My future in your hands...

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by GeorgiaOwl, May 23, 2008.

  1. GeorgiaOwl

    GeorgiaOwl TPF Noob!

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    I once had dreams of being an artist. Before I dropped out of college I completed almost all the classes required for my art degree( it was those math, biology and science classes that kicked my butt!).

    Now, out of my job in the housing industry and facing a tough job market in construction management, I'm thinking about totally changing career paths and spending my days crawling around the mountains scrounging out a living as a photographer. At 38 and again - very unemployed, I'm very serious about this - not because I have some aspiration of being the next Warhol, but because I need to find a way to make money doing something I enjoy, and my wife likes to eat. Well, so do I. Electricity is nice, too. ;)

    You only live once right?

    Here are some examples of my first foray into photography for more than just fun. ( Although it was still alot of fun!)

    These were taken with a 5 MP P&S Nikon. My decision to jump in with both feet will hinge on feedback from this site, my family's input and alot of prayer. I don't think these shots are anywhere near the quality that alot of pictures posted here are - and those really really good ones get eaten alive! :)

    But, I won't know how bad they are until I post them. So here they are....
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    So, do I buy a better camera and go ahead with plans to start trying to sell pics locally at small art shows, craft shows and festivals....or stick to the snapshots and get a job flippin' burgers? (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it won't quite pay my bills :confused: Come to think of it, neither will art shows and festivals....but I gotta think there's alot less potential for more $ in the future at Burgers-R-us!)


    Thanks in advance. And don't hold back. What you guys here think is very important to me....so don't be nice....be honest.

    owl
     
  2. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You do all of the above and then some. If you are going to just start out with no experience training gear or anything you just need to start out slow and go from there. For me even though I went to school for photography while I was shooting weddings I worked 2 other jobs. Your photos are nice and I would imagine probably sell but I would also not quit your day job (oh sorry I guess you already did) and I would not expect to just run right out and buy a camera and make photography my main souce of income. One suggestion if "flipping burgers" is your other option would be to go out and get a job at a place like Ritz Camera or the like. That way you can learn alot more about photography and get great discounts on your gear to boot.
     
  3. GeorgiaOwl

    GeorgiaOwl TPF Noob!

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    Thanks JIP. I didn't "quit", I was laid off. When the housing slump hit, the concrete company I was working for made 3 cuts in the last quarter, 40-45 people each time. I was in the last cut, and normally would not be looking to my hobby for income....but eventually the unemployment insurance runs out( it's not really enough to live on anyway) and I'd rather try selling some photos as a part time thing than taking a second job at blockbuster or whatever. Right now though, other than looking for a job I've got plenty of time to spare for shooting - and I'm out looking for a job alot anyway so I'm taking the camera along for the ride.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Georgiaowl, Be thinking about the frames that you put your prints in as well. Often the frame sells the print, sad to say.

    Start looking for styles that you can build yourself and are selling in the shops around where you live.

    Good luck, that particular bug is going around. :(
     
  5. PhilGarber

    PhilGarber TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I was goona be nice..but you want honesty.

    If someone is going to be depending on you, you'd better make some money fast...Even if you hate the job. Your photos are good-better then mine. But photogs that make a lot of money, start out part time salesmen, I'd say most have a side job. If you work your @#% off, you can accomplish anything. That's my philosophy.

    Choice your own path, just my opinion,

    Philip
     
  6. GeorgiaOwl

    GeorgiaOwl TPF Noob!

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    Thanks all. Phil, keep the honesty coming - I'm fine with it. If they're crap, then please someone say so and keep me from wasting my time and money on it. I, more than anyone else - have a firm grasp on reality and know I am no professional photographer, nor a Van Gogh, or a Monet.
    I've got too much to learn still, and a long way to go before I probably even sell the first small print. In case I gave the wrong impression, I'm still looking for a "real job" :) - I'm just taking a worst-case scenario and assuming I'll need something to supplement a $6 an hour income. Sounds dire doesn't it? Well, in reality, ....it is.

    Mike E. I'll need some luck....if no one will hire me, luck will be all I have.....well, luck and my camera.
     
  7. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am not sure what you are trying to do as a primary gig but if it is the $6 an hour positions you are talking about I sitll say you ought to try Ritz. I am noy getting a clear direction from you (not that it is any of my business) but this is a good way to go for any budding photographer looing for this type of job.
     
  8. GeorgiaOwl

    GeorgiaOwl TPF Noob!

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    JIP, yeah, I gotcha. Thanks. I'm not in a big city, and we don't have camera shops out where i live. Still, there are some larger towns near me, and I'll def. put in some applications, etc. My primary goal is to make enough money doing anything I can( within reason ;) LOL ) to keep our home, cars and internet connection. heh.

    I'm not sure anyone wants to hear me whine about it, but maybe this will make more sense....

    I was making around $980/wk at my job. I make $300/wk on unemployment. What I am "trying to do as a primary gig" is not lose my house and everything else.

    In reality, I was just trying to add some levity to the post by saying I might have to flip burgers. Flipping burgers won't cut it, unless they want to pay me $45000/yr. So, you see I have to do something. Time is running out and I'm running out of options. Now, if I COULD manage a job at a photo store, I wouldn't have to make as much to justify my being there. Of course, we'd probably still have to sell the house and move into an apartment and maybe sell the truck, but if it was helping me work towards getting out on my own with my photos then it'd be worth it. Obviously, a career at Burgermart wouldn't afford me the same opportunities as something in the photography field, and living below the poverty line( although I've done it, is not fun) isn't really in my plans, if I can do something about it.


    So here's the deal as simple as I can put it.

    I've been trying to get another job paying what I was making for three months. I have only had one interview. I have sent out a hundred resumes( probably more). I have had some positive responses from people about my photos. I almost have nothing to lose. If you're going to lose everthing anyway, what's another $1500 to start a small photography business?


    I'm sorry if that all comes off kinda harsh. I don't mean it that way, but you seem to not understand where I'm coming from and maybe that will help you see my situation. Frankly, my situation doesn't matter as far as whether or not I should try to sell some photos. Whether I get another job or not, I'm going to try and sell them probably....the real question will be this:


    Will my photography have to provide me with a means to live?


    I'll let you know in three more months when I either have a job, or have sold everything I can to finance this photography idea.
    Sorry, now i'm just really doing a nose-dive. It's been a rough year so far. . .
     
  9. Smith2688

    Smith2688 TPF Noob!

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    I found a few of the images you had quite good. In particular, that one with the rays of light and the
    moose (it's a moose, right?) is fantastic. I wish I had something like that in my portfolio.

    I don't have experience with any of this, but I just want to wish you and your family the best of luck in whichever direction you choose to go.
     
  10. Renair

    Renair TPF Noob!

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    Well you do have an eye for a photo-especially like 3,5,8. Firstly you will have to think of a market within photography that you want to sell to. Find out pricing and also how competitive it is. Wedding photography makes a lot of money, paparazzi can do also but is super competitive and hard work. Landscapes can sell well in market stalls and possibly for tourist boards and for people who want nice pictures for their home, this will probably work out best for income quick. Last of all, best of luck and at least you can say you tried rather then thinking, 'what if.....'

    Oh, promotional cards, go to Vista Print on the web. Cheap and quality. Dont be tempted by the free cards, only paying for postage, because they come with advertising on the back, looks tacky. You can normally get 250 premium cards for about $19.99
     
  11. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    For photography to work as a business you need a serious game plan. Liking to take "pictures" is not enough. Start reading books. Start going to school. Start assisting. Generally speaking you need to slowly, but surely ease your way into the field. Keep us posted on your findings and we will be able to help along the way.

    )'(
     
  12. PhilGarber

    PhilGarber TPF Noob!

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    We all need luck in these times.. Oils running out..thats a fact and we in america are suffering for the worlds dependence on it.
     

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