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Is the job title “Professional Photographer” over-rated or under appreciated?

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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People assume that you need a super expensive camera to take great pictures, to display and sell in an art gallery. In the highly competitive world of photography, it actually takes more than just that. Passion, talent on visualizing angles to achieve the best composition for each shot (before you even take your shots), and definitely the technical skills on how to get that perfect shot. It requires a lot of practice, and a lot of patience to become a professional photographer.


source: http://www.unsplash.com/

What are the job titles for a professional photographer?

Let’s get the semantics right. According to Wikipedia:

~ A professional photographer is usually employed by a news agency, or to cover a commemorative event, such as a wedding or graduation, or as an illustrator for advertisement.


source: http://callaghanphotography.com/

~ For others who first make a picture, then offer it for sale or display (including paparazzi and fine art photography) are actually called freelancers.


source: http://petapixel.com/

~ Some jobs make photographs as part of other work, such as policemen, estate agents, journalists and scientists.

AP Haiti Election

source: http://www.collegerag.net/

~ Photographers who produce moving pictures are often called cinematographers, videographers or camera operators. It depends on the commercial context.


source: http://hollywood.greekreporter.com/

What makes a great photographer?

Just because you’ve got an expensive camera, doesn’t mean you’re a professional photographer. On the other hand, you may only have the basic knowledge in photography, combined with your weapon of choice, which may just be a pocket camera, and still produce amazing pictures.

professional photographer

source: http://xaxor.com/

It takes a picture to do more than simply providing alikeness, to make it more than ordinary. When you can capture a subject’s personality, and fully charge it with emotional depth, that is when others get blown away simply by glancing at your pictures.

professional photographer

source: http://www.nathanrouse.org/

It’s often a financial struggle for freelancers since the turn of the 21st century, because many online stock photography catalogues have appeared. Supposedly, it’s an invitation for them to sell their photos online easily and quickly, however, frequently for very little money, without royalty, and without control over the use of the photo, the market it will be used in, the products it will be used on, time duration, etc.

professional photographer

source: http://www.ppfphoto.com/

From experience, on the other hand, a “professional photographer” who’s hired to cover a memorable moment is usually hired by high socialites. The people hiring don’t even bother to look at their portfolio (let alone have a sense of great photography), and hires one based on ‘word of mouth’ in high society.

professional photographer

source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/

How about the rest of us non-photographers?

Most of us love taking pictures because we want to capture precious moments to get back to from time to time, or to share them with the world. Technology has made it possible for us to preview our snapshots right away, and upload it online. We’re able to share our moments with the world within minutes. When we come to think about it, we actually spend more time taking the pictures and previewing each shot, to get the desired flawless shot.

professional photographer

source: http://www.stockvault.net/

Let’s admit it, when we display pictures online, we’re basically saying “Ta-Da” to the rest of the world, and therefore we become a bit of a perfectionist about it.

professional photographer

source: http://unsplash.com/

Does practice really make perfect?

A part of the process in improving yourself in photography is indeed by taking pictures as regularly as you can. The more we display our pictures, and take in comments and inputs from viewers, the better photographers we become.

professional photographer

source: http://annstreetstudio.com/

What else can I do to improve my skills in photography?

Another part of it, is of course by learning photography itself, depending how much technique and knowledge you want to cover, also how great of a photographer you want to become. The good news is, we can help you with that. Check out our Photography in a Day or Photography – Essentials.

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