This is a chapter from the book A Lesser Photographer.
Decide for yourself, but I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument opposing these definitions:
- Photographer: Someone who makes photographs.
- Professional Photographer: Someone who makes the majority of their income from photography.
- Amateur Photographer: Someone who does not make the majority of their income from photography.
- Good Photographer: The “rules” of photography that are used to judge the collected images of a photographer are almost entirely commerce-based and applicable only to professional photographers. You might as well just ask how much money the photographer makes. There’s no objective way to measure whether a photographer is “good” or “bad.”
- Real Photographer: This one really stinks of arrogance. Some believe you’re not a “real” photographer if you don’t have a “real” camera (whatever that means). Some believe you’re not a “real” photographer if you don’t dedicate a certain amount of time to the craft. The truth is, 99.9% of photographers are amateurs, and the vast majority of them have a phone as their primary tool. If you’re looking for what’s numerically “real,” it’s an amateur with a phone.
- Serious Photographer: See the above two definitions.
- Advanced Amateur Photographer: Amateurs who are embarrassed to be lumped in with those who don’t use a “real” camera.