Yes, “Thoughts and Answers,” instead of the traditional question and answer. This is a bit of an odd one and I will forego the standard listing of points because after the first two parts, and a story, I basically only talk about two things. Photography can be a strange place. I see and hear things that make me want to say something, something that might shine a light on reality as opposed to myth. Fact to the fiction.
Being a pro often appears like one thing while in reality, it is something else. And knowing this is a business, in the midst of an aggressive, capitalistic system can better prepare you for what you might encounter. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Getting from where someone is now to become firmly entrenched as a pro can take years. But what is a pro? Does that mean brand partnerships on social or does it mean something else? Is there more than one professional world? Can someone do both, be both?
Don’t you love when people comment before they’ve even heard you’ve got to say? I’m that guy, Dan. I bet I can predict a few things you’ll mention. Photography is a business, and it seems like a varied, brutal one to this amateur. I see photographers who I’m sure get paid to nail incredible images and deliver them on time and professionally. I see other photographers who I think are as valued for their creativity and vision as for their photography skills. There are other photographers who become part of the branding themselves. The photos of them taking photos is part of the campaign. I have some friends who do photos for campaigns. Really talented and creative folks, but often the images are a small part of what they’re actually delivering. Just some random thoughts. Now I’ll watch the video as I wait for the friendly UPS person to deliver by Blurb book.
You were around the points. Close enough. Photography is a business. Lots envision themselves as being a photographer but often forget the years in between. The two industries running parallel and beautiful books filled with sub-par images. And how I still buy them.
This book stuff is addicting. I used the trade book option. Right term? 6×9. I jammed too many photos in there. I knew that going in, though. I think I went with the economy paper. I need to compare it with the Magcloud digest I have used previously and the Blurb magazine. I think in the trade book the images are more muted, flatter. Which is fine for what I was going for. Some cross of gritty + scrap bookish + journal, but without the journaling component.
Try standard color paper…
Dan, you are quite correct in your remarks about the way professional photographers feel. The difference between amatuer and professional is simply that professionals do it full time and generally don’t do anything else. The words amatuer and professional have traditionally suggested that an amatuer is a poorer photographer than a professional, this is absolutely not true. I can often see much better “amatuer’ photography than “professional” …. you could argue that as a professional you have to get it right every time, and you do, otherwise you risk losing clients and consequently income.
This pandemic has screwed up lots of people and their work. I could write a long description of the way photography has diminished as a way to actually make a living. I see it very much like musicians: There are very successful photographers, making six figure incomes but these are few and far between, much like musicians, there are the Ed Sheerans and Snoop Doggs making vast amounts of cash and there are the guys and gals playing clubs and doing low paid session work. Then there are all the ones playing for fun (amatuers). Basically, photography has lost its value. You can see what this pandemic has done. I recently perused the image libraries for the sort of pictures they are selling these days. You can see that all the contributors to these agencies have in the last 12 months increased their sales. They’ve had their best years for some time ( these days that means they’ve made a few hundred extra). As it’s not been possible to commision photography, because of the lockdowns. Anyone needing a photograph will just buy one from the millions available, or is that billions? Another nail in the coffin for commissioned photography.
I would argue that with a few exceptions, being a photographer in 2021 will not sustain you. I’ve been lucky, I’ve made a living since about 1985 but now, it’s very different. I would discourage anyone from attempting to be a photographer as a way of making a living.
If you study the photographers of the late 19th century and early 20th century, most of them were from wealthy families. Cartier Bresson was from a very wealthy family, William Eggleston too. They could afford the luxury of being a photographer because they had family back up. It will possibly become the same again, where if you want to shoot pictures for a living, you’ll need a back up.
Sure, there will be those that become successful, but in the same way that a world musical star does. Enjoy photography without the awful pressures to put food on the table. You can even earn a few dollars from placing your work in agencies or online fine art sites, but if you’ve got mortgages to pay, cars, kids, pets, insurance, food, holidays,pension (what’s that)? school fees, well yunno…life, it’s in most cases unsustainable.
I totally agree. I see a lot of “Amateur” photography that outshines the professional work I see. And these folks tend to have more fun, less stress and less financial stress. Photographers lined up to drink the digital coolaid, the internet coolaid and the social coolaid and now they are paying the price and it’s only going to get worse. And yes, a LOT of trust fund photographers out there. Lots of time to do as the please.