Are you a photographer?
This question may stop you dead in your tracks when asked in person. I know I used to stumble around this and fumble out a half hearted answer of how I just love photography.
It wasn’t until I overheard my husband mention to someone that I was a photographer that it got me thinking…am I a photographer? Am I good enough to call myself a photographer?
How do you know when it’s time to call yourself a photographer?
I wish I had a concrete 3 step answer for you but I don’t. I do have some things for you to consider. Once I mastered some of these things, I slowly started to feel comfortable calling myself a photographer.
Are you able to consistently create the kind of images you want? Have you moved past getting your exposure correct only by chance? I felt much more comfortable with calling myself a photographer when I was consistently getting the images to turn out how I wanted.
Keep in mind your style may change and evolve as you evolve as a photographer and that is fine. I’m not suggesting that you have to know exactly what your style is. I know mine has changed over time.
Know your gear
I’m a firm believer that the camera does not make you the photographer. Just because someone has a $2,000 camera does not mean they are a better photographer than someone with a $500 camera. We all know it isn’t the gear but the person behind it that creates the image (yes, great gear helps) but a good photographer can create stunning images with a DSLR or camera phone. The best thing you can do is learn to use what you have. Know the ends and outs of your camera.
I often get asked when someone should upgrade their gear. I always say that you should only upgrade once you know what the new camera can do that your current camera can’t do. If you can’t answer that question you haven’t out grown your camera and don’t need to invest in a new body.
Believe in yourself
If you don’t believe you are a photographer, neither will the people around you. I know I said my husband talked about me being a photographer which got me thinking and I’m blessed that he believes in me. That isn’t always going to the case. If you aren’t 100% confident in yourself yet then you know the saying…fake it till you make it. Seriously though, you need to have confidence in yourself, your skills, and your work.
You don’t have to be in business to call yourself a photographer
I really want to drive this point home. I thought for a long time I couldn’t call myself a photographer because I didn’t, nor did I want to, own a photography business. I was just a mom with a camera. However, there are MANY happy hobbyist out there who don’t own or no longer own a photography business and call themselves photographers. Now when I get asked if I’m a photographer, I quickly follow it up with, “Yes, but I don’t take on clients.” You may get a puzzled look from the person asking the question. That is fine. I inform people that I have a passion for teaching photographer and prefer teaching over working with clients.
Whatever your reason, you don’t need to feel less like a photographer because you don’t own a photography business.
It’s your turn.
Tell me in the comments below when you knew you were ready to call yourself a photographer.