Why so many want to be Pro?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Overread, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I was wondering why so many people with a camera feel that they can go all the way to being a Pro Photographer (pro by definition in this case meaning a person earning an income off their photography).

    Firstly I want to say this post is in no way a rant about people wanting to achieve Pro status, I am not one "in the business" (ain't never sold a print) this is just me thinking out a why - I will also be very disappointed if this thread turns into a rant.....

    So I started to think why do people want to turn pro - to have others pay for their images. Well we have all heard the common answerers that people say - I want to the hobby to pay a bit for itself - I just want a bit of money on the side - I want to get out of my job and into this more fun job. But I think there is another reason as well, one which most people don't think of on a conscious level, but is there all the same.
    Consider the praise given to a photographer for their works - how much does it cost to give a compliment to others regarding a photo?
    Nothing - it costs nothing to say to a person that a photo looks fantastic (when in fact it might just be decent); it costs nothing to click to add a vote to a photo; nor to add a comment online (especially if you use ctrl+v). Also one can get a complex built up around them - friends (both online and offline) who will handout praise in the highest order to images which the photographer thinks themselves might just be ordinary photos.
    Now lets turn the tables - lets say that commenting on a photo cost you money - the amount depending on how good the image is to you - so a poor image might cost you £0.20 whilst a stunning one £30. Now would our photographer see a difference in comments - well that would truly depend on how many people really did think it was a great photo - enough to warrant some cost to themselves.

    However one cannot charge people to give an opinion - no one would do it - so the only other way is to branch out and sweeten the deal - give the commenter a photo to take away - but of course only if they compliment the photo ;).

    Ergo the subconscious move to wards acceptance and praise is to move towards being a pro - to move towards having people think enough of your photos to part with their own property (in this case in the form of money) in order to own the photo. And no matter what some say we are a pack species, thus praise and acceptance by the pack (society) is something that we strive for - though some keep very small packs and there are some that truly do strike out alone, but for the majority it holds true that we want acceptance.
     
  2. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Might be that people just want to be able to earn a nice living doing what they already love to do anyway. Photography can be anything from a mild interest or curiosity, to a hobby, to a career and even a passion. There is a place within it for all of those, and some niche within the field of photography for all of us.

    Both my grandpa and dad used to tell me to "find something that I really love to do, then figgure out a way to get paid to do it".

    Sure beats work, and having a J-O-B (hate that word...lol). For me, I walked away from the Coprorate World in 1996 and have never looked back.

    It's not about the hours, most people who own their own business work far longer and harder than they would as just employees of someone or something else.

    There is just a sense of satisfaction to be drawn from doing what you enjoy doing, and being successful at it. Having happy customers is a bonus to the income.

    Sure beats workin' for a living. And you are less likely to even want to retire.

    Personally, I already have most of the above, and am currently incorporating my photography skills into the rest of my business, since I already deal with commercial clients anyway.
     
  3. MikeBcos

    MikeBcos TPF Noob!

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    I have no desire to turn pro, I take photographs for myself only. It is for pleasure, it does not need to pay for itself, if I like a photograph that is good enough for me, if others like it that is a bonus, but I don't expect it.

    I have two major hobbies, photography is one, restoration and use of classic cars is the other. I once tried to turn car restoration into a career, it took the fun out of it, it just became a job. I will never make that mistake again.

    Besides, I could never be a pro photographer - my ego isn't big enough. :mrgreen:

    Ducking and running!
     
  4. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    :biglaugh: Insomnia Overread?

    I don't want and have no intentions to become a "Pro", only to have my fun turn into work. In the same breath, if someone is willing to part cash for one of my photos................ who am I to deny the fool. :lol:
     
  5. Chiller

    Chiller Mental case

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    Im with you. I do it for the fun, and to take my brain away from my full time job, which can drive me nuts. Luckily for me, people have been giving me some extra coinage for some of my images.
    I just donated a photo to an auction that some people were having to raise money for a family that lost everything in a fire. That means more to me than any pocket coin I have recieved. I dont even know if the photo sold, but it felt good.
    I have photos on Gordon Lightfoots web site, Ireland Park, and a few others, and never been paid a penny for them. But it is cool to truck over there and see them. :D
    As for being pro, I know 2 "pros". Ivan, who does weddings, did not want to be a pro, but fell into it by helping a buddy out. His business eventually grew and they needed another photographer, so Ivan said he would help out. After a while, he quit his job as a courier, and got into wedding photography full time. He does drive a nice car now tho. :lmao::lmao:
    The way I see it..I just want to wake up tomorrow and survive that day, and not have to worry about my next photography job. :mrgreen:

    Back to my crypt....
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hey, Over. I think you tagged all the common reasons... several of them are ones that I share (pay for the hobby, make a bit of money on the side, yadda yadda)

    I also, however, think that wanting to be a pro photog is in the same class... or at least the same neighborhood... as wanting to be a published author, a professional athelete, a famous musician, etc. If you wanted to be kinda shallow, you could ascribe this to fame, but if I may be a bit philisophical for a moment, I would ascribe it to something far deeper... immortality... the desire to survive beyond one's own life span.

    Strap yourself in... this gets kinda bumpy...

    People are biologically driven to survive... down to our very genes... in fact the genes desire and drive to survive far outweighs the human animal level to survive. When you get down to it, it's essentially the reason why we do everything, from getting up in the morning and brushing our teeth and heading into work, all the way down to stepping in front of a moving car to save our own children.

    If you massively oversimplify things (which I'm going to do to try to keep you all from thinking I've gone completely off my rocker), having any level of fame brings many things... resources, attention from more members of the opposite sex, opportunities, etc. All of these things afford us more opportunities to not only live, but to thrive and (cough) "spread our seed".

    You can take this a bit further and even get into how people's violent reactions to whether or not they can "be a professional" with "lesser equipment" is really about their struggle to survive with those who have more resources to buy equipment that is better suited to allow them to survive, etc.

    And on and on and on...

    It's weird, but if you start watching people's behaviors and frame it in terms of survival it's a real eye-opener. We're really insanely simple creatures when you get right down to this level.

    Now watch how many people freak out and start screaming at me for this post. :lol:
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Are you saying that you think this is the only time you will traverse these grounds?

    I figure that until I have learned all the lessons that are meant for me, then I keep coming back. When my final stage is complete, I will be a well loved, well fed, well groomed and a very sexually active cat. :shock: That or an earthworm, so that I can **** myself.
     
  8. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yeah, sadly I'm pretty sure we're carbon-based electrically-driven flesh bags, and when we die, we rot. I wish I thought otherwise. :)
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    It's all about the sex appeal ;)

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0rKBVDb7f8[/ame]
     
  10. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    I don't really have the urge to turn Professional. I'm afraid it will take the fun out of it, and photography can be a tough business. Its much more fun as a hobby, and people appreciate your pictures more if its not your job.
     
  11. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I needed a new excuse to tell my wife when I bought a D700 and $4K worth of Glass
     
  12. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm with all those who feel that once they'd turn what they ENJOY to do into a job in which they would need to be so successful that it'd pay for their bacon will take away any ENJOYMENT they have ever felt. Plus I'm with MikeBcos: I simply lack the ego necessary for photography as a job! In other words: I'm simply not self-confident enough. (And I know next to nothing about business and accounting!).

    So although I have sold photos already, this remains strictly on the level of "hobbyist trying to make enough for the replacement of a broken lens", no more.

    And with the exception of only a handful of famous German photographers (Jim_Rakete springs to mind just now), the vast majority live a life far outside any sort of "praise". They just try to make ends meet like everyone else by offering to photograph other people, events and weddings.
     

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