I just listened to the latest "GoingPro 2010" Podcast #17 http://bit.ly/dsgqKS hosted by two of the best names in photography, Skip Cohen and Scott Bourne. It was the topic of the first listener question that is pushing me to devote this week's blog. The question was when does someone go from an "Uncle Harry" to a professional. Let me explain...
With the technology advancements and lower cost of photographic gear, specifically DSLRs and the availability of training and workshops, there is a significant growth of amateur, semi-pro and professional photogs out and about nationally and globally. (if this were a sponsored blog, I would take the time to provide the readership with some interesting stats to prove the point...but it is not, so if someone wants to google and comment, please do). This is where "Uncle Harry" enters the scene. Uncle Harry (aka Soccer Mom with DSLR) is a characterization for those that have nice gear and can be found doing weddings or portraits for their friends, families, acquaintances for free or for a fraction of what a true professional would charge (aka the market price).
The Professionals are accomplished, making a living...whether home grown or educated, the professional not only has the gear, they have the bumps and bruises; the lesson's learned; the moxie to have made it. They "see the light" consistently better, composition is second nature, the professional knows their strengths and core competencies and more importantly, executes day-in-day-out. Important to note, many of the them (especially Scott and Skip) to give back to the photog community and offer their time, knowledge and heart often with the same fervor they put to the business of Photography.
So what's my point? I don't think Scott or Skip answered the listener's question. I think the closest to the answer is what Scott said near the end of the segment...he boiled it down to "commitment" and I agree that commitment is key. In addition to commitment, equally important is confidence. For good or bad, this is what moves those of us "in-betweens" from being "Uncle Harrys" to professionals. Many of us are committed and most of us can learn the craft (no shortage of workshops!), but many of us struggle with our confidence that we can make it. As a result, we price low, or we trade money for experience. I submit, there is a direct correlation between confidence and being a professional.
So, I think the more complete answer is to continue to be committed AND to highlight the importance of building confidence. Identifying and celebrating the small wins, the continuous improvement toward becoming a professional. I also think it is important for us in-betweens to surround ourselves with objective and sometimes critical council. We have a choice, either make it or we shake ourselves out. If we don't the cold hard market will do it for us, no matter how much we spent on our gear.
In the news:
- Tubac Center of the Arts "Through the Lens" Exhibition Photo printed and in route for display between Oct 15 through November 14. http://bit.ly/9E6KrI
- Some wonderful person at D'Vine Bistro & Wine Bar purchased one of my fine art prints (at market rates) - exciting http://bit.ly/aJOkD5
- Phase 1 of the Mankinddog shoot is done...just need the customer to identify the final versions that will get posted to their website. http://bit.ly/cl1wEE
- Twitter followers have increased by 5 or 6 over the last several weeks...this is big for my little business. A shout out to @MommyMentor who helped me kick-start my Twitter practices...shows the power of a re-tweet! http://bit.ly/aPJ8S3