As a photographer there’s nothing more complimentary than a major publication or company wanting to use your work to represent their brand or products. As “hobby” photographer that compliment goes up 1,000%. Photography has always been a passion of mine, but mostly a hobby.
One of the ways that hobby pays off is when I’m contacted by a publication that wants to use my work commercially or when someone wants to buy my prints or usage rights of my work.
Those are the times that make me feel like my work (which could always be better) is good enough to be considered “professional”.