If you are like me 5 years ago, then you might be thinking of becoming a photographer. Because you travel a lot, work with cool people, click the button on your camera and everybody is so amazed by your work. Your photos are being published in the most popular magazines and on billboards. You make tons of money and you are your own boss and can decide when to work and when to relax.
But here I am, 15 years later, with photography as my full-time job (not a hobby anymore). And today I can share a few things that you might not consider when you enjoy a few shots your made with your smartphone and hear from your friends that you should become a professional photographer.
Photo equipment is very expensive, especially if you want to work with professional equipment then the price tag quickly gets into 4 digits numbers.
And you cannot get away with a basic setup, or start with just a single lens and gradually get more. Well of course you can, but you’ll be in a very limited position. You may, however, consider renting some equipment initially. This can be a nice temporary solution, but then you don’t want to be restricted by your necessary pieces being unavailable, because somebody got there before you. So you may get so much more stress or just appear as a very mediocre photographer.
If this is your profession, most likely there is somebody who’s paying you for your work. And trust me, when you deal with people, sooner or later, you’ll meet criticism and complaints. And the more you shoot, the more complaints you’ll be getting. If you are lucky enough to have thick skin, then you can easily ignore those and move on. In my case, I take everything personally and it causes me a whole lot of stress, even after so many years in this profession.
3. Working in poor weather conditions
Of course, if you live in the tropical, and you have consistent weather with predictable sunsets, you are in a luxurious position. But if you live in Europe, like me, you’ll have to deal with some unpredictable weather. In the Netherlands, weather can change within 15 minutes from a beautiful sunny day to complete misery. But you have to shoot and the results should be breath-taking. You have to learn how to adapt quickly and be comfortable enough to shoot in the rain, snow, heat.
Or, you could choose to be a studio photographer, then you can avoid all this weather nightmare.
4. High competition
Nowadays, with every second one being a blogger, smartphones having amazing built-in cameras, almost everyone can become a photographer. There are thousands of mediocre photographers out there, who will be chasing your clients as well. The competition is high, very high. And if you want to stay ahead of the game, you need to be a universal soldier and constantly learn and practice. And it is not only about your knowledge and experience working with the camera. Post-processing is a whole different game you’ll have to master, and it evolves so quickly as well.
5. Working without weekends and holidays
You know as they say “I didn’t want to work 9 to 5, so I became a freelance. Now I work 24/7.”. This is your work as a photographer. You adjust your schedule to your customers, you plan around their calendars, around their vacations. When office workers have their time off, this is when you work. And you work on all other days as well. You need to accept that your vacation can be canceled at the very last moment, so keep your plans flexible. Your working day can begin at 4 am and finish late in the night.
Why cannot you just plan your life as anybody else? Because you’ll be losing 40% of your commercial opportunities.
Depending on where you are, most likely you’ll have some months when you’ll have a huge drop in orders. It always depends on your audience. For example, if you are shooting mostly families, then during the school breaks you’ll have close to zero orders because everybody will be traveling.
The same goes for wedding photographers, most likely there are specific periods in your region when people prefer to get married because the weather is enjoyable or predictable and your special day is less likely going to be ruined by a storm.
7. Multiple professions
Being a photographer means you have to be a professional in the field (make great shots, post-process them etc.). But it doesn’t end there. As a bare minimum, you need to be a great salesman, an accountant, a marketeer. But it can go even beyond that and would require you to master the basics of web development, videography, step out of your comfort zone, and become a blogger. If you do commercial shoots, then you’ll need to gain people and project management skills. You have to learn how to manage the risks.
Today, being a photographer is a full package. And if you do it well, you can probably work anywhere 😉
If by this time you are still not scared and cannot wait till the moment when you pick up your camera and capture another moment, and after, spend hours in photoshop polishing your masterpiece, then I think photography is for you and I am very happy to hear that.
If this article was useful for you, or you feel you ren relate, please leave me a note below or connect on Instagram – I’ll greatly appreciate this.