Question from MA mod1 week 4. Write a brief post to the forum, describing:  what you think non-photographers make of professional photographers – what are the conceptions and misconceptions?

I’m not sure what is the meaning of none photographers? If that means someone who has no knowledge of photography then, in general people ( photographers or not) will have many different perceptions of a photographer, usually they are associated with journalism, or in the Art world, they will be better known for their gallery work or some famous picture in national geographic. I think it depends on the person.

In any profession,  people who have been trained or educated or even self-taught could be regarded as a professional at their craft, whether it’s studio work, analogue photography, digital photography, photo retouching, weddings, event photographer, the list goes on.

The misconceptions of a photographer are the same as in any other profession, it’s all to do with knowledge of that particular industry, so I don’t think it matters what the conceptions or misconceptions are as long as a photographer works at their craft to as higher level as they can. We are judged in any profession by our hard work and attention to the craft and knowledge we profess to be a master at.

Response from one of my peers to my response to MA question

I appreciate that you brought up that conceptions/misconceptions are an issue in any profession. Unless someone has invested time and resource into a skill, they will not see that their thinking is potentially skewed on some level.

One point I feel like I might have gleaned from your post though is that the photographer should not so much focus on the misconceptions/conceptions of their profession, but rather upgrading their skills and creating goals that challenge them to become masters of their craft. This is a valid point, as it’s important to have our focus in the right place. It’s important and valuable to be aware of arguments and understandings of one’s profession and people’s viewpoints, but I think if a practitioner becomes too fixated on those arguments, it could distract them from the purpose of their craft or maybe why they began their work in the first place.

My response to one of my peer’s response to the MA question

Perhaps of interest or not, when I worked in the newspaper industry for the best part of ten years, I was responsible for looking after the picture I.T. Library system and this was before the emergence of mass images on the internet. And many people noticed that Diana was the most viewed and most used picture for a number of years on our local newspaper database , so this showed to me how obsessed or fixated people can be in the newspaper industry and how all those photographers must have felt a lot of pressure to take a picture of one subject. I do think there are a lot of ethical issues around photographic images and news items in general which do have an impact on the way we work.

My response to one of peers response to the MA mod1 week 4 question

One thing perhaps to add to this discussion is the fact that it’s often the case in many professional industries that there are people who are supposed to be professional, but in fact are sometimes less professional than they profess to be or expected to be.

The meaning of a professional in some dictionaries is not always linked to being paid.

1.1 Worthy of or appropriate to a professional person; competent, skilful, or assured.

1.2A person competent or skilled in a particular activity.

My response to one of my peer’s response to the MA question Mod1 week 4 

It’s interesting you brought up the subject of people asking you to do photographic works etc, as this perhaps best Illustrates what is or not expected of a profession in terms of the client or person in the street or a friend.

What i mean is each person will have a different concept of a professional photographer, even though there are general misconceptions, I think perhaps it depends on the situation or the people around you. We are perhaps reliant too much on what people on the internet say and maybe our local contacts are better placed to judge our professional work as well as our peers.



  1. Interesting discussion. For what it’s worth, as a non-photographer I see a professional [photographer] as a skilled individual who understands his environment in a manner that enables him to capture a moment in a photo irrespective of the variables that a non-professional cannot control.

    For instance ensurIng sufficient lighting, mood and ambiance. I’d also expect the professional to have the necessary tooling.


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