Greetings! My name is Benjamin M. Weilert and I’m an amateur photographer.
Actually, now I’d like to consider myself as a professional photographer.
This happened slowly, taking pictures over time to refine my craft was quite the fun adventure and now I have quite a portfolio of interesting photographs that are now lining the walls of my house. For the longest time, I always would consider myself “amateur” because I wasn’t confident enough to compare myself to other photographers out there. I would merely take the best photos I could and keep it at that. It wasn’t until I started diving into post-processing of RAW images from my Nikon D7000 that I realized my pictures really “popped”. Shortly before this, I had started entering my photographs into various online contests to see how they stacked up against other photographers. Soon, I’d collected a few wins and my confidence was built up. Then I started entering into more serious photography contests. My first foray into this realm gave me a second place finish behind the “best in show” photograph, which I felt was actually pretty good, all things considered. The next year I submitted my photos again and came away with 1st, 3rd, and an Honorable Mention. It was at this point that I felt I had arrived as a photographer. No longer am I an amateur, but I wouldn’t consider myself “professional” yet either.
I have been paid for a few of my photos, so by that definition, I am a “professional”, but I really hadn’t taken it seriously as more than just a hobby. Then I joined Fine Art America. Now that I have the ability to sell my photographs and participate in more contests to match my skill against others, I feel like I’m closer to that “professional” status. Sure, it won’t pay the bills, but I would like to be known as a professional photographer rather than just an amateur. The jump from one to the other is mainly based on confidence, but now I feel I have the talents to back it up.
– Benjamin M. Weilert