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Amateur vs. Professional Photography

Updated on December 22, 2019

Professional Photographer


Amateur Photographers


The examples of professional shots used in this article are by Deependra Bajracharya.

Barjacharya is the president of Photo Journalist Association of Nepal. He runs a photography school in Kathmandu.

  • If photography contributes at least 75 percent of the income, he/she is a professional photographer.
  • A professional photographer has a studio, photography website or office.
  • A professional photographer spends long time in shooting session.
  • A professional photographer is usually associated with organization for photographers.
  • A professional photographer also works as a teacher in photography school and workshops.

Professional photographer's shot

A Nepali Bride
A Nepali Bride | Source

Amateur photographer's shot

A Nepali Bride by Vinaya
A Nepali Bride by Vinaya

To become a professional photographer, you need:

A SLR/DSLR camera

Different types of lenses


Equipment case

Memory cards with good storage


Hard disks for backup

Software such as Lightroom or Photoshop

Lighting equipments

Office, website or studio

Different types of reflectors

What kind of photographer you are?

See results

How to Become a Professional Photographer

  • You are an amateur does not mean you don’t have talent to become a professional photographer. Always be ready to turn your hobby into a vocation.
  • Calculate your expenses and liabilities before you offer your service.
  • Don’t leave your equipments unattended. If your equipments are damaged, you will probably never recover the cost.
  • Before you begin to work alone, try to find a professional photographer who will hire you as his/her apprentice.
  • Read photography books, view photographers’ work.
  • Enter a photography contest.
  • Join photography community in World Wide Web.
  • Share your work in the social media and photo sharing sites.
  • Build online and offline portfolio of photographs.
  • Join photography school and always read Do It Yourself information on the internet.
  • Lean photography techniques such as the rule of the thirds, photo composition, lighting etc.
  • Invest time and money on your chosen vocation. Buy high-end photography equipments.
  • Whenever you get a chance, interact with photographers.
  • Don’t be afraid of criticism.
  • Develop a business strategy and spend time in marketing your work.
  • Last but not the least, practice, practice, and practice.

Portrait Photography by a Professional Photographer


Portrait Photography by an Amateur Photographer

Baby at Work by Vinaya
Baby at Work by Vinaya

Tips for Amateur Photographers

You are an amateur photographer does not mean you are a bad photographer. In the past few years, National Geography has published wonderful photos by amateur photographers.

You are an amateur photographer does not mean you cannot charge money for your work. If you can find clients willing to pay for your work, you can always do so. Since professional photographers charge extravagantly, amateur photographers have great chances of finding work.

Explore different kinds of photography and develop your niche. You can begin with on location photography, street photography, wedding photography and silhouette photography.

Wedding photography is very specialized kind of photography. However, it will allow you to go pro. When you are invited for a wedding, ask your host if you can take pictures. It is good if they pay you, but even if they don’t pay, don’t hesitate to photograph wedding. In the beginning, do it for free. When you have some experience, you can charge for your work.

How much should an amateur photographer charge for his/her work?

It depends on your experience.

It depends on your client.

It depends on how much a professional charge for similar kind of work.

Amateur should always charge far less than the professional photographers.

You can raise your pay after you have successfully done couple of projects.

Professional Photography Tips

  • Develop a goal and objectives for your business.
  • Always be critical of your photography. Compare your works with other photographer’s works.
  • Go for location scout.
  • Get in touch with the models for your photographs. In the beginning, you can ask your family and friends to work as model. This will save you money.
  • Advertise your service on print and web.
  • Maintain the contact list of your clients, models and associates.
  • You can take a cue from others works, however, you have to be original and creative.
  • Try to exhibit your works in photography exhibition.
  • Burn your photos in a DVD and send it to the possible clients.
  • Watermark your photos.
  • Attend business management course.
  • You can give one of two photos as a gift, but never compromise with your work.
  • Don’t jump into the business until you have strong income source.
  • Find local newspapers who hires stringers.

Family Photo by a Professional Photographer


Group Photo by an Amateur Photographer


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