« on: March 05, 2012, 03:08:13 PM »
Plenty of good advice here already but I'm going to try anyway:
So first question here seems to be what you are getting out of your current classes, right? Here's a bit of life experience from a 42 year old who has been a bit all over the place himself (in more than one way). If you don't like the current course regimen for concrete reasons that's one thing. Cost and time commitment may just be something where you're kidding yourself. Not trying to be mean here, but I've been there (in my case it was when I first went to medical school...). So any chance that photography is not something you want to do all day and night? Because that's what it takes, I believe, to turn it into a business that you can actually live of. So - as much as I'm a firm believer in education as only ONE means to an end, having the degree and the connections from school may not be all so bad if you are serious about it. Dropping out I'd only consider if you have a plan B that is already working. And it doesn't sound like that. Again, I'm trying to help and not to be harsh.
So, that leads us to business. Taking a few business classes in one form or another is a good idea. For anyone really. I'm always shocked to what degree people are economic illiterates. Schools obviously only teach the more fluffy aspects of it or teachers really are clueless as well. And I don't even mean the "investment advice" type of knowledge that the TV gurus and self help writers of this world are pushing. More the basic principles. I personally believe that nobody is fit for business (or life really) if he or she doesn't understand terms and meaning such as "opportunity cost" and the difference between "cost" and "value". Those two concepts alone are big and I could charge you a good fortune right now for pointing you in that direction.
Especially "artists" seem to suffer from a lack of understanding in that department. Again, this sounds mean spirited but you might find out what I mean by this by researching these concepts. Obviously, there are successful photographers who seem to make a decent living. Look what they do and then ask yourself if that is something you can commit to. If not, what is it you like? And who is your market for that? Is there one? Do you have the tools and skill set for that segment? Are you OK with doing stuff you don't love just to make enough money? Are you on your own or do/will others depend on you? Is your significant other on board?
You see, more questions and no answers but maybe it helps.
And not to discourage you but my path went away from using my artistic inclinations for a full-time living (music and photography in my case). I didn't want to play weddings and teach kids how to play "Enter Sandman" like the vast majority (!) of people I know who went pro (many of which more talented than I am). Instead, I invested myself into another passion (healthcare) and found a different approach that combined a few interests (clinical stuff, business, politics) while adding a business degree. Everything else is no my creative outlet or every now and then a "vanity business" that my family doesn't depend on. But that's just how it played out for me and knowing what I know now I'd maybe try a few things differently if I was 22. Maybe not. Or in other words: if one of my kids will come to me wanting to pursue a full time artistic career they'd have my full support - as long as they understand what it entails and are fully committed.
Oh, and here is one more (half-serious but it may still be bad for the Karma points): assuming that you're a guy don't even try the cutsie-putise approach of a certain brand of portrait/wedding/baby/boudoir photography. You sound too intelligent and you may not me pretty enough. If guys try this they're looked at as creeps and not as oh-so-cuuuute! ;-) But what do I know.