I'm a Professional Photographer??

September 26, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

I get called a professional photographer often. Funny thing is, I don’t consider myself one. Like most, I have those in the photography world I consider professionals and look up to their work. They amaze me and inspire. True masters of which I wish I had the capability to absorb their knowledge. They are pros. They create photographic art for a living. They don’t have another job.

I on the other hand, consider myself a hobbyist, perhaps a hobbyist plus. I do have my work published often and do have clients and some income from my “hobby” but in the end, I have a day job.  Photography is not my primary income.  To me, photography is fun, something I have been doing for many years but decided several years ago to see if it could be something more. Turns out, it did.

(c)Neal Rideout The key thing for me is the fun part. I have this fear that if I push too hard to reach some magical level of success, the fun will fade as the workload and business aspects increase. I’m scratching on that precipice now. As in the movie, “The Matrix”, which pill do I take? My decision right now is to place myself in a holding pattern. The fun will continue! I scrutinize potential jobs that may be work, not fun. When it’s fun, I experiment, can be artistic and enjoy the experience. Customers benefit from this. It translates and inserts itself in the prints they buy. When its work, you have a job to do, costs to consider, no time for creativity, just do what works, the standards, no fun. I don’t want my HR department telling me to push the bigger packages, “Would you like to supersize your order”. I’m content in the profession that I have been in for so many years. Aviation related work has been my life, pays the mortgage, puts food on the table.

What does this mean to you? From my perspective, you as a potential customer, should I accept the job, get someone unhindered by external forces that suck the life out creativity. You get what you want and perhaps a bit more. Why,,,, I’m having fun!

Did you notice the inherent contradiction I inserted from the first paragraph? “They create photographic art for a living”. At some point, when you’re so good that you have customers begging for your products, you can have fun again. That’s life at the top. That’s one big mountain to climb just to enjoy again. Perhaps I’ll hang out here in my holding pattern a little longer. What a fun hobby this is!

Disclaimer: Like most, I’m attracted to shiny objects and wads of cash so I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.


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