You also mentioned being hardworking, sociable, nice... is no guarantee to be successful.
Then what else is needed? I think newbies and those who are interested will like to hear from the experienced ones so that they will learn and consider.
Rather than always having this useless bickering back and forth -- one group will seem to over-trivialize what it takes to be a pro, and another group will say you don't know anything about turning pro, without elaborating anything much.
I think we need to deal with specifics for such posts to be useful.
you will spend most of you time RUNNING a business.
only have little time to do the shooting.
so which elements has more impact in your business?
to be successful in this trade,
is not only depends on how good your shots are.
is how good you able to sell your photos
sum it up:
good photo ≠ good business
salable photos = good business
I'm pretty sure you remember this..... http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=627739
Sometimes to only way to truly know how deep is the lake, is to swim toward the deep end at our own peril.
Nah, I was referring to post or posts related to this thread, not the past ones which don't spell out anything clearly.
Anyway, this post rot to another nothingness like the rest. It's not my intention to continue. It's tiring. Cos at the end, we'll just come back full circle and nothing's resolved. The issue we're discussing is not even related to the original question posted by TS. And he's missing or can't even be bothered.
come on guys, it is easy to turn pro.
the million dollar question is - is the income from turning pro enough to sustain your lifestyle?
Minimum photographic skills:
Ability to take any shot under pressure that a client hires you to take. The shot will need to be of saleable quality and the client must feel that it meets their requirements for what ever purpose it is intended for. This means forget about "golden hours" and other advantages you may have as an amateur. If the client wants and is paying to have their precious whatever photographed at midday, midnight or any time in between you will be there and can deliver the goods.
Ability to interpret a clients often limited description of what they want, in to the image of their dreams. This is essential if you are not dealing with industry professionals and even with industry professionals there's plenty of "well you know, like the maddona shot" or like the shot in the paper last week etc... To deal with this one must have the perquisite abilities of extreme patience, understanding, communications skills and ESP often help.
Ability to push yourself to produce great images despite any handicap thrown at you such as weather, client induced issues, tiredness or simply not wanting to be there.
A thorough and I mean thorough knowledge and understanding of such essentals as exposure, compensation, perspective, composition and how to use them.
Knowing where to get the best prints done, in a timely and cost effective manner, where to source varous value addons such as quality framing, albums, archival materials etc.
This is the minimum you'll need.
A good working knowledge of your local taxation system and what you can and can't claim, depreciate or otherwise write off.
Marketing skills. Promotion is one of the most important skills you will need to succeed.
Accounting / Cost Management skills: Absolutely essential if you are to make a profit. This should be mandatory for anyone who's thinking of entering the industry. Controlling outgoings while maximising incomming monies means you'll earn a decent wage each week. If you have no head for business, hire someone who does!
Control GAS. Gear Aquisition Syndrome has probably killed more professional photographers than anything else. It's easy to rack up massive debts in professional photography by buying all the latest toys. Don't! A lens will last 8-10 years if serviced regularly and a body at least 5 years. Make the most of your gear and don't throw it overboard because the new Mk Vx967 Nikikwanonshinkiwhatsamajigger is 5% better on paper than the old model.
Be Realisitic in your setup. A massive studio with 2 million bucks worth of lighting looks cool but unless you have the clientelle to support it it's a millstone around your neck and the fastest way I know to financial hell I know of, next to GAS. Conversely a toilet sized studio will dismay all but the most budget minded clients. This leads us to the biggest secret of all...
Do your market research and find out the true state of the market before you jump in. Spend the time and money to really find out what's in the local waters before you jump in and become shark feed. It's that simple.
The above are by no means complete but are just a few of the literally hundreds of things you really do need to know before turning professional.
The Ang Moh from Hell
Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!
Marketing, marketing, marketing. Which includes networking, good social skills, networking, I don't know being able to smile, networking, being at the right place, have I mentioned networking?
There's no problem taking the best pictures in the world, if no one knows about you and your work.
When you start out, no one will.
I'd like to say that you get one job, take nice pictures, and it snowballs from there. But it doesn't work that way unless you're very very lucky.
Generally it's, you get one job, take nice pictures, and, erm, that's it.
So, can you keep finding work as an unknown, until some day a year or quite probably more, down the road, where people DO start coming to you.
Because until then, you're going to have to go to them.
And how good (or not) you are at that is more important than how good you are as a photographer. I'm kind of living proof of that.
The oft cited quote I give is, a good marketer with average photography skills will make a better living than an average marketer with good photography skills.
I'd go so far as to say an excellent marketer with poor photography skills will make a better living than a poor marketer with excellent photography skills.
That's one reason you see a boatload of "average" stuff out there.
and know some good DI people who can haul your a#$ out of the fire for when the chips are down and the clients want to make changes/think you misinterpreted the brief/want to try something else but don't want to re-shoot/the weather goes to h%#&/etc...
But I have to admit, when weighing the importance...business skill does come on the top of the list.
back to TS abandon question, there should have tons of professional giving up their dream and that is the same for every trade not exclusive to photographer only.
Here is quote from one my favorite photographer... it is true...
Quote directly from Cheryl Jacobs' blog...
Those words are so true... if you learn and understand what she says, there is a lot you can do to make it work to become a photographer.What Every Aspiring Photographer Should Know
These are my thoughts, nothing more and nothing less.
I get asked all the time, during workshops, in e-mails, in private messages, what words of wisdom I would give to a new and aspiring photographer. Here’s my answer.
- Style is a voice, not a prop or an action. If you can buy it, borrow it, download it, or steal it, it is not a style. Don’t look outward for your style; look inward.
- Know your stuff. Luck is a nice thing, but a terrifying thing to rely on. It’s like money; you only have it when you don’t need it.
- Never apologize for your own sense of beauty. Nobody can tell you what you should love. Do what you do brazenly and unapologetically. You cannot build your sense of aesthetics on a concensus.
- Say no. Say it often. It may be difficult, but you owe it to yourself and your clients. Turn down jobs that don’t fit you, say no to overbooking yourself. You are no good to anyone when you’re stressed and anxious.
- Learn to say “I’m a photographer” out loud with a straight face. If you can’t say it and believe it, you can’t expect anyone else to, either.
- You cannot specialize in everything.
- You don’t have to go into business just because people tell you you should! And you don’t have to be full time and making an executive income to be successful. If you decide you want to be in business, set your limits before you begin.
- Know your style before you hang out your shingle. If you don’t, your clients will dictate your style to you. That makes you nothing more than a picture taker. Changing your style later will force you to start all over again, and that’s tough.
- Accept critique, but don’t apply it blindly. Just because someone said it does not make it so. Critiques are opinions, nothing more. Consider the advice, consider the perspective of the advice giver, consider your style and what you want to convey in your work. Implement only what makes sense to implement. That doesn’t not make you ungrateful, it makes you independent.
- Leave room for yourself to grow and evolve. It may seem like a good idea to call your business “Precious Chubby Tootsies”….but what happens when you decide you love to photograph seniors? Or boudoir?
- Remember that if your work looks like everyone else’s, there’s no reason for a client to book you instead of someone else. Unless you’re cheaper. And nobody wants to be known as “the cheaper photographer”.
- Gimmicks and merchandise will come and go, but honest photography is never outdated.
- It’s easier to focus on buying that next piece of equipment than it is to accept that you should be able to create great work with what you’ve got. Buying stuff is a convenient and expensive distraction. You need a decent camera, a decent lens, and a light meter. Until you can use those tools consistently and masterfully, don’t spend another dime. Spend money on equipment ONLY when you’ve outgrown your current equipment and you’re being limited by it. There are no magic bullets.
- Learn that people photography is about people, not about photography. Great portraits are a side effect of a strong human connection.
- Never forget why you started taking pictures in the first place. Excellent technique is a great tool, but a terrible end product. The best thing your technique can do is not call attention to itself. Never let your technique upstage your subject.
- Never compare your journey with someone else’s. It’s a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you, may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every runner has his own pace. Your journey is your journey, not a competition. You will never “arrive”. No one ever does.
- Embrace frustration. It pushes you to learn and grow, broadens your horizons, and lights a fire under you when your work has gone cold. Nothing is more dangerous to an artist than complacency.
Decided to give this thread another chance... Great...
I think Ian and and Agetan have posted/forwarded very good advice, instead of some who give ambiguous or demoralizing answers.