Test of Passion
Less free time
Tough work conditions
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If you think about it, every job on this planet has its difficulties. No one who has to work for a living has it easy, unless they really love what they are doing and that is the ideal case.
Some jobs are harder than others and require different levels of education and preparation.
What’s different about photography is that it's somewhere on the border of art and real life job. It can easily be both. There are sports photographers and there are people like Andreas Gursky who sell their photographs for millions of dollars. It is a vast medium that is enjoying growing popularity among all types of people. So much popularity that the overall industry is going through important changes because of all the people who want to be professional photographers, or better said want to make a living from taking pictures. It sounds so romantic, I know.
With no intention of discouraging anyone, I want to shine a light on the main difficulties a photographer can face in his life. I want you to see this as a rational approach and I hope it will help you get a clearer sense of what probably most photographers, good and bad have to go through.
Most successful careers are born from of passion. With photography things are different because it’s all passion. You can have a successful career just by falling in love with taking pictures. No formal education required. The only problem is that once you do something you love every day, sometimes until the late hours of the night, it tends to get a little less fun. The passion that once started it all can sustain serious damage. It’s like having to eat your favorite meal every day or hearing your favorite band over and over, with little variation.
I have no idea how many times I’ve had people tell me how jealous they are of my free time. It’s happened a lot. The looks on their faces once I would tell them they were wrong were also worth capturing. As a freelance photographer, you either work hard or starve. And you don’t do it from nine to five, you to it from nine to nine or often past midnight. If you really want time away from work, get a normal job that lets you do whatever you want once you get home and has paid vacations.
Everybody knows photography is expensive. The gear costs a lot and you have to upgrade every few years to stay competitive.
Insurance, dental, vacations…you have to pay for everything out of your own pocket. That means a constant flow of work and that alone is one of the toughest challenges you will have to face.
This really is up to the kind of photography you want to do, but think about nature and wildlife photographers, photojournalists and not to mention war photographers. The things you have to do and the places you have to go for an amazing photograph can leave you speechless, regardless of your creative imagination.
Yes, I know that almost every job on the planet involves competition. But not the “I just bought a DSLR and I want to be a photographer now” kind of competition. Countless pros have gone out of business because taking a technically correct picture isn’t hard anymore. And because the supply is far greater than the demand, that means that each time you get a job, you are taking another two, or five or ten photographers’ bread of the table.