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10-22-2014, 12:17 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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Professional and being a Professional

In various threads, I've seen "pro" this or "pro" that.

In today's varied multimedia world, what a person does with a camera to make money is definitely considered "pro".
I think traditional methods of being a "pro" are pretty hard to come by and I include some of the subcategories we are all familiar with in that generalization - Weddings, Landscape, Family, etc. etc.

Outside of the box, in 2014, you can't ignore video if you are going to be a "pro" as you make money with your camera.
I think the K3 is the perfect camera that lives in both the photography and video worlds.
Until the world catches up to 4K, the 1080p/60 that I get from the K3 is perfect.
No complaints about the photography from a K3, even if the video is falsely maligned.

If I listen to my colleagues here at work, and see what they are producing, I see NOTHING that makes their Canikony choices better than my Pentax ones.

Their "B" role is terrible. Their story telling - non existent.
Their photography is done by another group.

For a while I felt guilty for using my Pentax for professional work, and recently I had a realization that I've become a full time pro, based on being non-traditional and having Pentax at my core.

In any given project, I mix photography and video, location and studio work, inside and outside.

The K3 fits perfectly, and works seamlessly with the software tools that I use.
I use the Adobe Creative suite exclusively to pretty much come up with anything that my Pentax K3 creates as a foundation.

Which got me thinking about how perfect a Pentax K3 is for the mixed modality workflow that I exist in, and why Pentax *is* a professional choice.

Some points...some real-honest points.

Because Pentax/Ricoh has a multi year pipeline, I don't have to worry about too many models to choose from when I put together my budget. I can confidently know that in a year or two my purchases will not be obsolete.
I will get my (and the company's) money's worth from the tools I choose.

By keeping Pentax in the center of it all, and we can spend money on other things that increase production value.
The cost of a Pentax kit is significantly less than Canikony, while offering everything I need to deliver as part of my projects.

ANY budget is not infinite. In the real world, I'd rather buy a new LED light kit, than spend the money on having a camera brand that others think is cooler!

I have multiple cameras, jibs and sliders on any given shoot, and THAT increases my production value.

I would have so much less gear if I went with Canikony.

Good, robust, quality products that don't cater to a consumer timeline/image are what being a "pro" is all about.

Pentax really does get it.

So being "pro" is making money with a camera.

You will have more money to make money, by choosing Pentax.



10-22-2014, 12:50 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
So being "pro" is making money with a camera.
I never really considered myself a 'pro', (still don't really) but when my accountant said I had to forget the hobby thing and register as a business because I was making money it kinda sunk in. So now I am a 'pro' photographer, although how professional my work is is another discussion.

But once you start budgeting, looking at the actual cost of producing an image, there is an excellent case for Pentax. The camera itself is often a small part of the overall budget, other gear and travel costs might be higher but getting the job done with less gear cost is never a bad thing. Good solid reliable gear that works the way I want is a pleasure to use.
10-22-2014, 12:55 PM   #3
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I think you make some really good points, and it seems that there are some people who consider themselves to be nascent pros because they've bought a "big boy" camera... and wind of putting the cart before the horse.

I've also seen some really bad "pro" work, and some of that has to do with people living in areas where there's a paucity of protogs.

I'm not grasping this very well, though: "The cost of a Pentax kit is significantly less than Canikony". Isn't that dependent of the nature of the kit? I do periodically compare different brands with the lenses I'm interested in, and depending on the configuration, I often find Pentax, Canon and Nikon fairly price-competitive with one another.
10-22-2014, 01:04 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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It's not the gear, whether it be "pro" or a particular brand name.
It's not some magic threshold of how much money you make at it that suddenly makes you a pro.
It's not whether you do video or not.


I think being professional means first and foremost acting like one. You are good to your customers and do your utmost to earn the money they pay you in exchange for their trust.


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.)

10-22-2014, 02:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I never really considered myself a 'pro', (still don't really) but when my accountant said I had to forget the hobby thing and register as a business because I was making money it kinda sunk in. So now I am a 'pro' photographer, although how professional my work is is another discussion.

But once you start budgeting, looking at the actual cost of producing an image, there is an excellent case for Pentax. The camera itself is often a small part of the overall budget, other gear and travel costs might be higher but getting the job done with less gear cost is never a bad thing. Good solid reliable gear that works the way I want is a pleasure to use.
Just remember professional has a lot of interpretations. One is making money, one is talking a reasonable level of care and due dillegence in the performance of the work, and one is the "appearance" of the work. Take your pick, but I'll bet on your accountant
10-22-2014, 05:02 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Just remember professional has a lot of interpretations. One is making money, one is talking a reasonable level of care and due dillegence in the performance of the work, and one is the "appearance" of the work. Take your pick, but I'll bet on your accountant
Agree. I am making money so that part is good. I try very hard to act professionally and respect clients, 30 years in retail so customer service is a no brainer. Constantly shudder at what folks think 'customer service' is these days. Which leaves the work itself, and of course that is subjective. I try to do the best I can and improve continuously, but honestly I have a long way to go. But at least I have improved enough to be able to tell when I'm not good enough. It always amazes me when someone thinks enough of one of my images to plunk down money.
10-22-2014, 05:43 PM   #7
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Is there any other profession where people are even slightly confused about who is and who is not a professional? Seriously, is it even a question?
10-22-2014, 06:15 PM   #8
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I worked as a part-time professional photographer many years ago - weddings, commercial, sports teams, graduations, school yearbooks, etc. A Mamiya C330 twin-lens reflex was my main camera with a Yashica as first backup. The backup to my backup was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. (Honeywell sold them in the US back then, but this one was bought in Asia.). I'd have shot an entire wedding with it if necessary. It still works!

10-22-2014, 06:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Is there any other profession where people are even slightly confused about who is and who is not a professional? Seriously, is it even a question?
Computers, dude. Some people... holy sh!t

Here's the real question: is there any other profession where the name brand on the individual's tools is perceived to be the determining factor of the person's professional status? There may be, but I can't think of any.
10-22-2014, 07:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
Outside of the box, in 2014, you can't ignore video if you are going to be a "pro" as you make money with your camera.
You can. I do.
10-22-2014, 07:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Computers, dude. Some people... holy sh!t

Here's the real question: is there any other profession where the name brand on the individual's tools is perceived to be the determining factor of the person's professional status? There may be, but I can't think of any.
No. It's like watching hardcore sports fans. People tie themselves to a corporate brand in unhealthy ways.
10-22-2014, 08:10 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Just remember professional has a lot of interpretations. One is making money, one is talking a reasonable level of care and due dillegence in the performance of the work,
QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Is there any other profession where people are even slightly confused about who is and who is not a professional?
It's somewhat less confusing if you differentiate between 'commercial' and 'professional' in the job description.

A commercial-whatever (jeez, we even have 'Professional TV Wrestlers/Rasslers) is easily and simply defined as someone that works for monetary gain.

A professional, OTOH, can be described as someone who:
- has attained a high degree of skill and knowledge in a field and pursues ongoing education in that field,
- observes a degree of altruism in contributing to the community
- actively contributes to the good reputation and ethical standards of the field
- subscribes to peer review as means of critical evaluation and ranking
- has the respect of others in his/her field
- is generally considered a lady or gentleman in their relations with others

I know individuals in many occupations and avocations that I respect as being 'professional' -- not one of them is defined by the commercial or monetary rewards of their efforts, the traditional appellation of 'professional' to their field of work or simply because of their great 'batting average'.

And, I've known a few very good photographers that can be proudly known as excellent 'commercial' photographers' but would never describe themselves as a 'professional' by these standards.
10-22-2014, 10:21 PM   #13
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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.

A commercial-whatever (jeez, we even have 'Professional TV Wrestlers/Rasslers) is easily and simply defined as someone that works for monetary gain.

A professional, OTOH, can be described as someone who:
- has attained a high degree of skill and knowledge in a field and pursues ongoing education in that field,
- observes a degree of altruism in contributing to the community
- actively contributes to the good reputation and ethical standards of the field
- subscribes to peer review as means of critical evaluation and ranking
- has the respect of others in his/her field
- is generally considered a lady or gentleman in their relations with others

I know individuals in many occupations and avocations that I respect as being 'professional' -- not one of them is defined by the commercial or monetary rewards of their efforts, the traditional appellation of 'professional' to their field of work or simply because of their great 'batting average'.

And, I've known a few very good photographers that can be proudly known as excellent 'commercial' photographers' but would never describe themselves as a 'professional' by these standards.
The IRS actually does define you as a professional based on your monetary rewards. Everything else on the list is pretty subjective and relative to the individuals market.

- has attained a high degree of skill and knowledge in a field and pursues ongoing education in that field, Only relative to other people in the market. Comparative advantage.
- observes a degree of altruism in contributing to the community. Has absolutely nothing to do with being a professional or acting in a professional manner.
- subscribes to peer review as means of critical evaluation and ranking You don't need to be a professional to see feedback from others. An artist who creates his/her art without concern for the opinions of others is not less of a professional.
- has the respect of others in his/her field. Has nothing to do with being a professional.
- is generally considered a lady or gentleman in their relations with others. Totally subjective. I can think of several people at the top of their field who have very poor reputation for their people skills.

Bernie Madoff could have checked off all of the boxes on the list.... until he got caught.
High degree of skill and education.... Check
High degree of altruism..... Check - gave almost $1 million in donations to the Democratic Party and some progressive organizations in NYC. I'm sure it was stolen.
Peer review....Check. Had a great relationship with the SEC and his peers.
Respect of others in his field... Check.... So much respect they didn't even investigate him.
Is generally considered a gentleman in relations with others.... Check. He definitely had a way with people.

By your list, you can be a total fraud and a thief and still be a "professional."
10-23-2014, 03:56 AM   #14
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Your ethics, and attitude; the consistent quality of your work, and the understanding of what being a "professional" person means, both ethically and behaviorally is what defines you as a professional, not the brand or the amount of your equipment you own.

There are many that say they are professional, based on the fact they do a job full time for a living , but with out my first line a full time job on it's own does not put them at that level or status.
10-23-2014, 06:46 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I think you make some really good points, and it seems that there are some people who consider themselves to be nascent pros because they've bought a "big boy" camera... and wind of putting the cart before the horse.

I've also seen some really bad "pro" work, and some of that has to do with people living in areas where there's a paucity of protogs.

I'm not grasping this very well, though: "The cost of a Pentax kit is significantly less than Canikony". Isn't that dependent of the nature of the kit? I do periodically compare different brands with the lenses I'm interested in, and depending on the configuration, I often find Pentax, Canon and Nikon fairly price-competitive with one another.
If you put together a basic kit, with three fast lenses, the Canikony kits climb quickly.

A basic Pentax kit with the DA12-24, 16-50 and 50-135 is significantly cheaper.
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