Hi,No, I’ve never even had a part-time professional career as a photographer. The occasional sale of a print, photo book, or license helps to feed my film habit, but that’s about it.A “full time professional photographer” could describe a lot of different things. What most often comes to my mind is someone coming round once a year to do portraits in elementary school or someone who shoots weddings and other events. The vast majority of professional photographers fall into those categories or something close. I shot my first and last wedding a few years ago and that was just as a favor (unpaid). It’s not something I would enjoy doing regularly. I also know I’d be lousy at it. In that line of work, being a good business person and marketer is the most important skill you can have. Sometimes I get requests to do those types of jobs, but I just pass them on to friends who are actually trying to make their career from photography and have the skills to make it happen.Generically, I guess I might be called a “fine art” photographer and there are a lot of those. I’m certainly pleased with what I’ve been able to produce but I’m easily humbled when I see so much beautiful work being done by photographers all over the world who, like me, make their living some other way.I’m also not a professional in the sense that there are all kinds of gaps in my knowledge. If someone wanted to set up some kind of special shoot with strobes and models and lights and those umbrella things you see in the movies, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I’m sure I could learn that stuff but, at least for now, I don’t want to. I’ve enjoyed learning as I go, according to whatever path I take. It’s a meandering creative process that would be hindered if the primary purpose was to make money. I know some photographers can balance the business and creative side of things, but I’m not one of them.I’m very happy with being an amateur photographer and a professional librarian. Being a librarian is pretty cool. I’d love to have a little more time and money to travel, but I’m more than content with the current arrangement.I think it’s too bad that often a person’s seriousness when it comes to photography, or other artistic endeavors, is tied in with whether they make their living that way (not that you are necessarily saying this). Most artists have to make their living, at least partially, off a “day job.” Some of us are lucky to have a “day job” that we love. Photography has opened up so many possibilities for me that I never even considered when I first got started. Being able to sell something from time to time that can pay for processing, film, equipment, gas, etc., is really awesome and much appreciated, but my goal is simply to take good pictures and enjoy the process. So far and that’s been working out really well for me.
Rock on Patrick!