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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Worried about the nature of this business... :(

    Right now i am enrolled in a photography school with a VERY good reputation. the focus is primarily on commercial photography with an emphasis on 4x5 cameras.

    even though (i thought) photography is my passion, i am not loving it. I'm sick all the time, and never have time to eat, sleep, or smile.

    I have experience in photojournalism, which i love, but i wanted to be more marketable (i needed technical skills training) and was interested in commercial, fashion, food, portraiture, wedding etc. So i chose the best school i could within reason.

    but the course is SO much money on top of tuition fees. but it's over 90hrs of work a week and i cannot find the time to have a 2nd part-time job. i know expenses and poverty are common to photographers, but i didn't realize to this extent.

    Additionally, all the professors and guest speakers have lamented about their numerous divorces (due to their workaholism), the little sleep they get, the tragedies of their businesses, etc. And they are ALL men. I have not met one successful female photographer.

    i want to have a family one day. i want to have a life and see my boyfriend occasionally. my career is important, but i don't know if i have what it takes -- what these people appear to have. i don't know if i am willing to saccrifice so much for a "JOB"

    Is it possible to enjoy life and still be a photographer? is it all about panicking to get jobs from Sears, Loblaws, Ralph Lauren, Telus etc? about not having enough money to eat b/c you have to buy equipment or the market is slow? Is this job right for somebody who strives to do well - to be successful - but not "A SUCCESS?"... somebody who wants to laugh with friends, have kids someday, and sleep more than 4 hours a day?

    any advice from professional photographers in any field would be GREATLY appreciated.

    many, many thanks!


  2. #2
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    rockin' it in the D

    Re: Worried about the nature of this business... :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Annie
    Is it possible to enjoy life and still be a photographer?


    While it may seem like there is no end in sight now, it is possible to be successful photographically, and still enjoy life. I suppose a lot of it depends on what direction you go.

    And it's not all about panicking about whether or not there is work. Although I've spent many a sleepless nights worrying that something I've shelled out big bucks for is going to fall flat.

    Ups and downs, like any other job. It's more difficult if you are self employed, because there is soo much more to worry about. And for every person who is successful, there are more who aren't. It's hard, but it is possible.

    And if the school is not right for you, perhaps you should look into other options. There is a ton of stuff out there.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Worried about the nature of this business... :(

    I am suspicious that some pros are having difficulty because they are limiting the scope and nature of what they do. I have done weddings, journalism, sports, advertising, public relations, politics, textbooks, corporate presentations, multi-media, video, television production, script writing and editing, and teaching photography and computer animation. It helped that I got what someone termed the classical university degree and then the practical college credentials in film and television production. I was already doing semi-pro photography when I was in high school.

    If as well as photography, you can also fit into any part of a media production team from production and direction through to the actual camera and technical work, then the work will eventually start coming to you, rather than you going out to try and find it. The concept of corporate and educational "outsourcing" of specialized jobs can really be beneficial to your bottom line, if you make the most of it. You will also develop greater confidence because there will be less worry and stress over getting one particular job or assignment.

    One of the keys to success is being flexible and willing to try something a little different and learn something new in the process. Another is to be a very good business manager and to be extremely well-organized and professional in image and manner as well as in the creation and presentation of your work.


  4. #4
    Junior Member pulpmojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    San Diego, CA, USA

    Re: Worried about the nature of this business... :(

    It definately doesn't have to be all that bad. I started taking photography classes also but dropped out during the second semester class. It just wasn't worth it, it wasn't worth the time and definately not the stress. I had already started my photography business and quite honestly, I wasn't learning all that much from school. I already knew most of the technical aspects of photography and what I needed more than anything else was practical experience. Sure school can be cool, you get to network, learn some new stuff, and you really get pushed to develop yourself artistically, but quite honestly, it's not necessary to become a successful photographer. All of the technical aspects of photography can easily be learned in a single semester. Studio lighting, exposure, composition, wet lab, dry lab, all that stuff one maybe one and a half semesters tops : )
    Try to be practical, if your life is starting to bog you down with school and work, maybe you shoul look at what other options you have. Do what makes you happy.

    Take me for example. Took my first photography class in January 2006, I started my photo biz in May, left my crummy stressful job in October, by November I had a laid back part time job working 2.5 days a week, that way I could start dedicating most of my time to building my buisness and improving my photography, right now I've booked one event per month all the way up to August, it's not enough to pay the rent, car payment etc. but it's a start and besides, that's what the part time job is for. Anways, enough about me and good look with that. I personally don't see the point in having a job you love if it ends up making you miserable.

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