I’m no expert, and I’m only sort of good at most things that I do. I’ve never been able to feel comfortable labeling myself as someone who is a “pro,” even when it’s that I’ve spent years honing.
Too much pressure maybe? I’d rather be the guy in the corner, smearing paint on his face and using broken equipment to barely scrape together a recognizable piece of art, or what have you. I want people to expect nothing but what I give them.
When I tell people I’m a photographer, I don’t mean, “I can make you the most perfect Christmas photo edits, I can whiten your teeth, saturate your flesh tone, and soft focus your portrait until you look like a damn painting.” I only mean that I am a person who spends longer than a passing moment of fancy thinking about taking photographs, I find the process of taking photographs to be enjoyable, and that’s it really.
If I take a photo, draw a picture, design something, make a sculpture, tell a story, or just talk about the weather, I’m doing so as a proud amateur in every sense of the word. Unless you’re paying me. In that case, trust me, I’m totally a professional.