Like any job, it is a lot of hard work, sacrifice and time investment. You will battle discouragement, feelings of inadequacy and self- doubt. However, from personal experience, undoubtably it is 100% worth it. I have dabbled with the thought of working part-time elsewhere or Just getting a job where someone else is the boss, but I always come back to this. I LOVE photogrpahy. I love it so much I would do it for free. I love capturing that priceless connection on camera. It is what I was made to do.
Is it possible to make a great living off of photogrpahy?
Absolutely, like any business, you need a plan.
Set a goal: could be monetary (it was for me), it could be a certain type of shoot or getting published in a particular magazine. Whatever that goal looks like for you, come up with how many shoots, at what cost, would be needed to make it happen. Then you start pursuing it.
Sounds simple but you'd be amazed at how many newbies (including myself) ignore the obvious.
Deep down, I believe that in order to be successful as a photographer, you have to be good with people. (Unless of course you are a commercial or product photographer. ) But if you're reading this, chances are, you prefer the portraiture sector. You may be an introvert like myself, and that's fine, but like any business, you have to pursue new clients- if that terrifies you 1) Buck up or 2) Get out. Don't worry- there's hope. I am not naturally good at sales or pro-active reaching out, it's taken failure and lots of practice to improve my confidence and success rate. Moral is: Practice makes perfect and it can be done.
In addition to goals, You need a solid business model, and comfortability with sales. (take my advice and avoid giving the disk of images from the get go). Look into the different techniques successful photographers utilize BEFORE you get started. There are essentially 2 different strategies photographers use
- Collection Model - this is for when you sell the entire session at once. Everything is included in one fell swoop, one total.
- A La Carte Model - this is more profitable model, but more difficult on the sales side. You charge a lower "shoot fee" and sell albums or product vs. a disk of images.
After 2 years of doing the collection model, I moved to the A La Carte Model and wished I had done it 2 years prior. Learn from my mistakes, opt for the latter now! If you have any questions on this side of things- leave a comment and I'll try to help out :D
Essentially, once you have your skills, your business plan, your personality and sales strategy- your unstoppable.
So is it Worth it? Heck yes.