I started photography as a 15 year old looking for a reason to use Photoshop. Photo editing was one of the first things that made me feel like I was artistically expressing myself, and the challenge of restoring old photos seamlessly really got my juices flowing.

But I saw something recently that really made me angry: An acquaintance decided to rail about how food bloggers shouldn’t be taken seriously and how they should shut up about copyrights because they aren’t “real photographers” anyway. And that, was not cool.

It took a long time for me to call myself a photographer. I had been teaching myself the principles of photography – finding subjects to take pictures of, and studying the photos that I find beautiful and what I should to do learn from them. But somehow, all of that just wasn’t enough to convince myself (and my low self confidence) that I had earned the title of “Photographer”. My line came when I finally got paid for my work, even though my stuff had been used professionally before for free.

On hindsight, I don’t think that’s really cool. Sure, photographers work very hard to earn the right to the title, but you know what? Photography is an art form; an expression of yourself, and if you are expressing your pictures through photographs, you should call yourself a photographer too. Own it! Don’t feel like you have to be of a certain, unattainable level of skill before you have the confidence to own the name.

If photography is art, and anyone can be an artist, then anyone can be a photographer.

I’m a photographer, and you should be one too.

Do you love photography? Where do you stand on calling yourself a photographer? I’d love to hear your thoughts – just let me know in the comments down below!

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