Monday, June 15, 2009

Do professional photographers love their job?

Pierre, framer and artist, Ostend, Belgium.

“Photography is my passion,” is an often used phrase. I’ve noticed that many amateurs are particularly enthusiastic about being photographers and dream of turning professional.

But when you look at a survey like the one done by the reality of being a professional photographer hits home. You may be forgiven, after reading professional photographer’s blogs that every single one of them is as happy as pig in the mud. However in the survey which rated the top 200 careers photography only came in at number 125 behind jobs like bookkeeper (39), librarian (43), typest/wordprocessor (54), cashier (110) and telephone operator (115).

“Moving further down the rankings reveals an eclectic mix of jobs which either suffer from intense physical demands, such as veterinarians and construction machinery operators, or, as in the case of photographers, post mediocre scores in work environment and stress while offering exceptionally low pay,” writes

So having established that once you become a professional photographer life is not necessarily a bed of roses let’s take a look at what I think is the essential difference between those in the profession doing a job to put food on the table and those who are living the dream.

For me the fundamental differentiator is loving what you do. Through circumstances you may currently be doing wedding photography and you’re stressed out, tired and doing your best to deliver high quality work, but deep down you’re not loving it, and you’d far rather be photographing your favourite sport or fashion, or something else. Or it may be the other way round and you’re currently shooting fashion but long to get out of that slightly unreal world and work with ordinary people and share their emotions on the biggest day of their lives, their wedding, so you like to be a wedding photographer.

Every one of us is drawn to something in particular and the trick to being happy in what you do is to recognize what that is and then work towards making your job all about the photography you love to do.

The benefits are exponential because once you’re doing something you love you’ll be more enthusiastic, more dedicated and you’ll get better at it and more clients will want your work.

If you’re a professional photographer and you don’t love it then for heavens sake go and do something else. Follow your dream! And of course the same goes for photographers not currently shooting what they love. I urge you to do everything you can to rekindle the passion and love for what you do on a daily basis. It will bring you enthusiasm, energy and enhance the quality of your work.

Take the first small step soon. Go make a picture of something you love.
I don’t follow trends. I don’t chase after the latest money making ideas. I do what I love. It’s the only way to get ahead. I’d rather be making trends than following them.

Till soon,

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