In recent years, photography has become increasingly popular in Singapore, as more and more people have taken up the hobby as a way to express themselves and capture the world around them.
The island city-state offers a wealth of subject matter for photographers, with its vibrant cityscapes, lush parks and gardens, and stunning coastlines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further elevated the love of photography for many with most staying at or working from home, limiting their travel and social activities, photography has become a way for them to continue exploring and experiencing the world, albeit through a different lens.
This has resulted in a surge in the number of people taking up photography as a hobby, as well as in the number of photography groups, workshops, and online communities.
For many people, photography has become a source of comfort and creativity during a time of uncertainty and isolation. It has also become a way for them to connect with others who share their passion for capturing the beauty of the world, whether it be through online photo-sharing platforms e.g. Instagram, or through participating in virtual photography competitions and events.
With the growth of interest in the hobby, many has went on to upgrade their equipment or even take up a professional course in photography in Singapore, hoping to up their level in this field of interest.
While one has become very good in this craft over the months of practise and learning online, there are some key differences that set a professional and a hobbyist apart.
For a start, a hobbyist photographer is someone who takes pictures as a leisure activity or for personal interest. They may take pictures of their family, friends, travels, or anything else that catches their eye.
They may also be interested in photography as a form of self-expression, and enjoy experimenting with different techniques and styles.
To them, photography is a form of recreation, a way to unwind and have fun, rather than a means of income.
On the other side of the spectrum, a professional photographer is someone who makes a living by taking pictures mainly.
They have honed their skills through years of practice and education, and are capable of capturing images that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also meet the needs and expectations of their clients.
Professional photographers may work in a variety of fields, including commercial photography, portrait photography, event photography, and many others.
They work under pressure, meet deadlines, and manage multiple projects at once since this is most probably their main source of income.
One of the biggest differences between a hobbyist and a professional photographer is the level of skill and experience.
Hobbyist photographers may have a good eye for composition and a passion for capturing images, but they may not have the technical know-how or the professional equipment that is necessary to produce high-quality images consistently.
Professional photographers, on the other hand, have invested time and money into their craft, and have the expertise and equipment to produce images that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also meet the needs of their clients. Which can be ridiculous at times.
Another difference between hobbyists and professional photographers is the level of commitment.
Hobbyist photographers may only take pictures when they have the time and inspiration, whereas professional photographers must be able to work on demand, regardless of their personal feelings or circumstances.
They must be able to produce high-quality images consistently, even under challenging conditions, such as low light, inclement weather, or tight deadlines.
The level of compensation is another key difference between hobbyists and professional photographers. Hobbyist photographers typically do not charge much for their services when engaged and use these side projects mainly as a means to improve themselves.
Professional photographers, on the other hand, are paid for their work and may make a living through a combination of client work, image sales, and other sources of income.
This made the level of commitment to the project vastly different. One can just leave the project halfway if they are not happy while the other has to stick through with it as their professional reputation is at stake here.
Making the transition from a hobbyist photographer to a full-time professional one is a big decision that requires careful consideration.
While turning professional can offer many benefits, such as the opportunity to make a living doing what you love, there are also many challenges and responsibilities that come with being a professional photographer.
Professional photography is also a highly competitive field, and there are many talented photographers vying for the same clients and opportunities.
Before making the leap, it is important to assess your skills, experience, and marketability, and to determine whether you have what it takes to succeed in a crowded market.
How much buffer you have in your savings and the level of investment required to turn professional should also be weighed.
Going into professional photography full-time requires a significant investment in equipment, software, education, and marketing.
It is important to be realistic about the costs involved and to have a clear plan for financing your transition.
Along with the financial considerations, it is also important to be prepared for the responsibilities and expectations that come with being a professional photographer. This includes managing clients, meeting deadlines, producing high-quality images consistently, and staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies.
If you are not a commitment-free single, be mindful of the impact that turning professional may have on your personal life and relationships. Being a professional photographer will definitely be demanding, both physically and emotionally, and it is important to be prepared for the sacrifices that may be required to succeed in the beginning years of starting out.