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What’s with the name “Moms with a Camera?”

May 7, 2012

When we were thinking of a name for our photography club we wanted something simple that got to the point of what the club is about.  After all, we are a group of women with cameras, so the name seemed fairly fitting.  I liked the key word status, web availability, etc as well.

You may or may not be aware of the fairly recent trend of the many moms entering the professional photography world.   There are a lot of incredible professional mom photographers out there, however there are also many mom photographers that claim to be professionals but aren’t quite there yet.  According to the following article, Michael writes that a “Mom with a Camera” or MWAC “includes almost anyone who thinks they can be a professional photographer on a casual basis, without any real photography or business training.” Yes, a lot of great professional photographers have started out as a “MWAC” however it isn’t an overnight deal to become a professional. The term MWAC is actually well known and recognized among professoinal photographers and not in a very positive way.

Here’s often how it happens/ The Stereotype:

A woman has a child and starts taking lots of photos of her child(ren).  Friends and family make comments like, “cute kid, great photos.”  They may also say  “you’re really good at this, you should be a photographer.”  The seed has been planted.  The mom starts learning a little more about photography, after all she loves taking photos of her kids and friends kids.  Since she has taken a lot of photos of her family, etc, she figures that she has a lot of “experience” when it comes to photography.   She decides to buy a DSLR camera and possibly photoshop.  The MWAC may work through some online tutorials, take a camera workshop or read a book, therefore getting “education.”   She creates a watermark and a website… and Voila… she’s a professional photographer.  After all anyone can add “Photography” at the end of their name and be a  professional photographer, right?!?  Check out these MWAC Attack youtube videos that poke fun at the wannabe mom photographers out there.  Please remember that these are NOT real, the woman is only acting.  “P mode is for profesional”?, I don’t think so.

So why name the club ” Moms with a Camera”?

First off, we liked the play on words and attention-grabbing nature of the term MWAC.  In naming our photography club, Moms with a Camera, we also hoped to take a step to change the negative stereotype of moms with cameras.  Just because you have a DSLR doesn’t mean that you have to be a professional or intend to go pro.  It doesn’t mean that none of the women in our group will ever become a professional, however that’s not what the group is in any way about.  It’s all about learning in a community how to take better photos of your own children.  It’s ok to be someone who can just take wonderful photos and has a good understanding of their camera, composition, lighting, etc.

The Great Things about being a MWAC who doesn’t want to go Pro:

There was a brief period of time where I considered the idea of what it would be like to be a professional photographer.  After all, I love photography, interacting with others, learning, business, etc.  However, it wasn’t long before I reached that conclusion that being a pro just wasn’t for me.  I want to work toward being someone that can take photos like a professional and really rock my camera but actually being a pro is not what I want in my life (at least in this stage of the game).  I want to take lots of great photos of my own kids rather than spending my time photographing other people’s kids.  I want to spend my editing time on my children’s photos rather than strangers’ photos.

Learning more about photography and not going pro is experiencing the joy of having a hobby, rather than a business.  It can be a gift that you can share with others.  Personally, I love how it is another way that I can focus on my family and create lasting memories/ keepsakes for my children.

Sometimes I wonder how many people that go pro truly realize how much work it is to be a professional photographer.  It is so much more than just taking great photos.  Included in the business end of things is licensing, insurance, marketing/ advertising, taxes, contracts, customer service, blogging, website-creation and maintenance, etc.  It is not easy to be a great professional photographer.  I’ve heard it said that running a successful photography business requiress 10% photography skills, 90% business skills.

As members of the Moms with Cameras (MWAC) club we recognize…

-that members of the club are not professionals

-that there is a lot to  learn about photography (technical and creative)

-everyone has something to share/offer others

-everyone should be treated with respect

-there is no need to preface statements with comments like, “I don’t know/ I’m just learning…” or “I’m a professional, I…”

-We are all at different places and that’s ok

-there is nothing wrong with being an individual that knows how to really rock their camera without the need to go pro

-It doesn’t matter what other people think.  We are all on our own journey

Whether you’re a member in our photography club, just on our Facebook page or have an interest in photography remember to always listen to your own heart and do what’s best for you.  As hard as it is, try not to compare yourself with others.  It’s better to look back and see your own growth and make goals about where you want to go.  There’s nothing wrong with being a mom with a camera, embrace it.  If you decide to take the professional route remember that you are making the choice to have a business (even if only small) rather than a hobby.  You are also making the choice to be held to a higher standard.

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