Being a Serious Photographer

There are various definitions of “professional photographer,” but most involve something like “at least 50% of your income is derived from photography.” Well, I’ve never sold a photograph or any photographic service, so I’m definitely not a pro, but in many other aspects I behave more and more like one. For example, I carry a large camera and sometimes a tripod, I keyword and archive my images, I take back-up equipment on important shoots and I have a photographic web-site.

But I also visit photographic exhibitions, jump into conversations about photography, I talk to other photographers when out photographing. And recently I’ve started asking strangers if I can take their picture, a picture of their auto, their boots, their house, their working place. Most times I got an affirmative answer, but also a few negative ones. I imagine that sometimes the people said “no,” because they simply didn’t want to risk some nut-cake taking their photo.

But what if I had a quick way of convincing these people that I really am a fine-art photographer and that I don’t mean them any harm. Even better, what if I could show them some of my work and possibly get them really interested? Well, I might now have found this way. And it’s nothing new really, but I’ve taken the time and done it.

The first step was to print a few of my images on 10 x 15 cm paper and carry them in my photo bag. And the second step was to make business cards and carry a bunch of those in my pocket. The cards are nothing fancy — a black-and-white image on the left and my name, e-mail address and URLs to my images and to this blog on the right.

Of course anyone can take a few postcards in their hands and put a name on a business card, but I think it’s a very different feeling if someone says “I’m a photographer. Here are a few of my images, and here, take this card so you can see more images and send me an e-mail if you like.”

Both of these things are so new that I haven’t yet had a chance to try them out. But I hope they might open a few doors that might otherwise remain closed: street portraits, junk-yards, repair shops, church steeples, etc.

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