Are You a "Professional" Photographer?
I get asked this on a regular basis. "Are you a professional photographer?" Why yes, yes I am a professional photographer.
What makes me a professional photographer?
I have a killer camera and great equipment. Yes, I have a very nice camera and some great lenses. No, that does not make me a professional photographer. If Jeff Gordon gave me his race car, parked it in my driveway and let me drive it at the raceway on Saturday, I would absolutely not be a professional race car driver. But why, you have a really nice race car? True, but the other drivers on that track would not be thrilled that the gal with the "really nice car" was on the track with them. I believe the reason the other drivers would not be thrilled is fairly obvious!
I take really nice pictures. Yes, my pictures are beautiful. But a lot of people take beautiful photos. Taking good pictures does not make me a professional photographer. It makes me a good photographer, but not professional.
I have a cool business name and logo. Actually, not really. My business name is my name. That was not all that creative and my logo is one that I whipped up because I had to have one. I wish I had a great logo, but I am not interested enough to get one. So you can have a super duper uber cool name and logo, but that does not make a professional.
The list goes on...
What makes a professional? Well, first someone who has some serious skills and formal training. More than just some "self taught" skills, but some serious education in the art of photography. Second, professional designations- city and county licensed, incorporated with a DBA, insured, tax certified and actually collecting and paying state sales tax. Yep, that is what makes you a real professional. Not necessarily a terrific photographer, but a true professional photographer. So now when I am asked if I am a professional, I think about all the work, effort, training, insurance policies, taxation, etc., that I am involved in and I say with authority - Yes. Yes I am!
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