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03-05-2013, 12:11 AM   #1
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what is it to be Pro?

I have known a few Professional Photographers mainly I was friends with their girlfriends. Some that made REAL money and then others that made enough to pay the bills and no more. The seems like there is no in between. I wanted to get in to photography but was told you can't make any money. BUT THEN I have met some guys that do make good money.

So what does it take to be a pro ? I think connections is KEY! One guy I know of got his start taking great photos of snowboarders. Its like you have to have skills , be lucky, and know people.

How many of you make money off your photography ?

03-05-2013, 01:29 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by tahoejeepmom Quote
I wanted to get in to photography but was told you can't make any money
I don't know who told you that, but that person is 100% wrong. I've just read an article "Top 10 highest paying jobs" or something. Guess who was in the list amongst ship captain, pilot? No, not a lawyer! A photographer!

I would also totally agree with you that knowing people and making connections are vital. No one looks in the phonebook to find a photographer anymore, those times are gone (I'm happy for that, because my last name start with "J" ).
03-05-2013, 03:11 PM - 1 Like   #3
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A "pro" photographer is the one that earns the living through photography. It does not mean they are good or bad, rich or poor.
03-05-2013, 10:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by vodanh1982 Quote
A "pro" photographer is the one that earns the living through photography. It does not mean they are good or bad, rich or poor.
Pretty much. If it's become your main income, you're a professional.
And one would assume if enough people are willing to pay for your services that you can pay the bills, then you assume you aren't that bad a photographer.



QuoteOriginally posted by tahoejeepmom Quote
I wanted to get in to photography but was told you can't make any money.
You can make money in photography.
You can't make money EASILY in photography.

It's a flooded market, pretty much everybody with the cash to buy an SLR nowadays will watermark their image with "blah blah's photography" and then they'll advertise to do photoshoots for $50
Then you've got hipsters with bloody camera phones calling themselves professional photographers and doing the same thing, only charging $5

It's a difficult thing to make money from because much of the public think "oh, it's just a photo, I could do that with my phone!"
The rest often say "why would I pay top dollar when I can hire that kid who's got a basic Canon and a kit lens who only charges $20 for a shoot"

People don't see the value. That's why the photographers that do make money often have to be extremely good at what they do, good enough for people to say "oh..... I can't do that.... that's why he/she's worth $100 and hour"

03-05-2013, 10:11 PM   #5
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I earn money from my photos but I am not a pro.
QuoteOriginally posted by vodanh1982 Quote
A "pro" photographer is the one that earns the living through photography. It does not mean they are good or bad, rich or poor.
...and that sums it up.

Hobbyists/enthusiasts can be good, bad, rich or poor too...

Pros need business sense, at least some people skills, and well rounded photographic/lighting skills to do a broad range of photographic work. It is not a profession to be considered a walk in the park by any means.
03-06-2013, 05:01 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tahoejeepmom Quote
have skills , be lucky, and know people.
Without a doubt! Also, one should never get involved in areas of photography where there is lots of competition. Try to find something unique. With the shots that I have sold, I am the only photographer shooting that area. However, once you have your niche you must still deal with cronyism of the publishers. One famous magazine will not even talk with me, regardless of the quality of my work. I'm not in their good 'ol boy club. This is quite common. It's a tough business.
03-07-2013, 04:50 AM   #7
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A pro is somebody who produces the results day in day out, come hell or high water, no excuses and with whatever equipment.

A "rich/wealthy" pro is somebody who gets paid in a timely manner for doing the above.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 03-07-2013 at 11:40 AM.
03-07-2013, 11:17 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
I don't know who told you that, but that person is 100% wrong. I've just read an article "Top 10 highest paying jobs" or something. Guess who was in the list amongst ship captain, pilot? No, not a lawyer! A photographer!
If you take 10 random people then yeah, the photographer can make more money than the other 9. If you pick 10 jobs, then yeah, you can pick 9 that pay less than a photographer. But do photographers, as a whole, earn the most (especially if you cosnider their expensies, to calculate a "net income")? Seriously, I think not.

03-07-2013, 01:18 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
If you take 10 random people then yeah, the photographer can make more money than the other 9. If you pick 10 jobs, then yeah, you can pick 9 that pay less than a photographer. But do photographers, as a whole, earn the most (especially if you cosnider their expensies, to calculate a "net income")? Seriously, I think not.
I'm 100% sure that photographer as a whole don't make the most, but good photographer do make more than most people. Why? Because, photographer's earnings are unlimited. It completely depens on photographer's determination and diligence, because It is not some irresponsible (or even meaningless) office job where you can pick your nose half a day and still get paid. Photographers (as well as other businessmen) don't get paid, they take their money.
03-07-2013, 01:31 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
good photographer do make more than most people
Photographers good at marketing themselves, maybe?

QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
because It is not some irresponsible (or even meaningless) office job where you can pick your nose half a day and still get paid. Photographers (as well as other businessmen) don't get paid, they take their money.
I resent the part about the meaningless office job, I find it judgemental and innacurate. But I'm sure you meant no harm.

"they take their money"... it's a queer way to put it. To me it implies they take it ... from someone else...

Phrasing put aside, I understand what you mean, but it's really not as simple as that. There are many talented photographers, painters, musicians, traveling salesmen, who can't make it work. Assuming it's just about talent and dedication is fine when you were the one who succeeded, and it does need those attributes to succeed. However, assuming lack of success is lack of determination is wrong in my poiint of view.
03-07-2013, 01:44 PM   #11
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Yes people can and do make money in photography but HOW!

Are they selling their work? Are they shooting products for adds? Are wedding photographers making a living? Do you have to just get your photos out there make them seen? How to they become the paid pro? Do the apply to an add in the paper? What are some ways you or someone you know got into photography as a job?
03-07-2013, 02:11 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Photographers good at marketing themselves, maybe?

I resent the part about the meaningless office job, I find it judgemental and innacurate. But I'm sure you meant no harm.
I really meant no harm, thank you for understanding. I grew up in a businessmen family, maybe that is why it is hard for me to find respect for bureaucrats, politicians etc. But let's not get offtopic

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Phrasing put aside, I understand what you mean, but it's really not as simple as that. There are many talented photographers, painters, musicians, traveling salesmen, who can't make it work. Assuming it's just about talent and dedication is fine when you were the one who succeeded, and it does need those attributes to succeed. However, assuming lack of success is lack of determination is wrong in my poiint of view.
I believe that success (sooner or later) come to those who are determined and work hard
But I agree that it is not enough to be a great photographer to be successful. I would say an average photographer + great marketing skills beats awesome photographer + poor marketing skills.
03-07-2013, 02:37 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tahoejeepmom Quote
Yes people can and do make money in photography but HOW!
I had been shooting for 16 years before anyone was interested in my work. It doesn't happen overnight. I started out with a 35mm rangfinder camera, improved my shooting and moved to a 35mm SLR, improved some more. In 1988 went with the Pentax 6x7 but it took ten years of shooting that before I made a sale. I was trying to break into the travel and landscape field. I started by submitting my work to calendar companies with some success. I next tried book publishers with little success, so I tried magazines with a bit more success. It takes years to build a client base, especially when they all switch to digital publishing. The paths to success vary, depending on the type of photography you are interested in. With wedding photography, you are not depending on publishers but your own skills and marketing. I have shot 10 weddings and I don't really enjoy that so gave it up.
03-07-2013, 02:40 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tahoejeepmom Quote
Yes people can and do make money in photography but HOW!

Are they selling their work? Are they shooting products for adds? Are wedding photographers making a living? Do you have to just get your photos out there make them seen? How to they become the paid pro? Do the apply to an add in the paper? What are some ways you or someone you know got into photography as a job?
I think it is all about two things.
Having an awesome content and knowing how to show it.

I started (like most) by offering free photoshoots to girls I liked. It is an excellent way to practise and meet nice girls/people. Everything got serious, when one day a friend came by and accidently saw some of my pictures. Now I'm shooting his cousin's wedding
03-07-2013, 02:48 PM   #15
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