How I stopped worrying and learned to love amateurism

A few days ago, I pulled the handbrake lever on my photography “career”.

But let me explain.

About 14 months ago I moved to Hamburg. As a requirement for my job I went diving into the deep mists of photography and started to learn taking pictures not just for a hobby, but for a purpose – for clients.
And boy was that fun. In the following 12 months or so I learned to look at taking pictures from a whole new level. I watched hours of footage on using flashes. I assisted in a medium sized shooting weekend. I “understood” light. I learned to use a reflector. I explored every part of a beginner SLR. I even understood fucking hyper focal distance shooting. I learned so much, It was kind of overwhelming but also helped me do my job a lot better.

And then, suddenly in the last two months, I felt odd. Something was not right. Taking pictures in half-complex setups was not fun anymore. It felt complicated, it felt hard.

Photography became work.

That’s when I took a 2 week vacation and as soon as I left the hefty workhorse-camera at work, and used my half broken, headache inducing Ricoh compact, I felt free.
Taking pictures was fun. These pictures were of no special purpose. They were the pictures of a hobbyist. And that’s when I realized that I never wanted to be a professional photographer in the first place.

After those two weeks, I had a long talk to my employers and pulled the handbrake. I didn’t want photography be my profession and they kindly understood. They didn’t want to force me into this direction at all, but for 12 months I just gave them the wrong impression. And as much as they wanted to help me develop my skills, they helped making me have a bad feeling about my “former” hobby.

That’s where I am now. An almost pro-photographer, that could have learned a LOT more, but is way more happier now, that he knows he won’t, and will keep to be an amateur. That doesn’t mean I will stop learning. It just means I wont learn to be a professional anymore.


I stopped trying to be a pro and started to look at photography as an amateur again. Figuring this out took me 12 months. If my employers would have known earlier, they could have supported my “real” interests a lot better.