A must read for anyone considering a photography career

This is a discussion on A must read for anyone considering a photography career within the Making Money From Photography forums, part of the PHOTO FORUM category; While this is very specific to fashion work, it is almost a mirror image to commercial photography and applies to most other fields. It is ...


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  1. #1
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    While this is very specific to fashion work, it is almost a mirror image to commercial photography and applies to most other fields. It is currently a 13 part series and still ongoing, but I personally believe that anyone even remotely considering getting into the business of photography should bookmark this and read it until your can recite the words from memory. It is one of the best insights that I have read anywhere on the internet. If you have followed any piece of advice that I have ever written, follow this one.

    Now this is an ongoing blog written about fashion photography and how it works. Click here
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  • #2
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    This is an excellent series, I found the whole thing fascinating and I'm not even interested in turning professional.

    It makes me wonder, in the business of photography, how much time is spent working away from the camera? Reading this series it seems like it may be 70% business, 30% photography. Or maybe even lower?
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  • #3
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    I read through the whole series and I come away feeling like photography is no different than any other business.

    I've been in the working world since around 1980- professional since 1986. I've worked in the defense industry as an engineer and IT Director, I've worked in the telephone/cellphone industry, the Internet, photography, and financial services. I've worked for huge corporations (400,000+ employees), and I've owned my own business.

    They're all the same.

    It may be difficult to see if you're young and full of dreams. You may think it will be different for you- you're going to take the world by storm and everyone will admire how great you are. I hope it happens for you- it does happen for some. But you have to be persistent, take a ton of the bad with a little of the good, and have a GREAT (not good, GREAT) attitude. If you get negative (and the referenced article is mostly negative, IMO), you have no chance. You also have to take a chance and be realistic about the outcome. Plan for failure, be content with mediocrity, but go for the gusto.

    It may be difficult to see if you've only worked in one field. Everyone thinks their chosen field is different. The challenges are harder, the mountains that must be climbed are higher, the knowledge that must be gained is more difficult and harder to come by in this field. Sorry, no. Smart people push the envelope in every field, not just one. The challenges are the same in almost any field. Look at sports- how many little kids show up at Little League tryouts with stars in their eyes, they're going to be the next Derek Jeter. Millions each year. A few hundred make it to the big leagues, only a handful per decade are superstars.

    Be realistic about any field you go into, photography included. Find out from other professionals how much money can be made on average- be content with that amount of money to live on. Hopefully you'll be the superstart that hits it big.


    The bottom line is you have to do your research and learn what the lifestyle of the average person in the chosen field is. Is that lifestyle sufficient for you? If so, great, move on. If not, rethink where you are going.

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  • #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PenguinPhotoWorks View Post
    I read through the whole series and I come away feeling like photography is no different than any other business.
    You are one of a handful that realize that. I cannot begin to tell you how many people believe that photography is somehow special or somehow different and that the rules of business do not apply.


    Quote Originally Posted by watergirl View Post
    It makes me wonder, in the business of photography, how much time is spent working away from the camera? Reading this series it seems like it may be 70% business, 30% photography. Or maybe even lower?
    As far as the industry, I do not know. I can tell you that the vast majority of my time is filled with meetings, phone calls and emails. For every hour I have the camera in my hand, twenty hours is spent with dealing with the client in some form or fashion.

    As PenquinPhotoWorks pointed out, this is no different than running a store or selling coconuts to the tourists on the side of the road. Finding clients and keeping clients is the sole purpose of being in business. The same rules apply.


    What brought me to start this post is that people who haven't been in business before, or maybe those dipping their toes in may not understand all the little things that can make or break you.
    Steve

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  • #5
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    thank you steve for bringing this to the forum, another high quality, informative contribution to young,inquiring minds....
    penguinphotwork "Sorry, no. Smart people push the envelope in every field, not just one. The challenges are the same in almost any field....be realistic....The bottom line is you have to do your research and learn what the lifestyle of the average person in the chosen field is. Is that lifestyle sufficient for you? If so, great, move on. If not, rethink where you are going."......straight forward commentary

    anyone, if interested in this, its worth 45mins to read thru it should you be entertaining the business side of photography
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  • #6

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    I have to agree. I spend way more time on the business aspect of this than on the art. It sucks, but it has to be done if I'm gonna make $ at this.


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