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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 02 Aug 2016 (Tuesday) 22:38
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Photography as a job, a pipe dream?

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Post edited over 3 years ago by NBEast. (2 edits in all)
Aug 05, 2016 13:06 |  #16

Myboostedgst wrote in post #18085819 (external link)
This is the best post here.


Myboostedgst wrote in post #18085819 (external link)
As NBEast mentioned, a lot of it is effort and time. If you think putting 40 hours a week in, 9-5 is going to suffice then you are horribly misled. You will be working most weekends, late nights, struggling through relationships, having to miss birthdays and weddings. Have great artistic abilities is important, but in my opinion Drive/Ambition is the largest part, followed closely by business skills. Actual artistic ability is just behind that.

There are a ton of crappy photographers out there who make a living photographing. They are great entrepreneurs, and work their butt off. I would love to be one, but I honestly am not willing to sacrifice what is necessary to get there.

I have a full time profession, a family, an hour commute each way. I loved taking a wedding or portrait gig 'cause I loved the interaction.

Eventually it got wearing to spend much of my free time away from my family or in front of a PC editing. It became a chore.

So I cut way way back. That led to diminishing skills. Found myself fumbling at critical moments if something unexpected happened. I finally decided its really just a hobby for me. I'll do some freebies but I'm done having the pressure of being "the pro".

I could see a clear path to success if extreme diligence, hard work, tolerance, marketing technique, etc were applied. Its probably a lot tougher to break into these days but, IMHO its a real possibility.

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Location: Having too much fun in the studio
Aug 05, 2016 19:05 |  #17

Just to add a little extra info in case the op ever checks a lot of the advice seems 'doom and gloomish' to me.

Depending on the type of photography that you're interested in of course, but in the commercial world:

There still are staff positions, though most likely fewer than in the past.
I've never worked a weekend in my life.
I've never missed an important family event because of my work. In fact, I have pretty much complete control over my schedule.
It's a fun way to make a living....I actually look forward to going to work, and always have.

With that said, it's not an easy path. If it were, everybody'd be doing it.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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Joined Feb 2007
Location: Leicester, UK
Aug 07, 2016 09:23 |  #18

It's very reassuring to see so many realistic views in this thread.

A long time ago I used to be a geologist, and got a job doing marine survey work.

After a while, I asked one of the guys why they hired me? - it was my electronics knowledge and ability to fix stuff that had swung it.
As one said: 'we can teach all the real geology stuff you need, on the job to an engineer, but teaching geologists to repair electronics on the back of a pitching boat - not a hope'

In the same way when I decided to take up photography for a living in 2004, it was based on my business skills and thinking about what I could do that would earn a living that convinced me to have a go (with targets and bail-out points). My interests and dislikes helped define areas I'd consider, but the business side led the way.

If it's of interest I've written up some of my thoughts about photography for a living, based on what worked and the regular emails about finding a job I still get …ography-for-a-living.html (external link)

bye for now
Keith Cooper
Northlight Images (external link)

push ­ process
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Aug 08, 2016 17:34 |  #19

A high percentage of new small businesses fail. Is it >5 of 10, is it 9 of 10, or is it 96% within 10 years as recently suggested? The truth is out there.

Whether photography or not, you've got to overcome the odds and that requires ambition, hard work, and the ability to develop and run a successful business whether it's baking cupcakes or wedding photography.

Otherwise, you've got to work for the man. Some man, somewhere.

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Location: La Verne, Cali
Aug 09, 2016 14:36 |  #20 …/showthread.php​?t=1433837 <-- A good thread about the 'grind' of the business of photography.

~ Canon 7d / 5D ~ Novatron strobe setup + Vagabond
~ Some L glass, some flashes, the usual

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Location: Southern California
Aug 09, 2016 23:40 |  #21

I think I can chime in here a bit as I've been working as a photographer for a while now (though not for much longer).

My experience has been a bit of a mixed bag since I'm a graphic designer by trade who also happens to know photography and video. I think photography is much easier to slink into when it's tacked on as an extra skill. A lot of positions I come across say they're looking for a graphic designer with photography experience, or a video editor with still photography experience. I kind of got shoved into a photography position because the company I am currently working for had an immediate need for someone to take and edit photos for a big year-long project. However, graphic design and video editing are still on my list of responsibilities.

However, I also believe you need to look at how companies are using photography. A lot of the photo vendors I've worked with over the years have had a very specific niche: underwater photography, athlete photography, interior photography, car photography, etc. and they really have to be at the top of their game to get repeat business. For example, look at a Sherwin-Williams of Valspar paint display. Their collateral is filled with gorgeous interior photography, professionally designed and styled and inspiring. I doubt many people set out to start photography businesses or get photography jobs thinking that's what they're going to end up doing. Many people use "photography" as a very overarching and broad category but to get into the business, I think a newbie would really have to find that niche and go for it. In the case of these photo studios who photograph those interiors, they REALLY have to do a good job to keep getting the contracts, and they have to be able to work nicely with interior designers, brand managers, stylists, and even their own hands in many cases to succeed. Companies I've worked for have shoved thousands and millions of dollars to these photo vendors but again, they're very specific and they do amazing jobs.

Hopefully that makes some sense.

Designer // Art Director // Photographer (external link) | AlexFitchPhoto on Instagram (external link)

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Location: Toronto, Canada
Aug 10, 2016 06:22 |  #22

madhatter04 wrote in post #18091289 (external link)
Hopefully that makes some sense.

It makes perfect sense. Wonderful, insightful post!

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Post edited over 3 years ago by mdrtoys.
Aug 18, 2016 01:18 |  #23

I come from the recruiting field. I owned a recruiting firm for 10 years. I made 120 cold calls a day looking for people who would change their jobs. I was selling something I didn't have to someone who didn't want it. I was also selling a product that could say "I don't want to be sold there". A few years ago, I went full pro that provided creative portraiture. I found that my cold calling skills and my ability to turn a "no" into a "yes" was far more important than my photography. My ability to get over the fear of "no" also allows me to contact people far more than twice. Most creatives will make 2 calls and then call it quits. I sell my photography as art and talk people into using it for advertising. I walked into a store one day and knew, just knew I could make a living as a photographer because every, single thing in that store had a picture on it. I realized at that moment that as a professional photographer, my job isn't taking job is finding work. Without the ability to find work, take those pictures would never amount to making me any money. If I have a dead week, I can make 2 days of calls and find work..but it's work on my terms......You have to be a sales person....Because professional photography isn't about being a great photographer, it's about making people think you are.

Well, my idea might be a little different than most people, but I'm making a very good living making close to 120 calls a week (down from 120 a day as a recruiter). People think it's crazy that besides Facebook, I'm just starting to get into the social media game.

I hope that makes sense ;)

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Photography as a job, a pipe dream?
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