Do you make a living at this?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by MightyLeeMoon, May 30, 2006.

  1. MightyLeeMoon

    MightyLeeMoon TPF Noob!

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    Photography.

    I still haven't officially introduced myself to this forum, but I've gotten to comment on some incredible work and post a few things of my own.

    So here is my story in a nutshell: I'm new to photography. And, already, I have dreams of this hobby one day growing into something a little more. I have no clue where to begin to pursue such dreams...but I figure that the most important thing for me at this point is to learn...learn...practice...learn...and have as much fun as possible. (I've only had the camera for 3 weeks now.)

    In any case...

    Does anyone here make a living with their photographs? How did you end up with that type of gig? Loving it? Gets old? What words would you impart to someone hoping to one day be making a living at photography?

    Hope there are plenty of stories here to share!
     
  2. JohnMF

    JohnMF TPF Noob!

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    i don't do photography professionally myself, just for a hobby and for fun, but i think there are plenty of people on here who have or who do.

    I think maybe proper training at college or school should be considered if you want to go pro
     
  3. Oldfireguy

    Oldfireguy TPF Noob!

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    If I had to do it for a living it would become a job then it would not be as fun.

    If I can make a few dollars here and there that's OK. If not, I can live with that too. I do it because of the joy it brings me.
     
  4. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Not any more I am retired. If I was still running the studio, I would be worried if I had enough time to be here, so wouldnt be.
     
  5. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I did do it for a living in the late 70's and through the 80's. I can assure you that it was the most fun I ever had (legally, that is). But then it was the time, situation, people that contributed a lot. These days accountants run things so naturally all the fun has been taken away because it doesn't fit on a balance sheet.

    As for taking it up as a living, I'd give it a while before thinking about that. There's a lot more to being a photographer than owning a camera, and there's a heck of a lot more to being a professional - most of it nothing to do with Photography. It's one of the most precarious jobs around and you are always only a job or two away from going broke.
    If you search (Discussion Forum is probably best) you'll find a couple of useful threads about How Do I Become A Photographer.
     
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  6. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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    Very well said. :thumbup:
     
  7. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I am absolutely convinced Hertz is right in what he says here --- and I don't do photography other than for my own fun at all. I sometimes wish my hobby would sort of pay for it in itself, but if we were to live from it, my family would long have perished.

    Only the other day I saw that woman take the group photos of those 14-year-olds that were confirmed in church on that day ("Confirmation" is a big thing for most young around here, THE big celebration of their teenage years) who also took the group photos when it was my son's turn 3 years ago. So I assume she has taken those pics in years before it was my son's turn and will take this kind of photos in many more years to come. Other than that, she works in a camera shop and sells frames and does instant passport photos and maybe goes to take the odd "better" portrait or weddings.

    And I thought by myself upon seeing her arrange the group so everyone would be in her frame "If that is what being a professional photographer is like here in the country, then I much prefer to have it as a hobby only and photograph as I please".

    But then I've never taken even one course on photography, not even one in an Adult Education Centre or so, let alone any in school or a college, I don't have any degrees, never had an art's course either ... therefore I also FEEL sooooo much an amateur, there are no words for HOW MUCH of an amateur I am.
     
  8. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I get occasional photography jobs for money, and the money is much more than the equivilent hourly rate for my day job. However, I'm lucky if I have one paid job per month. If I spent 9-5 every day getting business, networking with the right people, managing galleries, exhibitions and getting in with the right crowd, I'm just about convinced that right now I could probably scrape minimum wage.

    I work in IT, photographic equipment is very expensive, but my normal job pays for my hobby and a bit of occasional cash on the side doesn't hurt. I certainly don't make a profit out of photography, although I reckon with a lot of hard work running a small business I might be able to make some money.

    As Hertz says, it's all about profit. This is why you now see companies like Venture in the UK who package everything up and use professional sales people and techniques, students with good knowledge of photoshop, fancy shops with bright facades and bunny girls handing out leaflets. I understand they make a few million a year turnover and probably a healthy profit, but the local photographer would seriously struggle to compete on the high street. Also, shops like Boots who do £20 portraits also cut out a lot of need at that end of the market. Digital has certainly made the whole thing quicker and probably a bit cheaper.

    I'd rate being a photographer as damn tricky in the current market place. Sometimes, the work just isn't there and we all have to feed and clothe ourselves.

    Rob
     

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