I read a lot of posts lately from photographers in online forums about how they are “ready to give up” or are “very close” to giving up on being a professional photographer. I am not going to sugar coat it – this can be an extremely tough business. I left my ‘dream’ of being an actor to pursue photography. At times, I have doubted myself and my decisions, and I have come to think that anyone who never questions their own decisions goes beyond confident to foolhardy. So let’s take a look at some of the main reasons for ‘giving up’ on photography…
“I’m Not A Professional Photographer Yet”
What does it mean to be a professional photographer? When does someone cross the line between being an ‘amateur’ or an ‘enthusiast’ to being a professional photographer? It is really an abstract concept. Here are some things that do not ensure your status as a professional:
- The latest and greatest camera equipment
- Great editing software
- Thinking that you are the most amazing photographer in the world
Here are a few things that I, personally, think are elements of a professional:
- Producing quality work consistently that others are willing to pay for – you are getting paid, therefore it is a ‘profession’
- Behaving in a professional manner
- Running your ‘business’ like a professional – paying your taxes, using contracts, etc.
“I Am Not A Success”
What determines success for you? Is it the number of shoots you do in a year? The amount of money you are making? Awards? Accolades? You determine whether or not you are successful according the goals that you set for yourself. If you want to support yourself totally on your income from photography, make that your goal and figure out how to do it. Write down your goals – how much money you need to make, how many shoots you need to do, etc. Write it all down! Otherwise you will not be able to go back and see that you achieved the goal that you set for yourself. Like I said, I am not going to sugar coat this – no one is going to hand you anything. If you want success, you have to work for it.
“Other Photographers Seem To Be Doing So Well”
Stop comparing yourself to other photographers. Stop! RIGHT NOW! You are never going to be them and they are never going to be you. They have or have had their own trials and tribulations to go through. Most of the people you think were an ‘overnight success’ actually put in years of hard work.