canon rumors FORUM

Gear Talk => Canon General => Topic started by: nicku on September 19, 2012, 05:55:35 AM

Title: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: nicku on September 19, 2012, 05:55:35 AM
With the release of the new 5D3 and Canon 6D i sow many of the forum users commenting pro/against the camera expressing their opinions about the cameras like their '' living/income depends of those camera bodies'',....

So my question is very simple: How many of us are making money out of photography ???

I will start; my income percentage that i make out of photography  is over 50%. At this moment i still have a regular job ( but not for a long time  ::)  )

A fair answer will be highly appreciated.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: revup67 on September 19, 2012, 11:12:47 PM
Just finally started making income about 2 weeks ago after acquiring a portrait studio and shooting about 15 small businesses, a local rock band along with some post processing and more jobs in the queue.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on September 19, 2012, 11:16:57 PM
I shoot for my online store where I sell thru various venues.  Thus, photography profits are not something that have a calcuable number.  Better images are part of generating more sales, but not anywhere the whole story.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: bdunbar79 on September 19, 2012, 11:33:45 PM
I make less than 25% of my total income from photography.  Which is good considering I only do sports, which is not as high as weddings and senior pictures.  It's also good b/c that means I do okay with my day job  8)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: dr croubie on September 20, 2012, 12:13:34 AM
I had to get a better job to support my lens habit.

$15,000 in the hole and counting ... yet to make a sale ... (yet to try making a sale, check back next year)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: cliffwang on September 20, 2012, 12:43:33 AM
I take pictures for family and friends.  Not for even a penny, but priceless memory.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Unposed-Jeff on September 20, 2012, 01:18:37 AM
My Better half has a part time job during the slow season, but otherwise both of us make all of our money on Weddings and HS Seniors!  And lots of graphic design for those clients!
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Sony on September 20, 2012, 01:19:28 AM
More than $10k for Canon just for love, not a penny back. Have full time job not relating to photography. LOL.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: sheedoe on September 20, 2012, 01:23:46 AM
I started with a 5D2 and a 50mm 1.8 lens about 2 years ago to take pictures of my newborn daughter. Now here I am with $15k+ worth of gear. Had done a couple of paid gigs here and there, but mostly, I use them take pictures of my little girl.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: M.ST on September 20, 2012, 01:32:43 AM
I can live from photography very well.

Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: gilmorephoto on September 20, 2012, 02:02:33 AM
I'm making just enough so far to cover equipment but I've only just begun and its not a full time gig yet.  Gotta start somewhere. 
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Cannon Man on September 20, 2012, 02:19:53 AM
More than $10k for Canon just for love, not a penny back. Have full time job not relating to photography. LOL.

I did that too before but after $20k i started my own photo company 2 years ago.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: picturesbyme on September 20, 2012, 02:46:33 AM
Full Time Fun here :)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: pwp on September 20, 2012, 02:47:02 AM
I heard a quote from a famous Hollywood movie actor saying that it was as simple as heck to make it as an actor.
"Anyone can make it in Hollywood" he said, "all you need is about 25 really lucky breaks".

After more than 25 years in the business I feel privileged to say that photography has delivered  a professionally incredibly satisfying life, and we live well. And no doubt about it, I've had my fair share of lucky breaks.

Another quote from a photographer this time, when asked why he chose his career as a very busy pro shooter...
"...it sure beats the hell out of having to work for a living!"

-PW
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: GT3 on September 20, 2012, 02:59:16 AM
For me it is and will be pure hobby.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: nicku on September 20, 2012, 03:09:44 AM


Another quote from a photographer this time, when asked why he chose his career as a very busy pro shooter...
"...it sure beats the hell out of having to work for a living!"

-PW

What he says is very true...In my case  photography is one thing that i make with joy... and  as a + i make a living out of it.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: dirtcastle on September 20, 2012, 03:11:31 AM
I make my living as a visual designer and Photoshop pro. I often work with photographs, although rarely my own.

I think it would be fantastic to be a pro photographer. But it seems like most of the money is in weddings, events, sports, and glamour shots, which might be great for people who enjoy that sort of thing. But I think I'd probably rather do the post processing for a wedding than actually shoot the damn thing.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: PeterJ on September 20, 2012, 03:14:37 AM
Just finally started making income about 2 weeks ago after acquiring a portrait studio and shooting about 15 small businesses, a local rock band along with some post processing and more jobs in the queue.
I misread that at first as "acquiring a portrait studio and about 15 small businesses" and thought nothing like jumping in ;D.

For me it's only about 1%, the only photography work I bill for are for a few regular clients that know I'm into photography and get me to snap some of the projects I'm working on for them for web pages and promotional stuff so just bill at my usual rate.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: nicku on September 20, 2012, 03:28:45 AM
I make my living as a visual designer and Photoshop pro. I often work with photographs, although rarely my own.

I think it would be fantastic to be a pro photographer. But it seems like most of the money is in weddings, events, sports, and glamour shots, which might be great for people who enjoy that sort of thing. But I think I'd probably rather do the post processing for a wedding than actually shoot the damn thing.

And stock ...
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: dirtcastle on September 20, 2012, 03:49:27 AM
I make my living as a visual designer and Photoshop pro. I often work with photographs, although rarely my own.

I think it would be fantastic to be a pro photographer. But it seems like most of the money is in weddings, events, sports, and glamour shots, which might be great for people who enjoy that sort of thing. But I think I'd probably rather do the post processing for a wedding than actually shoot the damn thing.

And stock ...

Dream job!!
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: paul13walnut5 on September 20, 2012, 04:51:18 AM
I'm a cameraman and video editor.  I have a full time job with Europes biggest newspaper & publishing company, doing UK National tv adverts (mainly after-effect based, with some shooting) internal corporate video, TV award videos, web video and external client work, and I freelance out of hours when a job I like comes along.

I shoot on different cameras for different jobs, but often shoot on DSLRs.  I've made about £1k from stills photography without trying at all, but I earn my living using (in large part) my DSLRs.

So not making money out of photography per se, but making a living with my EOS gear.

Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: AudioGlenn on September 20, 2012, 04:55:46 AM
I had to get a better job to support my lens habit.

$15,000 in the hole and counting ... yet to make a sale ... (yet to try making a sale, check back next year)

I feel much better.  I'm "only" $9k into it and don't make a whole lot of of photography to justify spending that much.  I work with musicians who sometimes want a decent looking youtube video or some pictures taken.  I shoot weddings (photo and video) as a 2nd shooter so I don't make as much there either.    oh gear....
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: RayValdez360 on September 20, 2012, 05:08:58 AM
I have been doing good with it. I am a year in. I spent a few Gs on equipment.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: birtembuk on September 20, 2012, 05:20:22 AM
 :)  I don't make money from photography. But photography makes money from me  :)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: squarebox on September 20, 2012, 05:32:43 AM
Just started getting serious with photographer last year and I'm already $10k+ in the hole with no income from photography.  Though the photographer at my wedding offered to train me how to do wedding photography and be his second shooter for the busy wedding season coming up.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: jVillaPhoto on September 20, 2012, 05:39:25 AM
Currently 21 years old and barely started to try to throw my name out there by any means. Spent over 10k on equiptment thus far (student loans). Shot a couple TV actors, one wedding, and a few musicians which has brought me SOME money. Living off student loans at the moment, so any money earned off shooting is like a luxury.

Yes, I go to photo school too. If I mess up really bad, I'm screwed :o ! But still giving 110%; handing out flyers tomorrow and have some Model Mayhem models lined up to get some decent portfolio work. After portfolio is solid, internship hunting! :)

In other words.... Ten-ish years to go!  :P

Any pros out there, Advice would be wonderful, but the good kind.. No, "just give up and study accounting", because I'm not the quitting type  ;)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: dr croubie on September 20, 2012, 05:58:54 AM
I make my living as a visual designer and Photoshop pro. I often work with photographs, although rarely my own.

I think it would be fantastic to be a pro photographer. But it seems like most of the money is in weddings, events, sports, and glamour shots, which might be great for people who enjoy that sort of thing. But I think I'd probably rather do the post processing for a wedding than actually shoot the damn thing.

And I'd rather just keep shooting, hell, most of my photos i've taken i've just done a batch-raw process and not even looked at. For me, PP is the annoying bit. We'd make a good team...
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: MarioMachado on September 20, 2012, 06:17:27 AM
I work in a cruise ship as a Photographer, so basically I make money out of photography, they do provide cameras (S____ nikon d300s) and I spent over 8K with Canon and I live a life with no regrets :)
Canon the only way! 
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Cannon Man on September 20, 2012, 06:42:48 AM
Currently 21 years old and barely started to try to throw my name out there by any means. Spent over 10k on equiptment thus far (student loans). Shot a couple TV actors, one wedding, and a few musicians which has brought me SOME money. Living off student loans at the moment, so any money earned off shooting is like a luxury.

Yes, I go to photo school too. If I mess up really bad, I'm screwed :o ! But still giving 110%; handing out flyers tomorrow and have some Model Mayhem models lined up to get some decent portfolio work. After portfolio is solid, internship hunting! :)

In other words.... Ten-ish years to go!  :P

Any pros out there, Advice would be wonderful, but the good kind.. No, "just give up and study accounting", because I'm not the quitting type  ;)

My advice is that the moment or soon after your pictures are worth every penny and more that you ask from your future clients you have work. It won't be ten-ish years if your 1. Believe in your self, 2. Have talent, 3. Develope that talent. I started photography about 5 years ago and i have been pro for 2 years now.

I often recieve job applications from photogs and i have not been happy with any of their photos, although they have been to photography schools and i haven't. I am still a "fresh/young" photographer but i am constantly improving.

Last thing: don't quit. (Like you said) Nothing will happen unless you make it happen.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: tron on September 20, 2012, 06:43:01 AM
:)  I don't make money from photography. But photography makes money from me  :)

The same for me. Pretty fun and accurate statement  ;D
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Nick Gombinsky on September 20, 2012, 06:52:41 AM
I'm a DP and a photographer, don't know when exactly became a pro, started studying at 15 and now I'm 24, I think by 19 it was 25% income, 21 50%, and 22 onwards 100%. I often shoot with my 7D and gear but if there is more money then I go RED.

Currently shooting a tv show in an Aspen-like city of Argentina with 2x 5DmkII, 24-70 and 70-200  ;D. Dammit its cold.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: tomscott on September 20, 2012, 07:14:38 AM
Im 24, a graphic designer and photographer for a small newspaper.

I have a BA hons in Graphic design and photography which also helps give people confidence before seeing my work.

I also work as a freelance photographer. Works well for me as everyone knows me through the paper and I get more freelance work  ;D

But shoot motorsport, automotive, weddings and events. Anything else is a bonus.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: mws on September 20, 2012, 07:54:09 AM
I work in a cruise ship as a Photographer, so basically I make money out of photography, they do provide cameras (S___ nikon d300s) and I spent over 8K with Canon and I live a life with no regrets :)
Canon the only way!

That's either very enjoyable or incredibly monotonous.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: dolina on September 20, 2012, 07:57:30 AM
Canon's the only one making money here.  ;D
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: rpt on September 20, 2012, 08:01:17 AM
Its a hobby. Have not earned money from it but published a few photos in a magazine.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: pdirestajr on September 20, 2012, 08:07:08 AM
I went to SVA (School of Visual Arts) and majored in illustration, have been a professional designer for over 10 years, but all I want to do is photography. I've slowly incorporated photography into my workflow that it is now a big part of my day-to-day. I also do freelance photography on the side.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: jsexton on September 20, 2012, 08:25:11 AM
Canon gets the money but I get the enjoyment of the travel and the memories from the pictures.  No real plan to go into it as a business at this point.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: paul13walnut5 on September 20, 2012, 08:48:40 AM
@JVillaPhoto
Quote
Any pros out there, Advice would be wonderful, but the good kind.. No, "just give up and study accounting", because I'm not the quitting type

Arrive Early.
Be prepared to stay late.

If you don't know, say so. 
If you don't know, not only say so, but make it your mission to find out for next time.

Use as much gear as you can.  Hire.  Borrow. 

There are some great books written 30 years ago.  Apertures and shutters are still the same.  Read.  Your manual.  Magazines.  Books.  Forums.

Don't believe everything you read.

Research.  Location?  Get on Google Earth.  Google Streetview.  Use The Photographers Ephemeris.  Where will the sun be?  When?  How high in the sky?  Get on flickr.  See how other folk have tackled it, work out how you are going to tackle it.

Plan plan plan.  Don't carry every bit of kit you own.  Know what you'll need.  No more, no less.  Except for batteries and memory.  How much will you need?  Take double.

Be nice.

Make sure every job has a benefit for you.  Sometimes this is only money.  Sometimes it will be a notable face that will enhance your portfolio.  Sometimes it will be a tricky situation or technical set up.  Sometimes it will be all three.

Charge a rate.  ALWAYS charge a rate.  ALWAYS charge a rate.  Be it mates rates for mates.  Be it charity rates for charities.  Be it the union rate.  Always charge for your time, that way it's worth something to your client.  People don't properly attribute value or worth to folk doing freebies.  As soon as you are charging then folk will take your calls, will be there when they say they will, will go in with a plan.

This last point is the last single most important lesson somebody new to creative work can learn.  Your time is worth something.  Make the material good and they'll come back.  You want repeat work.  Do it free or cheap the first time and you've set your rate for the relationship.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Viggo on September 20, 2012, 09:26:10 AM
I have no idea how many thousands I have sold and bought in Canon-gear, but I'm very sure I haven't made any of it back. Done a couple of concert shoots for some magazines and two weddings for a friend and my brother (and never ever again) and that's about it. For me it's about the hobby aspect, as soons as deadlines and clients come into it it takes away the fun for me. I need to have a hobby to relaz with. And mostly it's for my kids, they can pretty much go through every day of their lives and have pictures by the hour ;D

I have always worked in stores where I sell photo-gear so I think gear is just as much fun (when they work!!) as pictures and memories, well, almost.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Invertalon on September 20, 2012, 09:49:41 AM
I recently had my first paid job a few months ago for a company. The photographer they used basically said no more and my friends wife is head of marketing... So he told her about me and in a nutshell I got the job last minute.

Had to shoot a few images for a trade magazine (cover and images inside). I was paid around $700 for 9 images.

They must of liked the images, thankfully, because I was invited to shoot their Holiday Party in December for even more money.

So I have a little something going with this company which is nice... Hopefully it continues with a few events each year! I also have a lead with another company that may turn into something, but the chances are a bit more slim with that.

But I never really expected to make money from my hobby... I don't require it, but it is nice to say the least. Especially when it is stuff I am comfortable with (basically anything but formal portraits).
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: DCM1024 on September 20, 2012, 09:56:38 AM
This has been the first year that photography has generated a significant part of my income. No plans to give up my day job, but have considered backing off from a 40 hour week to 30. Will wait and see if the volume of photo jobs (weddings, portrait, boudoir) hold up as I have recently increased rates.

This year I purchased a 7d, 5d2, lenses and a pimped out gaming laptop for editing, etc. Photography paid for all of that with money to spare. I wouldn't have made it this far without my boyfriend pushing me. He was the one who insisted I shoot more people, made arrangements for me to shoot fashion for a local modeling agency and dragged me to weddings (I seriously kicked and screamed, but now I'm having fun).

The downside? I don't get to shoot for fun as much as I'd like and I could live without editing. Between a 40 hour work week, weddings virtually every weekend and editing I probably put in 60-70 hours per week.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: extremeinstability on September 20, 2012, 10:02:43 AM
100% income from this last 8 years.  It's never been enough to justify much gear and so has actually been done on the back of the rebel line the whole time, minus 6 months or so with a 5D II. 
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: awinphoto on September 20, 2012, 10:09:31 AM
100% for the last 7 years give or take... and then around 30-50% before then...  Between photography expenses, kids, daycare, mortgages, gas, utilities, car notes, crappy economy, etc... not much going into savings accounts, but we are doing ok...
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: bdunbar79 on September 20, 2012, 10:12:12 AM
A few reasons I don't do it full time is that in the U.S., most photography jobs are your own business.  At least the ones that make money.  So then I lose health care and 401k.  I'm too scared to lose those I suppose.  I can't get the math to work out to make as much money or more, factoring this in, with just doing photography vs. a full-time job with benefits and 401k, and doing photography as a second job.  I'm sure it's done, I just don't know how and perhaps I don't have the "guts" to do it. 
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: lipe on September 20, 2012, 10:18:55 AM
love this hobby
i mean i want to find job too but haven't really tried to find it hard enough.

I still enjoy it very much

I am not sure if I take it as a job, will it be fun like going out to take something I like...
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: willis on September 20, 2012, 10:30:53 AM
Currently I'm not getting anything but great feeling out of great shots but few times I've thought that I could do some freelancer stuff.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: unfocused on September 20, 2012, 10:31:34 AM
I used to work as a small newspaper photographer, many many years ago.

Got tired of being poor. Spent most of my career managing a communications staff in the public sector. Writers, photographer, graphic designer, web and social media folks, etc. That allows me to enjoy photography as a hobby. I've considered it as a retirement option. I have 4-5 years to experiment before retirement.

Someone asked for advice. Not sure some would consider me qualified since I don't earn a living in the business now, but a lesson I learned when I was working full time as a news photographer and which has served me well in all endeavors is this: it's not about the light, the bokeh, the focus or any of that. It's about the people. If they don't like you, they won't like your pictures. If they like  you, they'll love your pictures.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Chuck Alaimo on September 20, 2012, 10:41:53 AM
100%, but my general expenses are very low at the moment.  2 years going for it pro.  Last year income was around 12K - this year looking to be 21/22k.  So by next year I should be a whole lot closer to sustainable income, and if I can keep up the hustle, I should see more and more income each year (or course with that comes more and more expenses!!!!)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: DCM1024 on September 20, 2012, 10:51:59 AM
Someone asked for advice. Not sure some would consider me qualified since I don't earn a living in the business now, but a lesson I learned when I was working full time as a news photographer and which has served me well in all endeavors is this: it's not about the light, the bokeh, the focus or any of that. It's about the people. If they don't like you, they won't like your pictures. If they like  you, they'll love your pictures.

+1 I'm a people person and clients often treat me like part of the family.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: silversurfer96 on September 20, 2012, 11:13:21 AM
No money here...  Just for the love of photography.  Just another uncle Bob the photographer.  It's mainly to keep a photojournal of my kids in their growing years and every one else that matters to me.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Axilrod on September 20, 2012, 11:50:15 AM
I make money shooting video with photography gear, does that count?
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: YellowJersey on September 20, 2012, 12:18:35 PM
I don't make any money off of it, but I'm not really sure I want to. You see, I never want photography to stop being fun and I worry that if I tried to make money off of it then it would become more about the money and less about actually enjoying myself. I'd rather be less wealthy and having fun than more wealthy and not having fun or not having as much fun.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: bp on September 20, 2012, 01:03:52 PM
Personally, I make enough from shooting that, if I did quit (or lose) the day job, I could probably scrape by and survive on it alone.  I'd have to stop buying gear, because then all my photo/video money would have to go to bills.  Right now, I'm playing both sides of the fence, and I'm able to pour all the money I make shooting, back into more (and better quality) gear, with a little left over because I've sorta run out of things I want to buy - which then in turn allows me to charge higher rates and take on more ambitious gigs.

In the back of my mind, I always say "hey, if I can get this to a point where it could take over, I could quit my life-sucking day job and just do this full time!"... but I know me.  The more likely reality is that I'll probably just keep doing both for as long as I can feasibly juggle the two...  I've done 100% freelance for years at a time in the past, and it was very feast-and-famine - so inconsistent.   The day job sorta sucks my life away, but the paychecks are good and they roll in like clockwork.  I try to look at it like it's my most frequent client - boring as it may be.  But I am also very happy to have photo/video as my slightly less lucrative "plan b" in case something happens.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: nicku on September 20, 2012, 01:09:50 PM
Personally, I make enough from shooting that, if I did quit (or lose) the day job, I could probably scrape by and survive on it alone.

In the back of my mind, I always say "hey, if I can get this to a point where it could take over, I could quit my life-sucking day job and just do this full time!"... but I know me.  The more likely reality is that I'll probably just keep doing both for as long as I can feasibly juggle the two...

 :o :o :o.  you read my thoughts... I'm exactly in the same situation.  ::) WOW
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: sb on September 20, 2012, 01:14:11 PM
"hey, if I can get this to a point where it could take over, I could quit my life-sucking day job and just do this full time!"...

LOL I felt like that for years and solved that problem by getting a way better full time job :-)  Now my full time job makes shooting weddings look like vacation in Aruba, and I will actually start shooting LESS :-) I want my hobby back, I don't care for a second job anymore :-)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Tammy on September 20, 2012, 01:19:35 PM
Currently I am fortunate to make enough doing my 9-4 that it funds the purchase of my gear and I am able to approach photography merely as a hobby. I remain open to taking freelance paid gigs here and there but have found that I generally value my free time more than the pay+work.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: KitsVancouver on September 20, 2012, 01:48:21 PM
This is a total guess, but I'll bet the majority of people on gear forums who can afford the best gear, can't afford to leave their existing job to do photography.  I don't think many photographers are gainfully employed. 
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: thepancakeman on September 20, 2012, 02:35:07 PM
If they don't like you, they won't like your pictures. If they like  you, they'll love your pictures.

Well carp.  I guess I have personality issues.   :-\  Although I've gotten "rave reviews" of the little bit of work that I've done (about a whopping $2k worth) all of those clients have gone to other photographers for additional work.  Not that I'm trying to make a living at it, but hoping to make enough to support the habit (i.e. buy new toys tools.)

That being said, I know one of them (and I've vaguely heard this is the norm for sports events like traithlons) went with someone that was actually paying the event 15% of proceeds.  This is a obviously a big departure from "always charge for your time." Anyone else have experience with this?
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: dirtcastle on September 20, 2012, 02:35:10 PM
Most professional photography is low-paying grunt work that involves tons of customer service and zero job security.

...which can also be said about a lot of non-photography jobs too. ;-)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Schultzie on September 20, 2012, 02:37:52 PM
Like many of you, I've not made a single dime from photography.  I really enjoy it as a hobby too much to want to consider doing it full time.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: stringfellow1946 on September 20, 2012, 02:58:08 PM
The thing now is that with modern SLR digital cameras & knowledge of computer editing software almost anyone can take a reasonable photo.
BUT almost everyone I know never ever prints anything or vary rarely.
For me photography has always been & always will be about handling real prints & bits of paper.
Show anyone a photo on a computer screen & 99.99% of the time they will never ever buy it (wedding photography being the exception). BUT show them a real print something tactile that they can handle & then you have a more that reasonable chance of selling it.
I have a reasonable portfolio of old stuff from the 60’s & 70’s that continually sells very well. Also my more modern stuff sells quite well, simply because as I said its actually printed & mounted.
But hay ho what do I know, I’m just an old git of 66.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: PabloHoneySF on September 20, 2012, 03:55:54 PM
Today was my first day getting paid, doing contract work for a local portrait company (yay me!).
 
Mostly I've been lucky that through friends and networking, I've been able to do get my kids summer camp covered (by doing a photo trade with the camp), products for the family and toys for my kids with small vendors, some nice meals from friends who own restaurants and need food shots.  No real money yet, but small things that we wouldn't normally be able to afford and that I can put into a portfolio.  I'm a stay at home mom and am happy with this for now, once my youngest is in school fulltime am looking forward to transitioning into more paid work
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Ryan_W on September 20, 2012, 04:07:54 PM
I make some cash here and there with editorial work - it's all about building relationships. There are literally ten thousand photographers out there who are as good or better than you. All that matters is your personality, work ethic, and networking skills. Sometimes, I find, even less than ideal composition or quality can be sold if you're dealing with someone you have a good relationship with.

Also don't be afraid to pitch to strangers. A friend of mine shot a pic of the Me_Me_Me Tower for kicks a week ago and e-mailed their building manager with an offer to sell a set of postcards, and the manager accepted. You never know when you're going to get a hit with that kind of stuff.

One thing I've never done are weddings, and I know there's money to be made there. When I think of "professional" photographers, I usually think of the guys that shoot weddings, headshots, family portaits, etc. It's lucrative work if you can build up to it, but it's not for everyone.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: koolman on September 20, 2012, 04:08:34 PM
Great Topic

As others have already mentioned - in today's reality - with all the PP software and low cost equipment - almost anybody can produce decent images. Most people are very happy with their own p&s results of family events and children.

The primary source of income for still seems to be either wedding photography, or if you become one of the elite chosen few who hit the top of the ladder as celebrity fashion photographers.

I unfortunately do not see myself as either of the above 2.

:(

So, no money, but lots of personal pleasure.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: Chris Geiger on September 20, 2012, 04:08:59 PM
My only income is from wedding video and photography, it's full time gig for me.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: bdunbar79 on September 20, 2012, 05:04:43 PM
This is a total guess, but I'll bet the majority of people on gear forums who can afford the best gear, can't afford to leave their existing job to do photography.  I don't think many photographers are gainfully employed.

That only makes sense.  Who has more money, on average?  A full-time photographer or someone with a day job making $80k/year and doing photography as a second job?  Even $60k/year and photog as 2nd job.  This is the best way to make a lot of money to buy gear, unless you shoot for SI, NG, or some photojournalism Paparazzi type gig.  The other jobs are too far and between.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: cayenne on September 20, 2012, 06:03:20 PM
A few reasons I don't do it full time is that in the U.S., most photography jobs are your own business.  At least the ones that make money.  So then I lose health care and 401k.  I'm too scared to lose those I suppose.  I can't get the math to work out to make as much money or more, factoring this in, with just doing photography vs. a full-time job with benefits and 401k, and doing photography as a second job.  I'm sure it's done, I just don't know how and perhaps I don't have the "guts" to do it.

Just a bit of unsolicited advice....if you're making money from it at all....Incorporate yourself!!

I've done contracting work for my real job for quite awhile...computer stuff, database, coding, etc.
I incorporated myself in my state, and for federal, I applied for a "S" corporation.

Incorporating, allows you to keep a LOT of your own money. Yes, there is extra paperwork, but I find the trade off is worth it. Get a CPA to work with you, but keep records, log books (a small one in my car for recording odometer settings when I drive to/from work related gigs is invaluable)...you can write off mileage, you can write off equipment purchases (lenses, bodies, memory, computers and software for PP, etc...).

This alone will help you keep more of your hard earned money from the tax man. Don't go crazy, you don't have to, just record your stuff, and put it on your forms at EOY...that's what deductions are for.

If you go all on your own, your benefits and retirement are yours to manage. A little scary sure, but being in charge of your own destiny is a good thing.

First for health care, you can do what I have done in the past...especially if you are in decent health and this is FANTASTIC if you are young. You get a high deductible medical insurance policy, say around $1200 deductible. In the old days, they called this "Major Medical"...it is there only in case you get hit by a bus, or have a heart attack...something catastrophic.

If you have a high deductible insurance policy...that qualifies you to open up a HSA (Health Savings Account)...you can do this at your bank (oh, open a business account to keep $$ separate from you personal stuff). The HSA is NOT like a FSA you get it at work. It is NOT use it or lose it...it rolls over annually.

You can stuff as much as the limits each year (forgot what it is off hand this year) with PRE-tax money. You use this for your routine medical expenses (meds, checkups, office visits). This allows YOu to shop around for your health care.  This money grows with you...and it can even be invested to grow in the market...but some risk with that). Money left over at retirement...can be converted to retirement funds.

When I was doing this a couple years ago (still have company, but current gig is W2) I found that often when I went to a Dr...even once for a MRI, I told them I was paying for it, and they usually knocked off like 15% of the bill right there.

Also, do a little research. Often people will try to steer you into doing a LLC. I did the full corp thing filed as a "S" corp as mentioned above. This has tax benefits. Quickly for an example..it saves you on employment taxation (SS and medicare). Let's say you bill out for $100K for a year.
According to the IRS, you have to pay yourself a 'reasonable' salary. Let's say you pay yourself a salary of $40K. You pay state, federal and SS and medicare on that $40K. At EOY, the rest of the total, the $60K falls through on your personal taxes...you only have to pay fed and state on that, but none of the employment taxes on it. Of course, that $60K is whittled down by all your deductions for expenses (mileage, purchases, any legitimate business expenses).

Again, get a CPA...you can write that off too, and they will help you to do a lot of this. Also, invest in one piece of software...Quickbooks. It makes it easy to track expenses, your payroll to yourself, dividends your write to yourself, and at EOY, you dump a file out to send to your CPA.

I started with a local lawyer, paid him about $200 and gave a name for a company...in a couple weeks, he handed me all the forms filled out, state paperwork and I had a company. You can do this on your own...I went the easy way. I didn't make squat for the first 3x years of the company, but I did write a lot off. I started making money through it after that.

Yes, it is more paperwork, but once you learn it...it becomes routine, and you can reap the benefits.

Do a little investigation...and start today if you are earning ANY money on the side. You can start writing things off...AND, if nothing else, it gives your personal assets protection, in case something happens while you are on a shoot and something goes wrong.

I hope that helps a bit....your mileage may vary, but IMHO...incorporating and doing a bit of paperwork is about the ONLY way you can keep as much of your hard earned dollars to yourself. Those laws are on the books....take advantage of them.

HTH,

cayenne
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: jVillaPhoto on September 20, 2012, 08:37:02 PM
Currently 21 years old and barely started to try to throw my name out there by any means. Spent over 10k on equiptment thus far (student loans). Shot a couple TV actors, one wedding, and a few musicians which has brought me SOME money. Living off student loans at the moment, so any money earned off shooting is like a luxury.

Yes, I go to photo school too. If I mess up really bad, I'm screwed :o ! But still giving 110%; handing out flyers tomorrow and have some Model Mayhem models lined up to get some decent portfolio work. After portfolio is solid, internship hunting! :)

In other words.... Ten-ish years to go!  :P

Any pros out there, Advice would be wonderful, but the good kind.. No, "just give up and study accounting", because I'm not the quitting type  ;)

My advice is that the moment or soon after your pictures are worth every penny and more that you ask from your future clients you have work. It won't be ten-ish years if your 1. Believe in your self, 2. Have talent, 3. Develope that talent. I started photography about 5 years ago and i have been pro for 2 years now.

I often recieve job applications from photogs and i have not been happy with any of their photos, although they have been to photography schools and i haven't. I am still a "fresh/young" photographer but i am constantly improving.

Last thing: don't quit. (Like you said) Nothing will happen unless you make it happen.

5 years shooting and two years pro, that makes me much more comfortable! Like you said, just gotta learn my style, develop it, and most importantly, believe in myself. Thanks for the ego boost and advice!  ;D


@JVillaPhoto
Quote
Any pros out there, Advice would be wonderful, but the good kind.. No, "just give up and study accounting", because I'm not the quitting type

Arrive Early.
Be prepared to stay late.

If you don't know, say so. 
If you don't know, not only say so, but make it your mission to find out for next time.

Use as much gear as you can.  Hire.  Borrow. 

There are some great books written 30 years ago.  Apertures and shutters are still the same.  Read.  Your manual.  Magazines.  Books.  Forums.

Don't believe everything you read.

Research.  Location?  Get on Google Earth.  Google Streetview.  Use The Photographers Ephemeris.  Where will the sun be?  When?  How high in the sky?  Get on flickr.  See how other folk have tackled it, work out how you are going to tackle it.

Plan plan plan.  Don't carry every bit of kit you own.  Know what you'll need.  No more, no less.  Except for batteries and memory.  How much will you need?  Take double.

Be nice.

Make sure every job has a benefit for you.  Sometimes this is only money.  Sometimes it will be a notable face that will enhance your portfolio.  Sometimes it will be a tricky situation or technical set up.  Sometimes it will be all three.

Charge a rate.  ALWAYS charge a rate.  ALWAYS charge a rate.  Be it mates rates for mates.  Be it charity rates for charities.  Be it the union rate.  Always charge for your time, that way it's worth something to your client.  People don't properly attribute value or worth to folk doing freebies.  As soon as you are charging then folk will take your calls, will be there when they say they will, will go in with a plan.

This last point is the last single most important lesson somebody new to creative work can learn.  Your time is worth something.  Make the material good and they'll come back.  You want repeat work.  Do it free or cheap the first time and you've set your rate for the relationship.

I'm definitely going to be looking into the Google Earth idea, specifically for a couple places I've been wanting to see but haven't physically been there. I've read a couple of history of photo books and they definitely taught me a lot of things, looking into buying a couple wedding photography books as well since I'm trying to get into that type of work.

As for charging rates, the only thing I have NOT charged was for collaborating with models on Model Mayhem in order to 'up' my portfolio. I've only shot two models from there thus far, but would love to read your view on doing it free for portfolio use (And to gain experience as well). Thank you very much for the helpful advice!  ;D





Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: emag on September 20, 2012, 09:47:29 PM
I sold a photo.  Once.  For a charity.  Wish I could figure out a way to make a living with astrophotography (big demand for that, eh?!)  My hat's off to you wedding photogs - I couldn't do it, too much of a cynic with an overactive jawbone.
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: V8Beast on September 20, 2012, 10:49:40 PM
All my income comes from, or is directly related to, photography. I'm not big on giving advice because it can come off as elitist, but freelance work, whether its for editorial or commercial clients, is a cut-throat world. Every staff photographer that gets laid off in the publishing business becomes your competition. Combine that with dwindling freelance budgets, and there's less pie to go around than ever before, and more people that want a piece of it.

When I first started out, I vowed that if I ever got beat, I'd get beat on talent, not work ethic. If someone has more natural talent than I do, there isn't much I can do about that, but no one's going to work harder at my trade than I do :)

Interestingly, I hate spending money on gear. I'd rather spend it on my race cars  ;D And ho's :o
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: revup67 on September 24, 2012, 12:30:09 AM
Dr. Croubie and Sheedoe..I, like you, dropped about 15k or even 16k on gear in 2.25 years after my band mate brought over his 50D..I was hooked once again.  I had given up on film photog for about 10 years and shy'd away from digital until summer 2010.  Sold a lot of personal assets to buy such gear (records, restored '67 GTO ragtop and play the market).  I try never to touch the paycheck when buying gear.  I've made about $500 so far in the 3 weeks I've been trying so its out there.

Bdunbar79..I know your feeling all too well and gave up a 125K+ a year job to pursue a hobby..rather scary.  I ate crow for 2-3 years but invested my time wisely.  Now 10 years later the business is deemed successful doing IT support for a few hundred clients.  Currently pursuing that existing client base with photography..so far so good.  Follow your dreams..just do the research, network yourself and read.

Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: EvaCasado on September 30, 2012, 02:04:46 PM
I live 100% out of photography but to be honest is not as easy as some years ago :-)
Title: Re: How many of us are making money out of photography ?
Post by: DMITPHOTO on October 04, 2012, 08:04:57 PM
Boy it seems like no ones making money lol! Stupid cell phones and point and shoots ruining everything lol