I was just looking at the Saskatchewan Professional Photographers Association Website (http://sppa.org/) and they have a list of reasons why a person should hire a professional. I quote:
A Professional Photographer…
- adheres to a stringent code of ethics and standards
- constantly upgrades his/her skills through education seminars. conventions and regular print show competitions
- observes the highest standard of honesty in all transactions
- produces photographs of quality equal or superior to the samples he/she displays
- maintains co-operation with fellow professional photographers by sharing knowledge to achieve and maintain the highest standard of quality
I feel that I conform to the points on this list – I always work to completely outdo my sample works, I am passionate about professional ethics and high quality standards, I network with other professionals, and I do my level best to attend as many photographic education appointments and classes as I can manage – and I enjoy them all. I haven’t joined the PPA here yet, but I will be joining at a future date. I strive to bring the very best to the market in all areas of my work. I am not just an ameteur who happens to have a business. I have a formal and a vibrant informal education, I have a photojournalist style, the ability to be a chameleon and replicate any style because I understand light and angles well, and there’s a heaping helping of artistic flair thrown in to all of my work. There’s drama, there’s color, there’s life in it. And that’s why I can call myself a pro with pride.
How do I define myself? By seeking every definition of Professional in this business and trying to adhere to a standard that will set me apart from the crowd of people who are willing to pick up a camera and take photographs. And all pros agree on something: it’s best to go with someone you trust. And we don’t mean a friend.
Here’s an article that talks about the difference. It’s about an ameteur who had a chance to work with some real, incredible pros and felt totally out of their league.
“Joey commanded family portraits with a gentle control and confidence that only comes from years of experience. He had the right flashes and steadiness of hand for getting great dance photos, while I snapped shot after blurry shot in a mild panic that my precious memory space was quickly dwindling. I was giving it my best, and in a few instances it showed: an inside shot of Vicky simply glowing in the window’s natural light; a close-up kiss in the sunlight where the couple wore the sweetest smiles. But when those spontaneous moments that are here and gone in the blink of an eye happened, Joey caught them with lightning speed, while I lost many of them to improper focus or exposure. […] I now disagree more than ever with the digital-age adage that “now everyone is a photographer.”
And so I continue to seek and find what it means to be a professional.