Is there pleasure in busniess?


Been spending a lot of time on here!
Jan 21, 2013
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Bailey, Colorado
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I'm looking for some honest insight here.

If monetary gains were not a necessity of life, would you still run a photography business?
Does running a photography business help you fulfill your passion for the craft?
Do you feel that you are making any sort of difference in the lives of your clients? Or is it simply a means to an end?

I would be grateful for your thoughts on the matter.
I wouldn't start a business just for a hobby if there was no need/gain from the money.
The only pleasure I get from business is from brow beating my underlings and crushing my competition.
When I did it for money I didn't enjoy my photography, now I have stopped I'm happy again, I only did it when the building trade was in recession but now you can earn big money photography is back to a hobby
"The only way for you to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs

"Do what you love and the money will follow."Marsha Sinetar

The important part about running a business is to find the reasons to motivate and drive you every day. To believe in what you do even when no one else does. It's not for the faint of heart. Most people won't survive. I absolutely love what I do, and people believe in me enough to pay me to do what I love :)
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I'm not a pro photographer, but I have owned and operated a couple of small businesses that were not photography. Leaving those aside, mostly because I did not enjoy doing them, I wish to interpolate my experience of my last profession and liken those experiences to what someone may experience in running a photography business.

I liked "doing the stuff" of my job, even some tasks that others hated, namely the tedious end of the paper shuffling. But dealing with people was not fun. Anti-fun, as in; stressful, aggravating, and tiring.

If you're a "people person" who doesn't mind dealing with double-dealing, back-stabbing nincompoops, then go for it!
I don't do it for money (obviously) but it sure was nice getting $350.00 helping a guy do a wedding. My feet hurt a little for being on them around 10 hours.
I'm looking for some honest insight here.

If monetary gains were not a necessity of life, would you still run a photography business?

I would be grateful for your thoughts on the matter.

sure, if everything was free (food, housing, health insurance, etc.) I would be in the photography business
But I would also be in the "golf business"
And the TV watching business

For me the passion for photography was tertiary.
My #2 passion was for running a business.
My #1 passion was for my hobby - formula car racing.

Being self-employed is a tough way to make a living.
You'll work way more hours and have way more responsibility than if you work for someone else.

Only a small fraction of those who try being self-employed stay self-employed for very long.
Many quit because of they can't cope with the hours, the responsibility, and customers.
Most quit because they don't have sufficient business skills and the business just doesn't make enough money to 'make a living'.

There are a lot of retail photography businesses out there today that don't actually make money. Those retail photography business stay open by being supported with other money, most often from a spouse's income, less often from a 'day' job.

Being self-employed by having a retail business is many times more challenging than working for someone else.
There are many days when you say to yourself, " F 'it, I'm done putting up with all the crap that seems to come from every direction, and it always seems to come at the same time."
There are days you rejoice that you are self-employed and aren't at the mercy of an employer, like when a friend or acquaintance loses their job for some reason.

But ....... being self-employed there is also worry, fatigue, uncertainty, and stress.

Business Stress - The confusion and tension created when your mind overrides your body's desire to choke the living s*** out of some customer/employee/vendor that desperately needs it.
I've never made a lot of money with photography, I think even in my best years close to $100k, those years are long gone, I don't believe I've made half that amount since. I consider myself as having had a very successful career, and in the eyes of others beyond their wildest dreams. It hasn't translated into money or material wealth. I know that the work I do has influenced others, made a lot of people very happy though the memories my pictures have allowed them to look back on. I hate the business side of it all, this is also where I have failed. I've never been good at it, or self promoting. I love what I do, for me it's been the best job, and the only job I've had since 1969. I see myself doing it for maybe another 8-10 years at the level I am working at, after that who knows, it will start to get tough hauling 40 pounds of backpack up ski hills when I'm 70 years old.
Other than a couple of brief stints chasing stories from a police scanner or doing commercial photos for CoStar I've always had a full time job as well as a photography related business. I was never good enough to do art photography or brave enough to try to live off the income from photography.
Now the old body dictates what gets photographed.
I wish I took up engineering or accounting as a hobby. They seem to make so much more money.
There used to be a lot more money to be made in photography. It was easy to charge decent money for small simple shoots, show up, set up, 15-20 head shots walk out after 30 minutes, and invoice for $250-500. Now it's more like, we bought a camera and are doing it on our own. A lot of people will go on about change or die, adapt to the new world or die, well the problem is that no matter how much a person adapts to the changing times, there are still people working for free(just to build a portfolio) Once they have that portfolio and believe they are ready to attack the world, until someone else has just decided to undercut them to build their portfolio. It is a circle or the worst kind now.

I'm lucky in some ways that my skill set is at a level higher than most, it took a long time to get there. I have a few solid clients that aren't interested in tourists with cameras, but I also know that there are a lot of shooters behind me sharpening the knives. I have changed the way I do business, I have adapted to the next generation of photography, and it's all about going back to the basics. I rarely turn down any work, but I also get the "We can't pay, but you'll get a credit and it will look good in your portfolio" I tell them, have a look at my web site, then explain to me how working for free is going to make it better. I do give them the option of coming up with something reasonable that we can both work with, if they don't well, I didn't lose anything.

It's easy to say, I could have chosen a different field to build a career on, but back when I was working a lot, I never thought photography would turn into what it has, a million mediocre tourists popping up with cameras around every corner. I don't know a single professional photographer that saw any of this coming, certainly not 15-20 years ago.
I don't know a single professional photographer that saw any of this coming, certainly not 15-20 years ago.
I should touch base with my local professional to see what's up. We've engaged his services for years, including graduations, baby photos, family portraits, and incidentals over the years. A month ago I noticed his building is up for sale.

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