No, I’m not a professional.

I’ve been asked a few times over the years why I don’t call myself a “professional” photographer. There are two reasons for this.

One reason is that – in Canada at least – the term “professional” carries a legal definition: it implies that there is a governing body made up of one’s peers that is tasked with determining curriculum for training, issuing licenses, setting standards for the quality of service and conduct, and taking punitive or corrective action should those standards fail to be met. Doctors, lawyers, dentists, pilots and real estate agents all have this.

There is no such body in Canada for photographers. Anybody – literally anybody – can become a photographer just by saying they are. You don’t need a degree. You don’t need a license. You don’t even need a camera.

The other reason is that the term insinuates a certain status that can be lorded over others. Instead of calling myself a “professional” photographer, I prefer the term “commercial”. All that implies is that I do this to make money.

And for the same reasons, I refuse to characterize anyone as an “amateur” photographer. “Hobbyist”, “part-time”, “artist”, “dabbler” or even “aspiring” all work fine, and don’t carry that denigrating implication.

There are photographers who’ve been doing this much longer than me. There are people just getting started. Some make way more money than I do. Some just do it for the love of creating something. Every one of them can freely be called a photographer, and every one of them has worth.

The ABCs.

Hi, there.

Welcome to the un-tamed jungle of my thoughts on photography. Given that I’ve been a commercial photographer since all the way back in January of 2010, you might be thinking to yourself, “Geez, Steve, what the hell took you so long to start writing a blog?” And the answer is simple: I wanted to have interesting stories to tell, and interesting stories only come with experience.

I’ll be honest, I gave a lot of thought to what story this first blog post ought to tell. I thought about recounting the time I met and was complimented by Conrad Black. I pondered talking about the time I photographed an astronaut on an airstrip while Armageddon descended around us. I even briefly considered recounting the stories of all the people I’ve photographed who’ve since died. But I decided to save those stories for now, and do a little visual storytelling instead.


Full credits:

Model: Nastia K.
H/MUA: Ariana Zhang
Styling & producer: Stefania Mancinelli
BTS video: Morgan Harris
BTS video editing: Sore thumb
Assistant: Barak Falkovitz
Dress: Lea Ann Belter Bridal

Using Format