Much has been discussed in this forum on the merits of hiring professional photographers versus amateurs. Professional photographers, it is suggested, although cost more to hire, are at the end of the day more reliable, provides quality service and offers value-for-money. On the other hand, amateur photographers, although generally cheaper, are perceived as more risky to hire and the quality of service and photography are not consistent.
Yet, in a recent posting, a CSer complained of a photographer who failed to deliver on important wedding pictures. It is interesting to note that the initial reaction of fellow CSers was that the photographer must be an amateur and hence this unrealiability. The truth, it turned out is otherwise. The photographer was actually a professional.
The issue, I believe, is a question of definition. We usually define a professional photographer as someone who earns a living thru' photography as his main source of income (some goes even further to say more than 50% of income, but let's keep this simple). An amateur photographer is one whose main source of income is other than photography and photography is more of a hobby than anything else.
However, a professional photographer need not necessarily behave, act or work in a "professional" manner. In other words, "professionalism" is not the default behaviour of a professional photographer nor exclusive to him. An amateur photographer can likewise demonstrate professionalism although it is not his main source of income.
So where does that leave us. I believe that training is necessary for professional photographers. Even better, like what is happening to the financial industry, it is in the interest of professional photographers to get together, form an organisation and provide certification for their members. Professional photographers shld be formally trained not only in photography but in areas like business, finance, ethical behaviour, customer service and perhaps technology (backup methods, imaging tech, etc). In the long term, self-regulation by their peers,although no guarantee, will at least set some minimal standards of quality and control. This is especially essential today where anyone armed with a good DSLR can call himself a photographer.
Views anyone? Btw, I am not a pro....just a voice in the wilderness