Why it’s Important to Consider Yourself a Photographer
Call it foolish, or maybe it’s the result of being raised to be humble—I think it’s a Midwestern thing, but it took me far longer than it should have for me to consider myself a photographer.
As I was exploring the craft of photography, I simply thought,”At some point, when I’m up to my eyeballs in assignments, then I’ll call myself a photographer.” The title ‘photographer’ seemed like a lofty aspiration that should only be reserved for those who are extremely prolific at making money with a shutter button.
You know what though? After years and years of enjoying photography, something clicked—pun intended.
I began to consider myself a photographer.
Why would I do this? I did this because the more I considered myself a photographer, the more my confidence began to grow and the more my photography improved because I was taking myself more seriously than before.
Some people feel like you need a website, or a full-time job or something like that before you can be considered a photographer. But, that is like putting the cart before the horse. Call yourself photographer (or painter, or bubble-gum blower, or anything!) and then you will see an interesting shift.
I’ve found that being expressive (but, never boastful or or in a narcissistic way) about my enjoyment and enthusiasm for photography can also help acquire assignments. Once people hear that you’re a photographer, you may find that they either know of someone that needs photos taken, or they will remember you the next time they, or someone, else needs photos taken. The important thing here is that you increased your chances of getting an assignment by promoting yourself.
While photographing some scenarios or scenes, it’s not uncommon for a security guard or interested passerby to approach you and ask what you’re doing. When this happens, it’s best to smile and be polite, of course. The next thing I do is say that I’m a photographer from <place> and that I’m taking photos of <something/someone> for <a specific reason>.
This response should be short and honest. And, by starting your response by saying you’re a photographer lends validity to what you’re doing.
As I already mentioned, there’s also a lot to be said for taking yourself seriously. The more seriously you take yourself and your photography, I’m sure that you’ll see your photography improve a lot, because you’re pushing yourself.
Photography can be hard work: it costs money, it takes time and the weather can be unpleasant.You owe it to yourself to call yourself a photographer because that’s what you are.
No get out there and make some images that mean something to you.