I’m not a Photographer

#GrandTetons, #TetonNationalPark, #PhotoTips, #TakesharperPhotos, #travelphotography

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of connecting with a blogging pal. He had recently purchased a new Panasonic camera at my recommendation and was interested in a little help navigating the camera’s settings. Since I’ve been shooting regularly with a variety of Panasonic cameras for the past six years, I was more than happy to assist.

Actually, I loved the opportunity, and we had a fantastic outing where I think we both learned a few things. It’s always fun shooting with another photographer considering we all see things differently. We might be photographing the same subject, yet our images won’t look anything alike.

As my new friend and I were discussing this fact, I made the comment, “As photographers, we all see things differently, and therefore, create our own unique image”. My friend was very quick to respond to my comment by saying, “Oh, I’m not a photographer”. I immediately knew why he said that and could totally relate.

For years, I have felt uncomfortable referring to myself as a photographer. I consider myself more of a snapshot taker, picture taker, a novice, newbie, amateur, beginner … photographer wannabe.

what is a photographer? photography 101 #what is a photographer

What is a photographer?

So, after pondering those thoughts, I did a little Googling and this is what I came up with …

  • Photographers create memories and make special moments unforgettable. (check, that’s me)
  • Photographers produce and preserve images that paint a picture, tell a story, or record an event. (again, check)

Okay, well then maybe I am a photographer according to these two sentences. But then I dove a little deeper.

  • A photographer is a person who takes photographs, especially as a job.
  • A photographer is a professional that focuses on the art of taking photographs.
  • Photographers are artists with a camera.
  • Photographers can work as fine artists, wedding/event photography, or sell their photographs to commercial clients.

Hmm, we’ve got some keywords there that definitely don’t apply to me. Therefore, I am not a photographer but merely a snapshot taker … or am I? I’m so confused!

Grand Tetons National Park, #Grand Tetons

Professional vs. Amateur

Have you ever entered a photography contest or read the rules to one of those contests? They seem to always use the terms Professional Photographer and Amateur Photographer making a decided distinction that there’s more than one kind of photographer.

Perfect example; The Washington Post sponsored a photo contest a while back. As I read the rules, this sentence really resonated with me.

Only amateur photographers are eligible. Professional photographers (i.e., anyone who earns more than 50 percent of his or her annual income from photography) are not eligible.

The distinction has nothing to do with the quality of a photographer’s work, but rather with his/her income, and both amateurs and professionals are considered photographers.

Dragonfly #dragonflies


After my research, I think I finally feel comfortable calling myself a photographer … an amateur photographer that is because I am most definitely not a professional photographer.

Whether its a hobby or a profession, we all love this thing called photography. The difference is we either sell our images or give them away. Does it really matter to those admiring a beautiful photograph? So, snap away on that iPhone, point & shoot, or nifty mirrorless camera and embrace calling yourself a photographer. After all, it’s so much easier than referring to yourself as a snapshot taker and a heck of a lot more fun too! 📷

Best Friends, #best friends, #hug it out
I told you, we ARE photographers!

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VANGUARD Tripod with Pan Head
Professional Cleaning Kit for Cameras
Camera Mug

What is a photographer? Why you should call yourself a photographerWhat is an amatuer photographer? #photography #lovephotography

43 thoughts on “I’m not a Photographer

  1. Wonderful post and stunning photographs, Ingrid! Yes, you are a photographer! Maybe one of its definitions should be “One who takes fantastic photos and receives many positive comments about it.” 🙂

    This topic hits home as well. It took me a long time to call myself a “writer” as I always annotate that profession with being paid for it. Yet, I’ve written my entire life – diaries, article, blogs, a book, reports, stories, notes, emails, … – hence, I AM a writer.

    Once that was squared away, I was taken aback when a magazine editor referred to me as a writer and photographer. Me, a photographer? Like you, taking photos was a hobby and the photos enhanced my stories and articles. Plus, I need them because of my short-term memory. But… I was being paid for my photos, as a writer. Therefore, I thought it OK being called a “photographer” as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Liesbet. I think you could easily call yourself a photojournalist with all your varied experience, but I understand the discomfort of titles. Can’t wait until you put your memoir out into the world and then you can call yourself a ‘best selling author’. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What? of course you are no matter what the definition is!
    Through the years I have seen significant improvement in your photography. So it is not the camera, its the one behind it that made your captures great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not only are you an amazing photographer, Ingrid, you share your tips and expertise with others, for which I am grateful! I view photography as a form of leisure, a hobby, and more people should identify themselves by their hobby or leisure passion, rather than their career choice. I’ve taught this concept in my classes and love seeing the lightbulb go on with students. Keep shooting and sharing, Miss Photographer! 📸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Terri. That’s an interesting concept that you teach your students. I can see why you enjoy your job as well as your hobby. Photography is indeed a great hobby and gives me a purpose to explore new territory and search out ‘the little things’.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re not only a photographer Ingrid, you’re a damned good one. I think an amateur photographer is exactly the right term, unless of course you decide to start making a living from your work. Then you could change the amateur to professional.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess it’s the whole amateur vs. professional distinction. People who create fine art part time have the same problem (are they artists, or do they “just” draw/paint/sculpt?). How about “writers” or “bloggers” who don’t earn a living at their craft? Maybe the distinction is more a matter of focus and attention given to a pursuit. You take beautiful pictures… I think you are definitely a photographer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love and truly respect what you do with a camera!! So I would classify you a photographer!!! Mike and I love photography and we consider it a hobby. I would love to have your talent with a camera!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awe, thank you Gerri. It’s such a fun hobby. I’m excited about heading east this summer to capture some new scenery.


    2. Thank you, Janis and you bring up some interesting points. I think I’d have trouble calling myself a writer because I’m clearly a blogger. Funny how we label things.


  6. Dave has the same issue, instead, we usually say his hobby is photography. Hobbyist photographer!! Your photos resonate with many so whatever you call yourself your photos are outstanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dave definitely does have fun with his camera and I think he’s earned the title of ‘amatuer photographer’. The saguaros are blooming and beautiful this season!


  7. I think when they ask whether a significant portion of your income comes from photography, they are not focusing (pun intended ) on money per se. As a “professional”, the assumption is formal instruction, years of photography fore sale or for higher, all leading to experience , gained knowledge and expertise. Can an amatuer gain the same? Yes, but most don’t. You DO. You’re a photographer. As for me, I’m a point-and-shooter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, great points and love the pun 😁 Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Oh, and trust me, most days I’m with you … a point-and-shooter!


    1. Nice to hear from you Keng. I’m glad my images and story telling inspired you to explore new territory. Hope you’re enjoying your time on the other side of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I can SO relate! I am always saying I’m not a “real” photographer. Always asked when I’m going to have a show, or submit a photo to National Geographic. Ha, ha. It’s nice to be recognized, but I would never want the pressure of “delivering”. I’m happy to show a few of my best on social media, and leave the “money shots” for someone else. I guess I am an amateur photographer. Lol I did learn from you, this past winter, and hope to see you again!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you that I wouldn’t want the pressure of ‘delivering’. I enjoy sharing my images on my blog. You learned from me??? Hmm, you’ll have to enlighten me next season 😄


    1. Thank you! I did my best to scour my external hard-drive looking for some of my favorites. When confronted with stunning landscape, it’s easy to capture some nice images. Thanks for stopping by!


    1. Can’t wait to finally meet you guys as well. And we’ll definitely have some photography time where I’ll teach you my “point & prayer” method of capturing the shot 😆


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