We are `only` amateurs!

There's a frequent discussion that tries to give an answer to what makes a professional, what defines it and what sets it apart from the amateur. It's almost a cliche, like the image that worths as much as x words (substitute x with your own choice). You can see it on every respectable forum of any photography-related website.

Guess what, they're not different. I was reading an interview with a NG veteran researcher (not a photographer). He was asked if he consider himself a pro, after all these years. His answer, rather not, as he stills put passion in it, while a professional would do it only for money. I realized that what defines the amateur is not being the novice, but being a passionate about it. Does it mean that pros are not passionate? No, but then they are definitely amateurs, in a good way. They put passion in their work and believe in it.

The people complaining in the last days about the wrong-calculated ETR made me realize this. We all put a lot of passion within, we're all amateurs, no matter if we're newcomers or veterans. It's more addictive than chocolate.

Photo credits: Erik Reis.

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On the other hand you could say any contributor here is a professional - at least those who have achieved their first payment :)


Very true. Being passionate about it is the key word.


I agree!


Nice.I totally agree with this point of view !!!


Don't forget that the word "Amateur" is a french word meaning "Lover of". This word describes a person who carries out work for passionate reasons, and not for financial gain.

I'm sure that there are many Professional Photographers who can also claim this description, as many professionals must have started out as avid "amateurs" before deciding to make a living out of it?


Pretty nice and accurate point of view. :-)


I agree with your point.


Quite an excellent article Serban - I have been asked 'Are you a professional photographer' countless times. I am still 'hired' by manufacturer's to take photographs for them for use in publications, articles, and in-house documents; obviously, I also do stock; but, I am also a database analyst and earn the majority of my income from that - so - the only answer I can truthfully yield - is sometimes :-)


I agree completely. No matter how long I have been doing stock photography (over 3 years now) it is still the passion for photography that drives me, much more than the money. Although the money is certainly nice too :)

Best part is that unlike chocolate, Dreamstime is not fattening!


OH, but i do so LOVE chocolate!! Great article and I agree with it, maybe coz I'm relatively new to photography and so want to see myself as not an amateur! either way, a good blog in my 'professional' opinion!


Stefan, read the article again, that's not what I said.


To pretend that professionals are only in it for the money or that they little passion for their craft is ludicrous. Photography is very very competetive at every level. I can compare photography to the restaurant business... you have to be nuts to be in this game... and passionate. I've know commercial photographers who would fight tooth and nail for very lucrative contracts and on quietter periods would do exhibits of their more personal work. The ones who are at the top of the game, photography is not a job or a hobby, it's their life. Having said that, I could say that the wedding photographers I've known were by far the least passionate and tend to loath the whole wedding industry and have little inerest in anything else in photography.


Yes! Maybe because I haven't other hobby.


You definately have the addictive part right. I just got two memory cards for christmas on top of the 3 I already had, and I'm in need of more because I can't stop shooting!


Being surely an "amateur" I can only say that I just enjoy taking photos. It's almost something like "meditation" for me.



Great explanation. About that chocolate part, I like to eat chocolate WHILE I create images, I guess that makes me a real addict.

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