Comparison table | Professional vs. amateur | Choosing a top photographerFAQIn Edinburgh | In the world (near me) | To commission

Amateurs vs Pros

"To be good you have to love photography, but to love photography you don't have to be good!" This isn't about pro vs. amateur, it’s about who or what suits your requirements by comparison. My own photography is always an exercise in results and couldn't be much more from the heart, on many occasions my images aren’t always accurate! I’m continually looking to improve outcomes, polish technique and move up the levels.

Amateur photographers rank just as highly as the pros, the difference being that the amateur doesn’t seek financial recognition or have a business model associated with their photography. To hear an interesting debate on the topic, Tony & Chelsea Northrup pick some holes and bounce some opinions around in their Picture This Podcast at  What Makes a Photographer or Camera "Pro"?

Every decision-making process produces a final choice, bottom line, choosing a photographer who is going to work out in your best interest is different for every couple getting married, budget and expectations play a key role in the final outcome. What's perfect for some will not be perfect for others.

What defines a professional photographer? Does pro insinuate skill or quality?

Worth a mention, for the sake of argument, I use the term professional photographer loosely, in reality, being a pro doesn't automatically mean you are an amazing photographer. Looking back, it used to be so straightforward in the past; your wedding and photo-journalistic photographer would be considered the professionals of the day. Nowadays there are much more variables in-play, so it makes it difficult to nail down. Bizarrely enough, even skill level is subjective; a photographer can be unskilled yet still be professional.

There’s a lot of feeling behind the word professional, for the purposes of this table, the concise answer is referring to those photographers that are shooting with someone else’s needs in mind, skill level being only one factor amidst several other influences.

Every private or business venture has its budgetary limitations; at some time, someone somewhere will require the service of the novice photographer. As long as risks are recognised and acknowledged on both sides, no harm in that! If we assume overall price is the influence, then there is a non-skilled or skilled photographer for everyone’s budget!

Finding the best photographers, match your budget or expectation with this helpful comparison table by John Gilchrist.