What does it mean to be a photographer? I have a camera, I take pictures, doesn't that make me a photographer?
While everyone interested in the professional aspect of photography has to start somewhere, picking up a point and shoot, taking a few snapshots, and developing them doesn't put you in the "professional" category.
It takes more than pointing and shooting to be a photographer. It takes passion, creativity, vision, an understanding of exposure, framing, cropping, editing, etc.
Having a sense of composition and understanding how to manipulate the light are, in my opinion, very key points to mastering the art. Taking classes at a local college and even online are big tools to help you learn the basics. And of course, don't forget to READ READ READ and PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.
A few books that I have found extremely helpful when I was first learning can be found right on Amazon. Here are a couple of links:
There are also tons of online tutorials that you can refer to for assistance in Photoshop and Lightroom. (I highly recommend using these two software tools for your editing). Learn them, master them. They will make all the difference in your post work and final photograph.
When I was first learning, I would keep several books on hand when I was shooting so I had something to reference and practice from. Not sure which f-stop or ISO would be appropriate for this shot? Dive into the books to guide you.
Trial and error is all part of the process. And believe me, you will have more error than success at first. The beauty behind digital though, you can instantly see the results. 10+ years ago I had to develop my film, yes FILM, before I would know how well I did. And believe me, I was disappointed more often than not.
One other thing I'd like to stress is, it's not always about the quantity of photographs you take but rather the quality. A client is more likely to purchase one exquisite photograph at a higher price than they would 10 mediocre ones at a lower cost.