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| p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · To those considering a glamorous career in photography... |
I'm going to make the wild assumption that you're new to photography? Forgive me if I'm wrong, but as someone who's been in it long enough to know that your points here don't pass my sniffer as someone who's been in the industry long at all. I'm also going to make the assumption that you want a career as a photographer.
1st, the reason you see so many photography teachers is because those photographers realized they can make vastly more money off the incredible influx of photographers (who will eventually put them out of business if they were just a competing photographer) than they can actually competing for the jobs that are being taken over by said influx of cheap photographers. For the most part it has nothing to do with some heroic thing you've imagined but I can tell you one thing, the busiest photographers I know have zero time for teaching and are mostly unknown by the forum/facebook/newbie photography community who laps up people like David Jay. These are the people making $12-15K per shoot (weddings in this case) and have it figured out. From a person who has a will to sustain their career, It has everything to do with making money (but you're correct that you must love what you shoot). And as for money being a motivator, if you want to have a sustainable career as an actual photographer, you must make money. There is no other way to do it or look at it unless you have a steady form of money coming from someplace else (and even then why would you short change yourself). Sure, there's a wonderful side effect that being a photographer is a wonderful thing to do but you seem confused in that you theorize that one must not be in it for the money.....in order to make money? That's truly a dichotomy that is more about being silver tongued and having an air that's different than what reality is. I'm not accusing you of doing that, but rather your expectations of what other photographers do is not meshing with reality. When I see a photographer who's not in it for the money, they don't charge enough which brings me to my next point:
While you absolutely must love what you photograph, if you're not also in it for the money and actually make good money, you won't sustain yourself as a photographer. It really is that simple. I can't tell you how many photographers I know in the past 2-3 years that have bitten the bullet because they think like you or because the market has been oversaturated with photographers who think like you. I can't tell you how many new photographers I hear speak like this now who charge basically cost for a job because they're doing it for the love of photography. What's the point of that when you'll be biting yourself in the butt at a later point but don't know it yet? What's love for photography when you can't sustain your photography? It's a fact that when a photographer is making good money, a few nice side effects happen. First, they will continue to be a sustained pro photographer. They're also able to be a better photographer because they're living comfortably and can partake much easier in doing personal projects because they have the resources to do it. I have a buddy who's extremely busy who's making under $20k/year in a city where you must make $60K/year to live like a college student. He's freaking out because everyone knows him as the cheap/free photographer who loves what he does. That doesn't do squat when reality hits and while he used to be the dazed idealist, the wakeup has hit hard for him. It's so unfortunate the new crop of photographers have this all too common mindset that to make money is evil, I'm actually finding this mindset extremely common in a certain age bracket (I have a feeling this has to do with indoctrination at school). I know you're going to take this as cheapening the ideals of what photography is to you. It's not. I'm extremely protective of photography and because I have more experience than you've had I realize what it takes to be sustainable and it starts with looking at reality. It's important to keep idealism but not so much that it makes you blind to reality.
The problem is that a lot of photographers buy a camera and don't shoot/do what they enjoy.
I see a lot of new photographers that jump into wedding photography right away or stock photography and they do it namely for the money as it's blatantly obvious most of the time.
I mean, how many photographers actually *enjoy* shooting weddings.....I know that I probably wouldn't and I wouldn't shoot one even if I was being paid $5,000 to shoot one.
I shot one paid party on new years and sure the money was good but to me it's not about the money.
It's about doing...Show more →