A really good question and so I’m going to share my perspective on things, and many thanks to the Bsoup member who asked what made a “pro” photographer and who also asked why not just organise your own trip? on the Bsoup Facebook page earlier this week which inspired me to write this piece. So I’m going to try and answer the first question today as I see it, and then in a couple of days time try and answer the second question.
What makes a “pro” photographer?
To answer the first question about what makes a “pro” photographer, is simple but with a multi-faceted answer, and from what I understand of professionalism with regard to most pursuits, it’s whether you earn your living doing it, and at a sufficiently competent standard.
This was answered very quickly on the Bsoup FB page by the first couple of responders.
I agree with this, and I think you also have to consistently demonstrate that you can produce a picture for the brief you’re set most of the time.
It doesn’t have to be the best picture, and often because of the fickle nature of mother nature you’ve got to work with what you have on the day, but if it fulfils the brief thats asked of you, then job done, if not then back to the drawing board, and I guess if that happened a lot you wouldn’t get asked back.
There’s lots of different types of photographer making their careers out of photography.
I once knew a bloke who made a tidy living only photographing one thing. He’d found a very niche market shooting pigeons eyes for ID purposes! so whilst his subject matter was very very obscure there was no denying he was a “pro” at least by the most basic definition.
This is an extreme example for illustrative purposes and I would hope you were also striving to improve yourself learning new things, and taking on new challenges.
So there’s no one single definition and you might have to wear quite a few hats.
Over the years I’ve learnt quite a bit about photo editing using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop so I pass on this knowledge as standalone courses at our office in Surrey and very soon up here in Yorkshire. I sometimes put little video segments online embedded in the posts too.
These days it’s starting to become expected that you also learn the art of video, it’s useful for blogging or making promo videos advertising subjects in this case below to produce something I used to title a talk I did on Custom White Balance.
I have to produce a lot of pictures for using as web site backgrounds, or for magazine and online adverts, and making large format prints for the various diveshows and club visits, and so on most trips I’m also hoping to get new video clips for future marketing and web use as well.
These things are important to some modern professional photographers, working across all media, but are a relatively minor aspect of running an underwater photography trip, sure you have to be competent and able to produce marketable pictures but you will often find people taking better pictures than you on a workshop, but your job is more to facilitate them to achieve their personal goals and leave your ego at home.
So the ability to communicate effectively with others in person is vital too.
Producing content whilst a vital part of my role, and something I enjoy, is nowhere near as much as the big part of my position at Scubatravel and the most rewarding side, which is conducting photo workshops around the world.
So in Part Two (click here) of this blog in a couple of days we’ll look at what it takes to successfully run a photo workshop sharing your skills with others, and see if you could run one too.
Thank you for reading and pop back soon.