How do the pros make it.

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Raw photographer, May 16, 2019.

  1. Raw photographer

    Raw photographer No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hey there. I was wondering like how do the pros like the full time photographers do it as a job.
    How do they make enough money to live. Like photographers Morten Hilmor or First Man Photography from YouTube, how do they do it. There is probably full time photographers on this forum. Im not thinking of doing this or anything I'm just curious.

    Thanks.


     
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  2. ClickAddict

    ClickAddict No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For many they dont, or just barely. Photography as a main full time profession is not a growing industry.
    There is still some avenues that will pull in some reasonable $$ for your typical "great" photographer. Weddings are still a strong area where professional photographers are hired. If you stick to simply doing family portraits good luck. Gone are the days of the yearly Family Christmas family photos. There will always be the exceptions that will make real decent money but these are the rare few. The ones that nail down the schools for grad photos or sporting events can do well also by volume and yearly returning customers.

    The ones that make a true living off of it are the better business minded people as opposed to the best photographers (quality wise). So one has to really know how to run a business, not just a camera in order to go beyond it being a good "side job".

    I run it as a business (all insurance, registrations, taxes, etc..) but it is still just a side business for me and not my main income. In this area that's probably 90% of the professional photographers. The few that run it as their only business often have spouses that help with the bills as well.
     
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  3. Raw photographer

    Raw photographer No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks, thats kind of what i was thinking, i can't imagine only having photography as an income.
     
  4. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My father had a full time Gov. job and did work as a photographer for engineering on the side.
    He did stereo photography (3d) for engineering firms who wanted to see what work sites looked like and also did work for the state.

    What eventually killed it was that the companies though loving the 3d effect simply decided that a simple photograph no matter how crappy would suffice. The state made the same assumption.

    The business fell tot he wayside and once the digital market started, game over.
     
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  5. Raw photographer

    Raw photographer No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another thing a bit of topic, if i wanted to like print some big prints for my living room and frame them how might i go about doing so. I literally know nothing about printing images. But i recently did go to Walmart and get some 4x6's printed and I could see some pixels and they were not 100% sharp. But i didn't expect much from Walmart. How do i get some big prints that look good without spending money and then they look horrible. I'd love to hear any advise on that. The internet is kind of confusing when i looked it up.

    Thanks.
     
  6. snowbear

    snowbear fuzzy-wuzzy Supporting Member

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    I've no idea what labs are available in Ontario, but I use AdoramaPix for any prints. IMO, great quality and reasonable prices.
     
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  7. Raw photographer

    Raw photographer No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks I will check it out.
     
  8. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    keep in mind that format size will determine overall quality of large prints.
    You can get cleaner prints the larger the format size image.
     
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  9. DGMPhotography

    DGMPhotography Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would recommend checking out Richmond Professional Lab for prints. Really good prices, and quality is pretty nice.

    Typically, they recommend a DPI of 200 for your print size. You can look up "DPI calculator" to determine what that would be. And that usually refers to the camera's captured image size. You can't really just increase the size and expect the quality to be consistent.
     
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  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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  11. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Technicare out of Edmonton is who I use; they do excellent work, and have a consumer lab as well as a commercial one.
     
  12. texxter

    texxter No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am not a professional photographer, but have made income from photography and wanted to share my insights. There are still a few ways to make a living as a full-time photographer. But not as many as there were 20 years ago.

    One way is to diversify - you shoot commercial jobs, pick up some retail/wedding jobs, some high-end stock, write a book, sell Lightroom actions, have an active YouTube channel, rent studio space, give workshops, etc... It's all centered around photography but income comes from multiple sources.

    Another way is to find a niche with a few corporate customers and make a living off that specialization. A friend of mine shoots architectural images for a few architects here in the Dallas area. Those architecture firms keep coming to him as they complete projects, so he has a steady stream of work from a small number of clients. You don't need to have a lot of customers, just a few that keep coming to you all the time. Another example is a high-end food or car photographer that has a few agencies s/he works with all the time. It's very, very competitive out there, but if you're technically strong, know how to market yourself, and deliver, you'll get work.

    A third way is to do high end retail work - there are wedding photographers out there that charge many thousands of dollars for their work, destination wedding, well-off customers. They basically have the knowledge, connections, and charm to charge huge amounts for their work. This market is not big and crowded with talent.

    Finally, the photographers that have a harder time are photojournalists, run-of-the-mill wedding and family portrait photographers, stock photographers, fine art photographers. There are going to be exceptions, like White House photographers, or some fine art photographers well represented nationally, but in general it's tough.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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