Let me first explain what I mean by “pseudo.” Or rather, I will explain what it is not. To me, pseudo is not someone at any level (beginner, hobbyist, amateur, or intermediate) who truly has a love for taking photographs and couldn’t imagine life not doing so in one way or another. They may want to do this professionally one day, or keep it as a fun activity, but the passion is there all the same.
I associate pseudo with the following:
- An individual who doesn’t take the time to learn how to improve
- An individual with a lot of extra money to spend on gear
- An individual who doesn’t understand the hard work it takes yet craves notoriety
- An individual who doesn’t take advice/criticism from other photographers
1 – “I’ll just rock it on auto mode and hope for the best!”
This is a trait I see in many beginners. They have a fear of failure, so they let the camera decide what’s best. The problem with this is that they aren’t allowing themselves any creative freedom. They aren’t using light to their advantage, heck, they don’t even know how the camera is using light because it happens automatically! A true photographer, just like any artist, is open to try techniques that are new to them if it means it will help them capture better images.
2 – “I’m literally leaking money and can afford the latest & greatest so time to call myself a photographer!”
This irritates me to no end. Like, more than Jar Jar Binks’ existence. I along with many of my fellow photographer & designer friends have to save up for a long time in order to upgrade. We take on extra projects or even have multiple jobs just to bring in extra cash. And once we finally are able to upgrade, we take pride in all the hard work it took to do so. A person with a great deal of money on the other hand, can see something new, read three reviews on it, then drop a couple grand right there. The big misconception is that a photographer is only worth as much as their equipment. I speak from experience using a lower end model for years, learning as much as I could, producing quality works I am proud of, then finally doing research/saving for a few years to be able to upgrade.
3- “Photography isn’t hard, anyone with a cellphone can do it, I’ll just buy a camera and call myself a professional!”
The only people who say something is easy are those that have a lot of experience doing it. Even then, there is a great deal of time, energy, and planning within this field. A person may think well Jo Schmo over there has been doing this awhile but I know alls he does is click a button and I could do it just as well! This is such a disrespectful train of thought. Minimizing the work a professional has put into their business does in no way make you look like a better photographer.
4- “I know I’m just a beginner, but I really believe my pictures are amazing and anyone who disagrees is just being mean!”
This is similar to point 1, but instead of fear being the main driver here, it is pride. Being confident in your abilities is one thing, brushing off feedback is another. This is especially bad if you asked another person for their honest thoughts. There is literally no point in asking what others think if you aren’t receptive to their answers. You may find that you disagree with certain points, but chances are there will be at least one thing to gain from the critique. Compliments are nice, but true photographers are constantly trying to better their craft & know one great way is to ask for other perspectives.
Sometimes there are people who have multiple points all rolled into one package and there are also those that start out with one or more of these but learn to let them go as they grow. My hope is that pseudo photographers realize that they are coming across as fake, cocky, & disrespectful to true photographers.
Once again, beginners and hobbyists willing to learn, take time to research before they buy, realize the hard work it takes, & can accept criticism are NOT pseudo to me. The main thing is having a true desire to capture images and share them with the world.
May the light be with you.