After many conversations with colleagues, other suppliers and friends i have been thinking as to whether owning a modern day digital SLR makes a person a "photographer" or a "camera owner". The number of "horror stories" i have heard of late has really focused my mind on what really makes a photographer a "professional photographer".
My reasoning for thinking this is because it seems that everyman and his dog is a "professional photographer" these days. Without trying to sound bitter or hard, in the main most of these are in reality "camera owners" with aspirations to be a "professional photographer".
Some people suggest that i shouldn't worry but the thing is, that i am passionate about my profession, my work and the standard of work and service clients deserve and it concerns me about the cowboy approach many "photographers" seem to take to wedding photography in particular.
Just by owning a decent camera, it doesn't mean a person is a professional, even if they are charging for their photography in the same way as if i bought a set of knives i wouldn't be a professional chef or if i bought a set of tools i wouldn't be a professional mechanic or a plumber!
Being a professional photographer is far more than owning decent kit and taking nice photographs.
To be a true professional requires a lot of hard work and many skills. Being professional in your approach towards dealing and working with clients, other suppliers, venues, colleagues etc is a huge part of being professional.
Keeping true and accurate accounts, paying taxes rather than trying to slip under the microscope and avoiding paying income tax, VAT and NI is what being professional is all about. The same goes for carrying adequate insurance, having good working practises, having enough back up equipment and having the right approach and attitude when working etc.
This all takes a lot of time and effort as well as costing money, but this is where realistic pricing comes into the equation.
Being a professional photographer isn't an easy option. Its easy to start off but getting more and more difficult to keep a sustainable business going these days.
It takes constant hard work and effort to keep your work fresh and exciting as well as profitable.
Anything less is unprofessional and in reality makes the photographer a "camera owner" rather than a "professional photographer."
You can view my wedding galleries here.