When can I call Myself a Photographer?
I get this question quite often and so I’d like to give you a couple of thoughts that might help you know when the time might be, if you’re already there or maybe give you a few things to attain to so you can call yourself a photographer.
Notice I didn’t say PRO photographer. I just said photographer. There is a difference.
1. Know your equipment.
To many times someone buys a new dSLR camera and wa-lah they are a “photographer”. Sorry but that is not the magic. That’s not how it works. Yet if you have a dSLR and you know how to use it. You know what most all of the buttons can do for you. You understand exposure and how to get a proper exposure. You can shoot in manual mode. Not saying you have to 24/7 but knowing how the ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed work together to give you full control.
Know your camera and your lens! It doesn’t take 2,000 to know your equipment and shoot well. If you have a $500 camera and know how to operate it then you are successful in being a photographer. It is the person BEHIND the camera, not the equipment!
2. Experience and Practice
Another question I get asked all of the time is how do I get better? I tell them like anything practice is the key. To get better at sewing one must know their machine and sew a lot of things before they are confident in showing off their art work. Before one can hit a home run and get the crowd screaming…one must have batted a million and one baseballs before he actually learned and hit well. Right? It’s not different in photography. Practice. Set yourself some goals. Set yourself a challenge to shoot one image everyday in or around your home to practice. This image doesn’t have to be Facebook worthy or wall worthy. You are just practicing using your equipment and training your eye. This experience and practice is key in being a photographer. No one becomes a photographer with a “good camera” and only taking 100 pictures. You still won’t fit the bill.
Once you know your equipment you’ve learned it…then you’ll be more confident in practicing and picking your camera up. Right? Now you know what will come next? Consistency. Yes that one long word Consistency. It’s vital. If your images straight out of your camera begin to have the right exposure and you’re nailing the ISO and the aperture. You’re there. Now you’ll have some oops or a few every now and then that aren’t to your liking, that’s ok everyone has those! Your style of shooting may change after a year or so and that’s ok. But you’re consistently getting the images YOU want.
I’ll leave you with this…to call yourself a photographer you DON’T have to make it a business or own a business.
Are you a photographer?