My old posts keep getting bumped, for some reason?! This is the second one from over 3 years ago in less than a week.
It was nearly 3 years ago that I posted this little pearler. Glad to see it has attracted so much interest though. But yeah, since posting I came to a very significant reality - it's far nicer doing landscape photography for fun and the serene peace one obtains whilst doing it under those conditions instead of "If I get there for 05:30 I might just make it to the top of the hill and catch the sunrise and make a print I can sell for £100"....not for me, not anymore. If one or two of my prints happen to sell as a side-effect, then great. But I'm not actively trying to market like that. I enjoy far more just doing photography.
Brian is exactly right. Even commercial photography, where one has better, although still long odds, of doing well financially, is dominated by shrewd businessmen who happen to be photographers. Myself, I was a photographer first, and had to learn several things the hard way, first, I had to learn the business part, and then, finally, I learned the thing that put me over the hump, which is to be able to firmly yet kindly utter the magic word, "No".
If I hadn't learned that word, I would quite seriously work seven days a week year in and year out for almost no money.
Agree with most of the posts here. A picture library manager summed up the situation to me a while ago, by saying: "The problem these days is everyone's at it, and editors are more concerned in these hard economic times of getting something "on the cheap". Quality is a secondary consideration. Unfortunately, there's an endless stream of young hopefuls frantic to get their foot in the door, so they let their pictures go for peanuts".
The few who earn a living of sorts, usually shoot on 4x5 cameras. Even they usually have to supplement their income by doing lecture tours, holding "lessons in landscape" at prime locations etc.
Travel & Landscape has been possibly the main victim of digital. Even those calendar etc. markets who still prefer film based material, aren't paying realistic fees that will support a professional.
When I was in my late teens, I aspired to be a professional photographer. While I did intern and fall under the wing of some "average" folk in terms of mentoring, I always looked past them, to the ones who did the very best work and had the greatest success.
In other words, even though I respected and acknowledged those who were climbing the ladder, I aspired to the highest levels of talent and success in photography and kept that in my sights as the primary goal. I also did not listen to people who now post things like they would rather be a plumber than a photographer or even my dad grinding away at dentures in his home dental tech lab saying "Why are you wasting money on camera crap when you could be saving up for a car? Every boy and his dog wants to be a photographer".
I have spent the last 23 years of my 45 year old life as a full time professional photographer, in regard to the majority of those who earn a full time living at anything in photography, I am considered fairly successful in terms of what I get paid and what I get paid to shoot and that has mostly been the case in the past 10 years. I am now in transition to doing nothing but wet print based fine art work for the rest of my career, a lot of it landscapes. I succeeded in the first 23 years because I listened to *my* inner voice, I made my sacrifices and I emerged from my nightmares to live my dreams...
If you want to be a successful at anything, you have to know deeply where your strengths and talents lie, you have to be honest with your self about your abilities and build off of those strengths and talents and ultimately, you have to focus on those who are making it happen, not those who are not.
People who succeed don't just believe they could, they know they will....and they are.
Paraphrased, the words of David Little, curator of photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts - "Regardless of how much photography exists in the world, the cream tends to float to the top".