I'm curious. What does it mean to be a professional photographer?
I don't exactly consider myself a pro, but I'm not a fan of referring to photography as just my "hobby".
I've invested quite a bit of money (for me) in photography equipment- bodies, lenses, strobes and other studio equipment. But I know the gear I have doesn't make me a professional.
I'm not super technical in my photography, but I consider myself knowing more than just the basics. I spent 5 years working as an assistant at a photography studio. I learned a lot and got some great experience. I also spent those 5 years in the back room retouching and post-producing photos. I consider myself technically intermediate and enjoy learning and trying new techniques from others.
I don't make my living off of my photography, but occasionally I will do small paid jobs.
I consider myself an amateur- not in the sense that I'm new or inexperienced, but in the sense that for now, I do photography because I love it.
So what exactly does it mean to be professional in your opinion? We know it's not the gear alone. Is it the making money off of your skill? Paid jobs? Making a living? Is it simply having skill and experience? What do you all think?
My main job is a nurse, though I sometimes do photography for pay. When in nursing school, there was this one class where they spent hours and hours trying to convince is that nursing is a profession, not just a job. The term professional is a very bantied-about term, and has come to meaning almost nothing in many cases today.
Webster's 1828 :PROFES'SIONAL, a. Pertaining to a profession or to a calling; as professional studies, pursuits, duties,engagements; professional character or skill.
PROFES'SION, n. The business which one professes to understand and to follow for subsistence; calling; vocation; employment; as the learned professions. We speak of the profession of a clergyman, of a lawyer, and of a physician or surgeon; the profession of lecturer on chimistry or mineralogy. But the word is not applied to an occupation merely mechanical.
Maybe that helps?