What an odd name for the title of a blog post, right? It is, in all honesty, only part of the point of this post.
Want to know the rest?
It’s something that has been rolling around on the inside of me for a few weeks now.
The full title should be: Amateur is No Less of a Photographer.
Many people in the world of photography have an unexpressed view (and many times, it is expressed in one way or another, even if in attitude only) that a photographer who claims themselves to be a hobby or amateur photographer is “less than” a professional. That is simply not true!
A professional photographer doesn’t automatically mean the person behind the camera is more skilled, more qualified or more of an expert in the field. No, according to Nikon and Canon, “A professional photographer is a photographer who earns 100% of his income from photography. This is the definition required for entrance into the secret Nikon and Canon factory support organizations.” ~ Ken Rockwell
As a matter of fact, according to Mr. Rockwell, an amateur is defined as a photographer who earns less than 50% of their income from their photography work. In other words, those who have full-time jobs outside of photography and shoot on the side are not by definition a pro photographer, no matter what they call themselves.
With those points made, there are many extremely talented, skilled, gifted and knowledgable photographers who call themselves something other than professional who know far more than many self-proclaimed professionals. All you have to do is look at their work! It’s quite sad that more and more photographers today are taking terribly over or underexposed images, photos with extreme motion blur with artsy titles attached, when in fact the images are nothing more than bad captures.
WITH THAT SAID…I do not claim myself to be an expert. As a matter of fact, I am the first to say I have so very, very much to learn and practice makes perfect (and I need much more practice!) I am CONSTANTLY feeding on tutorials, classes, workshops and practicing so that I can further my own skills and talents, even though I have absolutely no desire to do photography on a full-time basis. So I am not placing judgement on anyone, just stating facts. As I’ve shared before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are trends and styles in photography that change just like clothes. Each person will gravitate to what interests them and rightly so.
However, back to my point…a photographer who refers to their title as a hobby or amateur photographer, is not declaring their knowledge or ability in the techniques and skills of being a photographer as anything less than someone who proclaims their title as professional.
I, myself, am an amateur and proud of it. Although 100% of my income over the last two years has come from my photography and I could self-proclaim myself as a professional, I prefer amateur. (No one ever said how much that 100% amount needed to be.)
After discovering this definition of Amateur a couple of years ago, I’d say this defines who I am in photography:
An amateur (French amateur “lover of”, from Old French and ultimately from Latin amatorem nom. amator, “lover”) is generally considered a person attached to a particular pursuit, study, or science, without pay and often without formal training.
Although photography is for me a hobby, and one I enjoy very much, I like being referred to as an amateur due to the definition above. I am for certain attached to photography, I have not received (at least very much) pay, I for sure have no formal training, and above all I am without doubt a lover of photography.
Debbi, the Amateur!