Meandering Thoughts on Pro vs Hobby

Every so often I take a photo, and edit it, and then think, Wow! That looks professional! and then: Wait, I am professional! It's a nice feeling, to re-surprise myself :)

I don't have a formal method to assess myself. No end of year reviews, no panel of fellow grad student critique-ers, no boss, no peers, no partners. Which means I have to keep an eye on myself, teach, discipline and improve myself.

As there are no such hurdles (such as challenges you must pass to become most everything else: Lawyer, Manager, Professor, Designer etc) lots of people call themselves a photographer, or professional photographer. It seems people claim to be a photographer more often than say: drawer, sewer, painter, ceramacist, print-maker, illustrator etc. I think it's because it's easy to pick up a DSLR and feel empowered. Because of this, I think, I am too often asked if I am a hobby photographer. It may have started out that way, but No, I am Not a hobby photographer.

How do I claim pro-photographer status? Well the easy answer is that I have a small biz license. Of course that says nothing of photo quality or photographer skill. The other easy answer is that I get paid for my work. Other less tangible indicators: knowing what I am doing and being confident that I will get really good pics for my clients. Prioritizing my life around getting those really good pics to my clients.

I photographed this baby girl about a half year ago. I love that I am getting repeat clients, and I get to document their babies growing up. These are the photos that they'll pull out to put in their kids' wedding slide show in a few decades. I get a huge satisfaction from contributing my art to preserve people's memories. I know that sounds cheesy.

P.S. My Yelp reviews might be back online. If you feel like it, check out GinkgoPhoto (in San Francisco) and let me know if my reviews show up for you...