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Amateur or professional?

27th July 2016
I have had cause to reconsider if I should be described as an amateur or professional landscape photographer. I have mused on the subject before and never been able to express clearly how I should be described; so let me start from the beginning - whatever that is.

The online Oxford Dictionaries says of Amateur: A person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid basis. But this is not the whole truth; the derivation is from the Latin, Amo, amas, amat… and if you were taught Latin at school you will know that really this is about love, I love, you love, he (or she) loves etc. An amateur does something because he loves it. This is very different to doing something in an amateurish way, which is a derogatory expression meaning it is done in an unskilful or inept way. Professional is described by the same dictionary as being one's main paid occupation rather than as an amateur. Professionalism is described by the same dictionary as: The competence or skill expected of a professional.

I have always done landscape photography out of love. Love for this genre of photography and of the British landscape but I do it in a professional way and now it is now my sole profession. So am I an amateur or professional, a semi-professional? Since I do not need it to be my main or only source of income, perhaps I should consider myself to be a Pro-Am. I do landscape photography in a professional way, it is my only trade (or profession) but I still do it because I love it.

Whatever you choose to call me I know this; I care deeply about the landscape, the quality of what I do and the service I provide.


Photo comment By Mary Balfour: You are a professional if you are making an income from your images. You are also very fortunate to love your profession. I also love what I do and consider myself very, very fortunate.

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