Selling photos to others is not "the natural progression of photography"

sabbath999

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I was away from the forum for a couple of years, and have come back to check in with you good folks again.

Coming in with a fresh perspective, I was surprised as to how much emphasis some people are putting on commercializing photography.

Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with wanting to get paid for taking pictures, nothing at all. It can be a fine and rewarding profession. I had a studio for 15 years back in the film days, and I do know a thing or two about selling photos for money to pay bills....

I just want to point out to anybody who might be wondering, the goal of photography and developing your photographic skills does NOT need to be centered around the BUSINESS of photography.

I got out of the business, and after a 5-year break, I started concentrating on shooting what I like to shoot... I have to admit, I am enjoying doing that a LOT more than when I did it professionally...

There's no pressure. You don't have to please anybody but yourself. If you want to do something wonky because it interests you, then you can just do it and not have to worry about getting paid for it.

I gotta be honest, most "professional" photographers I know that are successful don't love photography, they are business people who happen to take pictures. The only way to really succeed in photography monetarily is to spend 95 percent of your time selling yourself and your business.

Yes, I know, there are a ton of "Mom's With Canon Rebels" "Professional" "Photographers" out there who make a few bucks on the side (while at the same time putting their family's entire future at risk because they don't carry liability insurance or indemnification protection... and yeah, if you are a part-timer reading this who doesn't know what indemnification protection means, I STRONGLY recommend you find out because you ARE putting your family's financial future at risk), and I get the appeal of that to some. I put this more in the category of mowing the neighbor's lawn than professional photography (albeit with significant risks).

If you want to do that, by all means, do it! It's an honorable and needed profession. I advise you to do it the right way, join the PPA, get insurance (FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE GET INSURANCE), use releases, get your tax numbers/sales tax stuff set up so that the state doesn't nail you for not collecting sales tax, etc.

It is not, however, the inevitable outcome of learning photography.

There is another way, a way of freedom to create, freedom to do as you please... without having to even care whether anybody else is interested in what interests you...

I just wanted to point this out.
 

Mr. Innuendo

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I just want to point out to anybody who might be wondering, the goal of photography and developing your photographic skills does NOT need to be centered around the BUSINESS of photography.

If your business is photography, though, it really does.
 
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sabbath999

sabbath999

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I just want to point out to anybody who might be wondering, the goal of photography and developing your photographic skills does NOT need to be centered around the BUSINESS of photography.

If your business is photography, though, it really does.

Most people in the beginner's forum are not operating a photo business... at least I would HOPE they are not...
 

Mr. Innuendo

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I just want to point out to anybody who might be wondering, the goal of photography and developing your photographic skills does NOT need to be centered around the BUSINESS of photography.

If your business is photography, though, it really does.

Most people in the beginner's forum are not operating a photo business... at least I would HOPE they are not...

Ahhhh, yes. Point taken. Apologies, I lost track of the area in which I was posting...
 

Dao

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Sabbath999, I noticed you come back recently. I remember you had a lot of zoo photos in the past. I agree with you that take good photos and photo business is 2 totally different things. Photographer is a profession. XYZ studio create a product and sell it to it's customer is a business. Just like a cook is a profession, a restaurant is a business.

A person who is able to cook very well does not mean he/she can run a restaurant and make money. On the contrary, so so food could possible make millions (look at those fast food chains) if one can run the business well.
 

vintagesnaps

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I don't quite get it either, except maybe the internet and now social media some what fuel it; that people see something about it and decide to try it without getting well informed on what will go into it as a business. Friends especially online seem to 'like' just about anything and everything which might be giving unrealistic feedback.

It's not just photography either, have you seen any of those restaurant and bar rescue shows? Some are from circumstances, the original owner having passed away or years of a bad economy, but some I wonder what the person was thinking because they don't seem to have a clue how to run the business.

I'm not sure if people think of photography as a business. But yeah, do you think people need insurance?? lol Of course they do, because if out there working on your own, even if it's unlikely anything will happen (and maybe nothing ever will), if something does happen it'll be their butt in a sling.

I hope if someone's considering it they'll read your thoughts on this and give it some time and thought before jumping into it.
 

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Agree sabath999. I love going out to shoot what I want. Couldn't imagine ever wanting to pick up a camera and HAVE to shoot something that wasn't what I was interested in.
Also agree that there are those who just happen to be in a great place in life where they can make money shooting what they enjoy.
There's a place for us all, find you're own path and life will always be more enjoyable.
 
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sabbath999

sabbath999

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Most people in the beginner's forum are not operating a photo business... at least I would HOPE they are not...
Stick around. I think you'll be amazed at the number who are.

I've noticed the trend, hence the post.

I have zero issue with anybody who does want to sell photos for money, I just become concerned that people think that the "natural progression" means the SHOULD end up selling photos for money.

I am a technical diver, I dive in overhead environments (caves, for example)... it's a very specific, VERY technical type of diving that requires a lot of extra training and equipment... yet I always hasten to explain to all of the "OMG!" looks on the new recreational divers faces when they see the truckload of gear and many tanks we end up strapping to our rigs that technical diving is NOT the natural progression of getting your open water permit. Most people don't want to do anything more than jump off a boat and look/take pictures of the pretty reef fishes and corals, and that is 100 percent fine. I like doing that too.

I think it really does a disservice to the beginning community to focus on commerce... on what "sells" because it stifles creativity. Just my 2 cents worth.
 
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sabbath999

sabbath999

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It's not just photography either, have you seen any of those restaurant and bar rescue shows?

Our TV is hooked up to an over-the-air antenna. I work for a local TV station part-time, I am a sports videographer.

The ONLY time our TV is turned on is on a night when I have footage airing, and then I only watch the sports segment to make sure that my exposure and white balance looks good on the consumer's screen and see if the anchor has read my script or is ad-libbing, and to see any new 'catch phrases' the anchor is fond of so that I can write them into my next shot-sheet. Things like "Mark Smith takes the hand off and does Mark Smith Type Things" kind or phrases. I then shut it off.

That is the entire extent of our TV watching, ever.

BTW I highly recommend unplugging from the tube. It's freeing. But that's a different post entirely :)
 

pixmedic

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Most people in the beginner's forum are not operating a photo business... at least I would HOPE they are not...
Stick around. I think you'll be amazed at the number who are.

I've noticed the trend, hence the post.

I have zero issue with anybody who does want to sell photos for money, I just become concerned that people think that the "natural progression" means the SHOULD end up selling photos for money.

I am a technical diver, I dive in overhead environments (caves, for example)... it's a very specific, VERY technical type of diving that requires a lot of extra training and equipment... yet I always hasten to explain to all of the "OMG!" looks on the new recreational divers faces when they see the truckload of gear and many tanks we end up strapping to our rigs that technical diving is NOT the natural progression of getting your open water permit. Most people don't want to do anything more than jump off a boat and look/take pictures of the pretty reef fishes and corals, and that is 100 percent fine. I like doing that too.

I think it really does a disservice to the beginning community to focus on commerce... on what "sells" because it stifles creativity. Just my 2 cents worth.

it doesn't always stifle creativity.
I would imagine there are plenty of professional photographers that sell pictures solely on the fact that they can create something new and wonderful with every session. Not me mind you, but I imagine that they do exist.
sometimes the progression from amateur to professional is what really pushes people to step up their game and start creating instead of just capturing.
 
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sabbath999

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sometimes the progression from amateur to professional is what really pushes people to step up their game and start creating instead of just capturing.

While I won't disagree, I just contend that the whole idea of "commercializing photography" is not "THE" natural progression of learning how to take pictures. It is certainly "A" progression, but it is not the ONLY legitimate progression, nor would I argue is it the best progression for most of the photographic community.
 

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Hey, new TPF member here. My name is Jordan, and I live in Savannah,Georgia. So,long story short, I've been gifted a camera by my spouse, and am enjoying reading the manual and learning about the various modes my camera has. So far I have taken some pretty good photos of my kids, and am thinking of turning photography into a business. What lens should I buy next, and do I need a flash? I want to make some money taking senior,wedding,and baby and maternity pics. I have dreamed of becoming a professional photographer off and on, for the last six months or so. Now that I have the Rebel T5i and 18-55 lens, I think it is time to make that a reality. What tips can you fine people here give me?

That farcical post above is a fairly accurate representation of many posts we've seen here on TPF over the last seven years. I really think that a lot of folks do see shooting for money as the natural progression...except that many of them do not want there to be much of a progression, but instead some type of extremely rapid teleportation from the world of beginning shooter to established professional in something like, oh, say six months.
 

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That farcical post above ...
Oh, really? I think I see that here about once a week.

Word for word.

I actually thought you copied and pasted.
 

Vtec44

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I bet you 99.87% of the current professional photographers didn't take the advice they are giving out today. :D
 

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