Thanks to all that responded. I got interested in stock photography a few years ago and read up on all the stuff Rohn Engh had at Photosource.com. First they said to take slides or black and white, so after doing that, now they say you really need digital. However the hard part is finding a market for your shots and really learning that subject. Ofcourse it helps to write a 1000 word article on what you shot if you want to make a sell. Fine art is great for meeting people at art shows but not for making money I have heard. Weddings are great money makers unless you wake up the day of the wedding with a 102 degree temperature and a desire to sit on the throne. In any of these attempts, if you go through the hassle of filling out income tax forms and buying extra insurance for your vehicle and damage insurance you end up with little to show for it. That is why I was wondering if any of you are making a living off of your photography. Thanks again.
I am an amateur photographer who since a couple of years undertook the stock photography route. That rewarded me with a small sum which is not something one could live upon, or something that would repay all the photographic expense. I see it in another way: I take photograph for passion, and would have spent that time and that money anyway. Stock photography allowed me to stay more "focused" and somehow to enjoy photography even more. Besides, selling one's work is a satisfaction even if one does not get "even" with costs. I recently begun trying to sell some images as fine art through internet. Again I don't expect from this an income, but a form of more general "reward".
As an enthusiast I've made money doing portraits and head shots for actors/models/friends and the odd occasion. I actually made more money in video, but it was professionally. My buddy shoots weddings/portraits/occasions etc and barely gets by. They usually want him for altar returns and only the occasional reception. The middle class is cheap in Florida and customers don't want to pay much, especially nowadays. Your doing good to sell a $800 wedding, but there are months that no work come in.
As has been discussed over the last ten years here in threads and elsewhere, many with a digital camera came to considers themselves a photographer and sought to become wedding photographers, whether by choice or by a request from a friend getting married. Eight years ago or so the market income was practically cut in half down home due to advances in digital cameras and the plethora of art students looking to make money after school. That was approximately when labs started going out of business. So it's a tough biz. You need a good book, lots of contacts or work for a bigger shop booking dates. As a individual, if you can hook up with a DJ and grease their palm you'll do better, which my friend does, but it's still hard. I believe tho that it depends on the region your in. I've seen some very prolific companies/ individuals doing quite well in the past but from areas of the nation where money still flows.
income from photography
I did a few weddings and made some ok money. I even did all my own printing. I had my own colour darkroom at the time. What I found out, was it seemed to take away my love for photography for awhile. I lost interest because it became too much like work. I'm not saying that others wouldn't thrive and totally enjoy doing the same, but in my case my creative process did't seem to involve making money.
I do my best to sell my work through galleries, Juried art festivals, lectures, and I teach both at an art center in Park City, Utah as well as out of my own darkroom.
In the 90's I was a photography guide around southern Utah. That's kind of dried up with the Internet, but still do that on occasion.
I should add that I get paid from time to time from the state to photograph endangered sites as well.
i photograph buildings, sites and structures for archives ( state and federal )
and document places for local libraries ( sell them hand stitched books )
do family and individual portraits
and from time to time sell work hanging on a well somewhere ...
all that said, i am glad my better half has a real job with benefits
I'm a full time salaried photographer for a state agency (education) I shoot a lot of very bad "grip and grin" shots - but that is what they want and like and a little bit of video as well. Love my job but it is in the serious Amateur ranks that the "wow" of photography is found.
I actually developed an appreciation of film again due to having to work as a pro - which means digital. I'm of the opinion that the fastest way to ruin a hobby is the do it for a living. Thank god there is film to keep my passion flowing!
I do head shots for community theatre productions 4-5 times a year. I shoot most of them using MF. The key here is turn around. I shoot them on Sunday and have prints ready to display the following Wednesday night when they do dress rehersal. There are typically 15-30 head shots to do, printed two sets 5x7 or 8x10.
On dress rehersal night I take the company photo on the set, and then stills of the performance for their archive. The company photo gets printed about 25 times as a colour 8x10, and the stills get scanned and a CD provided for their archive.
I charge about $300. It basically covers my expenses and pays me a bit per hour.
I actually am a consulting profeesional electrical engineer, so this is a hobby that pales to my full time job. The hobby keeps me sane and pulls me away from the day job, that could otherwise easily become a day and night job and along the way drive me batty.
You can make money doing this? HUH