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  1. #1

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    How do you make money in your photography?

    This is probably not the best place to post this question, but I put it here because a lot of the Medium Format people talk about using their equipment for portraits and such. So I'm curious, in what area if any do you make most of your money in a photography related endevor? Is it, portraits, fine art, weddings, stock, business portraits and sales, or any others that I missed. You might narrow it down a little more if for example you answer portraits, are you refering to H.S. seniors, or families. If you use MF for one of these but for fine art for example you use a LF camera, please indicate that. Thanks. Ric.

  2. #2
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Let's see...how do I make money in my photography...umm, uhhhh. Well, uh... I don't.

    Was I supposed to?
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  3. #3
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Get paid as much as possible and spend as little time as is necessary to get paid that much.

    I am not a professional (never wanted to be), though I did entirely support myself with photography for about two years recently. That was being the staff photographer for an estate sales company. I shot advertising pix of the estates and of the in-house showroom, pictures for E-Bay auctions (mostly on white backdrops), and whatever other pix the company needed. I shot small jpegs with a Canon 20D in studio and RAW on location, and I used a 50mm macro and a kit zoom lens for everything. I used Digital Photo Professional to "prepare" the pictures for the Internet. I set it up to be quick and painless, avoiding RAW for most things (shot it about once per week), and avoiding Photoshop altogether. I'd usually shoot and process an average of 100 to 200 pictures a day. It was a "living" briefly ($15 an hour 30 to 40 hours a week was not terrible for doing something super easy that I already knew how to do), but not what I would consider a "career."

    I also shot for two smallish newspapers for a few years, but they were both ridiculous companies, and I made very little. I did enjoy shooting, and I got to meet lots of nice people, including some of my favorite journalists. However, never again, unless it is for a proper news agency with a sane management, shooting real world events.

    Now I have a job that is not related to photography (I work at a hospital), but it is 40 hours and free benefits. Maybe once every month or so I will be a second shooter at a wedding. Depending on the client, this is digital or film. Again, not a living, but supplemental income for doing something easy that I already know how to do is better than a kick in the head!

    For the future, I actually would not mind doing more weddings. As I said, they are easy and pay well. However, I do not want to run a business alone. I have a few friends, and we may get together and work on the idea for a wedding shooting company in the next few years. Ideally, I'd be the staff photographer for some industrial or technical company. I would also be a globetrotting photojournalist in a second. I am not actually pursuing either of these paths, though. We'll see what happens. I ain't quitting my day job.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 11-28-2010 at 12:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  4. #4
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    In the many years I've been a photographer I've spent much more on my photography than I have ever made from it, if you want to make money Ric choose something else.
    Ben

  5. #5

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    I was a "PRO" shooter/writer for a daily newspaper for 7 years in my 20s - lots of fun, lots of experiences, meager living. Over the last 25 years, I've made much more money teaching what I learned in those 7 years.
    I think that's the case - the steadier money is in the teaching - in most activities where there are a large number of amateur practitioners.

  6. #6
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyoung View Post
    I was a "PRO" shooter/writer for a daily newspaper for 7 years in my 20s - lots of fun, lots of experiences, meager living. Over the last 25 years, I've made much more money teaching what I learned in those 7 years.
    I think that's the case - the steadier money is in the teaching - in most activities where there are a large number of amateur practitioners.
    Do you teach photojournalism specifically?
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    Do you teach photojournalism specifically?
    Did. Now retired.

    I found my niche early in the 80s because I was willing and could write and shoot in an era when the business was starting to change and most "photojournalists" were yelling and screaming at their editors that they were shooters not writers.

    And that's the way I prepped my PJ students, to be able to get pictures under almost any conditions AND bring home the story to go with them.

    I've also done general interest/continuing ed kinds of workshops and camera club critique sessions for adult amateurs from time to time.

  8. #8

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    I'm one of the lucky few who actually makes a decent living doing photography. The trick is finding a specific niche in which to prosper. In my case, I am the in house photographer for a high end collectibles company. We grade and authenticate a lot of stuff, and my job is mainly photographing coins for use in auctions, our research, customers, and for our online applications (reference sites, iphone apps etc).

    I get to travel a fair bit if you can believe that. I actually did some work with the Smithsonian's collection a couple of weeks ago.

    But bear in mind that it can test your sanity. Imagine, having to photograph several hundred little coins in an afternoon. And photographing them is one thing - post is another!

    But having said that, my digital work on the weekdays allows me to comfortably enjoy exploring analog on the weekends.

  9. #9
    Jesper's Avatar
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    Once I made a meager living as a photographer with IT as a hobby.
    Then I realized what a stupid idea this was (from an economic point of view).
    Now I work in IT with photography as a hobby.

  10. #10
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    I trade photographs informally for offroading parts.

    Steve
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails GX0U6351.JPG  
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

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