You may have been thinking about it for a while. You might even have already started making plans about becoming a professional photographer. Or you might still be unsure? Turning to a career in photography as a full-time profession has its risks and rewards. Here are arguments for and against taking the plunge and becoming a professional photographer.
YES – You can follow your passion
People always say that you should do what you love because that is the best way to excel. If you love going to work then how can it be a bad thing? Whether your passion is wedding, food, travel or any other genre of photography you should follow your passion and expertise and try to forge a career in that sector. The thing about doing something you love is that even the mundane things will sometimes excite you. Things like admin, accounting and even being stuck in traffic on the way to meet a client just don’t seem as bad when you are your own boss.
YES – You can be your own boss
What could be better than running your own business? No one to answer to and living life to your own time and schedule. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility to take a day-off if you want. You can work from home or wherever you are most productive. Being your own boss also means that you get rewarded for your hard work, not someone else. There is also the satisfaction of running your own business which can be exciting and give you a great sense of pride.
YES – You can aim for the stars
One of the exciting aspects of running your own business is that there is no limit to what you can aim for. Do you want to grow your business by photographing different genres? Fancy running an advert in a local magazine. Or do you simply want to become the best in your field? Whatever your ambitions are, your own business allows to achieve them whereas if you work for someone else you are limited to their vision.
YES – Be more professional
How many times have you contacted a big company and felt like you were being passed around from one call handler to another? Having your own photography business allows you to deal with people the way which you feel is right. A personal service that is far removed from a corporate one that working for a company entails. Providing good service means satisfied customers which in turn can enhance your reputation within your field.
NO – Your passion will become a job
The idea of your passion becoming a job might sound exciting. But the reason that your passion is actually your passion is that it’s a hobby and there are no stresses attached to it. You might enjoy photographing animals but would you still enjoy it if you have the added stress of having to make a living from it? Or demanding clients who are making your work more difficult and stressful? There might also be times where you won’t be able to photograph things the way you want to due to a client’s brief. If you want your passion to remain your passion, keep it as a hobby detached from the added stress of a job.
NO – Being your own boss means more pressure
Yes, you’ll have no one to answer to. But that also means you are solely responsible for your own business. That means generating leads, booking work and having to do all of the admin side of things like marketing, tax returns and so on. You’ll also have the added stress of knowing that all of the business decisions ultimately fall on your shoulders. Whether you make a good decision or not, you will have to pay the price.
No – No guaranteed income
By far the biggest negative aspect of having your own photography business is the potential lack of income. Photography is a tough industry to make money from. There is lots of competition and prices have been falling over the last 10 years. It might take some time to generate a decent income from your business. But even when you do, there is always a danger that the work will dry up. So, you have to constantly work and plan for those inevitable slumps in income.
No – It’s a lonely job
The one thing that all photographers learn very quickly is how lonely this job is. If you have come from an environment where you have been working with other people, it can be a shock to the system. Not only will you not have other people to delegate work to, but there won’t even be those interactions with other people.
Setting up your own photography business can be incredibly exciting and rewarding. You will have successes and failures. You will have good times where the business is great. But there will also be hard times when you will be struggling to get work. But in the end, if you can plan and persevere through good times and bad, you might just be glad that you chose this path. It may not be a profession for everyone. Only you know if it will be or not.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.