Dear photographers & future photographers.
This a tough business, and you may(will) spend many nights crying or wondering why some people don’t value your work. If/when you make the choice to be a full time photographer – just know it is not a get rich in your pockets business. You will have your ups and downs with extremely high-highs, and rock bottom lows if you are in the business for any length of time. Sometimes you will have to skip paying your rent/mortgage for a month or more and make it up late and just eat the late fees. Sometimes you will eat ramen noodles for a week because a client is late paying. Sometimes you need to take your child out of karate/ballet because you have client accounts past due.
You will never be able to convince 98% of the people, that portraits are valuable. It is one of the most difficult things to communicate that the portrait may hold all the love that is left for some, and spark memories and feelings 10 years from now that were thought to be long forgotten. The phrase “Portraits are more than just paper” is silly to most when they can get a $2 8×10 at Walgreens, Costco, Wal-Mart… 98% of potential clients believe that you take a photo and that’s it. 98% of clients don’t consider that you have debt, families, lives, and have to pay your electric bill to edit and store their images – as well as to survive.
98% of people think that you are silly, that photography isn’t a real profession – it is a hobby and all you need is talent.
75% of your spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends – will support you only 50% or less of the time and the other 50% of the time will beg you to get a real job and quit fooling around with a dream.
If you are getting into this business because you want to make money and not work. STOP. You will NOT be worth anything and you will not survive.
However, this is one of the most emotionally gratifying businesses there is on this planet. If you can survive the sweat and tears, the continual emotional upheaval, the emotional abuse… this is what you get.
Those 2% of the people you connect with that love you and your work will be your pillars. They love you and they are your biggest advocates. You get to spend your life as a part of theirs. You get to have MANY families that you feel apart of, and many of them will stand beside you even when your actually family may not. They display your art, your life, your work on their walls and in their albums with the greatest pride. These people are the most beautiful people in the world and you need to hold them dear as if they are your very own family. You will cry with them, for them, celebrate their greatest days with them – and you will be there for them when they need you as well.
There are very few professions like this in the world and you hold the key to how our industry is received and perceived. You are the only one that can make YOUR client feel special, feel beautiful, and feel loved by simply looking at a portrait…. yes… just a piece of paper.
On a side-note to any of my clients that read this, please know how grateful I am to have you in my life and to be able to create memories to look back on for you and your families. You mean the world to me. ~Jeanine
3 thoughts on “Dear photographers and future photographers”
Love this post!!!
this is awesome and so true. thanks, jeanine.
Well I told my mother in law that you were the ONE part of the wedding that I was NOT willing to compromise on. You are a huge part of our lives and preserving our memories! You are amazing. Thanks for letting people know the grim truths of the business, however. I’m sure it’s not easy. Great, honest post!