Are you truly a professional photographer? Professionalism rears it’s head in many ways, most often times photo quality is second in nature. I’ve seen many of my peers being called unprofessional for the things they do, I am no exception. Many of my peers have done things that I’ve thought unprofessional which brings me to today’s post. What is considered professional or unprofessional? Let’s break it down:
At the start of this update I will note emphatically that there is no single one way of defining professionalism. How one person chooses to run his or her business is totally up to them. If how they run it nets zero profit gain, they will make the proper changes or leave the business. For me personally, when I question someones professionalism, it’s due to one of the three: Confidence, business sense and dedication.
Confidence is HUGE in the professional world of photography. I’ve always stated that photography is a career that doesn’t require any permits,license or governing board of pros to grant permission to call oneself a pro. Being anyone can be a pro, their confidence comes into play. To build themselves up, many photographers will tear others down. They will gossip, spread rumors and be more apt to hear bad stories from the models they shoot. Because they lack the business sense to get their names out there, they thrive on the presumed failures of others. They have to use the gossip they hear about others, to aide them and make them feel as though they have a chance.
Another part of professionalism is their business sense. Because there isn’t a governing board and anyone can be a pro, majority of “professional” photographers out there are the furthest thing from it. They lack the basic system of having a registered business, thus making them operate illegally. Granted, majority of the photographers aren’t getting paid, but having a business registered will give them a sense of pride and start them on the path of thinking like business people. Most believe that being a professional is totally in the photo quality you use, no, farthest thing from the truth. If I had 1,500.00 to start a business, that’s what I’d do. If my business is strong and every day I’m working to improve it, I don’t have time to worry about what others are doing.
A huge component to professionalism is the dedication to the craft. There are many out there that have no dedication, but it’s what they know. It’s what they invested their time and energy into and now as a result, they hate what they do and have no dedication. They have become robots and as a result, no longer challenge themselves. because they don’t challenge themselves, their creativity takes a back seat and they would rather point out issues with others vs tending to their own well being. They in fact are cancerous in nature and tend to bring a lot of people with them. Some are so far gone they don’t even realize it. As a result, their professionalism is taking a hit because they aren’t doing what they need to sustain themselves.
Bottom line? If you feel good about yourself, it will reflect on others and this be a shining light on your professionalism. I honestly have zero time to worry about what people I don’t know think about me. I will meet, talk and hang out with anyone that requests this of me, what I don’t do is get into gossip matches and spread untrue. I will listen when my clients speak and let them have their say, but I don’t take what I hear and go to the next person and say “I heard he…”. That does no service to me and makes me a slave to what someone else is doing. Can I be a better professional if I am worried about others? If I refuse to grow? if I lack dedication to my chosen craft?