I have heard many answers to this along the lines of; "years of experience" to "the minute you get paid for a shot".
I suppose now that I have actually received my prize from LG Electronics for making the top 20 in their contest with my little 30 second clip (see VaderVideo site is finally coming to life... in this blog) which from what I understand will be used at various events of theirs, I am a pro! :) Heck, the prize, an LG Chocolate Cell Phone has a value of at least 1 dollar. Nanner, nanner, now I am a pro!
Of course in all honesty, that might be an overstatement. Personally, I believe as in anything else one does, the pro comes out after many hours or even years of experience as well. For someone to simply state that they are a pro in my personal opinion may be very deceiving. I for one have a real hesitation when someone asks me if I am a pro. Here's why, and again, remember, this is my opinion;
- things move very rapidly in the industry regarding technologies and standards - my belief is that a real pro keeps up on that.
- a real pro will experiment a lot! On their own time.
- if a real pro contracts a job, and knows going in that there is no familiarity within the scope of the job, they should be upfront about that. Perhaps even make a special offer/deal with the client. I have done photo-shoots on the basis of a fair trade (get stuff for my portfolio) to create a win-win.
- know one's limitations - sometimes you just have to say "I don't know."
- leave the "I am an artistic attitude" at home. Don't be a superficial wannabe with that egotistical garbage flowing from your pores. The true artists that I have met, never flaunt it, rub it in your face, nor do they brag about it. Many times when I asked that above question, they respond with "I really don't know as I am so far from being one myself, I never thought about it." - Humble people are very easy to get along with.
In any case, for me this is not a real issue, just a question that may have many answers. So feel free to chime in and offer your opinion.
P.S. Here is the official prize from LG that I received just last week. Does this make me a pro?