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Old Mar 24, 2008, 1:30 PM   #1
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Hello everyone,

There is a lot of talk about Proffesional gear and their users.

Now, when is one a Pro? IMHO someone who earns a full time living with making photo's. If you do, please tell me what gear you use, your main field of work and the type of customers you have.

Only if you feel free to let us know the lifestyle you live.

Thank you in advance for your reactions, kind regards,

Terpentijn


I, for one, am not Pro in this sense, use Olympus gear (E1,E510,E3, 7-14,35-100,150,14-54), close-up nature and landscapes, sell prints on markets, biker on self transformed HD.
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Old Mar 24, 2008, 3:32 PM   #2
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Hi Terpentin

I'm as un Pro as it gets ! Not made a single $/penny/dime/euro to date but I'm shooting for fun and to learn - the money would be nice but that can wait. Gearwise I think quiet a few of us have the mid-pro and top pro lenses - and looking at your Oly system you've got a pretty complete Top Pro System - camera and lenses. Its a good question and one that hasn;t been asked before - I'm wondering how many pro Oly shooters are lurking on the forums.

I'd say Riley and a couple of others who shoot pics for real estate (esp Riley) I'd consider to be closet to being pros on the forum.

Cheers

Harj

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Old Mar 24, 2008, 6:08 PM   #3
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Hi Harj,

The idea behind this thread is to learn how Pro's cope so other "less" pro's can compare their faith in their passion, =sharing pictures with people who like them. I think the one motivation of any artist.

Shure, $$ or €€ play a role but who did buy their first equipment with their own money?

I know a heavy metal guitarplayer who works a full time job to be able to grunt through the weekend on stage. He spend all his proceeds on amplifiers and instruments.

It's the (wo)man at the releasebutton what makes the photographs.

Terpentijn
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 1:51 PM   #4
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Hi Terpentijn

I'm not a pro myself but when people see you have a good camera and you start taking good picsI Guess freinds and family start asking for you to do things. I helped a work mate our at his wedding, got paid a small amount for it and have also taken. Photoes of family and freinds. sometimes you get paid small amounts or a present giving to you for the photoes you give to them.

I'm looking to getting more gear, just bought the 12-60mm swd lense. I'm looking togetting a portable studio set up ie. maybay d-lite 4 or lastolite 200 kit. with a high and low key background for studio type shots. As I find the jobs people are asking me to do are getting more and more and im now starting to get referals too.

So when do you class youeself as a pro as I find the best photographers are the ones that are always learning. and I've seen amature work being much better than so called pro's
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 2:26 PM   #5
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Dangerous Brian wrote:
Quote:
Hi Terpentijn

I'm not a pro myself but when people see you have a good camera and you start taking good picsI Guess freinds and family start asking for you to do things. I helped a work mate our at his wedding, got paid a small amount for it and have also taken. Photoes of family and freinds. sometimes you get paid small amounts or a present giving to you for the photoes you give to them.

I'm looking to getting more gear, just bought the 12-60mm swd lense. I'm looking togetting a portable studio set up ie. maybay d-lite 4 or lastolite 200 kit. with a high and low key background for studio type shots. As I find the jobs people are asking me to do are getting more and more and im now starting to get referals too.

So when do you class youeself as a pro as I find the best photographers are the ones that are always learning. and I've seen amature work being much better than so called pro's
Hi Brian, As I can see, you are on the right path. Once freinds want to pay or give presents, ask them to tell others "you tak guid pictures"! It's like haggis, simple ingridents and a guid cook.

What is your lifestyle?

Terpentijn
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 5:54 PM   #6
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I think the question "How Professional are you?" has a cloud hanging over it from the outset.

There are professionals that are worse photographers than a reasonable amateur. There are amateurs that are better than the better professionals.

As a photographer that has gone through photography in chronological order as student, semi pro, pro, and amateur I would say the defining criteria for a 'serious' photographer would be somebody who works based on knowledge. That is knowledge of equipment, techniques, materials, subject matter, and with a dedicated work ethic. Within that you can be amateur or pro, weekend or full time. You just have to do what you set out to do in a focused way.

I suppose technically a pro is somebody who earns a living out of photography, but that does not mean much in itself. It does not mean for instance all pros can turn their hands to weddings, and the good wedding photographers may not be able to turn their hands to wildlife,war or social documentary.

And then the equipment pros buy is usually based on 'have I worn out the last camera?' rather than 'I need the new camera!'. Equipment is no longer a luxury item but a necessity, and every penny spent on frivolous upgrades is not a penny spent putting food in your mouth.

So you may already understand the implication of what I think about describing amateurs as "less pro's"and assuming they havesomething to learn from pro's. There is nothing wonderful about being a pro that an amateur can't do anyway, so long as they take responsibility for what they do, and don't cop off by claiming they are 'only' an amateur.

Oh, and never take money under false pretences.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 7:24 PM   #7
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Technically I was a pro. I say technically, because all that means is, I made money at it. It doesn't mean I was good at it. I once read an article in a photo magazine title "The Great Amateur" In this article it was pointed out that the average serious amateur was a better and more knowledgeable photographer than the average pro. How can this be? Passion, an amateur takes pictures out of a love for photography. A pro does it to put food on the table. Once a pro finds a technique that works for the type of pictures they are taking, they can not afford to change things. And many pros don't care to read up on the latest innovation's etc. after a long day of shooting.

As far as equipment goes, the term "professional equipment" is a misnomer. "Pro's" use what ever gets the job done. Most stay away from the fancy stuff and go more for reliability. But just about every camera brand has been used by a pro. I once read that the leaders at Nikon were upset when they found out that pro's were buying Nikkormats as back ups rather than a second expensive F2.

If you enjoy photography and sharing your work, then read books and forums like this one, shoot a lot, and learn all you can. If you want to be a pro, know the basics and put your effort into learning business and salesmanship.
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 8:25 AM   #8
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Now that there are some replies it looks like there are several idees about Pro's.

1/ Pro's who work photo's for a living.

2/ Pro's who make pictures for a living.

In other words, there are Photographers and Artists. This thread talks about both.

The artist who sell that much pictures that he can spend his time as he likes, is a Pro! The photographer who does not need to work another job is a Pro too.

Now, he who chooses his gear for the art will select other gear than he who works his shop. In both cases is the subject a decicive factor. The second consideration is the lifestyle of the person. I am a biker beside the artist and need rugged gear to stand up to be transported in saddlebags and all wether, hence E1 and E3 and top pro glass. Once my E1 jumped out of the saddlebag and ended in bits on the tarmac. But before that it never failed me. (Meanwhile I have another E1).No C&N have survived my saddlebags (3 cam's died on me!).

That iswhat I am interested in. Motivation to select equipment in regard of Pro and lifestyle. It may lead to the right choise for new amatures in their way towards Pro.

Terpentijn
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 9:02 AM   #9
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I make money from photography but it is not my main income and I'm still learning. There is a full time pro who I sometimes work with at weddings (UK photographic award runner up from the Master Photographers Association) and she is so not technical!!! We were at a shoot last year and she was taking a shot where she couldn't get exposure correct as it was shooting up with the grooms part leaning over her. She got flustered very quickly, passed the camera to me and it was fixed. However, she has an eye for a photo that as yet I don't have. Also her rapport with the clients is amazing, she can get what she wants out of them very quickly.

Her kit is 2x Canon 5D with lens options of 2x 24-105mm f4 L USM IS, Canon 17-40mm f4 L and Canon 15mm f2.8 L, plus 2 x 580EX Flash. As backup to the backup she carries one of her Mamiya MF cameras with 2 lenses just in case there is catastrophic failure. In her studio she works with Bownes lighting and triggers.

I personally shoot sports 90% of the time but also do some weddings and portrait work. My kit is Canon 1D MKIII, Canon 5D, Canon 30D, Canon 50mm f1.8, Canon 85mm f1.8, Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS, Sigma 12-24mm, Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 (purely for backup to the Canon 24-105 so never used), Sigma 120-300mm f2.8, Canon 580EX and Canon 430EX flash. For studio I have a Elinchrom D-Lite 2 kit and 3 old Microblitz minilights. That's about it.

What does this tell you....? Basically as I'm someone where this is a hobby gone crazy I like to have all the toys and do lots of different things, but she has just the kit needed and pretty much only uses it to make money and does it very effectively.
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 10:02 AM   #10
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Terpentijn wrote:
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That iswhat I am interested in. Motivation to select equipment in regard of Pro and lifestyle. It may lead to the right choise for new amatures in their way towards Pro.

Terpentijn
It seems to me there is a confusion here. I think there is a built in assumption here that a person's lifestyle affects their professional equipment. I dont think that's accurate for the majority of professional shooters.

A pro selects the gear he/she needs to capture the photographs they require for their professional career.

That gear may be totally different than the gear they might decide to use in their personal life. For instance, many pros still use digicams in personal life because it is easy to carry them around. But that doesn't mean they use that digicam for their wedding, sports or PJ work.

I thiink it is a very small subset of pro shooters who are lucky enough that their pro work and their personal lifestyle are a perfect match. For the vast majority of others you may find they have one set of gear for their 'job' and another set for personal use.

In any event - pro or non pro - a person should buy gear according to the requirements at hand - be they personal or professional requirements. Determine what the requirements are first then find the gear that best matches. It is not unlike buying a car - each of us has requirements and desires when we buy a car so we seek out the car that best matches those requirements. Same is true at all levels of photography. A pro and a non-pro can absolutely end up with the same gear because their requirments are virtually the same. However, there are also many instances where non Pros must buy different gear simply due to cost and return on investment (i.e. they cant cost justify spending $7000 on a lens because its not putting food on their table - instead they need to have the car fixed and pay utilities).
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