There is one very important fact that will ensure that I would never consider becoming a professional photographer... the increasingly tight copyright laws, of which most people seem to be blissfully unaware.
I never followed up the row that erupted between professionals and the National Trust a few years ago. I simply removed some photos from the relevant sites where I might get a ribbing and now tend to look at any images taken on those properties with a mixture of pity and fear that would impress even Aristotle.
Sending photos to competitions, even as an amateur, would bring on a panic attack, if I were subject to panic attacks. The rights grabbing small print is so ambiguous (it may not even be an attempt at rights grabbing) is too tiring for words. If somebody wants to look at my photos (choosing them from among the millions that are uploaded hourly on the Internet, there is no obligation one way or the other. As far as I'm concerned, they are meant to cheer the spirit or give some new tips on how to use a toning effect. There is no sense that they might be put in for comparison with the many billions already posted since the Internet took off.
Which does not solve the problem of copyright as there are so many taboos, caveats and legal imponderables created by other people who wish to control what was, ten years ago, a lively and vibrant medium of expression.
I offer the following photo with some concern.
It was taken on private property and while I would see it as an inspiration for anybody to go find the beautiful meadow where it was taken, there is much reason, from the point of view of peace of mind, not to upload any more from that particular place.
Apparently China does not recognise intellectual property.
It might be one reason to consider going to live there...