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Thread started 28 Jan 2014 (Tuesday) 18:06
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Career change – want to become a photographer and make a living by it.

 
tomj
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Jan 29, 2014 11:56 |  #16

"Turning pro is one way of making sure you take the joy out of photography."

I recently ran into an aquaintance I hadn't seen in a few years. He's been doing photography professionally for over 20 years, with ups and downs along the way - a lot of product and advertising photography at one point, along with weddings, portraiture, etc. He says business has been pretty good the last several years, but that he no longer has any interest in even touching a camera unless it's for a job.


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McMurry ­ Pet ­ Photo
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Jan 29, 2014 13:46 |  #17

I would just suggest that you take time to think of all of the options. So often on here a false dichotomy is presented; as in you have to either stick with your day job or quit and be a full-time photographer. For your personal situation the best solution might be somewhere in between those two choices. Advice to stay with your day job and grow your skills in your spare time is sound. But if the thought of staying with your job for several years makes you sick, maybe find a compromise. If you are able to get a part-time job take it. Then you can accelerate growing your photography business part-time as well while not depending on it to put food on the table. Either way, be ready to sacrifice. Know what you can live without. Best of luck.


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vengence
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Jan 29, 2014 20:27 |  #18

If you want to make a living from photography and you're naturally gifted, then keep your job until you can't find time to work your job because you're too busy taking pictures of people and making money.

When that doesn't happen, you'll still have a job and still be able to pay rent and eat dinner, but you'll know it wasn't meant to be.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Jan 29, 2014 21:14 |  #19

tomj wrote in post #16647267 (external link)
"Turning pro is one way of making sure you take the joy out of photography."

It didn't for me. I am a photographer. The commercial work feeds the family the personal work feeds the soul.




  
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phantelope
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Jan 29, 2014 21:54 |  #20

I agree with vengence here, do NOT quit your job, but studio (or what ever) gear and hope for clients to come running, won't happen. What friends and relatives say is nice but irrelevant. Enter contests, build a fantastic portfolio, have it looked at by others in the business, or actually by anybody not connected to you as friend of family.

I'd suggest to make a solid business plan for the next year, set goals and get the word out, book some jobs, learn from that. I'd love to make a living from photography but the chances to do so are not very good, and if your income is the only family income, forget about it until it actually does generate reasonable amounts of money and starts to make your regular work schedule challenging.

I'd love to get into portraits, seniors, fine art, product/food, real estate, things like that. I'd rather set my gear on fire than shoot a single wedding ever. Or some kid's party.

Also keep in mind that weddings tend to fall on weekends, ready to give those up?

Echoing all the above, make a solid business plan, have somebody look at it. Research as much as you can, try to find a pro that might take you on as an assistant (and do NOT bring your camera then, you'd not be there to shoot, but to assist and soak it all up), practice your photography, show it to emotionally uninvolved people. Try to exhibit some at a local coffee shop or something like that. Have it looked at by some pros. Join a camera club.

Just don't quit your job quite yet and be realistic about the fact that that might never happen. It's a touch business and you have to be better at selling yourself and your business than at photography. the McDonalds syndrome, great selling and marketing, crap product but very successful.


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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Jan 29, 2014 21:59 |  #21

If you have a year of hobby experience, yeah, I think you are crazy to even consider it.

Get your portfolio critiqued by someone that has actually made a living as a photographer for a long time. Make sure that portfolio is of work that you could actually shoot to make a living. Pics of cats, sunsets and flowers need not apply.


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FarmerTed1971
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Jan 29, 2014 22:01 |  #22

No cats?!?


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McMurry ­ Pet ­ Photo
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Jan 30, 2014 14:55 |  #23

FarmerTed1971 wrote in post #16648757 (external link)
No cats?!?

The money is in dogs :)


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joeblack2022
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Jan 30, 2014 15:08 |  #24

wisdom2thewise wrote in post #16645343 (external link)
I’ve been a hobbyist for the past year, by taking picks of my kids, places of interest and the odd birthday occasion, where feedback from others have been overwhelmingly positive.

Don't be fooled by the praise - people say stuff is great all the time but what counts is that they like it enough to dig into their wallet.

(Apart from all the great advice already given.)


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Landcruiser
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Jan 30, 2014 15:11 |  #25

Welcome to the "kill your dream" forums. Crazier people than you have jumped out on their own, and they are still eating. I say go for it.




  
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J ­ Michael
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Jan 30, 2014 15:16 |  #26

If there is an equivalent organization to the PPA dowunder see if they have professional development workshops you can attend. You have to learn how to produce outstanding work and appreciate the value of what you're producing so you don't work for peanuts.




  
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vengence
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Jan 30, 2014 17:30 |  #27

Landcruiser wrote in post #16650668 (external link)
Welcome to the "kill your dream" forums. Crazier people than you have jumped out on their own, and they are still eating. I say go for it.

Telling someone who dreams of flying they can totally do it and will be fine if they take a leap of faith and jump off a cliff is wrong. As a society we romanticize the one out of a 100 who does it and succeeds. We all dream of being the one who wins the lotto, and someone wins the lotto, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to play the lotto, and it especially doesn't mean it's a good idea to sell your house to play the lotto.




  
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Jan 30, 2014 17:40 |  #28
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Landcruiser wrote in post #16650668 (external link)
Welcome to the "kill your dream" forums. Crazier people than you have jumped out on their own, and they are still eating. I say go for it.

Yeah, and some others have been presently reduced to a bloody pulp by crash landing on the financial rocks underlying all that dreamy, Big-Stopper-soft surf below the Cliff of Illusions.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
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Scrumhalf
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Jan 30, 2014 17:55 |  #29

That is a mother-of-all-metaphors sentence!


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 30, 2014 18:26 |  #30

Don't expect to turn a profit for a couple of years. You stand around a 95% of not making it to that point anyway as the vast majority of folk starting out in this industry (especially the domestic market) don't make it beyond two years.

Passion and enthusiasm are great but approach this with a realistic hat on... there is a good chance (statistically) the money and time you invest in the venture will be wasted. Can you afford for that scenario to occur?

The Australian market is very saturated already. Unless you can bring something unique to the table you'll be one of an army of thousands who a floundering each year.

I don't know what your work is like but I had a dollar for every time I have seen this type of post I'd be a very, very rich man.

Over the first 3-5 years don't rely on expecting a wage of realistically more than $35k a year (if you make it through the first 2 years that is). The average salary over here of an established photographer currently stands around the $45-50k mark... they are with an average of about 43.5 hours per week. Around 70-80% of those working are doing so part time and this % is increasing each year. Through on top of that that the market is contracting in terms of revenue and the number of businesses is increasing.

Had you been making this post 5 years ago I'd have said go for it... but a lot has changed since then.

If you love photography I'd keep the hobby as the job market and wages in Australia (for other employment) is so good. If you do go for it don't rely on the income be fully prepared for the chance of never making the transition from part timer to full timer.


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