Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina. [NIKON D2X, Sigma APO 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG HSM, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/160, ƒ/10, (35mm = 183)]
We often talk about being either an amateur photographer or a professional photographer. What is the difference between these two? The professional earns a living with their camera.
The workshops or seminars for most professionals frequently talk about how we as professionals must remain always an amateur. Two of the three definitions in the dictionary refer to somebody who does or takes part in something for pleasure or is greatly interested in the subject. Only one of the definitions differentiates the amateur from the professional as more than just pay, but somebody who has only limited skill.
As you can see our choice of words in describing a photographer can mean many different things. I was reminded recently at my family reunion about how diverse photography has become. I was trying to explain what I do to my relatives.
While there are many amateur and professional photographers, I believe the one thing distinguishing most seasoned professional photographers from those who fall by the wayside is creativity. The Creative Photographer is by nature always trying to see the world in new ways.
The Creative Photographer is rarely a generalist—yet can often handle most assignments. The Creative Photographer usually specializes and often is considered an expert in a subject outside of their photography knowledge.
I have an uncle who also was a photographer. What was one of his specialties was wildlife. He was called on to write a column for a magazine where he often helped the reader to know more about a wild animal.
For me I have specialized through the years in different areas which typically involve people in a unique location. My major specialties have developed into some of these areas of interest: Corporate Storytelling; Science/Technology; Religion; Sports and Humanitarian.
While still in my crib my parents tell me of how I would take the screws out of the crib. I wanted to take things apart and know how they work. This grew through the years to me enjoying sound systems, cars, computers and anything which your typical geek may be interested.
Growing up in a preacher’s family I was surrounded by faith. This interest is still there today and after not only being active in my own church I went to seminary and earned my masters. Today I work with a team leading Missions Storytelling Workshops around the world.
I also spend a great deal of time working with Chick-fil-A as consultant.
My earliest memories involved sports. I remember being taken to sporting events and later played most sports in some league. Today I play basketball two or three times a week for exercise.
When I show up on a photo shoot for any of these areas, I am not just thinking about setting the camera or lights. I am thinking about what is going on and how a geek, theologian or athlete would be interested in the subject. While my studies as a social worker helped me to watch body language and capture a peak moment, it is my interest in science, faith or sports which help me to know what to include and how much to inform the reader.
There have been times through my career where I struggled on how to capture the moment to communicate clearly an idea. It was then I would gain new skills with photography to inform the reader better. However, most of my life I have been just curious to want to know more about these subjects. You will find books, magazines and if I had kept all my pages from surfing the web you could see even here I was wanting more about: science/technology, faith or sports.
The Creative Photographer is one who is curious most of the time and a problem solver when it comes to knowing how to communicate in a way to hook the reader and inform them about the world in which they live.
Give me a call so I can learn something new about your area and help you to communicate to your audience. Everyone wants those who work on their projects to add creativity and make your project better.