What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?

Started Aug 29, 2013 | Discussions
bosjohn
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Re: Professional is one who is earning a living.
In reply to Apewithacamera, Aug 29, 2013

Apewithacamera wrote:

with that definition all wild life is professional as are photographers who make income from photographing professional wild life. what he said

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Glen Barrington
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 29, 2013

You get PAID for taking photos, ANYTHING else means you are an amateur.  You might be a good amateur or a bad one, but you're STILL an amateur.  It's a tax man thing.

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Apewithacamera
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I couldn't afford the gear I own being a professional photographer
In reply to bosjohn, Aug 29, 2013

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Mark B.
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 29, 2013

garyknrd wrote:

What does it take to be a professional wildlife photographer?

A picture that makes it to a top wildlife magazine?

Someone that sells a pic or an article about wildlife?

Kinda curious what the professional photographers here think the definition is?

Presently living in Asia

I don't think it's any different than any other professional photographer - generating revenue from the sales of images, whether that's a to a magazine, prints, etc.  The title 'professional' has the connotation that it should be the primary source of income.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 29, 2013

garyknrd wrote:

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

Someone who makes a living at it, who is known to consistently produce results fit for publication.

Yea, that is a general description of all professionals really.

I really have a hard time putting a label on it. It is a national pastime now. Retired farts like me and millions of others take photos of birds and wildlife. The sheer numbers must be staggering. And I see so many just drop dead photos.

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I've seen work from people who don't call themselves 'pros' whose work is as good as it gets, so I never knock the amateurs in any field of photography. More power to them.

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Glen Barrington
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There is nothing 'special' about being a professional photographer. . .
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, Aug 29, 2013

And there is no stigma in being an amateur, or at least, there shouldn't be a stigma.  THAT is just a status based on how you earn your bread.  It says nothing about your passion or skills.

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Braxton7
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Re: Professional is one who is earning a living.
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 29, 2013

garyknrd wrote:

Apewithacamera wrote:

Was hoping for a little more than that? I would say wedding photographers are a good definition of a professional photographer. Making a living taking pics and selling them. But wildlife photography is a lot different than a professional wedding or portrait photographer. Or maybe I am wrong?

Presently living in Asia

I wouldn't say your wrong. Wildlife as far as I know doesn't pay you to take their pictures

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Mark B.
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Re: Professional is one who is earning a living.
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 29, 2013

garyknrd wrote:

Apewithacamera wrote:

Was hoping for a little more than that? I would say wedding photographers are a good definition of a professional photographer. Making a living taking pics and selling them. But wildlife photography is a lot different than a professional wedding or portrait photographer. Or maybe I am wrong?

Presently living in Asia

Other than the subject matter and the conditions, what's different?  The wedding photographer makes money providing a service to couples getting married and is paid for it.  The wildlife photographer provides a service selling images of wildlife to clients for specific purposes, and is paid for it.  They are both being paid for providing images.

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Zee Char
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Re: Professional is one who is earning a living.
In reply to Mike921, Aug 30, 2013

Mike921 wrote:

garyknrd wrote:

Apewithacamera wrote:

Was hoping for a little more than that? I would say wedding photographers are a good definition of a professional photographer. Making a living taking pics and selling them. But wildlife photography is a lot different than a professional wedding or portrait photographer. Or maybe I am wrong?

Presently living in Asia

IMHO, a professional (fill in anything) is someone who gets paid for their work.

I don't think so. If you are a car salesman by profession and your neighbour pays you to build their fence during your summer holidays you are not a professional carpenter even if the fence you built kicks everyones else's butt.

To get technical you are a professional when more than 50% of your income comes from a trade, career, etc. You can good at many things but only one qualifies you as a professional - the one that brings in most of the meat and potatoes. If you do several things that all bring in an equal amount you are a "jack of all trades".

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Detail Man
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer ?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 30, 2013

(Seems to me that) actually being "wildlife" would be the closest fit. If such a creature sports a Rolex watch, we might assume also assume that (at least some) "profession" may be involved ...

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Zee Char
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Re: Professional is one who is earning a living.
In reply to Zee Char, Aug 30, 2013

Zee Char wrote:

Mike921 wrote:

garyknrd wrote:

Apewithacamera wrote:

Was hoping for a little more than that? I would say wedding photographers are a good definition of a professional photographer. Making a living taking pics and selling them. But wildlife photography is a lot different than a professional wedding or portrait photographer. Or maybe I am wrong?

Presently living in Asia

IMHO, a professional (fill in anything) is someone who gets paid for their work.

I don't think so. If you are a car salesman by profession and your neighbour pays you to build their fence during your summer holidays you are not a professional carpenter even if the fence you built kicks everyones else's butt.

To get technical you are a professional when more than 50% of your income comes from a trade, career, etc. You can good at many things but only one qualifies you as a professional - the one that brings in most of the meat and potatoes. If you do several things that all bring in an equal amount you are a "jack of all trades".

Just to add. I would slit my wrists before hiring a guy telling me he is a professional, gardner, painter, electrician, concrete guy and photographer. He could not keep his chit together with 2  trades while maintaining high end "consistent" professionalism. We hired professional painters once who like other trades over book. Different guys in the house every day, never knew where the other ones left off, got the colours wrong.

Not to say people cannot do well with multiple trades. If I want a quality $7000 wedding with guaranteed results I want an accredited person who has experience because they devote most of time to their trade. They make their living off that so a quality product is important to them. Even then it can go wrong but the chances are slimmer. If I want $500 wedding the I'm OK with a guy who washes windows during the week. Not to say that person cannot do a good a job. I've seen excellent stuff from amateurs.

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Zee Char
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Re: Professional is one who is earning a living.
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 30, 2013

garyknrd wrote:

I know a lot of people who make there living as tour guides. And are wildlife photographers.

Is that a definition that works?

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Presently living in Asia

Are they wildlife tour guides?

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ZodiacPhoto
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Professional or For-Income?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 30, 2013

I see from the previous replies that most responders agree that a professional wildlife (wedding, advertizement, modeling, etc.) photographer is somebody who earns his income (or good part of it) from photography. I think this is a definition of a "for-income" photographer.

Professional is somebody who has a proper education or, at least, "grandfathered" in the trade through extensive successful work experience.

Professional cannot be replaced with a person from the street or a kid after a high school after a couple month of training.

Professional should be recognized and accepted by his colleagues, either though a formal test (bar, board exam, etc.), or by overwhelming recognition among his peers.

Professional obeys some moral / ethical code of conduct and supports his group agenda. For wildlife photographers this would be ecology, conservation, etc.

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Zee Char
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Re: Professional or For-Income?
In reply to ZodiacPhoto, Aug 30, 2013

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

I see from the previous replies that most responders agree that a professional wildlife (wedding, advertizement, modeling, etc.) photographer is somebody who earns his income (or good part of it) from photography. I think this is a definition of a "for-income" photographer.

Professional is somebody who has a proper education or, at least, "grandfathered" in the trade through extensive successful work experience.

Professional cannot be replaced with a person from the street or a kid after a high school after a couple month of training.

Professional should be recognized and accepted by his colleagues, either though a formal test (bar, board exam, etc.), or by overwhelming recognition among his peers.

Professional obeys some moral / ethical code of conduct and supports his group agenda. For wildlife photographers this would be ecology, conservation, etc.

Bingo

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pavi1
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 30, 2013

garyknrd wrote:

What does it take to be a professional wildlife photographer?

Enough after tax income to pay for your food, shelter, transportation, insurance (ie. your life)

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garyknrd
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?
In reply to pavi1, Aug 30, 2013

Looking at this it seems like the consensus is making money, with the money made the main income.

Personally I think if you get to this point you will have successfully passed the other tests. For the most part.

I personally still like Fred's answer the best. For me it is what I see every day on the internet.

Showman ship, persona in photography. Without this you are domed IMO. No matter how good a photographer you are. IMO it trumps talent?

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limlh
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 30, 2013

One who is very committed to the preservation of wildlife. It is not about taking photos to sell but to truly support conservation efforts to restore wasteland back to nature.

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absentaneous
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 30, 2013

if you make a living taking pictures of wildlife then you are a professional wildlife photographer. you don't need to be a professional wildlife photographer in order to take good pictures of wildlife though it's just that in most cases you need to be good in order to get the job as a wildlife photographer.

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Ron Poelman
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They pay the critters award rates (NT)
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 30, 2013

(NT)

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ChristianAdam
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Re: What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?
In reply to garyknrd, Aug 30, 2013

If you have to ask, then the answer is ... No.

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