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As we rush into the age where you can have access to relatively good cameras right in the palm of your hand (and also make phone calls, texts, snapchats, and Instagrams with said "camera"), it can become quite discouraging to get into the business of professional photography.
These days, everyone is a photographer. With amazing apps that let you edit your photos right on your phone and reach that perfect level of aesthetic for your Instagram followers, it's easy for pro-photographers to feel the heat when it comes to the competition. More and more people are becoming photo-enthusiasts; however less and less people are making a career out of pro-photography.
When I'm feeling particularly discouraged, posting a photo or taking yet another photography class, I just think of the phrase "Everyone can take a photo but not everyone is a photographer." This is so true. Anyone, anywhere, at any time can pick up a camera or an iPhone and snap a picture, but that doesn't make them a photographer.
What makes a true photographer is the time and effort (and sometimes the money and hard work) put into building a brand and a business. Now, don't get me wrong, if you want to start out with your iPhone camera and work your way into the DSLR cameras, saving every penny until you can afford one, GREAT! Please don't give up on your dream. I strongly encourage you to pursue it and don't be discouraged by nay-sayers or lack of funds. Just because you don't have a big fancy camera yet doesn't mean you can't one day become a professional. So please don't take this article as a bashing on amateurs or other people attempting to get into photography full-time—that is not what I'm preaching.
I'm simply saying that as a community we shouldn't be discouraged by the growing industry of iPhone cameras or the rise in the aesthetic of owning an instant Polaroid. Your work will speak for itself and you don't have to justify it. If your work portrays the hard work and effort and talent that it takes to take a good clear photo (always remember CRAP—Clear, Relevant, Aesthetically Pleasing) then it will stand on its own and you won't have to worry about the competition. If you have skill then you will be able to get into the photography business, it just takes patience, patience, patience, and again a lot of hard work and networking especially.
As for the "Insta-photographers"—you know the ones that slap a watermark on every low-quality photo they take and boast about how they used their friend to take pics in the backyard—just ignore them. If they want to get into the serious business later in life, let them and encourage them to do so but most likely their phase will sizzle out and you will be left standing with the best photo.