being a professional

I took these pictures during the summer, and there are probably a million things wrong with them, but I love them.

With two more photography classes this semester, I have been doing shoots multiple times each week. A while ago someone asked me if I was a professional photographer while I was snapping away a mile a minute. He probably wondered why else I would be out taking pictures at five in the morning and noticed my spiffy camera (which I love and would probably be one of the top five things i'd save from a burning building--besides all the people of course.) I paused and without really thinking about it said no and smiled until he walked away and then I sort of frowned thinking about what that means. I rarely call myself a photographer since I've only been working on it for about two years, although I've had the interest since high school. But I still think of myself as a photographer. As much as I think of myself as a writer (although it's up to you as to whether or not I deserve that title since you have to read my innermost thoughts so often. :) or an artist, in the general sense, and a designer in particular or even a chef and baker. The word professional is what threw me. Do you have to be paid to be a professional? Some of the world's greatest artists were unpaid or poorly paid for their work during their time. Not that I'm comparing myself to Monet or Charlotte Bronte, but the fact that they worked for their art more than money is motivating to me. At the same time, Dickens reputedly wrote more than maybe he needed to because he was paid by the volume. I don't think of that as selling out, but I can't imagine myself doing the same thing unless I was in a similar circumstance of being the sole provider for my family of many children.

So, am I a professional? I don't know or really care, but I am a writer. I am a photographer. I am a designer. I am a stylist. These titles aren't less to me because so many people own computers, cameras and kitchens. if anyone else wants to call themselves a photographer or writer that's fine by me.  if you love it and want to do it immerse yourself. That's what appeals to me about the arts so much. To be a doctor or lawyer or engineer you need a certificate and schooling and exams and then you are that thing (and I have no complaints against making sure that the people who have others lives in their hands be exceedingly well trained), but I rarely hear of someone becoming a doctor when they are 50 or 60 years old. I'm not surprised however, when I hear that someone wrote their first book, or has developed a passion for photography or is taking painting classes at any age. I'm going to keep learning too.


  1. I think the word professional means you make a living, or at least some money from whatever you're doing. But I don't think you have to be a professional to be an artist of whatever kind.
    Calling yourself a photographer to me says 'I love taking photographs and it's an important part of me', rather than someone who just takes photos for whatever purpose.

  2. I loved this post. And it's true, it's okay to immerse yourself in something that you love. And if you want to call yourself a professional or not is up to us! :)
    xo TJ


Thanks for your nice words. I appreciate them so much.