Want to be a Pro Photographer?
I don’t want to discourage any one from turning pro. On the contrary if its what you really want to do then get out there and do it, but what I want to point out are some of the realities of taking up photography as a full time job.
Median annual wages of salaried photographers were $US29,440 in May 2008 (in the USA). The middle 50 percent earned between $US20,620 and $US43,530. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $US16,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $US62,430. Median annual wages in the photographic services industry, which employed the largest numbers of salaried photographers, were $US26,160.
Salaried photographers—most of whom work full time—tend to earn more than those who are self-employed. Because most freelance and portrait photographers purchase their own equipment, they incur considerable expenses acquiring and maintaining cameras, insurance, accessories etc. Unlike news and commercial photographers, few fine arts photographers are successful enough to support themselves solely through their art.
There are those that make it…
People like Chase Jarvis are the people that make real money out of the market today. They have developed a “superstar” image for themselves (through hard work, great images and brilliant marketing). Well even the great can have a hard time, Annie Leibovitz borrowed $15.5 million, having experienced financial challenges in the recent years, and almost lot the rights to all her own work.
Food for thought
The classic roll of the photographer has changed drastically in the last 5 years and if you don’t move with it then you will get left behind. I think the major problem with most photographers today is they are too stagnant in a moving market place.
e.g. the Kindergarten class photos are now being shot by the mothers with a strobist set up, they are getting better results than the classic packet photographer because they can relate to the kids.
Stock photography web sites flood the market with cheap images scaled to you size and requirements of the purchaser.
Thousand of fly-by-night event photographers come and go undercutting each others prices just to get the job. Never to be seen again.
The second you have a good idea it’s redone 10000000000000x by others around the world that don’t have the ability to come up with something creative, but they will get more credit that the original.
Most Newspapers don’t have staff photographers on a full time salary any more. But pay on a contribution basis.
If you want to shoot for a living then there are 2 things you need to know.
1* Do it because you love it…
2* Getting rich will take a lot of hard work, great talent and some luck.