Types of Photographers

WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,614Member
In another thread, I quoted the following, not knowing the source:

Amateurs worry about gear.
Pros worry about money.
Artists worry about light.

And VTC2002 was kind enough to provide the real quote:

“Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light, I just make pictures… ” by Vernon Trent

And he also reminded me of a Rockwell quote that I have often thought had alot of wisdom:

https://kenrockwell.com/tech/7.htm

So I will start. I like the quote that I provided because I can include myself as an "artist". Note that this does not mean that I am good. It is just that the purpose of my hobby is to create art, as follows:

https://www.flickr.com/people/westendfoto/

However, Vernon Trent's quote restricts me as I cannot call myself a master. Finally, I worry about light, equipment and money in that order. So I cannot call myself an amateur using this criteria, because gear is a VERY distant second to light.

However, under Rockwell's classification, I would consider myself an amateur. Not a rich amateur, I don't shot Leica. And if I was in that category, I would be shooting Phase One today, not waiting to see how medium format shakes out before I buy that.

So how about it. Let's hear some comments and perspectives on this topic.

Comments

  • framerframer Posts: 471Member
    Personally I practice photography. Rule one have fun, rule two never ask permission beg for forgiveness, rule three be picky.

    Don't care about pro, amateur or artist classification all can be good or bad IMHO.

    framer
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 244Member
    framer said:

    Personally I practice photography. Rule one have fun, rule two never ask permission beg for forgiveness, rule three be picky.

    Don't care about pro, amateur or artist classification all can be good or bad IMHO.

    framer

    I'm a big fan of this rule, myself. It's kind of necessary for what I do.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,910Member
    Not really one to rank oneself, but I like capturing photos to remember where I've been and to relive those memories. If I happen to come across a good shot, then that's great. No big deal if I don't. Part of that is because I travel with family and for the most part they already accommodate for me to get to locations I want to go to. That being said, I for sure would have died a long time ago if I depended on photography for income.

    Note, I like the photography process but not editing. I know editing would push my photography to the next level, but sitting behind a computer is no fun for me so I try to get as much right in camera as possible.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • SearcySearcy Posts: 232Member
    I worry about an interesting finished image. I don't care much what you used to get it or how much you were paid for it or even if your light was perfect.
  • nukuEX2nukuEX2 Posts: 173Member
    I worry about little of everything what does that make me then?! :p
    D7200, 40mm Micro Nikkor f2.8, Lowepro AW Hatchback 16,
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,711Member
    I don't worry about it, not worth the energy. I have made money off images, but would not consider myself a pro. I don't worry about gear anymore, since I have a nice setup already. Finally, I stopped worry about getting perfect light a while ago, although I do like it when I can get it. Guess that makes me a hobby photographer.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,144Member
    edited July 12
    PB_PM said:

    I don't worry about it, not worth the energy. I have made money off images, but would not consider myself a pro. I don't worry about gear anymore, since I have a nice setup already. Finally, I stopped worry about getting perfect light a while ago, although I do like it when I can get it. Guess that makes me a hobby photographer.

    Yup thats me.. I would even add that I dont even worry if the image is good or bad...
    As long as it gave me some joy in producing it.. i can look at it and enjoy the image and the whole process of buying the gear, the people i met, the weather at the time I took the image, etc .. my "moment of light" (yeah the website domain name is gone.. I tried getting it a few years ago. )
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • framerframer Posts: 471Member
    edited July 12
    PB_PM said:

    I don't worry about it, not worth the energy. I have made money off images, but would not consider myself a pro. I don't worry about gear anymore, since I have a nice setup already. Finally, I stopped worry about getting perfect light a while ago, although I do like it when I can get it. Guess that makes me a hobby photographer.

    I like that "hobby photographer", that fit's my rule #1.

    framer

    Post edited by framer on
  • vtc2002vtc2002 Posts: 364Member
    @WestEndFoto I personally do not care for your comment or Vernon's comment. Their is some truth to both comments but nothing that is not obvious. Most of the beginners at some point worry about their gear (or lack of gear). If you a Professional in any occupation and providing for your family you worry about money. Artists (I prefer Master) worry about more things than light (composition, texture, mood, quality of light, etc.). If I had to pick one of the quotes I would pick Vernon's as the last statement it can encompasses beginner, professional and artist (master) and places no limit or distinction on them that they take pictures.

    I spent some time looking through your Flickr images and your post of NR and I would say you fall into Ken Rockwell's Rich Amateur category for several reasons. Ken list more cameras than Leica including Nikon D3X that were relevant top of the line cameras when he posted the article in 2015. The D850 would most likely be on his list today, especially with all of the added gear to shoot 9 fps. Looking through your NR post you mention your gear and discuss the sharpness of your gear a lot. You mention spending over $100,000 on equipment in your new house for your photography. The average median income in the US in 2016 was $31,099. The average income for a person wit a doctorate degree was $101,307. IMHO, anyone that can spend the equivalent of a years salary for a person with a doctorate degree falls into the rich category. Another reason would be that you rarely mention the quality of being a artists - light in your post on Flickr or NR. You mention Blue and Golden hour but they are catch words. Photos taken during these times does not insure that you are capturing good or great light. Good or great light can be found any time of the day if one has the eye or ability to see it or happens into the situation.

    I am in the @framer, @PB_PM, @mhedge, @heartyfisher and @NSXTypeR group and agree their comments. The joy of taking the photo, the people you meet and being able to share the experience with family, friends, colleagues, etc. is what makes photography for me.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,910Member
    edited July 13
    nukuEX2 said:

    I worry about little of everything what does that make me then?! :p

    That makes you a "Worry Wart" or a "Nervous Nancy". :D
    PB_PM said:

    I don't worry about it, not worth the energy. I have made money off images, but would not consider myself a pro. I don't worry about gear anymore, since I have a nice setup already. Finally, I stopped worry about getting perfect light a while ago, although I do like it when I can get it. Guess that makes me a hobby photographer.

    I'll take hobby photographer too.
    framer said:

    I like that "hobby photographer", that fit's my rule #1. framer

    I'll second that term, photography for the fun of it would be hobby photographer. I wouldn't take the word "hobby" as a diminution of our interest or commitment anyway, hobby railroaders make some real detailed, top notch dioramas and locomotives- as in full home built fully functioning steam engines.
    vtc2002 said:

    I am in the @framer, @PB_PM, @mhedge, @heartyfisher and @NSXTypeR group and agree their comments. The joy of taking the photo, the people you meet and being able to share the experience with family, friends, colleagues, etc. is what makes photography for me.

    I agree, there is a joy of photography. I will say there are times when I've planned photos and when I get a shot I had in mind, it's quite rewarding.

    On a side note, I completely forgot about the people you meet in your travels or daily lives. Honestly, the people I met in Japan were some of the nicest, most genuine people ever. I most certainly didn't take photos of them but I think that's the reason why I'll be back, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,614Member
    vtc2002 said:

    @WestEndFoto I personally do not care for your comment or Vernon's comment. Their is some truth to both comments but nothing that is not obvious. Most of the beginners at some point worry about their gear (or lack of gear). If you a Professional in any occupation and providing for your family you worry about money. Artists (I prefer Master) worry about more things than light (composition, texture, mood, quality of light, etc.). If I had to pick one of the quotes I would pick Vernon's as the last statement it can encompasses beginner, professional and artist (master) and places no limit or distinction on them that they take pictures.

    I spent some time looking through your Flickr images and your post of NR and I would say you fall into Ken Rockwell's Rich Amateur category for several reasons. Ken list more cameras than Leica including Nikon D3X that were relevant top of the line cameras when he posted the article in 2015. The D850 would most likely be on his list today, especially with all of the added gear to shoot 9 fps. Looking through your NR post you mention your gear and discuss the sharpness of your gear a lot. You mention spending over $100,000 on equipment in your new house for your photography. The average median income in the US in 2016 was $31,099. The average income for a person wit a doctorate degree was $101,307. IMHO, anyone that can spend the equivalent of a years salary for a person with a doctorate degree falls into the rich category. Another reason would be that you rarely mention the quality of being a artists - light in your post on Flickr or NR. You mention Blue and Golden hour but they are catch words. Photos taken during these times does not insure that you are capturing good or great light. Good or great light can be found any time of the day if one has the eye or ability to see it or happens into the situation.

    I am in the @framer, @PB_PM, @mhedge, @heartyfisher and @NSXTypeR group and agree their comments. The joy of taking the photo, the people you meet and being able to share the experience with family, friends, colleagues, etc. is what makes photography for me.

    So you think that I am a mediocre photographer. That is fine. You are entitled to that view. If I fretted about negative views on my work, my portfolio would not be on line.

    This is a gear site where the discourse on gear heavily outweighs the discourse on art. I also find it interesting that you make these comments in a post that I initiated on the topic of art (in a gear forum no less).
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,614Member
    NSXTypeR said:



    On a side note, I completely forgot about the people you meet in your travels or daily lives. Honestly, the people I met in Japan were some of the nicest, most genuine people ever. I most certainly didn't take photos of them but I think that's the reason why I'll be back, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    I agree on your assessment of the Japanese. I miss that country.
  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 289Member
    I spent a week at the Blue Note in Tokyo in 2002 with the Basie Band. It was spectacular. Two shows a night, two sets per show and the most appreciative audiences I have ever seen anywhere.

    We stayed at the Hilton near the club which made walking photo expeditions a breeze. The subways were spotless, safe and easy to navigate and our Hosts were sublime. Lots of amazing architecture to shoot.

    http://www.bluenote.co.jp/jp/

    Tokyo should be on every photographers bucket list and if you are into Jazz the Blue Note is a great club.


    Denver Shooter
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,668Moderator
    edited July 13
    vtc2002 said:

    The joy of taking the photo, the people you meet and being able to share the experience with family, friends, colleagues, etc. is what makes photography for me.

    Yes. That. Thank you vtc2002, that is where I am at too. I have done photography as a source of supplemental income, main income and as a good deed and even gained accreditation in it, but it only takes a real beginner to walk up beside me and get a better shot than mine to remind me that I still need to keep trying hard to improve. All I know for sure is that I enjoy the people I meet especially through my club and the process of finding potential images and creating something I am happy with from them.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,614Member
    I find the intersection of science, technical and art a delight (I wanted to be a scientist but I was steared towards business when I was young). I never appreciated art when I was a kid, even when I got an A in a high school drawing class. But rather than correctly concluding that I had some talent, I wrote art off as something for under achievers because “even I” could get a A in it.

    Now I find myself working on a minor art degree in my free time (photography) and presiding over a small photoclub. When I went to Washington DC for the first time and had three hours of free time, I surprised myself by spending it in the art division of the Smithsonian, not the Air and Space or The Natural History (I have since visited those).

    So for me photography is part of a revelation. I like things like that that challenge my pre conceptions.
  • vtc2002vtc2002 Posts: 364Member
    @WestEndFoto
    said
    And as you know, the brat in me loves making over broad statements with elements of truth in them. When I present to an audience in a professional context (I am a CFO) I am quick to qualify the over generalization. In other situations, if the right person bites, I take pleasure in sitting back and watching the spasms. Can you imagine how far and in what direction some people may take the above.

    All I did was make a over broad statements with elements of truth to see if the right person bites, I take pleasure in sitting back and watching the spasms. and you apparently where the "right person" and chose the direction.

    Your response to my post confirms my comment on the Mirrorless thread. Rather than present facts as to why you are not a Rich Amateur by Ken's definition you attacked me personally (on this thread and the Mirrorless thread). That's what bullies do when someone disagrees with them, attack them and make it their fault.

    Your comment:
    You are entitled to your view. I also respect that your view has remained consistent over the years. I do not agree that you respect my views or that I am entitled to express them when you make comments like this.

    No where in my post did I say you were a mediocre photographer (the word mediocre is nowhere to be found in my post). I made a simple broad statement and you made the assumption. The truth is that I like some of your work and some I don't. You have some excellent work. I have two mentors and I like some of their work and some I don't and they know how I feel but they do not take it personal and I do not take it personal when they tell me that they do not like something of mine. The discussion about why they do not like some thing of mine provides an opportunity for me to learn and challenge to develop new skills.

    This thread is not about Art it is about Types of Photographers. You have made it about Art.
    I have never met a artists to date that discusses what brand/type of brush, brand of pencil or charcoal, brand of acrylic paint, etc. that they use to create their work. They talk about technique, composition, textures, styles, color, etc. All of which are elements of photography that when used with skill change a photographer into a artist. All photographers start as beginners and worry about equipment, where they go from there depends on the person and as Ken describes it as their sole. If your sole does not see the beauty around you or the things that other people cannot see you will never become a artist/master and it doesn't matter what gear you use.

    I do not care to continue to engage in this conversation and will not respond to any additional comments.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,614Member
    edited July 14
    That is fine, though if you don’t care to engage in this conversation I am curious why you continued.

    Can someone recommend a forum that talks about art and not gear? It seems that having nice gear will prevent me from having that conversation here and/or it is impossible to talk about gear and art in the same forum. I will pretend that I am a rich amateur here. Hmmmm......meausurebator looks interesting. That will be two comments a year and I can focus on figuring out how to make art.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 742Member
    When I work I think of myself as an illustrator. I illustrate the looks of different species, their behaviour and the environment they are in. I actively try not to express myself, but try to let nature and the image itself dictate the photography process. I try to see where the image wants to go so to speak.

    Sometimes though I just have fun and do get artistic :).

    For me the gear does not have anything to do with what type of photographer I am, and I am mostly happy with what I have.
  • SearcySearcy Posts: 232Member
    snakebunk said:

    When I work I think of myself as an illustrator. I illustrate the looks of different species, their behaviour and the environment they are in. I actively try not to express myself, but try to let nature and the image itself dictate the photography process. I try to see where the image wants to go so to speak.



    Sometimes though I just have fun and do get artistic :).



    For me the gear does not have anything to do with what type of photographer I am, and I am mostly happy with what I have.

    Over the years I have made a local name for myself as a fashion runway photographer.
    There are times when I get asked to shoot runway "look book".

    Madness Is (22)

    For this style I am expected to take the same shot over and over, model after model all night long. The designer and stylist compose the look. The model chooses a pose. The lighting, model mark and even the spot where I have to stand are all chosen by someone else. I am expected to be consistent and document the looks of the show. Very little of "me" goes into these images. I tend to see myself as a documentarian on those nights.

    Then there are other shows where I am allowed to shoot what ever I want.
    Red hat

    On these nights a lot more of me comes through in the images. I play with motion and shadow a lot more. I'll try to grab un posed "candid" shots people the more human side of the event.

    Then there are time when I'm shooting studio and get to call almost all the shots.

    Power

    I can set the lighting and tell the models how to pose and what to wear. I even get a little crazy with the editing sometimes. There is a LOT more of me in those types of shots.

    Then finally there is the stuff that I shoot and edit just for artistic self expression. These are 100% me.
    Please Stop


    So what kind of photographer am I? I'm still figuring that out I guess.

  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 742Member
    @Searcy: Very nice! Both your photos and the story. It is interesting to hear about how other photographers go about their work/hobby and it always amazes me how many different ways you can take when it comes to photography.

    As a nature illustrator I am mostly doing portraits like this:





    But I sometimes find an opportunity to do something different like a drinking turtle dove flipped upside down:


  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,668Moderator
    edited July 14
    That spat between two members has cost this forum because one member has left the forum and the other is threatening to go. Also there is the damage to the forum's reputation on the 'net which is more worrying.

    In future, any members who have a problem with another member - whether it be their style of posting (as in this case) or any other reason, they should take it to PM's and not post publicly. Anybody who can't take criticism should take it to PM. Any sign of things going awry and I will delete all the offending posts.

    It ain't life or death, it's just photography!
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
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