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When you first decide to turn your passion for photography into a profession, your head is filled with dreams and hopes of how the journey will be like, of what a marvelous career you could have and how famous you could become. Those dreams sure are sweet, but in case you’re still having them, you should expect a cold shower from reality pretty soon. Now, in no way does this mean goals are unachievable or anything like that. On the contrary, but on your way up, you will encounter certain myths about life in professional photography. Some of them might already be familiar to you. Here are some that I have discovered and am now able to talk about rationally.
Myth no. 1 – Professional photographers have their own working hours
It is true for the most part, but exceptions are not rare. Clients usually ask the photographer to shoot at their convenience, and this is probably most obvious to wedding photographers who work on weekends. Also, the best time for a photographer might not be the best time for the available light, so that too is an important factor. The part with not having a fixed schedule is true, but is usually means working more hours than on a 9-5 job.
Myth no. 2 – Photoshop can fix anything.
Everybody has an opinion about this, and while I think of Photoshop as an indispensable tool for a photographer, I don’t believe it to be true. Yes, you can work miracles with it and you can practically redesign the entire picture, but to do so, you have to be more of a digital/3D artist than a photographer. Also, there are things that cannot be simulated in Photoshop, like the effect of a polarizing filter.
Myth no. 3 –If you have a good website, clients will come to you
Yes and no. A good website is a must for any photographer who wants to be taken seriously, but it is by no means a lucky charm. A lot of work comes from the people you meet and the relationships you build over time (most of it in my case anyway). The website is your online portfolio that any potential client has access to, so that they can determine if you’re right for their needs or not. This is where blogging and SEO come in handy, but at the end of the day I would much rather have my website referenced to a new client by an existing one.
Myth no.4 - Professional photography is dying
It’s not. Some genres might be, and others don’t pay as much as they used to, but in the big picture, there will always be a need for quality photographs. This doesn’t mean it is not constantly changing, because it is, but in no way is it a terminal change.
Myth no. 5 – Making money from photography is hard.
Nope. It isn’t hard to make money from photography. Making a decent living however, is a different story. There’s even a cool joke about it: “Question: what’s the difference between an extra-large pizza and a photographer? Answer: the pizza can feed a family of four.” It’s a bit harder than it used to be, especially if you’re not working in a genre that has a decent market demand, but it is still perfectly doable.
Myth no. 6- Pro Photographers shoot what they love
They do, but only sometimes. Most of the times it’s just about what the client wants and that can be fun or not. It usually isn’t, but don’t tell anyone.
Myth no. 7 – The photographer gets involved with the model
Nobody ever tells.