Friday, July 14, 2006

Is being a professional photographer glamorous?

Well I don't know about you but a lot of professional photographers are now spending far more time manipulating pixels than they are on anything else.

A few do outsource all their Photoshop work so they can spend more time photographing but in reality a professional photographer probably spends around 10 per cent of the day on average with a camera in hand.

There are plenty of amateurs who have more time to take pictures than professional photographers do. Add to that the fact that a lot of pro work is rather unglamorous and not spent actually photographing things the pro would really like to, and you've got to ask yourself what the whole dream of turning pro is all about. Is it a romantic illusion?

Well, yes and no. There are pro photographers who love their work and get to do and see the most amazing things. And then there are the rest, fighting to make a living, struggling with government bureaucracy and spending long hours hunched in front of a computer screen.

If you're thinking about turning pro then it's important to know what you're letting yourself in for, the good and bad, rid yourself of romantic notions and the aura that surrounds the industry which is in fact incredibly diverse. Decide what would make you really happy and it has to be a lot more specific than just being a professional photographer. Weigh everything up. Above all you need to realize that with the exception of a few landscape, still life specialists and scientific photographers your job is all about dealing with people and the key to getting a good image relies on your ability to communicate. Photography is a people business whether you're a fashion photographer, a photojournalist or a wedding photographer.

Personally I'm never happier than when I'm out photographing things and people that interest me. Today though, I spent my day photographing people in meetings, with little scope for creativity. It comes with the territory as they say.

All the best,

Paul
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