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Hello faithful readers! Welcome to part two of our latest blog series, What's a Pro? with Johnny O (that's me!).

If you recall, back in May Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer ruffled a few feathers when she said: 

"...there's no such thing as Flickr Pro, because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing really as professional photographers, when there's everything is professional photographers [sic]. Certainly there is varying levels of skills, but we didn't want to have a Flickr Pro anymore, we wanted everyone to have professional quality photos, space, and sharing."

Oops! Her goof caused quite the backlash in the photography community, but it also got us to thinking... What is a professional photographer? Just someone who gets paid to take pictures? Or is it something more?

In this series, we'll chat about what exactly makes a professional photographer... professional. It's a pretty easy job for me, because for the most part, I'm going to let you pros do the talking.

If you participated in our Faces of PPA campaign (and MANY of you have), you saw we asked, "What's a Professional Photographer to you?" And we're going to share some of your responses here. 

Have some thoughts on the topic? Want to be a part of the series? Place your thoughts in the comment section below or contact me, John Owens, communications specialist, at jowens@ppa.com. 

So what's a pro? The answer--we hope to find--is you. 

Three-time former PPA Photographer of the Year, Mark McCall, M.Photog.Cr., CPP,  first had the desire to take photos at the ripe old age of eight. As someone who has dedicated nearly his entire life to photography, his view of a professional may differ from popular opinion. 

"A professional photographer can be a technician, but for me, it's being an artist. I don't want to just capture an image; I want to tell a story. I seek out interesting characters, incorporate them into my works, and help tell their story. 

"I once asked the greeter at WalMart to pose for a character study-type shot at my studio. I told his story of being a new groom at the age of 82. That's why professional photographers exist--to tell the stories of others."

For contrast, Pennsylvania photographer, Jennifer Oswald, started her business less than a year ago. 

"I still struggle to label myself as a professional photographer when someone asks me what I do. In my mind I'm a professional, but it means different things to different people. 

"I would say a professional photographer is someone who has a strong understanding of photography from cameras, to lenses, to composition and so on. They are someone who earns something from their photography, whether it be money or awards and someone who classifies themselves as a professional photographer. I think if someone does all three of these things, they're a professional."

Pet-photographer extraordinaire, Margaret Bryant, M.Photog.Cr. (catch her at Imaging USA!) , agrees with Oswald, but thinks they must also push themselves to be more.

"Technically, a professional photographer is someone who receives money for the work they produce. But I think it's more than that. A professional is a person who is constantly learning both about photography and the photography business. 

"They are someone who continually strives to better their work, someone who is serious about being in business and someone who is ethical and fair in their dealings with clients, employees and others they meet in their business life; and so much more."

So as you can see, there are some strong feelings on the topic! Now, do your clients need any help to See The Difference? We've got marketing resources just for that.

So what's a professional photographer to you? Let us know in the comments. 

See you in a couple weeks!

-Johnny O


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