Craptastic Photog

 The last few days I've been seeing rants about what a nonprofessional photographer should call themselves. Ok, so I'm married...is it an unwritten law that I absolutely Must be called Mrs. Franklin or I'm not Really married?  What would've happened if I had kept my maiden name?   Would it have
changed who I really am?  ::pfft!::  Nooowa!  Get over it people and let's talk about something that Really matters!  Ok, how about this...I read an article once were a gal called herself a ‘craptastic photog hobbyist”…I LOVE that! Sounds good to me, I think I’ll adopt the title for myself.

I completely agree that going out and buying a fancy pants camera doesn’t make you a professional photographer. I get that. However, there seems to be some more seasoned photographers who think pretty highly of themselves. Just because you’ve been at it longer doesn’t make you a professional. In fact constant blogging on the matter has become a huge discouragement to others. I wonder, how did they get started? Did they just show up one day being Fabulous? I highly doubt it.

What it all boils down to is respect, on both sides. Photography is a skill, and it takes practice. You cannot buy a big time camera and immediately become a professional. It takes time and patience, you have to work your way up. In order to do that you have to put yourself out there, advertise, and post your photos. I think that’s why some seasoned photographers are aggravated with the up & coming photographers. They’ve worked hard, spent a lot of time and money to get to where they are…then someone comes along giving the impression that they have the same credentials. It downplays the hard work they’ve put into their business.

I will be the first to admit, when I saved my mommy money to buy my fancy camera, all I wanted was to run out and not only call myself a professional photographer…but BE a professional photographer. I very quickly learned that just because I had that big, fancy, artsy fartsy camera…nope, it didn’t make me a great photographer at all. It was pretty bad.

I read everything I could find, took classes, and practiced…a lot. I gradually started to improve. Most importantly though, the frustration wasn’t as …well…frustrating. I was actually starting to enjoy what I was doing, and that was a really good feeling. Eventually I was being asked to take pictures for people other than my family. At first I didn’t charge anything. Then I would barter for home made jelly or tomatoes. I even shot my girlfriends daughter in exchange for a three months membership at the fitness club. I absolutely have a lot more to learn. In fact every time I pick up my camera I learn something new. It’s an ongoing process.

Today, yes, I do charge for my services. It’s my time and my talent. My time is just as important as the next persons. My work deserves credit, I earned it. More importantly though, I am responsible for my family. Like anyone else, I provide things like braces, clothing, food, cheer, karate, doctor bills, gas, etc…the list is never ending. Oh, and let’s not forget college shall we? So, you can better believe I have no problem charging for my services. No problem what so ever.

Do I want to run a professional photography business? Absolutely not, and I’ll tell you why. Photography as a business takes the fun out of it for me. I don’t want to deal with the business end of it. It’s a headache and a time suck…and it’s just not fun. This is supposed to be fun!

Professional or Nonprofessional Photographers ~ “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” It’s the right thing to do. It’s the way I was raised and the way I raise my own kids. As a photographer on any level, we should be there to help one another and inspire one another. Stay humble…it is so wonderful to receive compliments but take them and keep working harder. Don’t ever feel like ‘you have arrived’ because that’s not a good place to be. YOU are YOU and there are NO rules when it comes to art.

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