Do photographers make good money?

Coupon92123

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Hi everybody,
I want to study photography, then become a photographer. But I don't know if I will be able to live as a photographer? Hope everyone can tell me the answer.
Thanks everyone.
 

Original katomi

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Hi morning,
Sorry to burst your dream. You say that you want to study photography and then earn your living from it
Either you are experienced and want to improve and refine your skills
Or you are a novice and want to learn
From what I have seen in other posts it’s very hard to make a living at photography
Also whilst I a hobby only photographer I have done four exhibit of my work just as part of my hobby
And I can say this for certain
Work out how much it will cost you then double that cost at least. Even the last time I did an exhibition there were costs that I had not expected.
But I wish you the very best and hope you are able to achieve your dream
 
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Vtec44

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Like any other creative field, you do it for the love of art and not because it makes a lot of money. Most people started out as a hobby then eventually build the business up enough and turn it into a full time profession. Most actors and actresses don't start out working in the movie full time. They generally start out part time because it's not easy to make a living with art. With that said, you can absolutely make a living, even a good living, as a photographer. There are different types of photography. However, it's more about running a profitable business and knowing people than photography itself. I'm a full time professional photographer and photography is my only profession. I don't have another job.
 

smoke665

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But I don't know if I will be able to live as a photographer?

I guess that depends on what your definition of "live" is. In my early years I did some paid work, portraits, forensic and legal work, which were enjoyable, but didn't make me rich. Portrait work has always been the most fulfilling for me, but the legal documentation paid the most.

For me the definition of "live" was much higher than photography would support in the somewhat rural area I was located in. Other business ventures allowed me to retire early and enjoy photography as a hobby.

There are others like VT above who have combined their love for photography into a successful business. The key here is his business product line is photography. After following him for a few years now, he seems to be very focused on his product and market. His style, processing, locations, and marketing are laser focused on a very specific market. In other words, he's doing the exact same things you'll see in every successful business, he's found his niche. In business you can't be all things to all people, all the time.

Studying photography is only part of the equation if you hope to make your living in photography. You need an equally sound knowledge of the principles of business and marketing.
 
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mrca

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Screw the money, I'm in it for the groupies.
 

smoke665

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@mrca Do you wear a velvet robe and Captain's hat on set like Hefner did???:biglaugh:
 

Rickbb

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I know a guy that has made a decent living at it. But, he does all the local school kids portraits, their sports shots, both of which require him to chase school politicians down to get the contracts. Also does weddings, passport shots, whatever walks in the door etc., etc. After he does all that for 12 hours a day he has no time or desire to take shots of things he likes. When he goes on vacation he doesn’t even take camera with him.

He is also a good businessman and salesperson. I would not last a month doing what he does. Making a living at photography for most people is only 20% taking pictures and 80% everything else, marketing, sales and so on.
 

mrca

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Naw, dont need that stuff. A photo vest is a babe magnet.
 

nokk

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best advice i've heard given to photographers heading to college was to major in business or marketing and minor in photography. because that's going to be your life as a professional photographer. it's a lot harder to sell landscapes or wildlife than it is to sell photos of people's kids.

mark denney (pro landscape photographer) breaks down what he makes and how he makes his money. rather surprisingly, or not if you're aware of how much a photographer could expect to make, he generates quite a bit more income from youtube than from print sales. so technically, he's a professional youtuber, not a professional photographer. but, as stated above, most photographers who make money don't spend the majority of their work time on actual photography. most of it is marketing, social media and business chores like invoicing, etc..
 

paigew

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I know a guy that has made a decent living at it. But, he does all the local school kids portraits, their sports shots, both of which require him to chase school politicians down to get the contracts. Also does weddings, passport shots, whatever walks in the door etc., etc. After he does all that for 12 hours a day he has no time or desire to take shots of things he likes. When he goes on vacation he doesn’t even take camera with him.

He is also a good businessman and salesperson. I would not last a month doing what he does. Making a living at photography for most people is only 20% taking pictures and 80% everything else, marketing, sales and so on.

I do school portraits and it is my most profitable genre out of all the subjects I shoot. But I most definitely still take my camera on vacation [emoji176] gotta keep that passionate alive!

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
 

jcdeboever

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Product photography, high end real estate, and corporate is what I would go after if starting a career in it. Fashion is good but probably more challenging to break into. Study business and create a business plan.
 

Strodav

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I had a consulting business where I was the primary asset, much like a photography business. I made good money when consulting, but the business side was a drag. Marketing my services, keeping the books, Federal Taxes, State Taxes, FICA, paperwork and fees required by the state to maintain a business, depreciation on capital (office and office equipment, computers, software, ...) bidding on jobs I didn't get all took time away from consulting, i.e., making money. I ended up closing the business and taking a full time job with a company I was consulting for. I made about the same amount of money with a lot less stress. Anyway, here's an article on photographer salaries I found interesting.

Photographer salary ‐ CareerExplorer
 
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smoke665

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Of the ones JC mentioned above, the first three would likely be the easiest to break into. Fashion would pay more, but there's a limited market and a lot of competition.

Couple areas most don't think about are medical and forensics photography. Its a somewhat steady field that pays $40-$60k.
 

Soocom1

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As previously mentioned but not explored is the business side of things.
Right now photography is not going to make alot of money. Not like times past.
There are niches but they are specific.
Where you live also is a HUGE factor.

I am in New Mexico and though we are not inundated with overly burdensome regulations (California) the state none the less is political enough to have made getting a buisness license right now fairly difficult.

If your area is buisness friendly, you have half the battle won.

The main focus is to know your customers. Who are your customers and what do they want.
Specialize in that and you may have a good shot.
 

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