Moving to part time.

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by chiefpackman, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. chiefpackman

    chiefpackman TPF Noob!

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    I don't want to give some drawn out typical story BS but I'll give a little backstory. Skip to the tl;dr if you want. I grew up doing arts, mainly painting. I have always thought photography wasn't "real art." Anyone can click a button right? With so many "pro" photographers and the "I got a DSLR I'm a photographer" people I have avoided it like a plague.
    I am active duty military and travel a lot. My wife talked me into getting a DSLR for us to document our travels a few years ago. I Got to keep the wife happy so I did. At first I was annoyed with myself. "Now I'm one of those people." I started taking pictures and realized something, my photos suck. It kind of annoyed me. I thought of myself as an artist and so seeing my crappy photos was unsettling. So, I started doing research and learning the camera. I realized something, being good a photography is not easy. It became a challenge and that's when I fell in love with photography.

    tl;dr

    A couple months ago I decided to try my hand at portraiture. My wife works for child care so I have had no shortage of "clients." I have had decent response to my work. It probably helps that I do it pretty much for free or tips. Eventually when I get out of the military down the line I would like to go into the photography profession. I want to go in as a pro not some jack wagon with a DSLR charging hundreds a shoot. What can I work on now and in the years to come to prepare myself to do photography as a profession? When did it "click" for you? What separates the pros from the amateurs?

    I made a facebook page for my photography a couple months ago so if you want to check it out and give some feedback I would be more than willing to hear it. www.facebook.com/natepackerartworks. I am not there yet by a long shot. I have the drive to get there and am going to work on it till I do.


     
  2. chiefpackman

    chiefpackman TPF Noob!

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    I do know there is a whole thread on getting started buy I am more looking for personal experiences and things you have learned though your journey.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    I retired several years ago.

    There have always been very talented photographers starving while trying to do photography as a business because they lacked business skills.
    There have always been mediocre photographers out there making a decent to good living doing photography as a business because they had good business skills.

    Work on getting:
    B u s i n s s - s k i l l s/k n o w l e d g e. Like marketing, promotion, accounting, cash flow management.
    You'll need sufficient financial resources to start up and run for a couple of years.

    There have been profound changes in the industry over the last 10 years.
    Few new retail photography businesses today are able to generate sufficient revenue to operate the business.
    Consequently, many retail photography businesses today are only able to continue operating with injections of dollars from another income source, like a 'day' job or a spouses income from a non-photography job.

    How to Start a Home-Based Photography Business (Home-Based Business Series)
    How To Make Money with Digital Photography (A Lark Photography Book)
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
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  4. chiefpackman

    chiefpackman TPF Noob!

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    Makes sense. My plan is to have the resources in place before military retirement. My timeline to be fully set up is about 10 years. In the mean time I want to do all I can to get experience and learn while photography is not my income. I've noticed while going to art school that the "starving artist" is a real thing. It is a hard industry to get into. I realized this early on and woke up one day in the military. I have looked somewhat into marketing and business but definitely need to do more research. Thank you for the advice.
     
  5. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I used to be a pro back in the film only days.

    A principle difference between pro and hobbyist is the pro is consistent. A pro will walk away with the exceptional image on every "assignment", day-in and day-out.

    I used to be a news photog, a photo journalist. In grade school my Uncle taught me how to develop and print ... I taught myself how to shoot. In sixth grade I decided I wanted to go pro .. that I wanted to work for a newspaper. In junior high/middle school I was a stringer. I'd ride my bike to assignments for the local weekly paper, usually high school sports. In high school I started working for bigger daily's. In college I started working full time.

    Another difference between a pro and hobbyist is skill and experience ... Which equates to time behind the viewfinder. In theory, the more time behind the viewfinder the greater your skills and experience become. In my old profession, the weekly variety of assignments greatly improved one's skills, vision, and experiences, which translates to better photos. What you learned shooting a certain genre, you would take and adapt to an entirely different assignment ... Doing so expanded the creative box one tends to worked in. The more you shoot, the greater your skill and the broader your subjects, the greater the experience factors you bring to bear on the subject at hand.

    If you're in the military, try to use that occupation for additional time behind the viewfinder. Hook up with the base paper/mag et al and shoot for them. The more you shoot the better you should become.

    God Bless You and Thank You for Your Service and Sacrifice.

    Good Luck and Good Shooting,
    Gary
     
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  6. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    I wonder if there will be a retail photography industry 10 years from now.
    I even have doubts there will be a commercial photography industry 10 years from now.
     
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  7. chiefpackman

    chiefpackman TPF Noob!

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    It will be interesting to see the direction the industry heads. I'm sure there will be many changes in the years to come. I do believe adapting to the changes in the market will be key to photographers as it has been in the past. We have moved from a print era to widely digital and social media world. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.
     
  8. chiefpackman

    chiefpackman TPF Noob!

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    Probably the best explanation I have heard.
     
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  9. desertrattm2r12

    desertrattm2r12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For photographers it's not a jungle out there, it is World War III. But you will go for it if you absolutely must. I recommend you get three or so specialties and hopefully become known doing those things. One might pan out better in the short run but another might be best for the long haul. Ask yourself why should anyone hire me, they can go snap with a do-it-all digital themselves. What can you do better? It was tough turning pro in the "good olde days" but today I see it as a nightmare. I started in 1956 and hung in their for several years through thin and thin. You need an "ace in the hole" and you seem to have figured that part out. I utilized networking and blood, tears, toil and sweat. I once stood outside of Joe Namath's restaurant for eight hours in the freezing rain. He was a possible holdout from his team and everyone wanted to know where he was and my editor wanted a photo. After 8 hours he comes sauntering down the street with a buddy. The buddy says to Joe, "hey, there's a photographer there." Joe thought his pal was kidding and jumped up and clicked his heels together, right there on the sidewalk. I got the photo and my editor was happy. I rewarded myself with a shot of Jack Daniels. The moral of this story -- hang in there.
     
  10. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'me not sure where the world of photography will be in another 10 years. I would have never predicted that it would be where it is now. I started a long time ago and when autofocus came in I used to argue with some of the other guys how it was taking the challenge out of being good at manual focus, especially shooting sports. My skill level kept me at pace with the majority and still ahead of the rest, autofocus was still slower and it took a learning curve to stay on target. I switched to digital in 2001 along with using autofocus, although I still challenge myself shooting sports manual from time to time, staying "connected" to my brain a little more. My business has taken a huge hit since digital became the "in business" to start. I have adapted and changed how I have done business, it's still not easy and a struggle at different times of the year, most of my clients are spring/summer based, I had a great run of 17 years with a winter based client, but lost that one to another "pro" A decent shooter that enjoyed shooting for free and the client decided to make some budget cuts, photo is usually the first to go. I don't see myself shooting for more than another 8-10 years. The price of high end gear has always remained the same for decades, the price of shooting sports is higher than most other fields of photography, based on gear price alone. Good luck in the future. I never saw this one coming.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
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