Are You a Photographer, or a Photo Editor?

I’ve been quietly contemplating the idea of whether someone is a photographer or a photo editor; and at the same time whether or not they have the right to say that they’re a photographer or if they’re indeed a photo editor. Go ahead and say “Just shoot and do whatever” but I think that this is a major part of one’s photographic identity. If you screw a light bulb into a lamp, you’re not an electrician. If you clean your apartment, you’re not hired help. If you cook for 25 people for a special dinner you are neither a woman of the kitchen or a chef (and I’ve specifically heard this said before by both genders.) So if you focus on your Lightroom, Photoshop or Capture One skills, are you really a photographer? More here.

Excellent article. I am definitely neither.

Categories: Photography

3 replies

  1. Is the missing word “professional”? If I take photos, am I not a photographer by definition? I’m certainly not a professional because I don’t get paid, nor do I belong to any professional organization. And I prefer use a prefix such as amateur, beginner, novice, etc. to describe my ability or lack thereof.

    I could use the same logic on the term “photo editor”. I do some photo editing. But again, I’d describe myself as a novice.

    As to the article, these days I would suggest that most photographers are also photo editors and vice versa.

    • Wonder if he means that we are more likely to edit these days than spend time capturing a very good shot in the first place?

      • That gets into the whole discussion of how good you can make a bad shot using editing. You can certainly clear up various shooting errors or even adjust the look and feel, but a bad shot is still a bad shot. Maybe it can be made better, but it’s likely never going to be great.

        As to the editing thing, much of what we do digitally used to be done in the darkroom. It’s just a difference in technology. And many would argue that the darkroom was superior, just as they argue that film is superior.

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