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A photographer is the person who takes a photograph using a camera. This person is generally considered the artist, because he or she constructed the appearance of the product in the same way as any other visual artists. One may be an amateur photographer or a professional photographer if he or she uses photography to make a living.

The work of a photographer may be limited to the actual shooting of the camera, or it may include all of the steps in the development of the image up to the presentation of the final product. A photograph may be the work of a single person or a team. The most common teams are formed of a photographer and a laboratory technician. The laboratory work (photographic processing, image processing, plus other less common techniques) can completely change the appearance of a shot. The artistry can just as easily be in the lab work as in the shooting itself, even if the one who took the shot is more likely to be considered the artist, and the developer an artisan.

Before all a photographer is, like a painter, an artist of a vision. The technique follows, more or less faithfully, in reconstructing, even transforming, that original vision.

The photographer often has a certain personality which is expressed in his or her work. At the beginning of the photographic era, there were great debates between painters and photographers, and a great number of scholars and practicians interacted in these two areas. If photographers are considered to have "usurped" the exclusive domain of the image from painters, painters have been profoundly influenced by the photographic technique, which obliged them to better define their domain, their subjects, and the flexibility of their technique. However, certain painters have reduced their art to that of a technician in a development lab, using another technique for copying photographs by hand.

Photographers are frequently categorized based on the subjects they photograph. There are photographers of the subjects typical of paintings (landscape, still life, portrait, etc.) as well as documentary photographers, fashion photographers, commercial photographers, etc. Some photographers specialize in a certain type of image, while others are generalists. The distinction between artistic photography and photojournalism or other types of photography and the associated techniques does not remove this personal aspect from the work of the great photographers.

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