A corollary to the annoying question, “Great picture. What kind of camera do you use?” is the often stated lament from people trying to make a living in photography, “Everyone with a digital camera and a computer thinks they can do my job.” If people behind those professional cameras and expensive lenses have mediocre skill or undeveloped talent, many others can do their job at least as well if not better, and with less costly equipment. Why should someone hire a “professional” if an amateur can produce work that is equal if not better?
Leslie Burns writes about this in the July 12 post of the Strictly Business Blog of the ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers). You can read the full article here, titled Amateur Competition. To summarize, she points out that those people we call amateurs are our competition only if our work isn’t better than theirs, and she exhorts us to stretch and challenge our creativity. I would add that consciously working on our own artistic vision and style, with intention, every time we have a camera in our hands is hard work and often draining. But unless we can be our own most demanding critics, we doom ourselves to complacency. And once that happens, we cede to others what we want for ourselves.