I've certainly never considered myself anything more than an avid amateur photographer. At least in the years during and since working for a local newspaper where in addition to editing and writing I photographed everything from the grip-and-grin shots to sporting events.
Prior to that even the label of amateur didn't apply. Looking back on those grainy shots of the past I'm really sorry that I didn't know a little more about what makes a good picture. Tiny subjects in the centre of the photo, boring landscapes, and absolutely no concept of lighting and contrast were the hallmarks of my work. It didn't help either that my first camera was a Polaroid.
A few years in journalism, however, showed me that had I considered it, I might have not done too badly as a photographer. I enjoyed it and what I lacked in technical knowledge, and it was plenty, I made up for with a good eye. Or so I was told.
Entrenched as I was in the career I had at that point it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to pursue an interest. However, when our daughter announced that she wanted to study photography, post-secondary, it seemed as good an idea as any for our artsy girl.
Though she did well in the program, her graduation coincided with digital photography and smartphones. Now everyone's a photographer and the challenge comes in how to get your name and your work noticed.
If you think you have what it takes to make the transition from amateur to professional photographer here are some tips that might help you succeed:
How to Become a Professional Photographer from wikiHow
100 Tips from a Pro
How to Become a Professional Photographer
Know When You Are Ready to Become a Professional Photographer
This link shares some myths about the career choice you are making too:
20 Myths About Becoming a Pro Photographer