You Might Be a Real Photographer If ...
Let's face it. If you're reading this, you are probably a photographer yourself or at least hang out with those who are photographers from time to time. But are you a real photographer? Just how committed are you?
If you've taken thousands and thousands of photos but have few if any of yourself, you just might be a real photographer. Personally, I'm far more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. I'm betting that at least some of you can relate.
It may be time to start considering yourself a real photographer if you've spent more on camera gear than on your car. Big glass costs big bucks. And buying a new lens means adding it to your growing collection. Buying a new car means trading in the old one. Sooner or later, the camera and lenses win out.
You might be a real photographer if your tripod cost you more than most people spend on their camera. New photographers rarely budget for a proper tripod, only slowly coming around to appreciating their true worth. If you've graduated to a good one, consider it your badge of honor as a serious photographer.
If someone asks if you shoot people and you know they didn't mistake you for a contract killer, you're at least beginning to think of yourself as a real photographer.
You just might be a real photographer is that goofy sequence of aperture numbers actually makes sense to you. More than a few new photographers give up any idea they may have had about getting serious once they encounter the curious sequence that includes 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11 and 16. Not everyone wants to take up a hobby that involves dealing with multiples of the square root of two. Extra points will be awarded for thinking it's completely normal for the opening in a lens to get smaller as these aperture numbers get bigger. That's just weird.
You're at least starting to get serious when you realize you never eat breakfast or lunch at a "normal" time because you set your schedule so you don't miss shooting during the "golden hours" or sunrise and sunset. Priorities matter. You're grumbling stomach can wait.
You might be a real photographer if people walk past you on the trail after pausing briefly to puzzle over why you are sitting on the ground with your camera pointed at a mud puddle when the scenic overlook is still another couple hundred yards further along the trail. That overlook will (hopefully) still be there when you're finished with the puddle. If you're still sitting there when those people walk back past you on their return trip to their car, you're definitely serious about your work or else you pulled out your back again from lugging around your heavy camera bag and tripod.
You might be a real photographer if you set the background on your computer monitor to neutral gray so you can more accurately judge colors in the image you are editing. If you paint the walls of the room gray in which you use that computer, you're definitely a serious photographer. Or perhaps just a big fan of primer paint.
If you own more lenses for your camera than you do pairs of pants, you just might be a real photographer. Basically, pants come in only two focal lengths, full length pants, and shorts for when it's warm enough to wear them. Lens focal length needs range the full gamut, regardless of the weather.
If you can use the term "circle of confusion" without being confused yourself, you may be a real photographer. Ditto for "unsharp mask." Don't get me started on "bokeh."
If you've considered naming your first-born child either "TIFF" or "JPEG," you may or may not be a real photographer. But you're definitely at least a tad crazy. Or are those thing really all that different? Sometimes its hard to tell. But just the same, please don't name your kids based on file formats.
You might be a real photographer if you can recognize the potential for good images all around you. Look, over there. What do you see? Now go grab your camera.