam is REAL creativity.

#36 Comment By Cate On March 8, 2013 @ 11:33 am

I have to say, I agree with Peter too. I am a hobbyist and love photography. I am self taught so I do use digital photo software to "enhance" my "forgivable errors" and I make a few print sales from my website now and then but, it is not enough to pay the rent or consider myself a full time professional photographer. I am still learning and loving it, growing into my niche and spend all of my "free" time with my camera taking photos as I can.

Now, with all that said I also agree that if someone hires a photographer no matter what the price that the photographer, accepting the job, will provide professional work and not assume the client does not know the difference between a point and shoot shot and a well thought out image creation. They do and will not be happy with the photographer, whose credibility has been compromised, especially by customer word of mouth.

No matter what our photographic level we need to respect each other as photographers, - especially the photographers who have put in a lot of time, money and effort to become highly skilled artisans - learn from them and each other and enjoy the freedom to express our talents as we see fit.

#37 Comment By Jon On April 10, 2013 @ 10:42 am

I am not a photographer, I am a hobbyist. I get fed up of this silly debate all the time!!!!!!!!

#38 Comment By h On April 24, 2013 @ 5:00 am

Agree with you 100%. I'm a painter but I also spent a ton of money and HOURS learning my craft, and resent that people keep saying "I don't need to buy a painting. I paint and so does grandma." As a side note, could all you photographers please, for the love of god stop printing your photos on canvas? You're killing us here. And it's cheesy as F***.

#39 Comment By Beth On May 26, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

I'm SO on board with this 1000%! I keep thinking about where I was just 4 or 5 years ago and I thank the generosity of people like those over at [3] for having the passion as pros to share everything they know with the newbies. (and other pros too!)

Like you mention, we can't be everywhere to shoot everything so if you usually shoot weddings and want to transition into something like commercial photography there will be a learning curve for that and it's nice to know that there ARE people out there who will help you learn all you can. If more seasoned photogs help the newbies to grow their skills and understand their value, the whole industry benefits!

#40 Comment By Carol D On May 27, 2013 @ 5:06 am

As a former professional singer, and a current photography hobbyist, I've always felt very guilty for saying "yes" to friends who ask me to shoot their special event or family. No more, I say. To the guilt, that is.

Here's the thing. As much as some professional photographers hate the hobbyists for taking valuable business away from them (or the perception that hobbyists are taking business away from them) the truth of the matter is that many people will never be able to afford a pro. So it comes down to taking pictures themselves, which at a minimum will prevent them from fully engaging in and enjoying their event, or asking a hobbyist friend whose work they happen to like. I've never charged anyone a cent for what I do, but I certainly do the very best work that I'm capable of for my friends. I also make sure they know that if they want professional shots (and the many services that are often associated with that, such as professional print options), they need to go to a professional and pay the market price for those services. But I have to say that the rancor that comes from some pros is pretty surprising. I never felt any bad feelings for the amateur singers that sang at weddings I could have charged significantly for. For some people it's a cost decision and for others it's a sentimental decision. I respect that. As long as I'm not trying to portray myself as anything other than a hobbyist who thinks acts of service are an important part of life, why would you care? FYI, I've hired many a professional photographer for the events that are most important to me and I've always been happy that I did. But I'll continue to enjoy my hobbies, including photography, and If my growing skill can help a friend who would otherwise go without, I'm going to help, guilt-free now.

#41 Comment By Chris On June 3, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

Adapt or die. Just because a computer works better than a ruler and pencil doesn't mean the new engineers aren't as good as the old guys. We are headed toward uncompressed video at 4k resolutions. Pretty soon frame grabs will be how still shoots are obtained.

#42 Comment By pac On June 8, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

1.You pay a make up artist and I use a skin softner in lightroom or photoshop.

2.Your a pro but customers like my pictures better.

3.You use to use film so that just means your older than me.

4. You are a pro but I shoot and sell more photos than you.

5. What makes a photographer a "pro" ?
A. Knowing how to use light?
B. Charging for your pictures?
C. Knowing composition ?
D. Owning a high price camera ?
E. Nothing ?

#43 Comment By Sequinminer On June 11, 2013 @ 7:21 am

Chuckling here... To the last poster. Because I know how to communicate Value to my Clients and you don't??