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Need a change
Hello to all,
I was wondering is it too much to think that i can make a living in photography. I am not talking about leaving my job right this second ( although it would be nice ) . I am really wanting to work for myself. But there is a problem i am new to photography . I have a 2 year plan for the " Big change " but is it just a dream? I am not affraid of hard work just worried that i have so much to learn. Is 2 years to short of time to learn photography.
Here is what i want to do ,

1. Freelance ( mainly wildlife but i have a few more ideas )
2. portrait , people and pets , ( for the " steady " income )
3. and commercial work

please tell me what you think .
Canon 20d and a few cheap lenses ..

It is our job as photographers to show people what they saw but didnt realize they saw it ......
Of the professional photographers i know away from this site, 3 are mainly wedding photographers, with a healthy dose of studio portrait work. Another is an architectural photographer with a client list of of architects and construction firms he works for, though he is mostly retired now.

The last one is an aerial photographer, he doesn't get a lot of work but he is very expensive Big Grin

The 3 wedding photographers all say they wish they could make a living without doing the weddings.
Ah, wouldn't it be nice to be a professional? Smile I do think about that sometimes. I'm a programmer and I'd like to have a change, too. No worries anymore about the gear, you just buy what you need and deduct it from your income before taxes and after three or four years it's written off and you start replacing it. Wonderful!

What keeps me from doing this is that I probably had to do weddings for the money. I hate wearing a suit, or even a tie. I had to speak to a lot of people, but I'm not really a good salesman. I had to do a lot of things that would make photography boring and tiresome for me. I wouldn't likely be thrilled by doing some product shots. Imagine spending hours taking pictures of a piece of soap. I think I might soon get to hate it. Working with models may be different, but then it might not.

For me, photography is too delightful to use it for money making. And I suspect I'm not really good enough to make the breakthrough as an artist who can decide for himself what pictures he takes, and still sell them.

But this is just me. Smile
Gallery/ Flickr Photo Stream

Reality is for wimps who can't face photoshop.
you know that is what i was thinking. I am glad that i am not the only one that doesnt want to do weddings. People look at me and say " why not " , thats easy its alot of pressure , it seems to be boring , and all the rest.
Here is the deal, I am going to be working at my job and shooting pics at the first to see what happens. I am not sure where pictures are going to take me but the dream is real and hopes are high.
Am i good enough? Not yet i know. I have so much to learn .
Canon 20d and a few cheap lenses ..

It is our job as photographers to show people what they saw but didnt realize they saw it ......
Banded Drake Wrote:1. Freelance ( mainly wildlife but i have a few more ideas )
2. portrait , people and pets , ( for the " steady " income )
3. and commercial work

I think it would be very hard to become a successful professional in all three of those areas. They are really totally different disciplines within the realm of photography. Just my 2 cents.
Everybody got to elevate from the norm!
I agree entirely with Guerito..

I too would love to make money from photography, but I've decided that I shouldn't compromise the very things that I love about photography in order to make money from it. As soon as I start chasing the dollar instead of the image, I lose sight of the very things that got me passionate about it in the first place.

My attitude is that I should simply continue taking the photos I want to take for my own reasons and fulfilment. If at some stage in the future other people like these photos enough to want to buy some of them, that's fantastic. If they don't, then that's why I have my "regular" job to pay for my photography habit. I figure the *best* case scenario is that I might eventually make enough money so my photography can pay for itself, but I don't have any delusions of ever getting a full-time income from only shooting the shots I want to shoot.

I have nothing but respect for professional photographers, but I don't want to view my photography as "a job" - it is a passion and that's how I want it to stay.

Banded, I guess I'm asking why you want to make a living from photography, and what kind of photography? What is it that compells you to take photos, and would that remain if you were shooting for a living? What are the photos you go chasing after and why?
I'm sure if you put your mind to it you probably *could* become a professional photographer - after all, every professional photographer had to start somewhere, so it is perfectly possible.
But as to how long it will take, whether you will have the luxury of being able to pick and choose all the interesting jobs, and whether you can make good money doing all this... all these questions require a crystal ball to answer I think Wink

But the one thing I can say with certainty is that you *won't* become a professional photographer unless you try.
Adrian Broughton
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"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
thats a hard question . I guess i can anwer it this way. i guess its the same thing as wanting to be a pro ball player, or a pro poker player. These are all things that you do in your spare time until you get good enough to make some money at them. Will it take away the enjoyment? I cant tell you that . Ill leave that up to the pros.
The way i look at it is, i dont have anything to loose.
i repeat myself in saying that i have so much to learn , so things might change in my thinking .
Canon 20d and a few cheap lenses ..

It is our job as photographers to show people what they saw but didnt realize they saw it ......
Why not sign up for a couple of local photo courses to start with? A freind, actually a couple of people I know are doing degree courses in photography, 3 years full time, have you looked at this?
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm
not sure about the former.

Albert Einstein

I am in the same situation as you, but to a certain extent, I have already taken the jump. I do a certain amount of free-lance stuff for $ now, but it is not enough ot pay the bills. I also have a hateful day job. I also want the "big change" - and I am working on it already. Keep in mind that thousands of people make a decent if not stellar living at photography - it isn't like aspiring to be a rock star.

The biggest advice that I can give you is that it takes time. Don't quit your day job if you cannot sustain your cash flow independently for at least 1 year - it will take that long to get even remotely established and start having a positive revenue stream.

Be prepared to hustle. Don't focus on just one of the 3 areas you are interested in - but in all of them - choosing one may cut out many potential gigs. Think of those 3 ideas and 10 more as well - if you throw enough mud at the wall, some will stick.

Strangely enough, the one that I had never really considered - fine art gallery work - seems to be the one that is taking off for me. Go figure.

I also don't want to do weddings, etc, but how can you turn down work? Be prepared to compromise your prinicples a bit if this is what you really want to do. Weddings are stressfull, but they are fairly easy money.

Postcards are a great way to sell your landscapes - particulalry if you do not shoot with large format gear. Petographer here does a pretty good business in pet portraits. Jamie does bikes and babes - and gets paid for it!

Good luck to you.
thank you toad for the advice. And i am just now enrolled in classes . I know that it is a long hard road . And i dont think the wife would let me quit yet .
I was pretty sure that i would ( will ) have to shoot things that i am not interested in , for the money .
Thanks again to all , i guess i need to sit down and think alot more on this .
Canon 20d and a few cheap lenses ..

It is our job as photographers to show people what they saw but didnt realize they saw it ......
Hey Banded, I very much feel the way you do - it would be awesome to do something you loved and get paid for it. However, starting out - it very much depends on your comfort level and amount of risk you're prepared to take as well.

I'm the conservative type - I would definitely want to keep my day job until I knew for certain that my skills and talents in photography could sustain my income. There's no harm in starting small - a gig here and there, just to test the waters and build up your experience and confidence. And don't forget that you will need some business skills and client relationship skills as well - the best pictures won't go out there and sell themselves.

Some great advice from the rest of the gang - there are certainly a lot of gems that people have shared...
That's teh rediculous thing for me... I have 13 years experience managing business and finances, I was an accountant and small business advisor! I now have over 3 years experience in one of the hardest sales fields, cars!

And do I consider branching out for myself... no!
Can i ask this then EnglishBob? Do you wake up every morning excited about going to work? I cant say that i do . And the majority ( sp ) of people that i have talked to cant say they do either. I am still a young man ( 33 ) and i have been working my butt off to support my family for 13 years now. I dont make a bad living at all , but wouldnt it be nice to wake up and enjoy what you do ?
I dont mean to stir up anything , to be honest the replies arent what i thought that i would get.
Canon 20d and a few cheap lenses ..

It is our job as photographers to show people what they saw but didnt realize they saw it ......
I think part of the reason for the less than enthusiastic replies is that many of us are in the same position that you are - testing the water - and some of us feel quite overwhelmed by what it takes to make "a living" at photography. Also - not everybody wants to do their hobby professionally.

I am a bit more like you - I am tired of my day job, and I am prepared to make less $ to do something that makes mew feel more creatively satisfied.

The nice thing about photography is that a lot of different levels of committment are possible - if you need to work a full time job to support your family, you can still do pro work on the side.

Lots of people make a decent full-time living at photography - if you are prepared to hustle, you might be able to do that without a steady diet of weddings and baby portraits. I have done packaging for a CD, a fine art exhibition, a dance portfolio,and a few other more creatively satisfying gigs - so I know it is possible.

I am blessed, however, by not needing too much money to survive on a monthly basis - no mortgage or other debt - so I have a fairly low risk factor. It is that "risk" is what each person needs to appraise for themselves. I'm with you though - life is too short - it would be wonderful to be excited about going to work in the morning.
I worked as a photographer for a while but I ended up quitting from my previous employer. It's really easy to loose sight of exactly what you want out of your photography. I'm studying graphic design now at uni, but I still do the odd job every now and then (freelance). I'm in a position at the moment where I can make big decisions as I'm only 21. You need a lot of determination, which is one of the things I lack. I did'nt pick up my camera for over a month after I quit because I was disilusioned, just make sure you work for yourself, it's too hard trying to recreate someone elses image. Find your style and stick with it.
I can say I am much happier now but doing what I want! Big Grin
thaks for the advice . I plan on working for myself, if all works out well .
Canon 20d and a few cheap lenses ..

It is our job as photographers to show people what they saw but didnt realize they saw it ......

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