Here is a business model to follow - Peter Lik
Gotta Love it
I don't know how good of a photographer you are, but don't quit your day job unless you are independently wealthy. If you love doing photography though, keep doing it. No one can take that away from you.
Somewhere along the way I became a "professional photographer" for income tax reasons, and many of my habits lent in that direction. But instead of a goal of supporting myself fully from my landscape photography, I opted for living, as an artist, a life of photography. Raising a set of triplet boys (now 13-yrs old) influences that "life of photography" a bit, but working halftime as the university's darkroom tech keeps me centered. A lot of good students pass through the program...and since I am not a professor, I tend to work with students who come to me for help or to bounce ideas off of. It keeps photography fresh. Finding images and making prints are my primary focus, but I like the balance I have struck.
Giving workshops reminds me of my years building and maintaining wilderness trails. Up at first light, turn the mules out to graze, get the fire going for coffee and breakfast. Work for 8 or so hours with pickaxes, crosscut saws, McLeods, shovels, Polaskis, pack saddles, and mule-headed mules -- then make camp, turn the mules loose again to graze, get a fire going, cook dinner, and wash the dishes just before the sun sets. A long day, but a lot got done. It is satisfying work and at the end of the day, one can turn around and see the progress and achievements of the day. And I will no more be rich from giving workshops than I would by packing mules and building trails. But they are enjoyable ways to live, and in both cases one works hard -- both are worthwhile work, and worthwhile things are worth doing well.
My present circumstances dictate that I increase the amount that photography contributes to my overall income. Fortunately, those present circumstances also have given me every other week to concentrate on my photography. For the last 4 months I have been able to add (after expenses) about 50 percent more to my usual take-home pay through workshops and print sales. I do not expect to keep that up, but I won't complain if I do.
Like they say, it is not just the destination, but also the journey that is important. So I figure a job/profession is not just the path to retirement.
"But I've also met photographers that take their own pictures, print them, frame them in cheezy frames, and sell them at local markets for say $100 for a 20x24. And they are there, year after year with a big pile of cash in their pocket." I've been attending art fairs for decades and really suspect a lot of the "photographers" are selling stock that they have purchased, see the same photos too many different places. Better to take up a sure fire career like rock music or football star than landscape photography. Once you start trying to make a living from art, it's just a product and there's a LOT of this product out there, better to sell something else...EC
"Wedding photography, a different thing from landscape photography, the OP's premise...Evan Clarke"
I make landscape photographs at every wedding. I think they're called environmental photographs. I get to some pretty beautiful places. Many weddings today take place at venues other than a church. Some even in a beautiful location that would make into some nice landscape photographs! It's that I have people in my landscapes and I'm hired to make the photographs!
At any rate, you are correct, the thread was started on the premise of landscape photography, most likely w/o people in them but I don't know for sure. I point out what I do as I've made some money doing what I do. Wasn't that a consideration of the OP's?