My disclaimer: I highly respect and admire photographers. They amaze me. I'm... well, amazed. It's an art in its own right, learned through hard work, sweat and tears.
That said, I am by no means a professional, and I'm learning to accept (and, yes, even love) where I am in my life. It's helped me a lot to realize that, while professional photographers hold my utmost respect, I don't want to be one. Why?
First, because as an "amateur," no one really questions how I take my pictures. Go ahead and laugh.
Is the lighting perfect? Is it cropped "just so"? Are my subjects wearing the most flattering colors and textures? I dunno. But I still like it. :)
I haven't learned the rules of the game, and haven't really made much of an effort to. I'm okay with that. And if anyone else isn't okay with that, well, tough luck.
"Eh, whatever. I'm not a professional."
It's my mantra.
2. I can take pictures of anyone, anywhere, and at any time, and not worry about whether I'm giving one person a free service and not another. That's too much pressure. It's not my style. Plus, I'm just not a competitive person or a natural entrepreneur. I wear my camera like I wear my make-up~ everywhere I go!
3. I have a lot of interests. A LOT. At any given moment, there are about 100 things that I'd like (or need) to be doing.
I'll be honest, any one item that becomes a "job" becomes a weight. I'm more of a juggler than a weight lifter. Overall, I'm pretty toned, but my biceps alone won't win me any arm-wrestling contests. Did everyone keep up with that analogy okay? Are the men simply lost, thinking about weights now?
4. I can and will do photo sessions.... when I want to.... in my own way.... if it fits in my schedule.
People DO ask to hire me for photo gigs, but it's purely word-of-mouth. I don't advertise, because "I'm not a professional." That said, if someone wants to hire me -- eh, why not? I'm taking pictures anyway, might as well come snap some for you, too. BUT I can say no. I can choose Sister Night over a photography session. I can simply say I don't feel like it. Because I'm not a professional. And I feel free to admit when something is out of my league. Weddings? Nope, sorry. Huge groups? Eh, I don't have experience with that. Newborns? Only if they stay in your arms or the bassinet, because I am not trained to photograph teeny tiny precious ones.
I also get very very busy with family activities and homeschool activities. I don't have the time usually. It's not that I don't want to.... it's just not a job for me.
3. When it’s my "business"-- or "non-business," I have every right and every privilege to define what it's setting out to accomplish. Only me, no one else. Non-businesses have lots of perks in that way! :) So, as a "non-professional" I can charge much less when I do decide to take photos for someone, and none of my "professional" photography friends should see it as any kind of competition . Believe me, if someone wants professional images, they will go to a professional! Sometimes people just don't have the money to spend, so grabbing a friend with a nice camera, and compensating her time, is the next best thing! :)
Everyone has a different path, a unique personality, a unique set of talents, a unique circle of connections and a different creative eye. No two photographers’ paths will ever look the same. I'm okay with that. I LIKE that. We each have our niche. I can be my non-professional quirky self, and take great pleasure in it just the same.
Love where you are, who God made you to be, and what He's put in your life right now. Even if your ultimate goal is to be a Professional, you can take pleasure right here and now in this point on the path.
Whether it's with a camera or a phone, just snap some pictures. It's doesn't HAVE to be any certain way. Heck, you can take it upside-down, in the dark, if you want to. Just because. Just because you're "not a professional." Have fun. Take pictures of mushrooms or worms (easy to photograph, as they don't move very fast!,) every person you see with a hat on, all the cracks in the sidewalk...whatever floats your boat!