What is a 'Pro' Photographer, really?

Started Feb 20, 2014 | Discussions thread
rhlpetrus Forum Pro • Posts: 24,895
Unrelated to qualifications or results Re: Pro photographer - it's your occupation

Greg A A wrote:

Professional literal definition: A person engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.

Pro photographer is nothing more than saying your occupation is a photographer. A professional wedding photographer is going to immediately know how to deal with a wedding and do a great job on the shots that their customers like. A pro that makes their money on stock is also likely to be an outstanding photographer.

Being a pro has nothing to with how good a photographer you are. However, most professional photographers are very good as well. An amateur photographer could very well be a better photographer than a pro, but probably not as a rule.

A profession is not just a community of people that survive from a common activity, it is something that evolved from communties, but at a certain point became more than that, has its own rules of conduct, possibly an union or association that represents the members (and charges for that accordingly), is recognized as such by labour legislation, etc.

Either one is a member of the profession or not. Someone that shoots the occasional wedding, even if charging, cannot be considered a professional photographer automatically. But if he or she registers as a part or full time photographer in such an association or union, then they become professional photogs.

Basically, one has poor, midlevel and excellent pro photographers, like in all professions, being a member of one is not a guarantee of quality. There are great, average and very poor teachers, all of them professional ones. It's not a good thing to equate "pro" with the quality of output, in any area. I know people like to use expressions like "he is a real pro" to mean the person is well-qualified and produces excellent quality results in all areas, but that is not a good way of using the word, in the real world of professions.

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