What's the difference between being a professional landscape photographer and an enthusiast? The enthusiast has more fun. Well kind of. Hear me out. As an enthusiast you are out in nature photographing. You are doing it as much as you can. Just photographing for fun, for enjoyment, to be creative. All of those reasons professional photographers chose to pursue a career in photography. We love it. It's fulfilling. Photographing nature brings us a sense of peace. However, that's not what being a professional photographer is all about. Photographing is only a small portion of what I now do. Being a professional photographer is about running a business. Marketing, business contacts, image file preparation, billing, usage agreements, taxes, blogging, writing curriculum, teaching workshops the list goes on of all those things that now consume my life. Taking photos has become an activity I have to schedule into my business planner. With more demands on my photography there are more demands on my output. Great skies no longer make a great photo. Subject matter and composition are first and foremost. The incredible sky is the icing on the cake. Those evenings of grabbing the camera and racing out to the local beach to photograph the sky no longer mean the same to me. What's the tide doing? How far north is the sun in the sky? Will it set over the Olympics? If not how will I frame the image. Where are the clouds located? The clouds are in the east. Maybe I should head to an eastside beach to get the reflection of the color, but the beach will be in shadow. What subject matter can stand out in shadow? Just heading to the beach with a camera is no longer just heading to the beach. So much thought goes into getting that perfect shot. When you take on photography as a business it becomes a job. The stress associate with working is no different here. So what is different? Why try to make a go out of your photography? In the end the stress of running a business doesn't out weigh my love for photography. It doesn't squelch my excitement when I receive a phone call or an email inquiring about my work. My enthusiasm in teaching someone how to capture light and frame a shot to portray who they are and what they see is energizing. Talking with a couple at the gallery hearing about how my image speaks to them and how they are proudly going to display it in their home is humbling. Seeing my image in print on the front of a magazine is fulfilling. When making the jump from photography enthusiast to professional photographer there are many things to consider than just making money. The money doesn't come easy. You will work hard for that paycheck. It will be stressful. And at times it won't seem worth it. However, if you embrace the business side and realize there is more to being a professional photographer then opening a free 500px account you can truly find fulfillment in doing what you love and loving what you do. Here are just a few of the commercial endeavors I have worked on over the last couple of months. What do you think? Are you considering making the jump from enthusiast to professional photographer? Comment below with your thoughts and questions.