For me, China photographer’s image is an interesting topic. I am not sure since how long ago, in most Chinese mind, the image of a professional photographer or in general an artist has been fixed: long hair, beard or mustache, photography vest. I truly don’t understand why Chinese people will have this kind of impression for professional China photographers. If you look like a common person, which means you don’t wear a typical artist face, Chinese just don’t believe you can create wonderful pictures!
There is a well-known joke in Guangzhou photography circle. One famous Guangzhou master photographer once went to a photography commission with his assistant. Surprisingly, when they arrived at the customer’s location, the assistant was graciously served at the reception. On the contrary, the master photographer was left alone. The assistant had to explain awkwardly to the customer that he was just the assistant, not the master. The customer made such a mistake because they thought the assistant looked more like a real photographer with his shoulder-length hair and thick beard. While the true master looked too ordinary.
I have met many senior photographers in my last 15 years’ photography career. In fact, no matter where they come from: China or abroad, most of them look no different from ordinary people. Hong Kong photographers normally dress up like fashionable businessmen. You cannot tell if they are good at shooting photos or not solely by their appearances.
Of course, in China, some commercial photographers clearly know that only if they show up with such an image, the customer will regard them as being professional, and then to buy their services with a better price. So they will dress up as “a photographer” on purpose.
In summary, my suggestion to my clients will be: never judge people solely by their appearance. In terms of photography, you should always evaluate a photographer’s competence by his works (photos).