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Think that photography is all glitz and glam?
Running a successful photography business is not what it appears in movies - you don't just show up and press a few buttons and wash your hands of the rest of it.
In fact, the daily grind for photographers is far less glamorous.
If you're keen on becoming a professional photographer, there's a few things you should know about what your day-to-day life will be like.
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Daily Life as a Photographer - Tons of Administrative Stuff
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Unless you have a couple of assistants to handle the day's menial tasks, a big chunk of your time will be spent not behind the lens but on the phone or in front of a computer.
You'll need time each day to return phone calls, read and respond to emails, chase down clients that haven't paid, make bank deposits and withdrawals, and so forth.
Sound like fun? No, of course not.
But these are all necessary parts of the job of running a photography business!
What You Do as a Photographer - Prep and Plan
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As nice as it would be to arrive at a shoot location or arrive at your studio and find absolutely everything in perfect order, that's just not how it works.
Instead, whether you're a wedding photographer, a landscape photographer, or something in between, you'll have to put in hours and hours of prepping and planning to pull off each photo shoot to a level that you want and the client expects.
That includes time to actually get to know the client and their wants.
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If shooting on location, that also includes time touring the venue, investigating how the light is at different points throughout the day, and identifying precise spots where you can set up to take photos.
In fact, you'll spend more time working without your camera than you will actually looking through the viewfinder!
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Meeting With Clients
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To build off the previous point, part of your planning and prepping routine is going to be meeting with clients.
In fact, you'll likely spend more time meeting with them before the photo shoot than you actually spend taking their photos.
Meeting with clients is crucial to your success because you need to get to know who these people are in order to capture the best photos of them.
It's almost like going on a first date - you need to be engaged, interested in what they're saying, and ask a ton of questions - and listen to their answers, that way you understand exactly what it is that they want.
If you're a portrait photographer, for example, you need to ask what the client's aesthetic is. If it's conservative, then asking them to do something edgy like the image below isn't a great plan.
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Additionally, there's plenty of time after the photo shoot that's dedicated to clients.
You'll need to call them and email them with updates. You'll spend a great deal of time editing their photos, too.
Add in the time it takes to draw up invoices, track time, bill clients, recruit new clients, engaging in marketing activities to attract people to your work, and so forth, and you can see just how much time is spent away from the camera.
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This can be a little disheartening for some new photographers because photographers are supposed to take photos, right?
So why is so little of each day devoted to actually taking photos?
The simple answer is this - photography as a business is a business, not a fun hobby you do whenever you want.
If you're a professional, you obviously have the skills and talents to be a photographer, so it makes sense to want to spend most of your day doing what you love.
But just taking photos isn't going to bring the money home. Instead, each day as a photographer is filled with all these non-photography tasks that are necessary to make a buck.
If you want to be a photographer for the glitz and glam, trust me, you'll be disappointed!