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Thread: Professionalism.

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    Professionalism.

    I am amazed at the number of people who buy a camera,take some photographs, add photography after their name a think they are a photographer. It is owed to anyone using your services that you have some knowledge of the workings of a camera & related matter & you owe it to yourself to have some basic business acumen and legal knowledge relating to contract & photography laws.
    I have come across so called photographers who do not ask for permission to take an obviously "private" photo. Neither have they known or bothered to find out about the legality of shooting at a park, event or zoo etc..
    I also cringe when I see " I've got a wedding what sort of lens do I buy?" or "Do I need a back up camera for weddings?" If you are touting yourself as a professional be one.
    If you are serious about calling yourself a photographer register as a business, take some courses & pay some taxes (or not as the case may be) the same as the rest of the profession. It does have benefits.
    You must register for GST if:
    1. You are carrying on an enterprise
    2. You're annual turnover will exceed $75,000
    Whether you register or not depends on advice from an accountant.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
    I am amazed at the number of people who buy a camera,take some photographs, add photography after their name a think they are a photographer.
    I am amazed at the number of people who buy a lawn mower, cut some grass, add gardening after their name a think they are a horticulturist.

    Sorry, I am off on a rather cynical tack this morning but your scenario (and mine) are all too prevalent in many many areas of society today.
    Andrew
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I see professionalism as much more (but including), having the gear, having done the courses, etc. Professionalism is a mind set and attitude as well.

    One can be a professional with exemplary history in a field, but that does not make them a professional in another field, either.

    I agree with I @ M, seems we are getting more and more of these in recent years, in most 'professions'.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    It's all about the Light!
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    First, lets separate Photographer from Professional.
    See: http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ad.php?t=56194

    Some definitions:

    Pho·tog·ra·pher n. One who practices, or is skilled in, photography.

    (Business / Professions) a person who takes photographs, either as a hobby or a profession
    Secondly, consider that many amateur/hobbyists/enthusiasts are very skilled and often out do 'professionals'.

    As for business skills, I agree that many professionals (in photography or other areas of endeavour)
    don't have very good skills or have not implemented a sound business plan (marketing, GST, finance & accounts, insurance etc).

    That said, there are a bunch of weekend warriors who do a great job at both photography and business;
    also many some who don't Welcome to planet Earth, its life.

    In the end, its always caveat emptor. If you engage a professional to do work, check them out first.
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    First, lets separate Photographer from Professional.
    See: http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ad.php?t=56194



    Secondly, consider that many amateur/hobbyists/enthusiasts are very skilled and often out do 'professionals'.

    As for business skills, I agree that many professionals (in photography or other areas of endeavour)
    don't have very good skills or have not implemented a sound business plan (marketing, GST, finance & accounts, insurance etc).

    That said, there are a bunch of weekend warriors who do a great job at both photography and business;
    also many who don't Welcome to planet Earth, its life.

    In the end, its always caveat emptor. If you engage a professional to do work, check them out first.
    i think that you could replace the word "many" with "some"

    There are a minority of those that are weekend warriors that are anywhere near as consistently good as ft pros

    The thing that is grey is at what point you are a professional, are in business etc
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    Amor fati!
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    as per the dictionary definition a photographer is someone who takes photos....

    my personal thought on the matter of amateurs and business is that if professional are feeling threatened by the constant influx of amateurs muscling in on thier territory then maybe the pros need to lift there game.
    digital photography has opened floodgates to allow anyone to create good looking photos and the potential is there for just about anyone to make money from thier camera.

    maybe the pros need to offer something that the amateurs cant?

    photography is like any product, you can pay for a top quality euro product or a made in taiwan that will do the same. its a war out there.

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    Its clear this is true in many fields. Take climate science for instance.
    The only people who are truly professionals are those who have worked in the field from a scientific background.
    Currently we have economists, historians, sustainability experts, politicians, radical greenies, environmentalists, sceptics from other fields and just about anyone who wants a research dollar trying to claim they are climate scientists or that climate actually means anything in their otherwise irrelevant field.
    This annoys the hell out of me, because the majority of these individuals have no idea about the science of which they speak, and either trivialise or sensationalise what they do say...or deny it because they fail to understand it.

    I suppose this makes a similar case to photography, where people who don't understand it, and can't offer that professional side are trying to claim this in order to make something from it. Needless to say this is one of several threads I have seen going down this path, and one point I strongly disagree with is the courses for photography...would you rather someone who has taken some tick box course, or someone who has learnt their camera inside out taking pictures every day for their own benefit in order to effect their abilities. If you are referring to business courses and how to go about it then I am more for this as I think the success of a business is difficult to achieve from a start without prior knowledge.

    I can think of a no-longer friend of mine who called himself a photographer and had training, maintaining his "business" for 38 years...but when I actually saw him take pictures in person I was utterly bemused that he had no concept of settings, composition or how to deal with unusual situations. On technical review of his photos I was surprised he had made anything at all from his photos. Some people have it, some don't. Many of the pro's do have it...but not all....some amateurs/weekend warriors have it...others don't.

    A drive in business with reasonable to good photos is just as important as exceptional photos but poor business skills. The same can be said for professionalism (that is acting in a professional manner or manner befitting a professional)...if you act professional in the way you take photographs (IE understanding the business client relationship, model releases, marketing/advertising) and produce a product which satisfies the client then I dont see a problem with you claiming to offer a professional service. This does not mean you are a professional photographer necessarily, but can be offering a professional service in photography. A weird sort of nuance but different meanings.
    Last edited by Xebadir; 29-07-2010 at 10:28am.
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    Member Jorge Arguello's Avatar
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    I guess that his thread is started because there is a feeling that “possible customers” are choosing the services of a cheaper none-professional of the area. At the end, the quality of the work will speak by itself. I think that customers choose the quality and price of a service according to the quality that they are expecting (and their budget).

    For a simple BBQ in a park, How much would you spend for some pictures there? You can have this kind of events often. Maybe photography lovers (with the budget) will ask professional service for each of them.

    If you spend a huge amount of money on one time event (like weeding), Who do choose to do the job? Someone who makes you feel will do good job. (cooking, drinks, photos or any other area).

    At the end, the professionals are doing a job they like, and (in most of the cases) they are getting paid for.

    p.s. I like the last line comment from Ving.
    Last edited by Jorge Arguello; 29-07-2010 at 10:49am.
    Regards.
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    I constantly sit and scratch my head over the sheer number of 'professional photographers' there are in the world today.
    Where did they all come from?
    How did they become professional?
    Did they all go to the same school / college / university to be able to hang the word professional upon themselves?
    Those questions (and more) led me to research this phenomenon of seemingly unhindered growth of 'professionals' and it appears that it is all an illusion.
    It seems that anyone can hang that tag upon themselves without formal training, without any kind of educational degree or without any legislative requirements behind said tag.
    That is about the point where I decided that there must be a vast number of photographers out there who wish to appear better than other photographers or to gain a marketing edge through a few letters.

    By now it must be apparent to anyone that has bothered to read this far that I have a bit of a negative thing going with the term 'professional photographer'.
    The term can be purely applied by anyone to themselves as either ego padding or marketing spin.
    It really is a worthless tag.
    Hanging the tag 'professional' in their business name does not guarantee that the proprietor of the business will conduct their business in a 'professional' manner, like wise, not having 'that' word in the name in no way says that the proprietor of said business won't deliver a 'professional' package in their dealings with you.

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    It's all about the Light!
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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    How did they become professional?
    My take:
    1. Academic qualifications? No.
    2. Membership to some professional body? No.
    3. Deriving regular income from their work in some form of business (part or full time)? Yes.

    But just saying your a professional, even if 3. is true does not really make you one,
    as alluded to earlier there is a standard of work/skills required as well.

    In the end tagging yourself as a professional is a marketing ploy as much as anything else.

    Maybe I should call myself a New Improved Super Green Professional Photographer?
    How about a sales tag: Kym's images only use 100% pure re-cycled electrons!


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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Sorry Kym, I simply do not agree with you about deriving all of or any income from your photography in order to call yourself professional.

    YOU can simply hang that tag in front of or behind YOUR name and never earn a single dollar from photography and seemingly people accept that because you say you are a 'professional' photographer, you are.

    In exactly the same way, someone can make their entire living from photography and not have that word associated with them.

    It is a word that is all to often used in a totally inappropriate and pretentious manner that means diddly squat.

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    I dont often see anyone labelling themselves a professional photographer, or not that I see (not including those who are AIPP)

    Plenty out there with business names and "darren white photographer" websites and cards etc.

    Doesn't mean you're "professional" or necessarily in business

    I think if you want to be serious, yes, you should have the skill, equipment, business structure, insurance etc etc etc in place before you can purport to be a professional photographer (I personally think that there is a place for a hobbyist who collects $75 every so often for taking photos of the neighbours kids too without having a business structure)

    Personally, I think as soon as you start charging for "work" on a regular basis (as distinct from the example above) then yes, you are a "professional" photographer and are accountable accordingly - but there are no industry regulations, codes of practice, statutory requirements (outside of general business and tax rules)

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    There are shoddy, unprofessional operators in almost every industry, not just photography. 'Buyer beware' is a good motto to live by.
    Canon DSLRs & lenses | Fuji X series & lenses | Ricoh GR


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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post

    photography is like any product, you can pay for a top quality euro product or a made in taiwan that will do the same. its a war out there.
    I agree with this.

    The great thing about Photography is that people can offer different things, a different style or approach.

    There are people who lack professionalism and common sense or manners in every industry and indeed everyday life.

    Do I call myself a photographer, yeah sure. Do I call myself a professional photographer, no.

    I think for me it is also about what the end result is. If you want to sell your work, make a living shooting weddings or sport then I think that it is a good idea to register a business, complete some courses and take the time to learn your craft but if you are doing it simply for the love of the art format then it is a little different.
    If you change my photos please let me know how what you did, cheers

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Sorry Darren, simply using your analogy of charging money for you services then means that --

    I cut peoples grass for a living, therefore I am a professional lawn care consultant.

    I was peoples cars for a living, therefore I am a professional automotive cleanser.

    I sell washing machines at the local white goods store for a living, therefore I am a professional sales consultant.

    There is one common theme amongst all of that, those vocations aren't recognised trades, subject to educational qualification or mandatory university degrees etc.

    The word professional is pure spin.

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    It's all about the Light!
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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Sorry Kym, I simply do not agree with you about deriving all of or any income from your photography in order to call yourself professional.
    YOU can simply hang that tag in front of or behind YOUR name and never earn a single dollar from photography and seemingly people accept that because you say you are a 'professional' photographer, you are.
    <snip>
    Sure someone can call themselves anything. And you're correct it means zilch.

    But I'm saying that professional has a common meaning related to income from a field of endeavour.
    I'm an IT professional, not that I'd put that on my business card , actually a Project Manager / Systems Architect.
    Conversely Tony would not say he is a professional lawyer as a lawyer is implicitly a profession due to training and accreditation reasons (the Bar etc).
    Ditto Doctor etc. But a Doctor works in the medical profession.

    But, IT and Photography have no formal accreditation requirements and the term is much looser.

    ______________________________

    pro·fes·sion·al professional

    –adjective
    1. following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain: a professional builder.
    2. of, pertaining to, or connected with a profession: professional studies.
    3. appropriate to a profession: professional objectivity.
    4. engaged in one of the learned professions: A lawyer is a professional person.
    5. following as a business an occupation ordinarily engaged in as a pastime: a professional golfer.
    6. making a business or constant practice of something not properly to be regarded as a business: “A salesman,” he said, “is a professional optimist.”
    7. undertaken or engaged in as a means of livelihood or for gain: professional baseball.
    8. of or for a professional person or his or her place of business or work: a professional apartment; professional equipment.
    9. done by a professional; expert: professional car repairs.
    and another one...

    professional -adjective

    • related to work that needs special training or education
    Chris, you're a nurse, so can I ask your professional opinion on bandaging ankles?
    Both doctors have been charged with professional misconduct (= bad or unacceptable behaviour in their work).
    Compare: amateur

    • approving having the qualities that you connect with trained and skilled people, such as effectiveness, skill, organisation and seriousness of manner
    It would look more professional if the letter was typed.
    She always looks very professional in her smart suits.
    You've done a very professional job stripping that floor!

    • describes someone who does a job that people usually do as a hobby
    She's a professional dancer/photographer.
    He's a runner who's just turned professional. (= His running used to be a hobby, but now it is his job.)

    • having the type of job that is respected because it involves a high level of education and training
    Room for rent in shared house - would suit professional person.
    a bar full of young professional types in suits

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    Maybe I'm moving in the wrong circles, but like Darren, I rarely hear people refer to themselves as 'professional' photographers. There are plenty of people who market themselves as photographers, but I don't often see the use of the word 'professional'. And it seems that the potential (mis)use of a single word is the source of frustration here?

    Actions speak louder than words IMO. People who charge money for a service (not just photography) will either act professionally or they won't. It doesn't matter what words they use to describe themselves. And they'll either thrive, or run themselves out of business based on their level of professionalism (although some operators seem to last a long time when they probably shouldn't).
    Last edited by Jules; 29-07-2010 at 12:24pm.

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    Member SnowA's Avatar
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    Commercial does not necessarily equate to professional, IMO.

    But then a profession has never been easy to define.
    SA

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    Member SRR33's Avatar
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    Let your pictures do the talking; thats what i say.

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    I had a interesting experience recently were i was barred from the Orange Show entries because "i wasn't an amateur" and then by default they said i was a professional. To some there was no "in between" you are one or the other.
    My opinion was/ is that currently I am currently " a part time working photographer"
    This is how one local Orange NSW professional photographer see's the wedding photography business
    http://renaissance.com.au/the-4-type...photographers/

    Cheers
    Jeff - Jeff D Photography
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