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10-23-2014, 07:47 AM   #16
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LaurenOE,
I think your post is right on. I too backed myself into shooting for money (weddings), and I could not have afforded to do so if I shot with Canon or Nikon. It takes a lot of equipment to shoot weddings well. I really tire of all the opinions about who/what is actually a pro. If you attach a presumption of quality to it, then it's a wide open field for interpretation (see Pacerr's ridiculous criteria for being a pro). If a restaurant serves bad food is it no longer a restaurant or a legitimate business? If a community has only one photographer who actually sucks, but people still use him because he is the only choice available (like some bad restaurants), does that disqualify his pro status? It's about the money, stupid. If people pay you for your work, and you have to report that income to the IRS, then you are a pro. Maybe not a good one, but a pro nonetheless.

10-23-2014, 08:24 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
It's somewhat less confusing if you differentiate between 'commercial' and 'professional' in the job description.
Semantics hinders comprehension.

Though photographers may be professional, photography is not a profession. It is more akin to an unskilled trade, requiring little or no formal education or training. A profession, such as medicine, law, engineering has legal requirements such as licensing and education. Professions often entail self-management as in disciplinary boards.

Of course licensing alone does not designate a profession--for example cosmetology--but also aims to lower public health risks and provide consumer protection.

This has nada to do with behaving professionally as there are plenty of lawyers and physicians who don't conduct themselves in a professional manner. Photographers too.

So, blame it on semantics.

M
10-23-2014, 08:27 AM   #18
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Here is the typical Australian law (New South Wales) , and I wonder if it means that a "Pro Photographer" in Australia has to use similar gear and take similar wedding photos to all the other "Pros" ??


"
CIVIL LIABILITY ACT 2002 - SECT 5O
Standard of care for professionals
5O Standard of care for professionals

(1) A person practising a profession (
"a professional" ) does not incur a liability in negligence arising from the provision of a professional service if it is established that the professional acted in a manner that (at the time the service was provided) was widely accepted in Australia by peer professional opinion as competent professional practice.

(2) However, peer professional opinion cannot be relied on for the purposes of this section if the court considers that the opinion is irrational.

(3) The fact that there are differing peer professional opinions widely accepted in Australia concerning a matter does not prevent any one or more (or all) of those opinions being relied on for the purposes of this section.

(4) Peer professional opinion does not have to be universally accepted to be considered widely accepted.
"
10-23-2014, 09:09 AM - 1 Like   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleC Quote
And most of all, you don't badmouth other photographers (even when you think they suck), or their gear (whether you like it or not), or *their* customers (even if you think they should have hired you.)
This is just how not to be a jerk. Good for pros, amateurs, and humans in general!

10-23-2014, 09:48 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
The IRS actually does define you as a professional based on your monetary rewards. . . . By [their] list, you can be a total fraud and a thief and still be a "professional."
Well, by the definition of the IRS anyway . . . should you choose to accept their list as a definition of good character.

Of course they have a much different incentive to define "professionalism" don't they?

I'll leave it to the individual involved to decide which definition of "professional" they'd prefer to entrust their health, litigation and 'art' to.

Last edited by pacerr; 10-23-2014 at 09:56 AM.
10-23-2014, 10:04 AM - 1 Like   #21
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Thanks Lauren for this thread - a good one.

I think the American IRS defines income made from "hobbyist" activities as opposed to professional work by the nature of the activities - like keeping good records, focus on making a profit in a serious manner, supporting themselves from the activity, etc. Just my own paraphrasing.

But changing the thread direction for a moment: I was wondering where those "professionals" are employed. Because when i hear that this isn't professional equipment - i wonder what activity those professionals are engaged in.

Here's the employment categories for photographers that i can come up with:

A. Wedding and portrait photographers. I think this is prob. the biggest category around. As a result - this is the defining activity by what folks refer to "professional equipment". I've met at least 6 in this category. Pentax can compete in this category.

B. Wildlife photographers. These are the guys/gals that go out in the woods and take the serious animal/bird and landscape shots. The one i met in this category carries a micro 4/3's camera - not sure which. I think Pentax fits nicely i this category, i.e. WR, lightweight, durable, etc.

C. Photojounalism. Pentax can compete nicely in this area as well. Altho i wouldn't be surprised if some pros in this category also have cameras that are less intrusive and easier to carry depending on the application.

D. Fine Art. Basically selling online, at craft fairs, galleries, tourist shops, etc.

E. Event Photographers, professional sports games, music events

F. Company photographers, Large companies tend to employ a few of these, and they do a variety of tasks, the occasional portraits, issuing newsletters to keep employees informed, photographing products for ad campaigns, etc.

Actually, thats not a bad list. In total numbers i think A. and D. are probably the largest categories. I hope that when Pentax comes out with new cameras, they specifically think about what professional categories they want to compete in , and what these categories need in terms of a photographic tool.
10-23-2014, 11:55 AM   #22
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If i wanted to be professional, I'd choose to be a portrait shooter. I do volunteer photography work for a playhouse, and have gotten several requests for portraits that either did not materialize or i turned down. If i wanted to support myself - thats where i would be.

Instead, i enjoy chasing and processing pictures for "fine art" sales. I'm retired so don't have to rely on any photographic income, but its nice to defray some of the costs. I joined a gallery that only charges me $40/month and no consignment percentage. usually i get 1 or 2 checks a month from the gallery. I had a serious offer from 2 members of a really nice gallery in Port Townsend, it was like $90/month and 25 or 30% consignment fees. But i turned it down. If i was younger and wanted a career in fine art - thats probably the way to go, but in retirement, my priorities are much different. Plus i'm not so sure that fine art sales are what they used to be. I talked to a photographer yesterday who is a professional and has managed artwork displays in institutions like hospitals. He was pretty down on fine art sales. Has closed his professional office in another city and now works out of his home.

So being a professional has a lot to do with the choices one makes.
10-23-2014, 11:58 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Thanks Lauren for this thread - a good one.

I think the American IRS defines income made from "hobbyist" activities as opposed to professional work by the nature of the activities - like keeping good records, focus on making a profit in a serious manner, supporting themselves from the activity, etc. Just my own paraphrasing.

But changing the thread direction for a moment: I was wondering where those "professionals" are employed. Because when i hear that this isn't professional equipment - i wonder what activity those professionals are engaged in.

Here's the employment categories for photographers that i can come up with:

A. Wedding and portrait photographers. I think this is prob. the biggest category around. As a result - this is the defining activity by what folks refer to "professional equipment". I've met at least 6 in this category. Pentax can compete in this category.

B. Wildlife photographers. These are the guys/gals that go out in the woods and take the serious animal/bird and landscape shots. The one i met in this category carries a micro 4/3's camera - not sure which. I think Pentax fits nicely i this category, i.e. WR, lightweight, durable, etc.

C. Photojounalism. Pentax can compete nicely in this area as well. Altho i wouldn't be surprised if some pros in this category also have cameras that are less intrusive and easier to carry depending on the application.

D. Fine Art. Basically selling online, at craft fairs, galleries, tourist shops, etc.

E. Event Photographers, professional sports games, music events

F. Company photographers, Large companies tend to employ a few of these, and they do a variety of tasks, the occasional portraits, issuing newsletters to keep employees informed, photographing products for ad campaigns, etc.

Actually, thats not a bad list. In total numbers i think A. and D. are probably the largest categories. I hope that when Pentax comes out with new cameras, they specifically think about what professional categories they want to compete in , and what these categories need in terms of a photographic tool.
That was also the point of what I was trying to convey, that in a non traditional entrypoint, realizing your camera is making you money. Pentax in some non-traditional ways becomes the perfect "Professional" camera and workflow.



10-23-2014, 12:06 PM   #24
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Decent list Phil,

I'd add:

Commercial shooters: real estate, architecture, advertising, products (I commuted with a Nordstrom product catalog shooter)

Forensics: crime scenes; every mid-sized city department has at least one if not more depending on size and if they can get additional funding. Great gig if you can handle it.

Medical: procedures, facilities, technical workings

M

QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Thanks Lauren for this thread - a good one.

I think the American IRS defines income made from "hobbyist" activities as opposed to professional work by the nature of the activities - like keeping good records, focus on making a profit in a serious manner, supporting themselves from the activity, etc. Just my own paraphrasing.

But changing the thread direction for a moment: I was wondering where those "professionals" are employed. Because when i hear that this isn't professional equipment - i wonder what activity those professionals are engaged in.

Here's the employment categories for photographers that i can come up with:

A. Wedding and portrait photographers. I think this is prob. the biggest category around. As a result - this is the defining activity by what folks refer to "professional equipment". I've met at least 6 in this category. Pentax can compete in this category.

B. Wildlife photographers. These are the guys/gals that go out in the woods and take the serious animal/bird and landscape shots. The one i met in this category carries a micro 4/3's camera - not sure which. I think Pentax fits nicely i this category, i.e. WR, lightweight, durable, etc.

C. Photojounalism. Pentax can compete nicely in this area as well. Altho i wouldn't be surprised if some pros in this category also have cameras that are less intrusive and easier to carry depending on the application.

D. Fine Art. Basically selling online, at craft fairs, galleries, tourist shops, etc.

E. Event Photographers, professional sports games, music events

F. Company photographers, Large companies tend to employ a few of these, and they do a variety of tasks, the occasional portraits, issuing newsletters to keep employees informed, photographing products for ad campaigns, etc.

Actually, thats not a bad list. In total numbers i think A. and D. are probably the largest categories. I hope that when Pentax comes out with new cameras, they specifically think about what professional categories they want to compete in , and what these categories need in terms of a photographic tool.
10-23-2014, 12:12 PM   #25
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Transitive Verb 'To Profess'

Behaviors and character as so very important as they distinguish one from another.

As a transitive verb, it is enough by definition to merely claim to be versed in photography in order to declare oneself a professional. For this reason there are Professional Associations whose purpose is to confer a Professional Designation, to ascribe value to a completed "Body of Knowledge' and to erect barriers to entry so that not just anyuone can enter the market. In the case of photography the barriers to entry are exceedingly weak.

Full Definition of PROFESS

transitive verb
1
: to receive formally into a religious community following a novitiate by acceptance of the required vows
2
a : to declare or admit openly or freely : affirm
b : to declare in words or appearances only : pretend, claim
3
: to confess one's faith in or allegiance to
4
a : to practice or claim to be versed in (a calling or profession)
b : to teach as a professor
intransitive verb
1
: to make a profession or avowal
2
obsolete : to profess friendship
See profess defined for English-language learners
See profess defined for kids
Examples of PROFESS

He professes confidence in his friend.
They profess loyalty to the king.
Origin of PROFESS

in sense 1, from Middle English, from profes, adjective, having professed one's vows, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin professus, from Latin, past participle of profitēri to profess, confess, from pro- before + fatēri to acknowledge; in other senses, from Latin professus, past participle — more at confess

Last edited by monochrome; 10-23-2014 at 12:31 PM.
10-23-2014, 09:15 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
It is more akin to an unskilled trade
Hmmm...I would compare it to the skilled crafts. Those who do good work consistently maintain a customer base. Those who are masters of their craft remain in high demand. Those who do not go back to carrying hod or whatever other unskilled task they were doing.

So, perhaps we should refer to photographers (paid and unpaid) according to their level of mastery and not by whether they have ever sold anything.

BTW...on a complete tangent, what about "pros" who make a living from photography, but not directly from their photographs. A good example would be a certain fellow who is based in a certain Central Oregon town who primarily makes his living by doing fail-safe field photography tours/workshops. Is he a professional photographer or a tour guide or an instructor?


Steve

---------- Post added 10-23-14 at 09:37 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
I think the American IRS defines income made from "hobbyist" activities as opposed to professional work by the nature of the activities - like keeping good records, focus on making a profit in a serious manner, supporting themselves from the activity, etc.
My understanding is that the federal tax system in the U.S. considers any income that is discoverable to be potentially taxable. Your professional status, licensing, or accreditation is not a consideration.

That being said, local and state taxation as well as business licensing requirements may be another matter, depending on jurisdiction.


Steve

---------- Post added 10-23-14 at 09:46 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
For this reason there are Professional Associations
Interesting that you should bring that up. Here in Washington, the state defers to certain professional associations (pharmacy, optometry, medical, etc.) to determine the standards for the profession and to govern that body of professionals by peer-driven standards. Being a Pentax shooter, I am glad that is not the case for photographers in Washington.*


Steve

* Perhaps I can get extra points for owning/using a view camera?
10-23-2014, 11:10 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
* Perhaps I can get extra points for owning/using a view camera?
You would have cred with the black powder hunters.

M
10-24-2014, 12:15 AM   #28
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QuoteQuote:
My understanding is that the federal tax system in the U.S. considers any income that is discoverable to be potentially taxable. Your professional status, licensing, or accreditation is not a consideration.

That being said, local and state taxation as well as business licensing requirements may be another matter, depending on jurisdiction.
Steve
Of course income is taxable. I was only trying to point that hobbyist income is differentiated from business/professional income, in terms of paperwork requirements, if nothing else.
10-24-2014, 06:18 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Interesting that you should bring that up. Here in Washington, the state defers to certain professional associations (pharmacy, optometry, medical, etc.) to determine the standards for the profession and to govern that body of professionals by peer-driven standards. Being a Pentax shooter, I am glad that is not the case for photographers in Washington.*


Steve
There's always a cabal that forms around services used by everyone, especially when investments or health is the industry. When there is a cabal there is also government regulation, which is captured by the cabal and reordered to protect those already in place. Since there is a broad, deep river of payments from every single person in the state, there is always enough money for all kinds of groups to dip a hand into the flow and scoop some money out. Everyone has an interest in maintaining the status quo.

Just think about all the people who get paid to teach, train, regulate, administer and settle the medical profession, including (now) the Government - it is a closed system on purpose. How about banking and investing, post 1932? Looking back, scholars can now see that all the problems of 2008 - 2009 are a result of government intervention to promote a certain outcome for certain voting groups, using negative and positive tax and regulatory incentives. Since there is a symbiotic relationship between elected officials, courts, regulators and industry those studies will never be promoted - they'll be buried.

Taxation and regulation of something integral to photography could have closed the system - then there would have been (expensive) professional education, licensing, regulation, barriers to entry, certifications, limited access to tools - etc., etc. Photography just never got organized enough to protect itself as an industry.
10-24-2014, 10:31 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
... I would have so much less gear if I went with Canikony. ...
Hi Lauren,

You lost me with this observation. In my engineering mind, this tends to relate to capability and functionality. Are you finding that Pentax products have less inherent functionality (in comparison to C/N), so that you equipment piece count increases to make up for lack of functionality, capability or lower levels of integration? Just call me confused......

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