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What is a Pro?

What is a Pro?

So in my last column I talked about why you should hire a pro to shoot your wedding see for why…

This month, I thought I’d ask the question what is a pro?

Ask a number of different people and you’ll get a range of answers. You’ll get those who say it’s all about the equipment, the experience or the money. I’ll look at those arguments here in more detail.


There’s a reason that the expression ‘all the gear, no idea’ has lasted… and it’s because there is an awful lot of truth in it. The reality is that having expensive or impressive looking gear is no guarantee of results. The ability to go out and spend a lot of money does not give you the skills to be a great photographer. If that were the case I could hand my equipment to any random guest and the results would be the same… anyone want to try that? No? Thought not.

My father was a photographer back in the days of film (before my time!) and he told me a story of a lesson taught to him by a fantastic lecturer at art school. The lecturer gave his students free reign over the photography stock room and challenged them to go away and take a stunning photo. He explained that he too would be taking part. While his students chose the latest offerings from Canon, Pentax and the like, he chose an old, battered, well-worn Box Brownie. Surprise, surprise at the end of the assignment, the images captured on the Box Brownie were far and away better than everything produced by the rest of the class. A valuable lesson!


If someone has lots of experience, they must be a pro, right?

Hmm… I have a lot of experience playing golf – I couldn’t enter The Open… and I don’t think they would let me near the first tee on St. Andrews Old Course!

Don’t get me wrong, experience is important, but it is not the sole consideration for classification as a pro.


It’s got to be the money, right?

Because if someone makes money by doing something they must be good at it… Again, sadly not the case… if that were the case there wouldn’t be so many lawyers around. How many times have you watched the consumer programmes on television and seen cowboy builders, rogue traders and people out to make a quick-buck at the expense of others?

Plus, when people are starting out, they may not make any money… does that degrade their ability or their skill?

So what does make a pro?

Whilst there are a number of ways to classify someone or something as a pro, there is only really one true measure in my mind… and that comes down to results.

A professional will deliver the image he or she wants to capture every time. No excuses, no blaming an external factor, no denial. They will anticipate issues and work around them to achieve the desired result.

Granted, we all have bad days, we are human after all, but what makes us a pro is that we recognise when we do and we correct that mistake there and then while we have the opportunity.

So that, in my opinion, is what makes a pro. The ability to deliver, in any conditions, the shot that is required and to work around issues as and when they arise.

Does that mean that I will be using my grandfather’s old camera (below) for my next wedding shoot?

Backup Camera

I think not…

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