The world of photography has many different players. Some are in it strictly for profit and to build a business, others for the honor and coolness of proclaiming yourself a photographer and belonging with the cool kids group. Some are just plain ole artists and their chosen tool just happens to be a camera as opposed to a paintbrush or a violin. While these are all "photographers" and yes some are what I refer to as hybrids, but for the most part the photographer leans predominately in one of the mentioned realms.
Before going any further and so that people are not coming at me with monopods looking to crack me over the head, I want to make it perfectly clear that no shade is being thrown at anyone that choses to reside in any of the three realms mentioned. They can all still be professionals and can have a very important role in the world of professional photography. I only put this out here so that you the consumer can know the difference and make the right choices for your project. So lets take a look at these people and see what they bring to the table.
The Kool Kat Photographer: I say this as a kind of joke but make no mistake about about this guy could be a knowledgeable and skilled photographer. You can tell who this guy is by virtue of what he does and how he promotes himself. He probably spends more time bragging about his equipment then he actually spends using it. I have this camera, these lights, this lens. It sounds great and he makes it sound so important but the absolute bottom line is nobody cares what you have, what you use and how much it costs. Perspective clients only want to see one thing. The results you get! Your final product. This guy will spend more time talking about how great he is then actually putting in the work to make the case.
Why they are useful: This is the guy that other photographers get barely used equipment from dirt cheap!!! This guy can also be a skilled photographer but most of the time his/her image of themselves falls well short of reality. They are also useful in that, the image of a photographer being this smooth character has probably brought many many people into the field and thus have powered innovation. Lets be honest it's a cool job.
Con: This is where the con men live. These can be the creepy ones. When I've heard of photographers trying to pick up models on sets and things like that. They usually live in this zone. Don't read this to say they are all creeps. That's just false!!! But the creeps are usually con men trying to sell you on something other then there actual outcomes.
Its All About The Money: This individual usually shows himself as a pushy salesmen. Up sale whenever possible. Again this person usually is a highly skilled photographer with high end equipment for the job. They spend as little time on a job as they can. Get the shot, Get the edit. On to the next job!! They are reliable, professional and very predictable. They will rarely wow you with shots because often times that is accomplished through painstaking hours of editing which will inevitably lower profit margins, which is not good for long term success.
Why they are useful: These guys are great for school pictures, corporate headshots, family portraits and anything that doesn't require an artistic flare. They just get the job done in a highly efficient manor.
Con: When the consumer does not know that all photographers are not the same. Your photo shoot gets done and your pictures are to you the next day. This becomes the unrealistic expectation of consumers. The work can sometimes have a assembly line look to them. It's good work, well exposed but lacks any feeling or emotion. If you were looking for more it can leave the consumer feeling kind of meh.
The Artist: This is the photographer that's looking for that angle. Equipment doesn't really matter. Anything in their hand is going to create art. Time doesn't matter, the only thing that does is outcomes.
Why they are useful: These people are amazing!! They see the world differently and have the ability to show us what they see. They take photos that look ordinary in camera and turn them into works of art in the editing process. They are what are in magazines. It's these people that create the work that inspire others. They are truly the backbone of the industry.
Con: When confronted with ordinary work will be uninspired and the work will reflect it. Slow output. They spend hours looking and editing photos. Don't always play well with others. They see things differently and have a hard time working with someone else's vision. Finally, they can often set a unrealistic bar for projects. people think all photographers are artist and can create on the fly. This is not true and unfair. If this is the guy you need for your project because of lack of your clear vision then hire him but don't expect every photographer to be him.