Going Pro- Need vs Desire & Work output to Satisfaction input ratios

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by JustJazzie, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. JustJazzie

    JustJazzie Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I may or may not have posted something similar to this in the past, as I dance around to this question as often as the seasons change.

    I am "lucky" enough that our circumstances allow me to stay at home. ( I really cant credit luck, but must acknowledge my husbands hard work and drive that has landed us in this situation)

    And yet, I always come back to this idea that I should be doing things on a professional level. I try and locate the roots of my motivation but have so far been unable to do this. Is it because being " a professional" is simply a prestigious title that I subconsciously believe would caress my delicate ego? Perhaps it stems from a desire to create an identity outside of teaching and raising kids. Could it be the currently imagined satisfaction of having work worthy enough of payment? I read something recently posted I am positive I am misquoting, but I cant locate where I originally read "I got to a level where I felt morally obligated to take on paid work" The idea struck a chord and perhaps it is a motivation similar to this. Is it that I have seen there is more of an investment/motivation to follow my direction as an artist when there is an exchange of currency and I feel like I cant take my work to the "next level" unless I have a subject willing to invest the same amount of energy?

    I like to think it is the elation I get throughout the creative process, and the smile's I see on my "Clients" faces when I present them with their images that fuels my ambition.

    Realistically, I am sure it is a mixture of all these things

    On the other side of a balanced scale- there is taxes, hard work, inevitably difficult clients, marketing and a general energy commitment that goes along with it.

    If you are still with me....

    I suppose what I am wondering is, if the work output to satisfaction input ratio is something that can be pre-calculated? Or does it really just come down to jumping in, testing the waters and experiencing first hand, fulfillment or lack thereof?
    Did you know you would enjoy photography as a career before you started?
    Is it simply a means to a end?
    Would you do it if you didn't have too?


     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  2. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It was more that I didn't start to take pay work until I felt I was up to snuff :p
     
  3. JustJazzie

    JustJazzie Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Maybe it was someone else then... My long term memory is quite short and my short term memory is never long enough. :biggrin-new:

    I went ahead and unquoted you in the original post.

    And for the record, your work is well above Snuff!!
     
  4. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It could be all of the above.

    I would point out one thing though, and perhaps it is just a personal issue. Any time I have taken a job related to a hobby I have enjoyed I quickly lost interest in it as a hobby. Work, at least to me, takes a lot of the fun out of a hobby and I start to lose interest.

    I worked in a camera store decades ago, and second-shot a number of weddings with the company's owner and also shot a few school events solo. It didn't take me long to realize that I had absolutely zero interest in pursuing a career in photography because I also realized that I hadn't picked up my personal camera in months.

    Since then I have always made it a point to keep work and hobby well-separated. My hobbies are for enjoyment, my work is to pay the bills. That's not to say I don't enjoy my work, I do, but I don't come home and design pump stations for pleasure either.
     
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  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You won't know 'til you give it a whirl. Once you're satisfied that your photographic skills are at the requisite level (and my acid test for that is: Could you walk into a wedding to find out that everything from the church layout to the weather to the reception venue and the location for the formals had changed 180 degrees, and have the skill and equipment to make it work?) then you need to get into the whole business side. Do you like (or can you tolerate) the pressure of demanding clients, of having 2-3 jobs backed up and a leaking roof that has to be sorted? I'll be honest... I don't always like that part, but when I deliver a folio of images to client of which I am proud and they love... it's all worth it.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    This is a fascinating set of questions you pose, and the answers and not at all "obvious", to me at least. I dunno...at one time, long ago, I had the skills and equipment to shoot photos that the average person simply could not take. I worked in high-volume family photography studios where 20,25,30 sets per day were the absolute norm, and you had to be super-efficient, quick, cheerful, and have stamina; you learned the most-efficient methods, and the best ways to boost print sales. You learned about , "Building enthusiasm at the time of the session," to get people excited about seeing the proofs later. You learned about , "Shooting for a collection of images," and about, "Selling canvas print images," and so on. You learned when to short light, when to broad light, and when to use soft light or highly-diffused light, how to make the fat look thinner, and how to make the normal people look better than average.

    The photo business is different now; professional photography is different; the way people use and display photos is different; the way people have done photos is different; the way people buy images is different. Today, I think you are ready to open your wings and fly. You can shoot reasonably well, and can make images that are as good, or better, or far better, that what I see daily on Facebook as "professionally done photos."

    I think you have the requisite skills to start your professional photography career. I wish you all the best!
     
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  7. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think it sounds more like you want to do something with photography to benefit people in some way. If you wanted to go into business you'd probably be excited to learn all the business aspects and would just do it.

    I planned in high school to go into journalism, then worked one summer at a camp for kids with special needs, and that was it - I decided that's what I wanted to do and went to a university where I could get a specific certification (which was new at the time and not everybody had it). Eventually one thing led to another and I went into Early Intervention and took courses for that licensure. Then did that for 20+ years.

    With photography I bought my first SLR after graduating. The local camera store let me make payments every pay day till I finally paid for the thing. Photography was always a sideline, but things would happen like me taking pictures at my nephew's Little League and somebody asking if I was taking pictures for the local paper... I just knew at some point I'd do 'something' with my photography, I just didn't know what. I never planned on sports photography, but I guess if you hang around local rinks enough somebody eventually puts you to work... What actually happened was giving photos to the booster club and someone saw my pictures and word gets around and next season the home opener I'm out on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop thinking, please don't let me fall on my butt in front of 15 thousand people!

    Now I'm doing submissions to art exhibits and getting some photos accepted and hanging in displays, which was more along the lines of what I'd thought I'd do someday. For me it seems to have often been one thing leading to another and taking opportunities when they arise.

    And you have to love it. John made some good points - you have to love it on the worst days. I have to love shooting hockey enough to stand for a couple of hours, part of that waiting for players to be on the side of the ice with the new dasher ad I needed, but not in front of the sponsor's name, etc. etc. It's fun but tiring and a lot of work.

    And working with kids, yeah there are good days and bad days, you gotta love it on the bad days when all the kids are fussy and you get covered in baby spit
    up in the morning and smell it all day even if you changed shirts, and there's a fire drill the day you were using red paint and you gotta pick up the kid and go thru the rest of the day with red hand prints on the back of your shirt... OK some of the bad days are funny days too.

    But you gotta love it to do it over the long haul. It doesn't sound like running a portrait photography business is the driving force for you with photography. I suppose it's a matter of figuring out what is driving you to do photography. Probably it would take finding your niche, one place that you'd connect with that may have an interest in you coming in and taking photos maybe for an event in your community, etc. Maybe the challenge is finding that.
     
  8. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm looking for the thread, it was in a rant about crummy Facebook photographers. I was saying something like I would be morally bankrupt taking money for work if I wasn't ready and/or when I was still learning/figuring it all out. I will GLADLY take people's money now, and no longer like to shoot for free.
     
  9. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thread started by @smoke665
     
  10. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hi Jazzie - can't really help with any professional info but if you're looking to take it up a level for fulfillment purposes, what about volunteering your skills? I have a friend in NC who volunteers for an organization that takes family photos for service people dealing with deployment. I'm not sure of the exact name of the organization but I just googled it and there seem to be quite a few of them... Also, no matter your politics, most local organizations use volunteer photographers for their events and candidate social media posts. Something to consider if you're passionate about a particular cause.
     
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  11. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    The quickest way to take the fun out of a hobby is to make it a job. You mentioned that circumstances allowed you to stay at home. One of the first considerations I would have is how that will impact that status. The second consideration would be do I need the money enough to give up that status? Echoing SCraig, I kept my work and my hobbies separate.
     
  12. JustJazzie

    JustJazzie Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    @SCraig - you make some valid points! Thank you for chiming in. And now I am curious if there is anyone out there opposite you, who does photography for a living and designs pump stations as a hobby. :giggle:

    @tirediron - The whole "you wont know until you try" thing is what I was afraid of. I am a pretty stubborn over here with my Taurus rising and Scorpio moon- when I set my mind to something, I'm usually in it for better or for worse- lest I be considered a quitter. I would hate to see any of my other commitments suffer. You raise good questions. I will ponder them. Thank you.

    @Derrel, the photo industry certainly has evolved. I am not sure if thats good or bad for photographers! Lol. Thank you for the boost of confidence, should I choose to proceed.

    @vintagesnaps Some great thoughts in there! I am definitely trying to clearly define my driving force. Once I do that, perhaps the decision would be easier. Thank you for your thoughts.

    @Braineack the facebook chatter is certainly ringing a bell! Thanks for sparking my memory!

    @SquarePeg I do like that Idea! We are quite close to several military bases. I've looked up a few charities in the past, but I hadn't heard of/considered one for deployments. DH is a DV who served three tours in iraq, so that is definitely a charity I could stand behind. Thank you for the suggestion!

    @smoke665 I believe that I could still stay at home as long as I kept to shooting only 2-3 sessions a month. I live in a very small town, so I think thats a feasible goal. Sustainable and profitable? I have no idea! Thank you for the thoughts to consider.
     

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