When is it ok to call myself a photographer?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by RalphLambrecht, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    it's time to update my business card. this bringds up the above question.when can you cakll your self a photographer? just because you want o be oneor because you get a part-time income from it?does it have o be your full-time job?or is owning a good camera a a decent portfolio enough?what's your take on this?would you feel comfortable to put this title on your business card? or doyou think it's pompous?
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Any time you like.



    Steve.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    It's not pompous, you introduce yourself how you want to be recognized. Then you let your actions and work speak for you.
     
  4. jcoldslabs

    jcoldslabs Member

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    Speaking only for myself: I have been taking pictures steadily for over 25 years and even had a small stint taking wedding photos as a side gig, but I have never been comfortable labeling myself a "photographer." Feels weird to me. Other people might apply that label, but I don't apply it to myself. Can't really say why.

    I say call yourself whatever you feel comfortable with.

    Jonathan
     
  5. Moopheus

    Moopheus Member

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    It depends on what sort of impression you want your card to give. I'd guess most people would assume a business card meant some sort of professional-type activity that involved money changing hands; it's relatively unusual to have cards printed up for a hobby. But not unheard of. I'd say as long as the card doesn't deliberately misrepresent what you do, then why not.
     
  6. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    In your case Ralph, you should be thinking about what adjectives and superlatives you will be prepending to your title of Photographer. E.g. "Fine Art photographer" or "Film Photographer" etc
     
  7. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Now.
    Go shoot.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I used to wonder about this too. From my perspective, I stopped worrying about it when I stopped trying to make my work known in the interest of selling it. Once I stopped that, I stopped wondering what to call myself.
    Before that I did not write a title either. Just my name, business name, contact info, and what types of photos I liked to make.
     
  9. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    If I made a living at photography, or was able to supplement my income with photography, then I could put it on a business card, otherwise I'm participating in an expensive hobby, something that I love to do, whether I'm good enough to make money at it or not.
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    I prefer to think of myself as a printer who uses photography.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Yep.

    Ralph, I think you could add "Good" in front of that. :D
     
  12. mawhin

    mawhin Member

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    I've just had a set of cards printed. My name, 'photographer', and email address. It's not my living.

    The cards are for when I'm out shooting. I meet folks, and sometimes I ask to take their photos. Sometimes they ask me. And rather than scratch around for paper and a pen, or fumble with fat thumbs and a small phone, now I've a pretty card.

    I reckon Rick A has the right idea. Call yourself what you will.
     
  13. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    When somebody else hangs one of your pictures on their wall without you asking them.
     
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  15. ambaker

    ambaker Subscriber

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    Right after someone says, "That's a great picture, you must have a really nice camera".
     
  16. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    I agree with PeterB from Down Under...
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Thats an interesting distinction.

    I used to take photos of anything I found interesting at the moment.

    As my experience has grown though I tend to ask myself; what the purpose of this shot is, will I print it, is it for practice, is it a composition I like, can I shoot it well with what I have in my bag, is this documentation or art?

    Typically now, unless there's a good chance of me making a print, or learning something, or remembering something special; the shutter doesn't drop.

    This is also behind my move away from 35mm to larger formats; the look I want in the print is driving more of my decisions.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I'm not a photographer, although I take photographs. I'm not a machinist, although I can make things on lathes and such. I'm not a mechanic, although I understand and can repair mechanisms. I'm not a....well you get the point. I'm not what I do as work, although society seems to assess us that way.

    My "business" card simply has my name on it.
     
  19. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Me too, I think in Ralph's case he can safely say he's a photographer, a very fine one.
     
  20. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Ralph,
    With your credential and accomplishment, I'd think it'd be fitting to call yourself a photographer - perhaps more.
    How about "Wizard of Darkness and light?" :wink:
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    !!!
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Or perhaps 'Magician Way Beyond Monochrome'?
     
  23. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    You're not a photographer... unless you are. I've been a photographer for 38 years even though I've taken no "real" photos in 28 years. Once a photographer... always a photographer. You are who you are and want to be... nothing more and nothing less. Who are you and who do you want to be? Know thyself.
     
  24. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    A photographer is simply one who takes photographs. There is no regulatory agency that has set a set of standards or other requirements, to qualify to be a Photographer or a Professional Photographer or Amatuer Photogrpapher, such as is done with lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc. So, I'd suggest it is purely subjective as when and if you do claim to be a photographer.

    My son first made such a claim in about 3rd grade when he got his own slr after showing me he understood basic exposure and composition. He actually has a better eye than I. He'd strap on the Yashica FX-3 with whatever lens he'd decide to use for whatever the day's shooting project was and load the camera with the film he decided on that moring based on research from the prior evening. He learned to read the film charts and specs; something I never bothered to do other than in a narrow way. We'd walk with the others in our group and if a stranger came up and asked about us, he'd hold up the camera and answer he was a photographer. That school year he did shoot the group class photos for each grade along side the pro that was hired and during the year photographed some of the kids and events. At the end of the year when the year book was published, a number of his photos were used.

    For me the defining moment was when a class I was taking asked me to teach the class the following year as the teacher was leaving and the teacher also suggested and recommended to the school that I replace her. They reviewed some of my work as well as other applicants and offered me the basic and intermediate class in adult ed. I figured that I then qualified but never put it on my card. If I had it would have read something like: A.Sc. Business Management, B.Sc. Accounting, J.D., Certified Public Accountant, Lawyer, Real Estate Agent, Certified Mediator, Photographer, Certified by Society of Audio Consultants. I simply limited my card to the two practicing professions and used separate cards because the regulatory departments in the state prohibited listing more than one.
     
  25. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Whenever you you use an actual camera, not a phone, to create images. In general these photos should be formally interesting or artistically meaningful. Having read your book, Ralph, you are definitely ok calling yourself a photographer.
     
  26. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    ^^^ HAH!! A "celltographer"... I love it. :D