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In praise of - professional photography.

Far be it from me to add another measley voice to the avalanche of derision which met the Duchess of Cambridge's holiday snaps ...

oh, go on then, they were pretty ropey weren't they? The seven scenic shots were taken during the royal couple's recent visit to Borneo and have now been released by Clarence House.

Most were landscape images taken from moving vehicles but, for me, the stand-out was a promising shot of an orangutan in a tree, marred by the fact the animal was in silhouette – in a missed opportunity as opposed to an arty kind of way.

Misplaced pride in one's photographic ability is a common affliction which affects all classes. Whereas blagging in the field of, say classical music or oil painting, presents something of a challenge, photography has long been hijacked by hopeless amateurs who fancy themselves as artistes but have no other discernable talent. In the age of digital cameras, anyone with a functioning finger can produce an image and will, for every thousand pictures taken, get lucky. With the rise of social media sites, would-be David Baileys now have a captive audience for their tedious portfolios.

As a journalist, I have the joy of watching professional photographers up close and am in awe of their skill, particularly when it comes to live subjects. Aside from the technical and artistic elements involved in setting up an arresting picture, the best have the rare ability to instantly connect with people and make them feel at ease in an odd situation.

Last week, I watched one colleague spend long hours trying to get a pair of lively, untrained pups to pose together. The resulting image was beautiful but when I look at it I see hours of graft, bucketloads of patience and the ability to laugh, not cry, when your subject's only interest in your camera is how it tastes.

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