How to become a professional photographer

A recent interesting thread popped up in one of my favorite online discussion groups this morning. I was surprised and amused. The title of the thread is: How to become a professional photographer. To a professional photographer such as myself, it is seriously, an amusing thread.


Now, why would anyone want to be a professional photographer? What will make you give up your stable day job and opt for a self-employed status of a professional photographer? What is is that motivates you? What’s the chance of becoming a successful professional photographer in a time when every other person say that he or she wants to be a photographer? Really, what does it take to become a professional photographer?


When I first read the title, my initial reaction was to sigh out loud. Really loud. And then, all I can do is let out a nervous laughter. Because the question is earnest. And earnest questions need to be taken at face value, and answered properly. However, this kind of question, and thread topic, will surely elicit all sorts of responses from all kinds of people. I’m sure everyone has an opinion or two on how to become a successful photographer, and it would not be surprising if one or two respondents actually have ideas on what it takes to be a professional photographer.


It is almost expected that a lot of those who will be responding to this thread are those who are not yet themselves professional photographers. That’s always the case in online forums and in discussion groups –that it is those who has the least experience or who least knows about a subject matter that will provide the loudest clatter. It would be interesting to read what these “pundits” have to say about becoming a professional photographer.


Curious and amused, I immediately clicked to read the thread, and not even a couple of hours that it has been posted, discussion is already well under way. Several posts have already been made, and, these posts are quite opinionated, if you’d care to ask my own opinionated opinion about it. Ha! But then again, any discussion about photography elicits this kind of exchange, so it’s not really that surprising. Everyone just have to have something to say about the subject matter. That is the nature of the beast.


As expected, discussion will be convoluted and messy. The first few messages I’ve read already point towards that direction. The initial messages, for sure, will serve as breeding ground for all other new messages to come. What will be added will be built from whatever it is that may have already been written, and from there, either help in addressing the thread’s message, or, most likely, muddle the ongoing discussion with heaps of impertinent information that does nothing but add to the noise. Before you know it, the thread is already several pages long, and the subject matter still have not been adequately addressed. That’s just the nature of online discussions. It meanders. It just goes on and on, without an end in sight. It’s an open-ended discussion where anyone and everyone can add text but without necessarily adding more context.


Based on the handful of messages that has already been posted, it appears that everyone has yet to hit the bull’s eye. No one has brought up the essential ingredient on how to become a professional photographer. I don’t know if no one just knows about it, or it’s being ignored. This one ingredient on how to become a professional photographer is the overriding reason for achieving any measure of success in the field of photography, and so far, no one’s talking about it. The way things are going, I have a feeling that this online discussion will be a very long one. I just hope something fruitful comes out of it.


I will surely be following this thread as it develops. I may, at times be tempted to contribute to the discussion, as I feel I am very well qualified to do so, but I will most likely hesitate in adding to the discussion. Any open talks about how to become a professional photographer is fraught with a lot of hidden danger. Most of the talk about it will not add value to what is being discussed. Any sensible contribution I will make will therefore be diminished in value. It will just go to waste. Whatever contribution I make will end up being trivialized by those who lack the requisite background and experience when it comes to becoming a professional photographer. My points will come across as diluted, and therefore, it’s value will not be as sparkling as it ought to be.


And so, the best thing is, I will prevent myself from being tempted to offer some advise or words of wisdom that has been borne out of a personal experience and personal struggle on how I, myself, became a professional photographer.


That is, if I can keep myself from the temptation. I hope I am able to. God help me!


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