Professional Photographer or Hobby Photographer

Feautured Image: Photo by Foto Pettine on Unsplash.

Some people may think that being a professional photographer is all about easy work, lazy days and setting your own hours. What people don’t seem to realize is that a lot of the time your schedule is set by nature or clients and you just have to go with it. You will schedule appointments only to have people not show up. Photo shoots will take longer than planned if things go wrong, cutting into family time. You will spend hours and sometimes days or weeks trying to get that one shot that you can’t forget about but also can’t seem to get just right.

Professional Photographer: Perception vs. reality

People will say things like “how hard is it to point and click”, yet they don’t realize what all goes into the professional quality picture. They do not realize how expensive the equipment is and how much you need for one picture. They never seem to realize all the things you have to learn to take great pictures. They do not seem to grasp how heavy all that equipment can be as you trudge across deep snow filled fields.

Taking a good picture is more than just pushing a button. To take a professional picture you must have an intimate understanding of all things photography. Things such as photography lighting, camera lenses, and digital cameras compared to traditional cameras, are all things that can deeply affect if your pictures turn out professional.

Photography as a hobby

Photography as a hobby is viewed as being a lot easier than being a professional photographer, in some people’s opinion. You are usually not pressured to have that perfect picture to capture a buyer’s attention so you can sell it and support yourself. Your pictures can focus on what you want such as family, friends, pets, nature and many other things. You don’t have to worry about if the pictures you are taking are professional quality. This takes a lot of the stress out of your photography hobby and lets you focus on the fun side of photography.

When you are a hobby photographer you are not as concerned with the equipment you use or things like lenses or types of cameras. Hobby photography can be much cheaper than being a professional photographer. Having a hobby gives you something to be proud of and a way to just relax, because hobbies are great stress relievers. Making photography your hobby has many benefits such as your physical and mental health. Then you also have the fact that your hobby is letting you keep visual snapshots of your life. With hobby photography you can learn at a slower pace and choose what you want to learn. Also as a hobby photographer you have a lot more creative ability with your photographs. You can shoot a wide array of pictures at any time without having to focus on just the one thing someone else wants. As a hobby photographer you are always completely in control of what you do. You are not tied to a certain type of picture because that is what is selling right then.

Some zealous amateurs will be able to go out and purchase all the professional looking equipment that is on the market. However, they will be missing a huge opportunity to learn fundamental photography in a very beneficial way. The high-end equipment will be needed to photograph minutely detailed photography as well as portraiture, but a novice photographer or a person that is interested in the art simply as a hobby can take great photos with moderately-priced, point and shoot styles of digital cameras.

Equipment Economics

All the major brands have multiple styles of these cameras for very economical prices, and they are basically designated by the styles of photographs that will be taken. This only means that they are preset for optimal pictures of a certain type, but they are all basically the same digital camera. However, there is a greater benefit in starting with these types of cameras even if the more expensive equipment is accessible. Amateurs or hobbyists should invest in a camera that has a nice zoom feature and that is at the higher-end of megapixel capacity, but these will not be the cheapest models. They do excel at landscape photography.


The small body of the camera combined with the large-screened view finders allows the subject to be lined up with both the camera and the eye. This quality is enhanced with the very rich digital image that is displayed in the viewfinder. A definite challenge with these cameras is that the photographer must develop a very steady hand. These types of cameras possess stabilization technology, but they do not suffice. Additionally, the photographs occasionally will have to be optimized with digital imaging applications to replicate the results in the viewfinder.

Photography as a job

When you decide to go into photography as a way to earn income there are many things you need to know.

First you need to learn all about photography and the equipment involved in taking professional quality pictures. Then you will need to decide what kind of pictures you want to take, and are good at taking, on a regular basis and if you are willing to expand into other areas. You need to make sure your pictures are exactly what the company is looking for when you decide to apply for a job with a specific company.

Once you have decided on what kind of pictures and who you would like to work for then you need a portfolio of your best pictures that fit with what that company is looking for. Make sure you include a variety of lighting and different colored shots in your portfolio. You want to make sure your portfolio is flexible so that you can change it as needed when you are applying for different jobs.

All of these things in no way guarantee that you will be hired for professional quality prints but it does improve your odds. It is not easy to get involved in the photography industry where your prints sell well enough to live from.

Is photography a job for you?

Once you have learned all you can about photography and what it takes to earn an income from your prints, then you can decide if photography as a career is an option for you.

A career in photography is not for everyone. You will also need to decide if you are looking to photograph full-time or just part-time. Weather you need to fully fund your lifestyle with the pictures you are selling or if you are just looking for extra income, are important factors to consider. It takes a lot of time, money and dedication to make it in the professional photography industry. You have to have a tough skin because you will be turned down more than once. If you are good, have the equipment, have the time, and keep pushing forward then you have a chance at making it as a professional photographer. You also need to think about how you will handle family and friends looking for a discount and not considering that this is your income.

There are many things to consider when you are thinking of switching from a hobby photographer to a professional photographer. The most important thing to consider though is do you really want to put in the time and dedication required to be a professional photographer. You have to decide if this is really the career you want to spend years doing. If your heart and soul are not in what you’re doing then you may not make it very far in the world of professional photographers.