« on: June 14, 2012, 04:27:59 PM »
Thank you. At least now I know you have the perspective that I was looking for. Thank you for being honest, that is respctable. This is what happened to me. I thought I'd go "pro" and have a part-time job and shoot weddings. I was making about $3000/wedding in central Ohio. Some socieconomic/geographic areas are probably markedly different from one another. My clients as you might guess, were very picky. It's their wedding, so why not? The problem I ran into is that no couple in the world wanted me to print and put the photo book together; they wanted the photos sent out and printed by a commercial company and then have me give them the book AND a CD that I made. This cost money. I was not able to build in enough cost because if I would charge, say $3500, I wouldn't get the business. I love photography deeply as a hobby and I'm glad you share this as well. I began hating weddings so bad that I began despising my hobby and wouldn't go out and shoot for fun anymore because I didn't even want to look at my camera. Granted, I did not go into the senior pictures market either, why I didn't I don't know, but I just didn't. I was able to pick up some high school sports for some minor money, maybe $80-$200/game with a CD. But the time it took me to post-process and effort to put the photo books together got me hating my hobby once again. I was and am still not a good enough photographer such that I don't have to do some medium post processing at least. So I quit for awhile.
I came back refreshed and with a new attitude. I got a good job in my profession (analytical chemistry) and began doing it for fun again and if I felt like it, would shoot events. The thing I learned the hard way was that there was no such thing as a true professional photographer. There is no education required, no board exams, no mentor, no third party to critque. Clients who critique isn't the way to go. Mess up and word of mouth gets around and your business is hurt. It's a really tough way to go.
I guess I was just cautioning the OP because you can really get burned if you don't ease into it. $3000 for a wedding is ok but I had to shoot around 1500 pictures and then go home and sort through everything and they had to be perfect. The sports I did for $80-$200/game was more laxed, but I had to buy an expensive camera (back then the 1D Mark III) as a tool to fit that style of photography. In a year I highly doubt I could have grossed more than $30,000 and that would have been lucky. I just didn't have the heart to do it. I'm much happier now with a full time job and doing what I'm doing. I make enough to justify high-end L lenses and high-end cameras, but I'm not bogged down in the business stuff that made me hate the hobby.
My true only costs were a high-end computer and a great photo printer, which turned out I couldn't use much because most clients wanted the work sent out. I also always kept two pro camera bodies and most of the latest L lenses, which if you want a dollar amount there, total costs upwards of $50,000. For sports I printed my own stuff. So I don't have much to share on business expenses because I did it from home. I didn't have a studio downtown, so I guess I'm not a big business photographer, which by the way I hope someone who IS will reply here. Health insurance is a concern so had I gone 100% photography, I would have had to get into a much bigger market.
Thanks for reading.