"On second thought maybe this wasn't the best place to take the wedding photos..."
I ponder this question quite a lot. It seems like every day through my travels, I hear another horror story about some “photographer” losing someone’s images or ruining another person’s wedding. As a working full time professional it quite frankly angers me. Not because of lost business to these, let’s say individuals, who sell their services at a ridiculously low rate, but the damage they do to the industry as a whole. Mainly the title loses value and soon it starts to not mean anything. For instance, if I buy a wrench am I now a mechanic, or if a buy a stethoscope am I now a doctor? The answer is of course, No!
I look at other industries that previously had the same issues that the photography industry is now going through and I see that after licensing was brought into effect the industry has been cleaned up to a certain extent. I am not sure that a license would be a definite solution to the problem, but in my thinking it would at the very least be a start.
Personally, it took me 8 years to reach a level where I was comfortable charging clients for my services. I also have a certification in professional photography from a reputable college, have been published numerous times and have built a solid reputation for my work. More so, if you want to be a professional you have to be willing to work harder than most could possibly imagine, to obtain a high level of skill. And of course, the learning and dedication never ends. In my thinking a good photographer always wants to deliver the absolute best images they can, and trust me there is nothing better than the look of amazement on a clients face when you exceed their expectations.
Currently it is a buyer-beware market. I advise all customers to do their research about their photographer prior to hiring them. Any reputable photographer will be able to answer your questions in an honest and straight forward manner, present previous samples of their work and give names of previous clients they have worked with.
If you have any questions you can contact me here or leave a comment at the bottom.