I was recently involved in a Facebook conversation about what constitutes a professional photographer. Here are my qualifications to be a pro!
Licensing. All businesses should have a vendors license. It makes it easy to pay sales and other taxes associated with your business. Sometimes it's a pain, but it is necessary. If you are doing business and not charging sales tax, then there is a title for you "Criminal" Be sure to keep that money saved up somewhere in case there is that knock on the door and it's the State or Federal Government asking for their cut plus penalties and fees!
Insurance. If you are operating a business and do not have insurance then you are crazy. In this sue happy society, people are just looking for a chance to file a lawsuit. You may not think it's your responsibility, but it is!
A professional location. It's just kind of creepy to meet in someone's basement or garage or at a restaurant. If a business tries to tell you otherwise, they are just unable to have a proper space. Mostly due to cost.
Full-time employment. Websters defines a professional as "Someone who earns most or all their income performing a service or task. If photography is you part time job, YOU ARE NOT A PROFESSIONAL. I worked a bridal show over the winter with a couple that said they were professionals. Their work was great. They are professionals, professional school teachers. By definition that makes them part timers. Be honest with your clients. Just because you charge money does not make you a pro. I play a lot of golf. I have made money playing it. I am not a pro golfer.
A "Passion for Photography" does not make you a photographer. It is not a reason to hire someone.
Charge a reasonable rate. If you charge a low ball price you devalue the work of all of us trying to make a living when you are just playing.
Learn your craft. Learn what every function of you camera and flash. Know what each function does and how you can use it to assist you in servicing your clients. If you never take your camera off "P" you are not a pro.
Equipment. You should have the proper equipment. Cameras, lenses, flashes, tripods and any other gear needed. If you have one camera and use only the built-in flash with the standard lens from the manufacturer.....How do you sleep? What if you are at an event and something breaks.....You need spares of everything.
On a side note here. If you don't have a proper flash or call yourself an available light photographer. How can you create consistent, well exposed, high quality images?
Computer stuff. If you do not have the industry standard software from Adobe there is no way you can compete in today's digital world. Photoshop and Lightroom are tools that I use almost every day. I can't imagine running my business without them!
Learn to use light. As a photographer this is my most important tool. Posing my client in a way that most flatters them is paramount. I have seen too many "professional" images where the subject is facing the wrong way or not properly lit with an external light source.
I have been involved in wedding photography for almost 30 years and a full time pro for 21 years. I would be happy to discuss any of these statements with anyone with questions. As a senior member of the industry, it is my responsibility to mentor upcoming photographer and assist them on their way to becoming pros.
Only 518 more days until we get a new President...
On a related note...Hillary finally has a viable Democratic challenger and she's dropping in the polls like a stone!
It looks the the Browns are going to have another stellar season....
I have an outdoor wedding on Saturday...It looks like great weather!!
My new Invicta watch should be here tomorrow.
I shot a 41 in the golf league yesterday. The worst score of the last 6 weeks. We dropped to third. Got to get it together, there are only 2 weeks left!
The selfie is the worst thing to happen to photography...EVER!
It looks like Ohio State is going to be great again this year....
Congrats to Jason Day for winning the PGA Championship. He seems like a really nice guy!
I love Lay's Dill Pickle chips.
I've been watching a lot of 70's and 80's TV shows lately. It's amazing how politically incorrect they were!
Subway really is looking bad right now. I'm sure they didn't know their spokesperson was a pedophile though!
I just saw my Facebook reach go up 18,000 %. I wish i knew what I did....
I am finally getting ready to start printing my photos from our Southwest trip. I have a whole wall dedicated to show those images.
Here comes the rain....Other than that, it's really quite pleasant outside...
I am watching an episode of Animal Cops. I am not an animal lover, but some of these people should be arrested and not allowed to own an animal ever again!
Here are a couple business head shots. We will do these for you for only $20.
Well....I'm running out of things to talk about. Please understand that none of the things that I blog about are meant to be critical of others. The lack of professionals in my profession concerns me greatly. I only hope to help educate the new photographers. They probably just don't know how to go about being a real business. I am always ready to answer any questions that anyone might have. I hope to elevate not drag down.
Thanks for reading....Check back next week!