So you ask what is a GWC? Some of you may already know the answer to this question. In photography terms a GWC is A GUY WITH A CAMERA. This questions is often asked by many in and outside of this industry. What separates a GWC from a professional photographer? Let’s see. Well a professional is just that, someone who is serious about his craft and the business of his/her craft. Someone who does the necessary things to strive in business to make a living at what they do with a camera. I was reading Chase Jarvis’s Blog the other day and he said it best. Here take a second and read what he had to say form the list he provided by Chase himself. I think he really put it into prospective.
1. Declare yourself a photographer. That’s what you ARE in life. You’re not a student, not a finance-guy-slash-part-time-photographer, not a part time anything. You’re a photographer. People have to know this.
2. Be in business. Make it real. Get a business bank account, business license (city + county), business cards. Business. Otherwise it’s a hobby.
3. Read every book you can find at the library or online about the business of photography. Understand the rules. Because if you fail at the business part, if you can’t SUSTAIN this business, you’re not a pro. You’re unemployed, or back to part-time this or that. And back to step 1 you go again…wanting to be a pro. NOW then, if read these books and they make sense, and they teach you how to run the books and land the gigs…you gotta then break some of the rules you read in these books. And YOU choose which are the right ones to break. You’ll be right 50% of the time, you just won’t know which 50% until after you’ve taken the leap. Action is the only thing that matters.
4. Take photographs everyday and share them, pimp them, promote them like mad. For clients and for yourself. Get creative as all hell. Find YOUR voice through shooting more photos than you thought was possible. Aim to be different, not better than everybody else. Be brutal in your edit. Put forward only your best work around the things you actually want to get paid to shoot. Break all the rules here too. And again, you’ll be mistaken 50% of the time, but you gotta take your swings to hit anything at all. Don’t forget, the DOING is the only thing that matters here too. What you THINK is nice, but it counts for zilch, zero, nada. Action wins.
Now let us get back to the subject of a GWC. There are a lot of guys that walk around with cameras proclaiming that they are professionals scouring the clubs, streets, venues etc to cater to female so-called models to lure them into their so-called studio..ie garage, apartment, alley, closet or wherever they deem appropriate to show off their skill or lack there of. I have heard countless of horror stories as most of you may have as well from models being duped by these photographers with all of the pretty gear to fool them into doing a free photo shoot in return for either half-naked, or naked photos and promises of putting the model in a magazine or some website that does not exist. This is only to take the images for their own pleasure without the models consent or their knowledge of what is going on. Just because you go out and buy a $4,000 camera and all the Profoto light gear does not make you a professional photographer, no more than going out and purchasing a sports car makes you a professional race car driver. The bottom line here is if you are serious about this profession and want to take your skill and talent to the next level, there are certain things that need to be done in order to be called or looked at as a professional. Chase said it best on How To Become A Pro Photographer in his recent Blog. So I suggest the next time you go out there looking to get by on your gear, consider the fact that it’s not the gear that makes the photographer.