BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Karrie Smith

Career in Photography

I love taking pictures and do some sports tournament, leagues, and preschools. I have also done a few weddings.

I want this to be my full time job, I just cant seem to find enough work to take the place of my salaried position that I do not enjoy but cant quit. I am looking for any suggestions on where to look for jobs, how to market myself, and anything else you maybe think could help me.

Also is there a market in taken photos and selling them as art.

Thank you,

Karrie Smith

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9/4/2005 9:41:51 AM

I understand your concern about whether there is enough work to make a full time career in photography. I went to Brooks Institute in the 1970's and have been working since then. I honestly have never seen such a poor market for photographers, in all the years I have done this, as there is right now. I have clients that I have shot their catalogs for years, go out a buy digital cameras and decide that they going to shoot it themselves and it will be good enough. Many outstanding commercial advertising photographers are hanging by a thread. One of my friends, a long time commercial shooter who worked on national campaigns for a burger joint,is driving a truck. Another, an outstanding architecture photographer published in the top magazines many times, is in real estate on the side. I have a friend who is a JC Penny portrait photographer and has been for 15 years. There is not much turnover and I dont beleive that there are very many staff photographer jobs out there. I believe that 99% of pro photographers are self employeed and that there are not very many jobs out there.

My point is that it is very tough out there to make a career right now. What do you want to do? The type of work you mentioned in your post is low paying work. The bucks are in commercial advertising, but to compete here you have to be very good. I would recommend a high quality school to get you there quickly. If you like that type of work and just want more, I would suggest that you hang in there and keep the day job while continueing to promote your services and eventually your persistence will pay off. You'll have to build the business one step at a time. You just have to be passionate about your goals, as in any career.
Best of luck,

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9/5/2005 8:53:57 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  thank you charlie for that great post.
keep your heads up.

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9/5/2005 8:32:19 PM

Karrie Smith   I dont know how unrealistic my goals are I am a mother of two and would like to make between 35,000 and 40,000 a year doing what I love without being away from home 50 to 60 hours a week like I currently am with my salaried job. I just am not sure how to market myself to get more business. I have a few leagues I do every year and I have done some weddings with good success, just not constant enough for full time.

I would love any suggestions.

Thanks for your responses.

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9/5/2005 9:03:03 PM

I can understand the challenges you face and the desire to something you might feel is more rewarding. IT does not sound like you can bust away for any intense schooling at this point, so I would consider some workshops. You can at least take some vacation time to do that. Betterphoto has some excellent classes right here on variations for lighting, commercial photography, and Photoshop. All things any pro photographer must know.

The sports photography is low paying work. My former assistant did that as a side gig to supplement his income in addition to assisting. I am a commercial photographer and thus have studio and operating expenses. For me to make 35-40K, I have to bill $100k. For the wedding photographer who might work from home, your overhead would be less.

Weddings can pay well and provide you the income you seek and if you like weddings, then here is my suggestions: take a wedding workshops from Denis Reggie and Bambi Cantrell. Two of the best wedding photographers out there who teach workshops. Keep an eye here at BP as well, there may be a wedding course in the near future.

The key to you reaching your goal is to be very good, better than your competitors at wedding photography. Stay focused on that one goal. If, you take the workshops and have great images from them, combined with what you have already done, print up some small promotional cards with your pictures. You can do several things to market your sevices: set up a small kiosk in a mall, a yellow pages ad, attend the Bridal Fair, or a small ad in the local paper. I would suggest that you stay focused on what aspect of photography to your business up and running, and then branch out from there. YOu can do it!!

"you'll never know, if you never go"!

Best of luck,

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9/6/2005 9:25:41 AM

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