12 Differences Between Pro and Amateur Photographers


  1. The pro envies the amateur’s artistic freedom; the amateur envies the pro’s lifestyle
  2. The pro buys the cheapest equipment that can get the job done; the amateur buys the most expensive equipment for projects he will never do.
  3. The amateur has to earn money to finance his photography; the pro has to resort to photography to finance his life.
  4. Models fall in love with the pro – and then regret it; amateurs fall in love with the model – and then regret it
  5. Amateurs drive BMWs; pros drive Protons
  6. Amateurs READ articles in photo magazine and think, “I can write that, too!”; Pros WRITE those articles and think, “Anyone can write this. But why don’t they?”
  7. Camera-shop owners love amateurs; camera-shop owners hate pros
  8. Amateurs think pros are at the top of their game; pros know that he is just an order-taker (most of the time)
  9. Amateurs THINK pros make tons of money; pros KNOW that amateurs make tons of money (not necessarily through photography, tho)
  10. Amateurs like to be seen with 30 kilos of equipment; pros think nothing of being seen with a crappy point-and-shoot camera
  11. Amateurs try to dress like pros; pros try to dress like amateurs
  12. Amateurs dream of going pro some day; pros dream of becoming amateurs some day.


Once All The Cows Are In The Barn

Arches at the Pasir Gudang's Menara Aqobah

About six years ago I left my job in Pasir Gudang in a huff. It must have been something big: I wouldn’t have left if it wasn’t. Now, as I trundle along at 80 kph on a 110 kph highway, the reasons for my departure aren’t even clear anymore. With 40-foot trailers and express busses merrily overtaking me, I found myself trying very hard to recall what those reasons had been.

But I couldn’t.

All I could come up with were several possible scenarios that, frankly, aren’t as compelling as they once had obviously been. I might as well just enjoy the drive. Who knows? Maybe along the way, something might jolt my memory and give me a reason to turn back.

But guess what? Nothing did.

A Pasir Gudang sunset

At my former office, there was a sea of new faces. Work-stations were filled wall-to-wall with model-like female executives who smelled like Sogo’s perfume section. While this would have been more than enough reason for me to pop my cork some six years ago, now, all I could think of was looking-up old friends who maybe still worked there.

Is it just me or are young women today are no longer as alluring as their predecessors? Or could it be that I have reached that age where male menopause is no longer something that happens to other men?

A scene from my hotel room

I’d rather not answer that, thank you.

With time to spare, I wandered off to check-out my old room, the one I used to work from while I was there. It is now a store where they keep stationery, I think. A familiar face asked me if the place brought back memories.

“No, dear, it does not. Not the way it is now.” I replied. She seemed disappointed somehow.

Bedside lamps

I wonder who has the key to this thing...

That day, my former boss (we’ve been friends since we were 13) and I worked together late into the night. It wasn’t like old times, though – but in a good way. With the benefit of age and experience I could now easily accept him for what he is and vice versa. I could not fight the feeling that we were off to a good start – or shall I say restart?

An aging road warrior

Then again, once all the cows are in the barn, does it really matter? I suppose not. A start is a start. The water may have gone muddy all those years ago. The important thing, however, it is no longer so. That’s the thing about time, isn’t it? Once the bad stuff goes away, we are left with the good stuff.

The trick is learning to let go of the bad stuff.

Scenes from Umbai

a country bench

Since the client was not quite prepared to run foul of copyright laws, he instructed me to shoot my own photos for the write-up I had to do for him. Fair enough. But there was a problem: I didn’t own a camera. When I alerted him of this, he promptly wired some money so I could purchase one. Money in hand, I rushed out to the local Jaya Jusco to do just that.

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