What is a professional photographer?

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photographer1Professional.  “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.

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