Making Photography Your Full Time Job

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by donny1963, May 31, 2017.

  1. donny1963

    donny1963 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some one once asked me, what are the chances are doing photography full time..

    Well that's going to depend on what type of photography your going to do.
    #1 the photography world is changed all the time, and first off most people
    can take their own portraits these days, it's not like the 70's and 80's any where.
    where most camera's these days are digital from your smart phone to a $200.00
    camera.

    Yes a professional photographer can do a better job, but most people these days don't care any more..
    How ever Wedding photography is still alive and they are wedding photographers that are
    making anywhere from $40,000.00 a year to $150,00.00 a year depending..

    Now if your one of them who wants to get your pictures published, then good luck to you in that, you and 50 million other photographers out there are trying that..

    Getting your pictures published to make any kind of money is going to be somewhat difficult

    First off most publishing magazine companies use their own hired photographers, for instance like
    Cosmopolitan, People, Elle, Time, The Glamour, Rolling Stone, Women's Day, Vogue,
    Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, Allure, All of these magazines / Publishing companies, have a few of their own photographers they pay a hefty Salary, with benefit's health care and all that..

    And to actually work for any of these publishing empires, that is not going to be easy either.
    I have a friend who is has been a photographer for a couple of the magazine's i mentioned above.
    This is not a position you see in the news paper or craigslist,

    these companies only consider the photographers by word of mouth, 99.9999% of these photographers get hired from with in the company, Never a some one who inquire's for such position.

    You see for most of these empires, the photography end is the backbone..
    They won't even consider some one they don't know, no matter who you are, or how great your pictures are that you present to them..
    And believe it or not it's not all about how good your pictures are, they are lost of other things that are factored in..

    If you ever dream of getting your work published i say keep trying, but also keep in mind that chances are it probably won't happen so you have to be ready for that disappointment.
    And again working for any of these big empires, is going to be very difficult task to achieve, not impossible but very unlikely, like i said, 99% of these people are hand picked by people in the business who referred them or word of mouth.

    For example, To get a pass as a photographer at fashion week in New York, is very hard as well..
    I myself could never achieve this, i have gotten a pass once, but only because i knew some one.
    Other wise, they would not even reply to me or even look at me for a second.


    Getting that pass is very hard, But with it comes great things, first off you get all access to everything including the back state dressing rooms to all the models, and get to meet them and photograph them, you get to walk up to them and pull them aside and get them to pose for you for a few minutes.

    Alot of famous models are there including Victoria Secret's models.
    Last time i got a pass was in Fashion week in the late 90's early 2000's

    Some people get lucky, but this is the very few.

    Most people think, wow your a vogue magazine photographer, you must be amazing, But that is not really the case, they are far better photographers who never even had 1 picture published..
    The fact is that most of the magazine photographers are just average photographers..

    And in most magazine's where celebrities are published, like Rolling Stone, most of the images are just sent to them by what ever Film Production at the time has featured these celebrities.
    For example most of the celebrities pictures published are taken from the film / Movie they did recently..

    See as i said Digital imaging is changed in a huge way, there really is no need for a photographer on a move set to take Commercial images any more, they just capture if from the Digital Film.
    And the quality is just as good..

    The way the world is changing in this era is cinematography, Now there is a booming profession, working as a cinematographer for a motion picture company, these people are making far more then any famous Vogue Magazine photographer has ever combined all of them to 1 cinematographer , the Avarage earnings as a cinematographer for a major motion picture company is 1.5 million dollars a year, this is huge..

    How ever again, not an easy job to get, you got about 10 million people going to school for it and ever even seeing the inside of a major motion picture company..
    It's like anything else, if you got 10,000 Dodge Vipers and 1 million people who want one then $990,000.00 people are going to not get one, lol
    It's just like anything else the reality of business millions of people want to be a movie start and make millions of dollars, but only 1% of the people who go to hollywood California actually make it, out of millions of people..

    You have a better chance of winning the Power ball these days..
    You ever hear the old saying ? You came close but never made it..
    Same thing with Photography in this type of business..

    Now for Wedding photographers, this is most of all photographers make their money these days to stay alive..

    And just like any other business you need to know how to run a business, you need to have them skills or your never going to make it..
    So it's not just all about being a good photographer or knowing how to take great pictures, you need to know the business end of it.
    Now This is where i got lucky, my uncle has his own photography business for 40 years and when i got out of high school, i started doing weddings with him and learning.
    after about 6 years, he left me the business all his clients and everything..
    I got lucky because i had a foundation to stand on, i had clients and so this made it alot easier then starting from scratch,

    again if no one knows you why would they want to hire you when their sister will tell a would be client, why don't you use this guy he did my brother brothers wedding he was great, so there you go you lost one would be client because your would be client's idiot sister who has no idea what she is talking about, and referred your would be client to some one else..

    This is how easy you can lose work, again just as easy you can get work, word of mouth is a great way to keep your business running, you do Mr Ed's Wedding, and he has a sister who will get married in 3 years and so mr ed will refer her to you, and so you end up doing the entire family circle for the next 20 years.
    And that's just one family..
    Also if your going to be a portrait / wedding photographer, you can't rely on your customers wanted portrait work outside, you need to have a studio.
    with nice backdrops and lights.
    I have this for my customers, this is a must.
    I been doing this for a long time i'm 53 years old now and ready to retire, i have had enough..
    but if your going to want to do photography Full time as your main source of income, then i would start out doing weddings, because this will be the easiest way to stay alive..
    Also keep in mind there is alot of pressure and stress in this field..
    If your not even sure of your self skill wise i would say don't try it..
    The other thing is, if your not a real social type, then your going to suck at this business, because you have to be sociable and able to be a people person, other wise
    this is not the job for you.
    You need to be a people person and actually like people,
    Other wise your going to be the worst suck ass photographer alive lol

    I mean this is not hard to figure out. Wedding, Wedding being a sociable event, where people
    get together and be happy and have fun, if your one of them shy idiots who can't even say hello with out looking like you kill some one's dog, then again this is not the job for you..

    Believe it or not i see alot of people like this who try to do a job where you have to blend in with the crowed and be sociable , fail and fail huge, once you learn about all the aspects of wedding photography you will figure out, being able to take great pictures is only 20% of what it takes to be a wedding photographer, and be successful at it..

    Most of the weddings i done, the family wants some one who can be like one the guest, mingle with them, alot of them will ask you to join in the fun from time to time, you can't insult them and refuse either..

    Anyway just wanted to bring up a few things about this topic and what most are up against in this business if that is what your looking for..

    Cheers

    Donny


     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
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  2. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow Donny, that's quite a lot of information. Unfortunately it's pretty much all correct.
    I agree with most of it. One positive note that's also going the way of the Gooney Bird is doing weddings.
    Look in Craigslist and you will see wedding after wedding where they want someone to do the photos for 200$ or 300$. They will get someone.
     
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  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Do you know that is a fact?

    I would have guessed that the photographers are "stringers" with no benefits and no guarantees.

    Regardless, the publishing industry is one of connections over anything else.

    A man I once worked for was a terrible designer, but he had a personal relationship with the editor of a national magazine, so she would often call him with an idea, and he would come up with the set, the props, and the models, and the magazine would send over a photographer. The editor got cheap work done, and he got his name in the magazine.
     
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  4. donny1963

    donny1963 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's true and the problem with that is, sadly the clients don't know there is a reason why these people on craigslist are charging only $200 and $300 and not $12,00.00 and $25,00.00 is because of the quality of not only the images, but the service as well..

    I done weddings for many many years and as i said before, it's more then just being a good Photographer, but also a good Business man / woman.
    You have to know how to run a business or else if you add up all the time and equipment and everything, you will be in the RED as far is money.

    There is no way a real good quality wedding photographer can afford to only charge $200 and $300 for a wedding gig..
    So i tell people when you see that don't go for it because your not getting your money's worth you just as good to get a family member or friend to
    Do your wedding shoot with a low budget APSC Camera..

    But when you hire a good quality Experienced Wedding Photographer, and pay $2,000.00 in most cases your getting your money's worth.
     
  5. donny1963

    donny1963 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah like i said they are so many good quality photographers that deserve to get their names in publishing companies but don't and sadly will never ever even get the chance because of how it works..

    This is the sad facts of this business, once i a while there is a real artist who does do work for magazine and gets the gigs because of it, but not often and not as much any more, one name comes to mind who use to do tons of work for VOGUE magazine, and has his work in New York Art Museums , and that is "Irving Penn" he is what of the greatest photographers i have ever know.. He was great.. Look him up he has done portraits of many many famous People..
     
  6. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Magazines and newspapers used to have their own photographers. Few do anymore. The Chicago Trib let all their photogs go and handed each reporter a small mirrorless camera. Our local paper only had two photographers but both were replaced by handing the reporters a small mirrorless camera.
    Magazines buy photos from stringers and people on the street using cellphones.
    If a mag or paper still has a "photographer" their job is to collect the cellphone shots off the internet and crop them for use in the paper.
    Some exceptions, sure but not like it used to be.
     
  7. donny1963

    donny1963 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I was talking about more along the lines of Setup Photo Shoots with Celebs And Musicians, Famous People, Like Vogue Magazine, and such, was not talking about
    News Papers and Tabloids..
    I was Talking about more along the lines of Professional Photo Shoots With Celebs and models...

    Donny
     
  8. webestang64

    webestang64 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Also be prepared to spend the same amount of time or more editing your photos than shooting them. I was talking to a client at work who spent 3 hours shooting an event and 10 hours editing.
     
  9. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    is there a TL;DR version?
    uhmmm getting published is no big deal and they don't pay very much. The real good money comes from commercial clients who see your work in the big magazines and want to work with you.

    I don't pursue that market. My GF does. A magazine cover typically nets $300 to $500.
    Magazines are a failing industry and will pay soooo little.
     
  10. donny1963

    donny1963 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah Magazine's & News Papers are failing they are a thing of the past, or at least becoming that, because of the Digital Media is killing the Printed Magazine and News Papers Industry..

    I Make more money doing a wedding shoot then if i was to get one picture on the cover of Vogue Magazine..
    And they only have 1 or 2 major Photographers on the payroll now, most of the published images are done by Contractors that they pay hardly anything for..

    Just like Local News papers, like the Boston Globe, they use to have 3 to 5 Photographers working full time for them, now only 1 or 2, and the rest are contracted to do work by the job, lets say they are covering an interview or the local School function or something like that..
    The rest of the pictures are mostly from people who send in pictures from there cell phones, like car accidents or something..

    20 years ago 99% of the public didn't have any type of camera on them so they had to rely on there employee photographers dispatched to a scene..
    Now anything happens at least 20 or 30 people will picture or even on video..
    90% of the TV news coverage in accidents and stuff like that they get the video from people recording it who was there sending in the video to the Tv stations..

    I use to get my name in the papers all the time credit for pictures of something, like another elderly incompetent driver driving there car though the 7-Eleven Store..
    Because i had my camera with me all the time when i was young, and had a scanner and was always there first or at least at the same time the police arrived at the scene, i would snap the shots, and get my credit for published pictures in the Boston Globe.

    But if i was still young again with nothing to do i would not even bother some one would get the shot first unless i was there at the time it happen..
    Because every one is shooting stuff like there with there cell phones..


    By the way, Cell Phone camera's like the I-Phone and such are killing the Digital Camera industry, not the professional DLSR like the Nikon D7100 or greater, I'm talking about the Nikon Coolpix or the Nikon Rebel or the Canon Powershot, those camera's are becoming a thing of the past the Camera companies are losing major money on these because no one is buying them, they are happy with there I-phone or what ever Cell phone they got..
    I believe with in the next few years or before that the Powershot or the Rebel, them camera's will be done, No more..
    Because Nikon And Canon are not making any money from these camera's any more.. But like i said the DSLR like the D7100 or the Canon 80D are still doing good business and still turning in good profits people are still buying them, Unlike the other camera's..

    By the way the professional photographer are going to be a thing of the past as well, Sony is researching on a camera that will give you the best exposure and enable any one who doesn't even know anything about photography to get the same type of creative shots that professional photographers do now..

    for instance one of the things they are working on is a type of sensor that will wipe out the way lenses work , no more aperture settings, no more having to go down to 1.4 to get more light in the sensor will automatically work all that out for you and give you the resolution of 100 ISO but give you the light you would get from shooting at 64000 iso if you needed it..

    Same with video..

    The technology is growing still and they are going to master it you watch, with in the next 10 years you will see a wonder camera that could take pictures in a church at low light and give you the exposure as you see it with your eyes..

    they are working on it i saw a video with sony research is doing, and once this happens, that will be the end of the professional photographer, people who want nice wedding pictures will be able to do them all on there own..
    this will eliminate the need for a professional photographer..
    It's already starting to happen right now..

    with the Digital DSLR's people don't have to be as good as the season professional photographers skills as much they can see what they got for an exposure and just keep trying until they get the shot they want.

    before when it was only film no one could do that, they didn't know what they had for pictures until the shots came out of the lab, now they have it right there and can see it the moment they take the shot..

    Now alot of people have uncle tony or ant sally take care of the wedding picturs, not every one but alot of them do now, before 20 years ago no one did that really..

    Now they can do that, right now they are so many unskilled photographers posting adds to do wedding pictures for 200.00 and people hire them..

    Not a wise choice but alot of people are doing that, instead of paying the seasoned skilled
    Larry's Photography charging $1,200.00 to $3,000.00 for a wedding, Now billy joe bob and cory and joan on craigslist are doing weddings with there APSC's for $200 to $300

    so when the super camera reaches the market look out, that will kill the photography industry forever you watch..
    Sony even now makes a fully digital system camera no mechanical shutter,

    all electronic digital, they will be able to put out a camera that can take 100 fps in due time you watch.. The time will come where a camera will not need to have all these complex things to get a good picture, it will be all done by computer, and not need to know any of he aspects of photography to get a nice picture, i'm talking top notch picture that hard core professionals are doing now, they will be no skill needed for it any more, you think i'm lying?

    20 years ago, if i said in 20 years we will have a DSLR camera where you can see your picture on a small 3.5 inch tv screen on the back instantly, and no need for film any more,
    You would all say your crazy never will this happen..

    Just like landing on the moon at one time was a fantasy (Science Fiction) and never possible..

    or back in the 60's when Captian Kirk radioed in Spok instantly communicated with him from 1,000 miles away, just by the flip of a phone, well the Nextel's made that possible back in the 60's if you said in 2 or 30 years we will all have this people would have laughed at you..

    in 20 years or sooner you will have the super camera that can take pictures with the exposures of your own eyes as you see it in low light.. maybe even later take daylight type shots in the pitch dark..
    doesn't seem possible now, but now will not always be here just like the 60's is long gone and we have better technology in some aspects then they did in the TV show Star Trek..
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  11. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Technology is one thing. Don't forget that the job of a photographer is to communicate visually. To conceptualise the shoot to come out with a solution to communicate an idea or feeling in a photography. I
    Getting your photo sharp and clear is the beginning and not the end.
    My GF shoots full time now. Magazine covers are merely for prestige not a way to make a living. Clients come to her because they see her work in magazines. The best paying magazines aren't editorial news type. Prestigious glossy magazines published by luxury brands can pay €900 a day an up.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
     
  12. OGsPhotography

    OGsPhotography No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I want a Nikon Rebel. I hope they do not stop selling them before I see one for sale ;)
     
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