Money question

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by LucRoMar, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. LucRoMar

    LucRoMar Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I don't really know if this sould be asked, if this is not a good post, I would agree as to it being deleted, but I felt I wanted to ask anyway :

    Are we all mostly hobbyist or are there some pro spending time here too ?

    And how do you manage the cost of it all ? do you use your skill for some assigments as a side job or do you keep it as a pure hobby and just bear with the cost of it all ?

    I only starting to do some B/W work so I have a lot to discover but I'm afraid of doing wrong choices, I would love to try and do some color stuff too ;-)

    Thanks,

    Luc
     
  2. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    I have a full time job and do photography as a passionate hobby. Though since I've always been a "trader" (ebayer since 2002), in addition to plowing hard-earned cash into it I always have had a tendency, no matter what hobby I've been doing, to find a way to buy and sell gear to finance part of my own consumption.
     
  3. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    An ex-pro here. I quit photography as a career at age 30 (!) and returned to school to do a finance degree. My present position allows me to indulge in what is now my hobby to my heart's content. I don't get terribly concerned about cost; most of what gets my blood up is the diminishing options available to analog shooters.

    While I continue to shoot both E6 color (working on a HUGE stash of E100G/VS in my deep-freeze in 35mm and 120) and black and white (I am a huge fan of PanF Plus/FP4 Plus/HP5 Plus and Tri-X), my darkroom (a.k.a. the guest bathroom in my townhouse) is set up to do only the latter. When E6 has run its course, all my analog shooting will be in monochrome.
     
  4. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    This is a diverse group. Some fulltime pros, some semi-pros (they have non-photo jobs but earn extra $$$ doing weddings and such), and amateurs. I was a fulltime professional doing fine art and commercial work until the beginning of this year, when I began teaching literature fulltime at a local high school. I still do photography though, and it makes me a decent amount of money still. The economy had gotten so bad last year that I had to find a real job to pay my bills, few prints sold last year.
     
  5. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I'm strictly a hobbyist and now retired from engineering and software development. I have sold a few prints and gathered an occasional award in a show, but my net annual gain (which still includes occasional gear acquisition) is probably in excess of minus one thousand dollars. I mean, what the heck, I don't do drugs, race motorcycles or sports cars ...

    Many years back, I shot a few B&W advertizing photos for some friends, but I concluded the quickest way to take the joy out of a hobby is to make it a business.
     
  6. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Purely a hobby for me, but I only shoot a few rolls/sheets a month, so the expense is pretty manageable.
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Mine is strictly a hobby.

    I have a daytime job in IT industry. I have a history of having a passionate hobby and eventually turning into a money making carrier. That has happened to me several times but I am determined to not make photography a profession. I do take family portraits and such for my coworkers and friends but I do not accept payment. Occasionally I receive a "thank you" gift but I am known to return what I consider more than a token gesture.

    When a passion turns into a carrier, it eventually takes fun out of it. When money gets involved, then there will have to be some cost vs profit analysis done. If you are a younger person, making hobby an occupation may sound like a dream-come-true but having being there and done it few times, I don't want to do it again.

    With that said though, what started as a hobby (IT stuff) has turned into a lasting and rewarding carrier. If that's the direction you want to go with your photography, I don't discourage it. Just be aware, doing something has a profession is an entirely different ballgame than doing it as a hobby. In the end, you will lose your hobby.

    Think about that.
     
  8. LucRoMar

    LucRoMar Member

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    Thanks you all for the feedback, indeed this is a diverse group, at least what we spend on film might help keep some of the emulsions alive.
    I guess I can try to spread te joy of shooting film too, I'm trying to convince a colleague that he should give it a try but it is not that easy t ogive up free shooting with a DSLR.

    I like the fact that when you have done your exposure, you still have to get your dev right and then enlarge it to reap all the film beauty ;-)
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Another amateur here.

    During working hours I am a combination of electronic and mechanical design engineer, CNC machinist and general test equipment and assembly jig builder.

    And as you can probably tell, I play guitar too.


    Steve.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Be aware though, this IS a diverse group in terms of THAT, too...

    Some of us are analog only. Some of us are both. Some of us do hybrid. Many of us are pure wet room. Personally, I shoot film when I do B&W and digital when I do color. I do it because this combination gives me what I want. Also, doing digital manipulation looks and feels so much like work. (I'm an IT guy) There's something magical (and maddening!) about darkroom process, too.

    Those of us who do other than pure analog work just don't talk about the other side here out of courtesy and per forum rule.
     
  11. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Unless you are highly successful at it, then you are living a way that most can only dream of and that is far better than a hobby. If the day ever comes that I can no longer earn a comfortable full time living off of photography, then I doubt I would do it even as a hobby because I would not have nearly the time or freedom to do what I want, when I want like I do now.
     
  12. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I wouldn't even call myself an amateur. I mostly take color snapshots; my memories.

    As for money; I buy film as funds allow, and most of my darkroom equipment is second-hand. I always have a few rolls around the house.

    I tried to estimate what film and processing/printing (both at home and from a lab) as well as chemicals and used darkroom equipment have cost me in the past 10 years. I don't think it is near the cost of a good (but not top-of-the-line) _full-frame_ DSLR; and this is not including the requisite computer software and hardware to equal a cheap darkroom setup for my admitted snap-shot-centric photography.
    If I extrapolate back through my entire life, compared to today, film & processing was cheaper and digital (once it surfaced) was more expensive. Considering I'd be on a second DSLR if I'd went that route (you know, upgrades, etc.), I think my film habit still works out cheaper.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    When I was younger, I worked in photographic related jobs (colour printer, black and white darkroom technician, camera store salesman) and had a small part-time photography business doing weddings, portraits and some commercial work.

    I spent a fair amount of time around a number of full time professional photographers (mostly small studios that did a lot of wedding and portrait work). Based on my observations there, I decided not to pursue that as a career. It was my sense that the most financially successful professional photographers (within that genre) were successful because of their sales abilities first, their business acumen second, and finally their photographic skills, enthusiasm and talent (a somewhat distant third).

    I decided at that time to preserve my joy in photography by looking elsewhere for a career.

    Since then, I have at various times sold some work, but not a lot.

    Photography is a hobby that I devote appropriate amounts of money to. I don't see that changing, although I'm still trying to figure out a good way to stretch my budget this month to buy that 16x20 easel that bjsmith7474 has for sale in the classifieds:wink:
     
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  15. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    37 years as a pro studio/outdoors family portrait photographer. 30 years analog, now digital.
     
  16. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Hobby. But, more than that, I think of it as therapy. I was a very serious and dedicated smoker for about 23 years. That was my hobby. When looking for a way to stop, I (finally) realized that I couldn't afford to buy cigarettes if all that money was wrapped up in photography, an old hobby revisited. Within a short time I was so absorbed in the photography hobby, I couldn't find the time to even "think" about smoking. That was some 9 years ago . . . Cold turkey, over night. Within a couple of weeks of replacing cigarettes with photography, I was completely cured. No more coughing and hacking, and my sense of smell and taste all returned within a year or so. Things I have learned from this . . . 1. Money can be found, but there will probably be a trade-off. 2. Smoking is not an addiction, it's just a habit. If you want to quit, then change your habit to something that is more interesting (and safer). 3. Now, I have this stupid habit of taking a camera everywhere I go . . .
     
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  17. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Once you have the equipment and if you can avoid GAS (big if) then the costs are manageable if it's a hobby. Cut back when it's a bad month, shoot more when it's a good month.
     
  18. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I worked professionally producing landscape and scenic images from 1994 to 2010,, but my skills in photography started in 1977. Now semi-retired, producing prints for my own pleasure and possible sale through the hybrid process (previously it was 100% Ilfochrome Classic). As a business, the analogue photography model is dead. Competition, particularly from digital "professionals" is your greatest threat: it's speed and quality appeals to the masses. Ensuring there is money coming through the door immediately something is sold (and not writing an invoice and hoping for the best) is an essential discipline for survival. The arrangement I had was that if a purchase was confirmed, a 20% deposit was required and the balance paid within 21 days, and in 90% of cases it was.

    All this put food on the table, fed the dog, put petrol in the car and allowed me to actively travel locally, interstate and overseas.

    Photography is expensive, any which way you look at it. Equipment, studio space, exhibition/gallery space, rent, electricity, water, gas... everything has to come out of what you are selling, or some other peripheral income, such as an Arts Council grant (in Australia). There are plenty of professionals in Australia doing it tough because digital has made it so much more difficult to be the leader of the pack; if you're only analogue, it will be impossible to be "different", "better" or more "desirable". And the biggest, boldest, baddest, wings-n-things DLSR, or any other camera, is not the answer. To get ahead now you need business acumen and the ability to reach out and touch people with your work, to network and blend in, and have people coming back. Corporate, advertising, weddings, stock and the like are sure-fire winners, but your work must be of stellar quality and will never hook people if it is analogue. The world wants their photographs now, not in three hours after a darkroom soiree.
     
  19. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I am more financially successful keeping it a hobby and doing my other job to make money. Keeps photography fun too.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    since about 1988...
     
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  21. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I am not sure why you think this, I am doing very well in using analog, especially with hand made darkroom prints....why do you suppose that is sir?
     
  22. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I am, actually considered as, being highly successful in my chosen field.
     
  23. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Purely a hobby for me, but I do not feel that it is very expensive. My latest purchase was an FM2n that was around $200. I've bought bulk film and develop it myself. Got my enlarger off Craig's list and almost everything else is DIY. I think I will spend a lot more money on photo paper eventually.. that's probably where my biggest expense will be. Still, including 6 or 7 bulk spools of film and everything else, I don't think I've spent as much as my unmentionable camera cost me, and I've got enough supplies to go for a long time.
     
  24. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Was a pro for 8 years to give it up for a day job. Still love my work and photography is just a hobby. Most of my analog gear is 30 years old and I buy used on eBay and thrift stores. My job supports my hobby. Other than photography, I have few other luxuries. I try to live a simple life. I bike to work, pack my lunch and don't have cable. My other splurge is the occasional overseas trip. Hope to retire in 5-10 years to devote to my hobby full time. I slowly saving up to retire.
     
  25. fotch

    fotch Member

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    My photography is split between business and personal. About 60/40, and the business side is mostly for my use, such as selling something or advertising a service, that one would have to pay others to produce a picture. However, I have occasionally done work for others, mostly other businesses, and did it more for the challenge and enjoyment than the money.

    However, it is not how I make my living, nor would I want to make a living at it. I think my contribution to the economy is much greater that way. :smile:

    In any case, I have been fascinated with photography, both picture taking and processing most of my life.
     
  26. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    My photography habit is largely financed by photography work (but I have a fulltime bureaucratic job to pay for everything else in life). 90% of photography work is digital, but the 10% where I get to use analogue MF or LF film is certainly not for want of quality. Some people (other than us) are really into these things (tone, colour, je ne c'est quoi, hand-crafted, etc, etc.) The last commercial job I did on MF (6x4.5) Velvia was very nice quality indeed - I don't know that it's always a speed thing with digital either - from my experience a big factor is the stakeholders like to see, and thus have a say in the process, and screen on the back makes that easier. After editing and so on, the turnaround is often the same.

    Marc!