Questions about turning photography in full-time career

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by JH100, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Back in the day when I did commercial photography I used to spend a lot of my time making sales calls. You can't really do that with retail photography so that would mean advertising and marketing. Nothing would get me involved in retail photography personally.


     
  2. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First off you need money, money to fall back on when the business isn't going great and in photography certain times of the year it flatlines, I found the period between Christmas and Easter the worst time to make a penny which is why I always had a pre-Christmas deal well advertised in local rags plus online marketing, the money coming in from that kept me solvent till the summer weddings spree. Apart from what the above posters mention your ability to comminicate positively with other professionals (businesses) and creative ideas to conjure up work is another must, its no good announcing you're opening up on your local high street then sitting back expecting customers to just start rolling through the door, it won't happen till your 'name' is out there and even then photography is a luxury item which many won't bother with unless its a big family occasion, as for equipment and the ability to use all of it effectively plays a big part, its no good buying lots of stuff you might only use once or twice in a career and so you need also to target your purchasing towards the sector of the market you're hoping to serve. All business is a risk, a business selling 'dreams' needs to be top notch so snappy snaps aint gonna cut it either.
     
  3. Olivia Green

    Olivia Green TPF Noob!

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    Photography is one of those few professions where you need to work on a lot of things in order to make it a sole source of income. Apart from taking great pictures, you need to know learn how to edit them, start your photography business, work on a portfolio website, optimize it, manage relationships with clients, grow your business and much more.
    If you're really passionate about capturing moments and feel this is something you can work on day and night even through ups and down, there's no doubt you should pursue it. Having said that, most people learn everything I stated above through experience and as time comes you will too.
    Found a great resource on starting your photography business:
    How to Start a Photography Business - 10 Step Handbook
    If it makes you happy, its worth taking the risks.
     
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  4. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The cake is a lie
    You can have tons of smarts and all that but are you willing to work your arse off for what really amounts to a little more than minimum wage?
    I know a ton of photographers but I can count the number of full time photographers I know personally who make more than poverty wages with one hand.
     
  5. Jeff15

    Jeff15 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good luck.......:)
     
  6. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    <--- full time professional photographer who makes more than poverty wages. :D
     
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  7. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Take net income before taxes, divide by total number of hours worked (anything photography work related, marketing, editing, everything).
    Is it more than $20/hr?
     
  8. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I generally don't disclose exactly how much I make because it's impolite to do so, but I'm the primary provider of the my household. I have 4 kids, 2 mortgages, life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, 4 college savings, etc. I live in Southern California which isn't the cheapest place to be. It's not for everyone, it's not easy, but I'm one of the blessed few who's able to do it. It will be different for each person, and it's a personal decision.

    A lot of risks and sacrifices but very rewarding.
     
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  9. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Congrats then.
    You’re literally one in a thousand pros.
    I didn’t mean to actually ask for an amount rather than to prove how little the vast majority of photographers end up making.
     
  10. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    From what I've seen of @Vtec44 work I'd say he is representative of what a good businessman in any field should be. He produces a somewhat standardized product of exceptional quality that is marketed to a narrowly defined market demographic. Thanks to his due diligence and experience he's been able to classify the needs, wants, and demands of that market segment. Lessons I practiced in my own business over the years with much success.

    I see it around here so often. Typically a stay at home Mom gets a camera as a gift, and the next thing she's taking photos for money. She has no real experience or skill, so she charges $25-$75 for a setting fee, and furnishes a DVD with 30-50 images. She has no expenses really, so if she clears a $100 a week, she's happy. What she does though is makes it nearly impossible for any true professional to make a living if they try to compete in her market, because she's set the bar in the clients mind.

    We had two professional studios in town at one time, super quality work, but the market for their kind of work just isn't here. So my advice is if you do it, make sure you've defined the market you plan on working in, who you're competitors are, and if you can make a living charging competitive rates. If not you redefine your market to find a segment that you can survive in, then you define how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.
     
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  11. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's true that the majority of photographers are not full time because it's hard to make a living with photography. I think it's common in the creative field, ie actors, web designers, etc. Most people ask me what is my real job since being a full time photographer is not a common thing. It's a great conversation topic and a great way to meet women (if you're still single :D ) .
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018 at 8:00 PM
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  12. Gary A.

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

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    <---- A former full time pro who made much more than poverty wages.
     

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