Professional. “I’m a professional photographer.” It sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? So, what does it take to go from being an amateur photographer to gaining the title “Professional Photographer”?
Do I have to win photo competition awards?
Do I need formal training?
Do I have to be certified?
Do I need to have a studio?
Do I have to make $xx,xxx a year?
From my viewpoint, the difference between amateurs and professionals is purpose. Amateurs view photography as a hobby, while professionals create images in order to make money. This will be argued by many, but in my opinion, you don’t have to get a full-time income from photography to call yourself a professional. You can be part-time or “semi-pro”.
So, what is your purpose for taking photographs? If you enjoy taking pictures as a hobby, then keep doing that. You can certainly learn to shoot like a pro, even if you aren’t one (you’ll know you’re shooting like a pro when you try to get family pictures printed at Walmart, and they make you sign a Copyright Release form before giving you your prints).
If you desire to turn your love of photography into a profession, then take steps toward that goal, and start calling yourself a professional.