inky-dinky-do gets a lot of questions via email, but questions about photography as a career is the most common one for us from the teenagers. So we thought we would share a recent conversation. :) If you guys want we can make this an on-going conversation. This is the first part of a conversation via email with a very bright and spunky Junior in high school.
I like photography and think I will major in it in college, is that a good idea?
No. There are a lot of starving artist out there. If you really want to be an artist and make your living from art- then major in business so you know if you are making money! The art can be how you make your money.
Is being a photography rockstar fun?
Well it is funny to think of me as a photography "rockstar" but it isn't really what you think. I know it might sound glamorous traveling and fashion shoots... the reality is time in airports, missing flights, and fashion shoots are work. There are a lot of people to make happy. You are simply a means to an end not a rockstar when you are on set. I know there are a lot of photographers out there right now promoting the rockstar lifestyle- the truth is they are selling to other photographers. That is marketing. So it is like anything else. Ask yourself what are they selling.
Don't you make a lot of money though?
In truth, not as much as used to be possible. Photography as a profession used to be something you could easily raise your family on. Now, even fabulous studios are taking a little hit financially.
Why? There are more photographers it must pay well?
Ahhh, that is part of the issue. Photography used to be something mysterious and you had to understand principles of art and know how to use the equipment. Now you find people get a camera for Christmas and set it to auto and call themselves a photographer. It really is a buyer beware situation. Sure they got a couple good images of their friends kids in a field one day, but that doesn't mean they can perform in a situation that is less than ideal or get the results that people expect from a professional. (yes, this is a sore spot in our industry these days) I think the you will find 1/2 the time you are better off taking the photo yourself or paying for someone that really understands art. The middle ground now is people playing- which is fine, but why pay for that?
If I like photography, why not make money at it then?
I equate choosing photography as a career to choosing to be a restaurant owner. You can love to cook, but not want to run a restaurant! Share you gift with the ones you love and make your money from an industry that can feed your family. When you do photography as a job- it is still a job. Like any job there are things to keep in mind- do you have a degree in marketing, accounting, management? No, well then you will need to hire someone to do those things. When you enter the world of business you have to treat it like a business. Taxes, insurance (not just your equipment, I'm talking liability, etc).
So what then would you tell a young person to go into that likes photography?
CGI- seriously. Those that are artistically inclined should be chasing this carrot. CGI has made it's way from the big screen to the small screen and is used more than people realize. Those green screens are everywhere and you don't even know it. This is where I see a future for a budding artist these days. Anytime you are choosing a career path you should ask yourself where is the profession headed and what kind of future is there. Farrier (horse shoe guy) was once a great profession, now not so much. :)
So do you regret going into photography?
I can't say that I do, but I have told my own daughter that isn't a career path I would choose today if I was young. I would however encourage people to enjoy photography! I'm not sure why all of a sudden if you like it you have to be "in business". What happened to the love of photography. A hobby isn't a bad thing- it is liberating! You get to photograph what you want, when you want and how you want, strictly for personal enjoyment. Who wouldn't love that! I know some great artist that love photography, but love it as a hobby. Doesn't make them less of an artist. :) Some of them are pretty smart- job they love and a hobby they love- that makes for a very well rounded person!
So there is a snipet from a recent conversation. I know some people think I'm unapproachable. Not even, I love to talk photography, love to talk to those that are thinking about it is as a career or a hobby. Now, I wont friend you on Facebook if you are local photographer. (policy I set in place a long time ago and can't change now!) But if you have questions I'm happy to answer. :)