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Author Topic: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..  (Read 17562 times)

bycostello

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2011, 12:53:08 PM »
who cares what others call you or what annoys them.. do what pleases you.. live your life for yourself and not for the gratification of others... 

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2011, 12:53:08 PM »

awinphoto

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2011, 12:55:26 PM »
There's the separation of terms Photographer and Professional Photographer... While most anyone with a camera and an understanding how to use it and to do so in a way to create images is/could be considered a Photographer, but most Professional Photographers do so for the sake of compensation whether it be money/barter/accolades, etc... The problem is most people blur the lines which is why most photographers will admit their greatest competition is amateur photographers... Professional photographers try to set their quality and price bracket at the next tier above but then again when a couple to get some joe blow off the street, pay him $100-150 to shoot an hour or two of their wedding and provide a CD of the images, hell yeah, that would be an easier sell than a pro to shoot it for $1500-3000 and get an album and handful of pictures...  As for the OP, sure, call yourself a photographer but make sure if there is any confusion that you are not professional, unless you get to the point where you wish to become professional and developed a portfolio. 
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thepancakeman

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2011, 12:58:08 PM »
who cares what others call you or what annoys them.. do what pleases you.. live your life for yourself and not for the gratification of others...

-1.  I have no idea what the cultural implications of this are in Malaysia, but simply telling someone to do whatever they want without a broader context is selfish and short-sighted.

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2011, 01:32:15 PM »
who cares what others call you or what annoys them.. do what pleases you.. live your life for yourself and not for the gratification of others...

-1.  I have no idea what the cultural implications of this are in Malaysia, but simply telling someone to do whatever they want without a broader context is selfish and short-sighted.

+1:  I was thinking the same... there's a reason why the OP posted the question, he is looking for rationale or a justification of sorts. It's important for him...
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archangelrichard

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2011, 05:37:39 PM »
I think there may be a language issue here: In English you modify "photographer" with "professional, amateur, etc." but in other languages "photographer" may mean professional photographer (person making a living through their photography) and that person simply has money, time on their hands, not necessarily better skills or understanding

That said, in English, if you take pictures you are a photographer, even with a point-and-shoot

I can't answer for your language

wickidwombat

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2011, 06:36:25 PM »
I would say you most certainly are a photographer, I would class every member of this site as a photography.
I think the distinction you are looking for is the difference between a photographer and a proffessional photographer being the person that earns a living from being a photographer.

Hope that clears it up
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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2011, 07:38:14 PM »
Great call for everyone who recognized that there are cultural/language implications and the fact that the distinction is important to some people.  Personally, I'm not sure if I would call myself a photographer despite there being no rule that says I can't.  I know more about photography than the average bear, have some pretty cool gear, have taken a few nice photos, and have even sold a few (but hockey moms will pay for even bad photos of their little precious scoring a goal so maybe that doesn't really count).  I do care about offending others and given my love of photography I have a great deal of respect for skilled photographers and am therefore hesitant to think of myself as a photographer.  Very interesting topic and great posts by all who've responded.

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2011, 07:38:14 PM »

willrobb

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2011, 07:42:35 PM »
There's the separation of terms Photographer and Professional Photographer... While most anyone with a camera and an understanding how to use it and to do so in a way to create images is/could be considered a Photographer, but most Professional Photographers do so for the sake of compensation whether it be money/barter/accolades, etc... The problem is most people blur the lines which is why most photographers will admit their greatest competition is amateur photographers... Professional photographers try to set their quality and price bracket at the next tier above but then again when a couple to get some joe blow off the street, pay him $100-150 to shoot an hour or two of their wedding and provide a CD of the images, hell yeah, that would be an easier sell than a pro to shoot it for $1500-3000 and get an album and handful of pictures...  As for the OP, sure, call yourself a photographer but make sure if there is any confusion that you are not professional, unless you get to the point where you wish to become professional and developed a portfolio.

When someone who takes photos for a hobby refers to themselves as a photographer I don't mind so much, but then if they start to claim they are a "pro" after making a semi-decent portfolio and then undercharging to get some jobs that takes work away from people who make a living from photography I am not happy >:(

This month I have lost out on two wedding jobs because of people like this. One was an email to the effect of "we'd really like you to take our photos, but we found another guy who will shoot all day for 100 dollars, so if you would drop you rate somewhat, say to 400 dollars (my minimum for a basic package is about 1200) we'd be willing to hire you." Errrm, no.

Ryusui

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2011, 11:59:16 PM »
I'm sure I'll get some scowls or growls for this, but whatever.

Personally, I don't understand the mindset of being offended by "professional amateur photographers" – the guys who some people say aren’t quite a “professional photographer” but still take on photo jobs and in many cases undercut the “professionals.”  Getting angry for losing business to them; sure, I can see that.  But while I understand, appreciate and agree that photography is an art, it is also a business.  And like any business, there will be people vying for a piece of the pie.  They do this because they know there are people out there “overcharging” (I use this word very loosely and only in the sense of the customer’s standpoint, not my own or the competing photographer) and that some clients are looking for a better deal than they are a higher caliber of work.  (On that same note, I am also in no way saying that the work of a photographer who charges $200/day is of lesser quality than one who chargers $200/hr.)

Yes – there are many men and women make their whole living off of photography while some of these others are doing it as a side-job, to try and climb their way up into the “professional” ranks, or just for fun.  But the unfortunate reality of things is that many people are a lot more price conscious than they used to be, which means they’ll shop around more.  And if they find “Joe Blow” with a decent looking webpage and some nice looking photos advertising his services for a fraction of the cost, then it is likely they will go with him.

Though some may or may not agree, I think construction and engineering can be just as much an art as photography is.  And those businesses are definitely about undercutting the last guy.  But for less money, you also run the risk of getting lower quality goods.

Is the advent of the cheap dSLR a blow to the professional photographer?  Sure.  With everyone and their mother thinking they can be a professional photographer the market has become greatly over saturated with people who will undercut the pros who have been doing this for years and in many instances will blow away any Johnny-Come-Lately with a Canon Rebel.  But I also think it's a good challenge.  It makes those who have become set in their ways look at the craft in a new way.  Pros must constantly re-invent themselves to be ahead of the game instead of being stagnant and that just means better things for the art and the artist.

My point?  Instead of getting angry or frustrated with all the guys who keep "stealing" your business, find ways to show the client why you're unique and how the price you're asking is far less than what you're worth.

willrobb

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2011, 06:25:10 AM »
I don't think any photographer minds a bit of competition, it does ensure people keep their standards high and keeps the art of photography moving forward.

As for complaining about undercutting rather than proving their worth, it's quite hard to compete when someone offers their photography services for free or for less than a tenth of the going rate. Especially when those offering free/cheap deals already have another job that pays their mortgage and the photography is just something fun for a bit of extra cash. The guys offering 100 dollar wedding shoots wouldn't be able to give up their day job and make a living from photography by charging the same rates, so it's not really a level playing field.  Even if their goal is to become a full time photographer they are already shooting themselves in the foot by lowering the market value by offering cheaper deals in the first place, so it's bad for all photographers, whether they be full time or part time.

At the end of the day though, the people who are good at what they do will keep getting work as long as they keep working hard and have a bit of luck. I hope all hard working people in every industry keep their jobs and are able to provide for their families.

Maui5150

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2011, 09:15:40 AM »
It is a tough market and dilema, but at the same time people need to get a start somewhere.  Especially when starting out. 

I currently do TfP or even more shockingly, I even pay some models. 

But that is also the level of my work. 

I am probably undercutting myself at the moment, but at the same time we also have a scale in our heads when we look at more professional shooters work.  Since I do a lot more fashion work at the moment, I will take a benchmark for me like Stephen Eastwood.  Love the man's work.  Not even close to his quality and skill.  Granted, he also easily has 100x more experience than I do, if not more, so not really a fair barometer, but as well, I also tend to work with people that most Professional Photographers piss on. 

I am trying to get better, I never plan to be a photographer as a profession, but I do plan to get to be a professional photographer.  My distinction is I want to be able to shoot on my terms, create art when I am inspired, and do want to get paid, though I will be shooting far far less. 

I have worked with a lot of new models, I have also worked with a few who have a lot more print and media and I hear a TON of stories about photographers who cancel last minute, treat the models and MUA like crap and there is the pervasive attitude of "I already have that in my portfolio, here are my rates" 

Charge $100 for a wedding... Not for me.  I actually hope I NEVER have to shoot a wedding.  Have no desire to. 

There is definitely "more" competition in the digital age, because it is much cheaper to snap 400 shots on a digital than it is to develop film, as well as it is easier to see what you are getting.

There is a defined hierarchy.  The better models want to be paid, just like the best photographers do, and generally that means a client is in their paying the fees.  Learning photographers tend to work with learning models and even there it is not a bed of roses since we have to prove more often than not that we are serious and not just a "guy with a camera" 

awinphoto

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2011, 10:08:18 AM »
There's the separation of terms Photographer and Professional Photographer... While most anyone with a camera and an understanding how to use it and to do so in a way to create images is/could be considered a Photographer, but most Professional Photographers do so for the sake of compensation whether it be money/barter/accolades, etc... The problem is most people blur the lines which is why most photographers will admit their greatest competition is amateur photographers... Professional photographers try to set their quality and price bracket at the next tier above but then again when a couple to get some joe blow off the street, pay him $100-150 to shoot an hour or two of their wedding and provide a CD of the images, hell yeah, that would be an easier sell than a pro to shoot it for $1500-3000 and get an album and handful of pictures...  As for the OP, sure, call yourself a photographer but make sure if there is any confusion that you are not professional, unless you get to the point where you wish to become professional and developed a portfolio.

When someone who takes photos for a hobby refers to themselves as a photographer I don't mind so much, but then if they start to claim they are a "pro" after making a semi-decent portfolio and then undercharging to get some jobs that takes work away from people who make a living from photography I am not happy >:(

This month I have lost out on two wedding jobs because of people like this. One was an email to the effect of "we'd really like you to take our photos, but we found another guy who will shoot all day for 100 dollars, so if you would drop you rate somewhat, say to 400 dollars (my minimum for a basic package is about 1200) we'd be willing to hire you." Errrm, no.

It's definitely a tough market... and I blame digital for the most of it... In the film days it was easy to be pro... because you had to really acquire the skill needed to shoot, develop, print, expose, compose, and in the end, you dont fully know if you got everything perfect until after the shoot and you've developed your film...  That needed skill really thinned the heard sort of speak... now people can instantly see and be gratified if they got the shot and exposure right on the blasted LCD screen... So while it made pro's lifes easier, it made a whole new batch of amateurs thinking they can compete...

While my specialty isn't portraiture/weddings, a lot of my really talented colleagues who specialize in just this are having problems in people undercutting, people trying to barter, people trying to low ball... And while she is a professional, she's had to take up another part time job to make up the difference in what she's not making now... On creativelive, i've learned that you could be a so-so photographer, but it's now all about presentation, all about the business and being good at selling and selling your brand... I think this should be our new topic in this thread... marketing ideas and branding ideas... how do you separate yourself from the heard given the economy and new batch of up and coming photographers... 
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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2011, 10:16:46 AM »
It's interesting to consider all the different directions this thread has taken. 

Words are flexible in the English language. Nobody practices medicine as a hobby, so "doctor" has a fairly uniform meaning. Yet, one can be a doctor of philosophy or recieve an honorary doctorate. Again, there are no hobby-barristers (that I know of), so we all have a fixed idea of what someone calling himself a lawyer does as his day job.

Drift over to an activity that can be performed recreationally and we have "pilot" who may only fly Cessnas and possess a PPL. Yet, fighter pilots, commercial pilots and airline pilots are not offended when someone calls them simply "pilot" despite the years of additional training and higher graduation of licencing.

I am likely the worst, least-knowledgeable photographer on this site. Yet, because I share a passion for photography and have carried a camera around in one form or another since acquiring my Kodak X15 in 1972, I have no problem describing myself with the term.

Now, others might not share my interpretation....    ;)
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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2011, 10:16:46 AM »

7enderbender

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2011, 10:36:33 AM »
Interesting discussion that touches on many different issues in my opinion. There are the obvious cultural and language implications that I can appreciate as someone who grew up in Western Europe and now lives in the slightly different cultural and professional climate here in the United States. And based on my conversations with people from different parts of Asia, some of the differences and societal demands are even more different. And I think that is the biggest issue for the OP (great portfolio by the way - and I personally see no reason to be discouraged calling him a photographer).

The other issue is that of the "professionalism" as both a mannerism and a monetary question. I'm too much of a libertarian soul to get worked up about this. As far as I know, at least in this country, "photographer" is not a protected term or anything that requires licensing, registration or any union nonsense (not even here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts...). That may be different elsewhere and worth checking any exact terminology. I, for example, would call myself a "Registered Nurse" here in the States, because it means something very specific. I am a nurse though by training (many many moons ago and I haven't practiced in years), but my license is elsewhere and hence the protected term RN does not apply here. Doesn't mean that my knowledge went away and would come in handy in my life as a healthcare consultant in non-clinical areas. You get the idea.

With photography the lines are also blurry between "arts" and "business" - nothing wrong with that in my book. And people can pursue both and sometimes art sells and sometimes "guns for hire" can be great artists. Which of them is more or less "professional"? I don't know. Picking a craftsperson/artist/business owner for any of your needs is always a bit guesswork. We had a great photographer for our wedding and I'm still pleased with the results. Certainly more the artist type and I don't think he is still in business. Professional? Sure - at the time I think he made a living from different types of photography. Maybe he made money also with other stuff. I don't know.

Or my carpenter. True artist! And a professional. And I have no issues also letting him fix some electrical wiring while he is working on something else. Does that make him a professional electrician? No. And the unions would crucify him. But the man knows what he's doing. And he can see the big picture and comes up with ideas that work for his clients. In other words: there can always be overlap between "trades" and skills and business models.

If that offends any of the professional (wedding) photographers I can't help it. I'm sure a lot of them are great and very engaged and care about the outcomes for their clients and worth their money. And there may be the occasional kid out there who is also talented and is shaking up the market a bit. It's all good. People should embrace that.
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awinphoto

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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2011, 10:39:22 AM »
It's interesting to consider all the different directions this thread has taken. 

Words are flexible in the English language. Nobody practices medicine as a hobby, so "doctor" has a fairly uniform meaning. Yet, one can be a doctor of philosophy or recieve an honorary doctorate. Again, there are no hobby-barristers (that I know of), so we all have a fixed idea of what someone calling himself a lawyer does as his day job.

Drift over to an activity that can be performed recreationally and we have "pilot" who may only fly Cessnas and possess a PPL. Yet, fighter pilots, commercial pilots and airline pilots are not offended when someone calls them simply "pilot" despite the years of additional training and higher graduation of licencing.

I am likely the worst, least-knowledgeable photographer on this site. Yet, because I share a passion for photography and have carried a camera around in one form or another since acquiring my Kodak X15 in 1972, I have no problem describing myself with the term.

Now, others might not share my interpretation....    ;)

The difference is everything except maybe your cessna pilot, are doing the "profession" for profit... It makes them a professional at what they do... A commercial Pilot for instance doesn't have to worry about a cessna pilot undercutting him...  Nor a fighter pilot, etc... Medical professionals from the clerk to nurse to ER doctor have plenty of education in their background to get them where they are... Professional Photographers and Amateurs are having the lines blurred greater than ever before... And the general public is daft enough not to know the difference.  This is why this subject is such a touchy situation for most people... Professionals dont want to lose money from amateurs while amateurs dont really have anything to lose and dont mind making a few bucks doing something they would do for free anyways. 
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Re: Can I called myself photographer? plz, you need to help me..
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2011, 10:39:22 AM »