Proffessional Photography as a living

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by satch, May 27, 2005.

  1. satch

    satch TPF Noob!

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    hello, i'm new here, and i was wondering if there is a good market for doing photography as a living. i know that there is good money in it, and i love doing it, i was wondering what types are usually the most reliable as an occupation, and how it pays. i love photography, and i'm thinking about going into it proffessionally in the future.
     
  2. LizM

    LizM TPF Noob!

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    First, welcome to the forum. I have to say though you are far from the first to ask those questions. Almost any of us here would drop almost everything if we had a chance to be full-time professional tomorrow. Some do this full time but not many of us. Photography can be very lucrative but the competition is fierce and the general public has a pretty warped idea of what it takes to be a photographer. Some artists get well over $1,000 for a single 8x10. Some major photojournalists make a lot of money on resales. Most of us, though, are happy to sell enough to support our "habit" of photography.

    A large part of the problem is the general perception that "anyone can take pictures". Well, their right. Anyone can take PICTURES. Not everyone can take good photographs. I do some part-time work as a photojournalist and a lot of editors seem to think any reporter who has a camera shoved in their hands is instantly a photojournalist. As a result, the starting salaries I've seen run under $25,000/year.

    Anyway, I don't want to be a wet blanket but you should know what you are setting your sights on. We don't shoot photographs because its glamourous or a get rich easy and quick scheme. We do it because its in our blood. Some of us have probably forgotten what the world smells like without developer chemicals imbedded in our nostrils. :)
     
  3. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    Also not to get you down, but I suspect it is in many respects like most other areas of the arts. The stuff that pays is not in the least artistically rewarding (ie. Bride's mother yelling at you) and the stuff that is artistically rewarding doesn't in the least pay. I don't say this from experience (I am not a professional photographer but I am a musician) so I could be wrong but that's my impression from talking to people. I remember talking to a wedding photographer recently that was jealous of the musicians at weddings "having such a good time". All I can say is that if wedding photography makes playing in a wedding band look fun, I'll stick to the hobby photography thanks.

    Dave
     
  4. photong

    photong Typo Queen

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    I suggest speaking to photographers in your area to get an idea of the market. I know around here the market is poor. Same as in Ottawa. I know I would have to go to Toronto unless I can sneak my way in after the legends around here pass on.
     
  5. Diarmuid

    Diarmuid TPF Noob!

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    Much of the success of most freelance photographers is luck, basically being in the right place at the right time or showing the right photos to the right people. However you can point your "luck" in the right direction by studying the photographic markets you tend to pursue and find out what exactly will impress the client.

    You must of course be prepared to do a lot of foundation work to build your business properly. If you want to know where to begin and how to choose your best options you should look at a course specially designed to build that foundation and get you going in the right direction. Try this one: http://www.schoolofphotography.com/freelance_photography_course.html
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    The best route in is still to get yourself a job with a photographer as his assistant. You learn the business and you learn on the job.
    I did a Degree in Photography, did a professional qualifying exam, and still got into the business by sweeping up in the studio.
    And it is very tough if you want to make a living at it. You have to be prepared to work 18 hour days, give up your weekends to do your paperwork and not take holidays because they put glitches in your cash flow. You also find that you develop a very large overdraft - Ad agencies don't like to pay you for about 6 months.
    The problem with Photography is it looks easy and the media likes to portray it as being glamorous. The reality is an assistant who knocks the camera over and breaks it whilst your model can't stop crying because her boyfriend just dumped her and the product that has been sent for use in the shot is damaged and unuseable whilst the Art director is bitching because he's got to catch a 'plane in an hour so can you hurry it up please. And then the client arrives unannounced just as the toilet backs up. And that was a GOOD day!
     
  7. photong

    photong Typo Queen

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    A good suggestion too is to make business cards (homemade if you can are best for cost). just drop them where ever you go.

    i was waiting in like at subway and someone's business cards (architure and such i think) were sitting on the ledge. lol
     
  8. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Schools and colleges are a good start. After that working as an assistant is almost mandatory. Perseverance is the key because the work is a lot harder then people think. Good photographers are hard to come by. Clients will generally stick with people they have worked with before, because there is a lot riding on their shots.

    If you wanted to get started today, try some shots that you are interested in and sell them to istock.
     
  9. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    Well....can I call myself a professional?...I guess not...anyways...ive just got in to the Assistant work, and its great...although I probably have the best boss in the world who on weddings lets me take what I want, and just advises me...and now and then gives me specific things to shoot.....the best saturday job ever!

    So yeh...what I did was walk in and ask about work experience...few weeks later they offerd me a job and here I am, doing weddings, making up frames, and generally not carying if I get paid or not!

    Be an assistant its worth it.


    P.S. Photong just noticed your quoted me in your siggy! THANKS!
     
  10. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    dude artemis that is sooo awesome. There are quite a few photographers in Texas, but most of the proffesionals live a little bit away. I'd love to do that.

    I'm looking into doing a double major with Business/Marketing/Advertising (havent chosen yet exactly) and Photography or art as a second major or minor. I'd love to do photography full time, but i would rather keep it as a paying hobby or a side job so that i dont get tired of it. I dont want to feel that if i dont get all my shots in on time I can't feed my family.
     

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