Proud To Be a Hobbyist Photographer: Reasons NOT To Go PRO
This article is by Mandi Tremayne. She writes…I have been a follower of the MCP blog for several years now. I like to call myself a “craptacular photog hobbyist”. I’ve been thinking on the subject lately of amateur photographer/hobbyist vs. (true) professional photographer. I live in an area that is heavily saturated with real photographers and then “photographers.” And I guess I’ve noticed more and more how everyone is a “photographer” these days.
So this has been on my mind a lot, and I wrote a bit about it from the perspective of a hobbyist.
Everyone’s a “Photographer”
I consider myself to be a memory keeper, of sorts. I love to journal, but especially, I love pictures. I consider myself a “picture freak”.
Pictures, to me, hold pieces of everyone’s past; they are something to be treasured. I love my grandparents pictures from the 50’s, my parents pictures from the 70’s, and my own growing up as a child of the 80’s (bad hair and all).
It was several years ago when I first started blogging, that I noticed that there was something so much more out there with photography: there are pictures, and then there’s fine art photography. I was so jealous of every true professional photographers’ work. And that was when I decided I needed to learn more, andI bought my first DSLR and a decent lens.
A “decent” camera does not make a professional photographer
In the first 6 months with me and my DSLR, I nearly tore my hair out. I would compare my photos to professionals, and I could clearly see the huge gap between my work and theirs. How can I have the same camera and lens
and not get the same quality?
I read everything I could get my hands on, and I still do.
As I slowly started to improve, people started to say things like “oh you should go into business!” and that seemed like the logical next step to me. I own a decent camera, I’m starting to learn to the right way to use it: business time!
This is when I learned several extremely important lessons.
- I do not have a business mind
- I don’t want to have a business mind
- Photography as a business takes the fun away for me
- I don’t handle the pressure of performing for other people well
- I am simply not good enough, and I found myself being one of those “photographers” that over-saturate an area and provide less than quality work
- And most importantly, I meant this as a hobby. I can keep it as just a hobby. Nothing more, nothing less.
Now I’ve realized that I can enjoy studying and appreciating true photographer’s work (like the 50+ truly professional photographer blogs I follow) and feel zero competition. I can appreciate their work in an artistic sense, and also as a hobbyist who knows I’ve got a long way to go and isn’t completely ignorant of what it took for them to get where they are. And that makes me appreciate their work all the more.
I feel like I can buy things for myself, here and there- a new lens, actions, and so forth, because it’s my hobby, and it’s something I care deeply about. Like any hobby, you can put money into something without strings attached that you must recoup what you’ve spent. Why? The fun I’ve had learning, plus the learning I know I still have to go, makes the journey completely worth it.
So you love photography, too. Ask yourself, do you love photography or a photography business?
I’ll bet for many of us, the journey of learning, the fun of taking our camera everywhere we go, snapping those one in a million shots of our kids, and the newfound love for things we used to ignore like a beautiful sky or the gorgeous lighting that sunset offers, is more than enough.
Mandi Tremayne is a hobbyist photographer – you can find her here – on her “NOT a photography blog.”