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You Know You’re a Photographer When…

  • You Know You’re a Photographer When…

I sometimes wonder if I qualify to be called a photographer. When I was little, my definition of photographer is simply “someone who takes picture.” Of course, that is an understatement of what photographers are. There are a lot more that goes into becoming a photographer. You have to learn how to use the camera, understand how to use light to illuminate the subject and create ambiance, know the composition rules and, most importantly, put in your creativity when shooting photos.

Ever since picking up photography, I have asked myself multiple times if I should call myself a photographer. Just a few days ago, I came across a website named “You know you’re a photographer when…” that has several quotes from unknown persons describing what it is to be a photographer. As I went through these quotes, some of them really made me think what being a photographer is about. Here are three quotes I picked that really represent what I believe when you may consider yourself a photographer.

You step outside on a sunny day and think, “Wow, that is a lot of ambient!”

And not just the light. When you look at an object and the first thing that comes to your mind is how to make great picture out of it, you should consider yourself a photographer. A good photographer must be able to quickly determine how he or she wants to approach a subject or setting based on a lot of factors, and I would advice any aspired photographers to use every opportunity to practice that.

You start judging yourself more and more harshly with the photos you’ve taken

As we start out in photography, oftentimes are we satisfied with the works we’ve done. But as we accumulate more experience and knowledge, we become more and more critical of our works. And not just our own works, when we see pictures taken by others and notice the mistakes they’ve made, it is difficult not to make a statement about it, and this leads to the next quote we have.

You have to consciously “switch-off” critique-mode when looking at friends’ snapshots

Whenever I see an image either online or in real life, the first thing I look at is the composition. If the image does not have proper composition or if it is apparent that no thought is given to make the photo interesting, I’ll make a note and discuss it with other photographers. This is not because I like to pick on non-photographers. I did it to remind myself that, as a photographer, we should be experienced enough not make those common mistake.

What is your definition of being a photographer? Please share your thoughts by leaving comments below.


  • brinr

    Switching off critique mode is pretty funny. It's always in the back of my mind when I see others photos. I also can definitely relate to the second quote. You are always your harshest critic.

    • Kevin Chan

      Exactly. Whenever I look at my old photos, I just keep finding out things that I do not like regardless how satisfactory it was back when I snapped the shot.

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