It seems there has been a lot of talk lately about what it means to be a professional photographer vs. an amateur. I usually identify myself as a “serious amateur” when people ask me if I’m a professional photographer. I have a day job that is not related to photography and only occasionally receive money for any of my photos. So, I think I fall into the category of amateur. I was encouraged in this when I read David duChemin’s post on the subject. That post reminded me of the importance of loving photography and the art of making images.
But recently I’ve been thinking about what it means to strive for excellence in my photos. I see amazing photos by all the pros that I respect and it makes me realize how very, very much I have to learn. Not always having a client to please is a bit of a double-edged sword. While I have the freedom to shoot what I’d like, I also don’t have a client with expectations that push me to take my craft to the next level.
That means it’s up to me to set goals, give myself assignments, and do all that I can to motivate myself to not only get out there and take pictures – but to keep learning and improving. For me now, that is taking on the form of setting up a more official photography venture. If nothing else, to help remind myself of the end goals. To make me remember what I eventually want to shoot and give me a bit of motivation to take daily strides to get there.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and striving toward excellence in the thing that you love to do? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.