Q: For love or money?

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by theoryblue, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. theoryblue

    theoryblue TPF Noob!

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    I have been involved in photography on and off for the past few years. I started off with nature photography because I love the outdoors but its never been really fulfilling for me if that makes sense.

    I am "attracted" to people and can typically find something intersting about them right of the bat. The first thing I am normally look at is their eyes. You can read a personal pretty well by what stories their eyes tell you therefore I believe that should be the focused feature of a portrait.

    My questions relate to those who do portrait photography as a means to generate income:

    Do you do it because you love it or is it for the money?

    Has doing it for money affected your love for it?

    I know often when you mix something you love with making money it has a negative affect. That is why I am curious to hear your responses.

    Thanks!
     
  2. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Such a pity I cannot reply to your question since I don't take photos for money at all.
    And I am pretty eclectic. I take photos of anything that I like and find beautiful, so it can be nature, people, events, whatever. But all and only and exclusively as a hobby, i.e. for the love of doing what I do.
     
  3. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    It's tough sometimes...Last winter I had to shoot a portrait session in between bouts of vomiting from the flu. Those kinds of days I don't even want to go near a camera, but if the paycheck needs to keep coming in, I've got to be in there. I've missed some very important things in my life--my daughter's first Halloween, my wife's first Mother's Day, my first Father's Day, my birthday, my wife's birthday, our anniversary--all because I had to be in the studio. Seeing the photos come out great was and always will be rewarding in and of itself, but all that negativity got to be overwhelming and I had to 99% leave studio work. Now, doing weddings and shooting sports I have a lot more opportunity to make my own schedule, and life is much better.
     
  4. Holly

    Holly TPF Noob!

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    I just started myself.... However I started it for low income families.. SO I dont go out to make lots of money.. Heck I dont care if I am only making a dollar or two above the price and shipping of them getting printed... I DO photography because its a passion of mine.. IF I make a family or two (Or more) smile from the work I have done then that alone puts a smile on my face... SO far I have had families completely happy with the results..

    YES I do nature flowers, etc.. people and well what ever captures my eyes
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Both, and yes.

    I would be photographing all the time even if I wasn't getting paid. There are some downsides to earning my living with it. If it was supposed to be happy happy joy joy all the time they'd spell it f-u-n, not w-o-r-k. :) There is a lot of activity in running a photography business that isn't taking photos, and that's not as much fun for sure. If I won the lottery tomorrow I wouldn't stay a full time pro photog, but I'd still shoot weddings and portraits because I really enjoy it. I'd probably do 3 or 4 weddings a year instead of 30, and I'd pick my portrait subjects instead of them picking me.

    I have clients that are so easy and fun to work for it's like getting paid to eat gourmet food, and I have clients I'd never work for again if I didn't need the money. Overall it's satisfying, I'm earning more money, and I get to write off my toys on my taxes. Sometimes it can sap my creative energy for my own projects, but then again I'm only working part time compared to my old, full-time job, so I do have more time for my personal work and family. Each job is also sort of like being given an assignment, and I know it has, and continues to improve my photography skills.
     
  6. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

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    Im just setting up my small portrait business... will start with family/friends and just see what word of mouth brings me? I am not expecting to be bowled over but have a good few bookings already just through these referrals. I am keen to make a couple of dollars too but definitely more passionate than money-hungry at this point in time.

    Before i had kids i worked in child care - for the love of children obviously as the money is laughable... Now in photography I am mad about faces... It sounds nuts, but every face I look at screams at me to be photographed. An amazing set of eyes is magnetic but I can also find 'less-noticeable' features equally appealing. I pretty much can find attractive things in people that many people can't and photographing them allows me to portray this. I LOOOOVVVVVVEE IT!!!
    Photographing 'non-people' shots does nothing for me personally ~ although I enjoy checking out some amazing 'people-free' shots posted on this forum.. I guess this is because of passion. If you are passionate about something, I believe this shines through in your photographs. Good post - i could babble forever about this. JEmma x
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I shoot a lot of editorial portraits. They come out beautifully and I am very proud. I also shoot a lot of group photos. They can be nothing short of a nightmare. Mostly I shoot architecture and studio. That can also be painful. Long story short commercial work (like any job) is what you make of it. I have been in photography for years. It has only been in the past 7 years that I have learned to embrace it. The wrong attitude will blow the shot faster then anything. Personally I can not miss a deadline and I can not produce a mediocre shot. That can get unbearably tough sometimes, but it beats most other fields I have been in.

    I still love photography and my personal work is what keeps me somewhat sane.
     
  8. theoryblue

    theoryblue TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all very much for your responses. It seems like the general consensus is that you would be doing it either way wheter you were making money or not and that is the best attitude to have especially when you are passionate about what you do. That is very good to hear.
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    My advice to those of you who are just starting their business, or dabbling in a photo biz: Keep every single photo related receipt, and write it off on your taxes (at least here in the US, I don't know about other countries). Even a small business that is not making money or barely making money can do it.
     
  10. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    I cannot emphasize this enough. Do some google searches on what you can write off. Anytime we buy cleaning supplies, it gets written off (as the business is operated out of our home). Mileage on the car is written off whenever it's for a business-related expense (for example, every time I run to Sam's club, that gets written off, every time we go to pick up my Mom to watch our daughter while we shoot a wedding, that gets written off, etc.). We ended up with a $7K refund last year because I'm so anal about keeping receipts for everything.
     
  11. theoryblue

    theoryblue TPF Noob!

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    Wow! Thanks for the tax advice ksmattfish and sharkbait! That is good information to know.
     
  12. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    The caveat is that you have to declare the business as a business. Which means any money you make also has to be tracked and taxed. If you sell something to a client you'll probably have to collect sales tax as well, which requires registering with the state, etc. If you're serious about making a go of the business side of photography, talk to a CPA to get all the ins and outs straight.
     

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