Professional vs. Amateur Photographers?

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The Olympics are coming and there have been already many controversial discussions on how the photography rights will be handled during the games. There were rumors that it will not be allowed to share images on social networks in the stadiums and photographers were prohibited to photograph the Olympic locations during construction. Well, this week came the news that only small cameras will be allowed in the stadiums and any camera or lens bigger than the allowed size will be confiscated, but there are no lockers to keep them, so they most likely will be gone when you come out. As a response a discussion spun off from both sides, professional and amateur photographers. The amateur photographers were upset that they cannot take their great equipment with them and the professional photographers were cynical, stating that with the allowed camera and lens size one still can take great images. What is this about?
The professional photographers who are the official photographers of an event make their living from photography, invest constantly in their business and often have to pay to be allowed photographing an event. For a big event as the Olympics photo and press agencies pay for the right to take photographs. They need to earn that money back by selling the images to the media and online platforms. That becomes very difficult when everybody in the stadium with a big zoom lens gets in the position to photograph the event as well. At such an event it’s not that much about the quality of the images, it’s more about catching a moment and being the first to have it on the Internet. It’s a race.
That race can be real fun for amateur photographers, but is very annoying for professional photographers. The professional is working there and does not have the time and energy to play a game with thousands of amateurs challenging him or her. It’s completely understandable that everybody wants to photograph the Olympics when being one of the lucky ones having a ticket. But just do it for your own and your friend’s fun and leave the professionals doing their job. All photographers share the passion for photography. Respect each other’s role in the photography world and learn from each other.
Imagine being an electrician, called in to repair a power failure and the head of the household is telling you how to do it, because he built his electrical miniature train system himself. He can be of big help by telling the electrician when the failure occurred, which machines were running at that moment and probably other relevant information, but the actual work needs to be done by the called in professional.
If the amateur feels the desire to become a professional, do it! Follow you heart and make your passion your profession and respect those who did that already.

Ute Sonnenberg,