They say “pictures are made, not taken.” There’s wisdom in that old saw. Sure, anyone can point a camera and record data (aka a snapshot), but the timing of when you snap the shutter is critical. Snap it at the right time and you’ve made, not taken, a photograph.
Henry Cartier-Bresson was good at making pictures. He defined the term ‘decisive moment,’ that micro-second in time where a potential, whatever it might be; an action, reaction, smirk or sneeze…the realization and documentation of which changed the face of photography. When a picture captures that decisive moment, you know it.
To be a photographer is to primarily observe. The rest of the package, camera, lens, post-production, is totally incidental to the observation. Now, when that observation (of any animate object) signals that moment of potential, when the object’s brain synapses connect, or short out, that’s the decisive moment.
See that moment, capture it and, voila, you’re a photographer.
And, all you need is time(ing).