Is Photography still Enjoyable After Making a Living from it?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Hawaii Five-O, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Hawaii Five-O

    Hawaii Five-O My alter-egos have been banned. :( Now I must be

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    A question for professional photographers and amateur photographers who make a business out of photography. Do you all still enjoy photography as much as when it was more of a hobby for you? As I know with most things, if a person spends too much in something it can become stale and boring. Or do you keep photography fresh by still doing relaxing "hobby" type photos?
     
  2. Hi,
    I'd say I'm even more passionate about photography as a professional than I was before I went pro. Although I've been involved in professional photography on some level for such a long time now it's just part of who I am. I've taught photography too... That's a great way to keep the passion alive - being around people who are purely interested in making great images and having nothing to do with business is always an absolute pleasure.

    Cheers!

    Aaron.
     
  3. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

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    After working in a studio for a while I realized it wasn't for me. Took a big pay cut to go freelance, but I now get a lot more enjoyment doing assignment work. I guess I thrive on variety and challenge and the studio work just seemed like a boring picture factory to me.
     
  4. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    It wasn't for me either. I thought it was though. About a million years ago I thought I wanted to do weddings. I bought all the gear and did a butt-load of weddings over about a 4 or 5 month period. I quit soon - I hated it. I think my next job was in a camera repair shop. ;)
     
  5. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    I think everyone who knows me has asked at one time or another why I don't go pro. My response has always been the same....I don't think I would enjoy it nearly as much if I had to worry about supporting a family. If I were single, maybe, but having to do it for a living....I dunno.
     
  6. Claff

    Claff TPF Noob!

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    We're not pros - we have day jobs - but our photography goes a long way towards paying its own way as far as travel to the tracks, eating while out of town, hotel nights, etc.

    We do a combination of photography, freelance writing and website maintenance. The photography side of things has really picked up this year and I find my enthusiasm for the other stuff we do waning while I still enjoy going through the photos and processing them for our customers. The act of shooting might be becoming more formulaic and mechanical, but it's still fun seeing what we come up with. And with the wife doing the bulk of the shooting, I'm free to be more experimental to find out what might work for the two of us down the road.

    While I enjoy shooting at the track and working with the results of that stuff, I hardly shoot anything when not at the track. I carry a P&S most of the time but don't find a lot of subject matter intriguing enough for me to take the time and compose a shot.
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have actually been through this same sort of analysis twice. I grew up addicted to computers and was afraid to make it a career as I did not want to ruin it... I was even a business major for a while until I got dragged into a room by the entire CompSci faculty and beaten into submission with a 386 and a copy of Borland Turbo Pascal.

    I've been in computers ever since and never regretted a day of it.

    Now I'm doing the photography thing professionally... again, turning a hobby into a business, and I'm really enjoying it.

    There is the undeniable drawback of being bogged down with the frustrations of any business- annoying customers, unreasonable requests, impractical deadlines, business choices made for reasons other than quality, etc. but those are in anything you are ever going to do, so it's not like you're going to escape it by not doing something you enjoy for pay. Be prepared, too... my experience is this is worse in "artsy" careers than in soulless ones like Information Technology. ;)

    There is another rather neat bonus to counteract this though.

    • Me: "Honey... I need to buy this $1600 70-200 2.8 VR lens... and, I'm buying it right now."
    • Wife: "Oh my god!!! $1600?! Do you NEED that?"
    • Me: "Um, actually... yes. And since I'll make 2x that on this one job, it's pretty much fully paid for and justified."
    Gotta love fully justified toy purchases. :)
     
  8. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Good times, good times.
     
  9. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ^^^ hhaha... I wondered if anyone would trigger on that. :)
     
  10. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Oh yeah, I could still probably break out with some code, even now.

    I only ever learned pascal because I don't have the attention span for anything else.
     
  11. freelunch

    freelunch TPF Noob!

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    I think the main thing about professional photography is that you have to please the client, not yourself. When you and the client are not in agreement, it is often expensive/soul destroying.

    Having said that, I you can earn a living as a photographer it sure beats digging a ditch.
     
  12. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    For me it wasn't about pleasing anyone. That was the simple part. For me it was all the dang work involved. To shoot a wedding that isn't already highly coordinated in the first place you have to be a herdsman, a coordinator, a diplomat, a salesman, a businessman, and on occasion an entertainer - that's besides of course being a photographer. A few of these things you have to do all at the same time - while also being a photographer. I could do it. I think I did it well. But geez what allot of work and the actual photography ended up being only about 1/10 of the actual job.

    I figured if I was going to do all those things I could make more selling used cars and just give them a pic for free as they drive off the lot. :D

    I got to look closely at studio portraiture a little later too. It's better but still the actually photography part of the job is the smallest fraction. Maybe 1/4 or 1/3?? Doing photography for a job isn't doing photography as the job in most of the conventional forms it takes.

    Although..., I worked for a newspaper here in Japan for a short stint and loved every second of it. It was interview work (me the photographer and the writer/interviewer friend of mine) meeting government officials and stuff and being able to talk to them and exchange personal information and experiences was a blast! I didn't have to think about anything but the photo and if possible getting to know the subject a little.
     

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