Monday, July 24, 2006

From Ken Rockwell's How to become a Professional Photographer:

Would you like to photograph anything you want, anywhere you want, anytime you want, any way you want, with a great professional camera system? Would you love to travel to luxury destinations and photograph whatever, whenever you want?

The only way to do this is to keep your real job and do photography on your own time.

If you want to photograph professionally you'll make less money, have to shoot the boring stuff in crappy locations for which you're hired, shoot it the way the client wants, and probably have to shoot everything as if it's some big emergency every time. You'll probably only be able to afford beat up old gear that's "good enough."

Making a buck in photography is a lot tougher than keeping a real job. The photo jobs and locations that pay the most are the most boring. Think you're going to have people hiring you as a travel photographer? Guess again.

It's exactly like golf or surfing. Golf is fun, and it's almost impossible to get people to pay you to do it. Only one guy in ten million makes lots of money in surfing, photography or acting.

That's real.

I remember 20-something years ago in college, I decided i liked photography. I went to school for my English degree, took a few photography courses, got a part-time job in a professional camera store - delivering equipment and supplies to professional photographers in the Chicago area.

I then gave up photography. The first reason was that photography pursued on a serious level was very expensive. The second was dealing with professionals on a daily basis - gave me reason for despair. These guys were very very good, working very very hard and there were a lot of them in a very very competitive business.

I realized i couldnt compete. So, like many folk in their 20's when reality hits them in the face, I gave up what I liked doing, dropping my dreams in the process.

I did not want to starve as a writer or photographer. I wanted to live comfortably, so i eventually acquired the skillz to give me the means to live comfortably.

I did ok for awhile, but I never forgot giving up photography. And when i was introduced to digital cameras, i started again, but with no intention of making a living at it. I just enjoyed it.

Then, in the Bayonne Public Library, i came across a ludicrously titled book with a picture of a man throwing cash into the air. Out of curiousity, I borrowed the book. After reading it, i kept the book, and at the first chance i got years later, I went back to New Jersey and paid the Library the cost of the book.

In the introduction of "How to Make Big Bucks Selling Your Photography", Cliff Hollenback bluntly stated:

"You will NOT make big bucks in photography."


What is ironic - these hard words make me want it more.

For the simple fact that being out shooting brings me joy.

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