Skip to main content

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,



Steve said…
You are so right. Ispent 12 years as a stressed out wedding photographer. Since I stopped and took up doing stock photography, shooting what I like, I have never been happier or more enthusiastic about photography.
Bravo! I work at a job I have little love for - no photography involved. It pays for film and developer and all the expenses of the art. I go out and shoot constantly, always trying to enjoy and improve my vision. Am I a professional? Sure, I've been published in magazines, corporate imaging and ad campaigns. Work as a photographer? Nah, I'm too in love with it to have it respond to the market place. Some folks love doing that, and that's great, but it's too joyful to be enslaved to the dollar.
Dawn Allynn said…
Super, insightful post. Much of this should be printed on a small pocket sized card and brought out whenever someone finds themselves wondering how they got to the spot where what they do isn't fun anymore.

Popular posts from this blog

Is professional photography still a viable career?

I am not against amateurs and semi-professionals selling their photography. It's a great way to earn some extra cash. However I am concerned about the level of high quality published work and the standards that clients and the public accept these days. It seems that just about everyone is a photographer. The line between amateur enthusiast and professional is fuzzy to say the least. Photography enthusiasts are selling their images through stock libraries and microstock websites, directly to magazines or through their own and third party sites. They're accepting commissions to shoot weddings, being hired to shoot for magazines and selling fine art prints from their websites. They're teaching photography on the weekend and guiding photographic holidays and safaris. Photography became accessible to the masses with the first non-expert cameras and the famous Kodak slogan"You press the button, we do the rest." The digital camera age has taken the whole thing to a

All the different types of photography

Welcome to my blog. While you're here why not browse through my extensive library of articles covering everything from tips on how to do things photographic to help with the mental approach you need to become a successful photographer. You'll also find articles with some of my unconventional views. Yes, I've rattled a view cages in my time. Hope you have as much fun reading them as I did writing them. You can view my more serious work on All the different types of photography With the help of acquaintances on a photographic site I've tried to compile a list of all the different types of photography out there. I'm sure there are many still missing but the list is pretty impressive so far. We have identified around 80 descriptions. For fun I've highlighted in bold the different types I've done so far... 3D photography Action photography Advertising photography Aerial photography Amateur photography Animal photography Ar

The art of writing a caption

A caption in its simplest form is the the title of an image but usually we mean a bit more. A full caption takes the form of descriptive text, usually a few sentences. A good caption informs us about the things we cannot see and encourages us to look at an image more closely. There is a relationship of mutual benefit and dependence between a well written caption and an image. The caption can bring an image to life by providing context and meaning. It is also the link between the article/story/text and the image. Magda Indigo has written a good description of a caption here . I agree with her dislike of "untitled". It does show a certain lack of imagination and is not particularly helpful to the viewer. Creating an image is all about trying to communicate something and the caption is vital to help the audience understand an image. It can hugely enhance the viewers experience. A good caption is a piece of writing that should be concise, accurate, informative and as carefully