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  • fotoeins says:

    Thanks, Dan, for providing both sides of the coin, and for leaving this on an encouraging note.

  • Rolf Hicker says:

    Great article Dan, I totally agree with you on the points above but I think it also should be mentioned more clear that there is a huge risk in this field too.
    I’m a pro now for over 20 years, I have seen many up’s and down’s, many coming and going BUT I never seen as many people “starting a pro career” right now…and many of them failing too. Today it is by far not enough to enjoy the side of writing off expenses, traveling, photographing etc. You also should point out that if someone does not have enough money on the side that it is a very risky step. You may start selling images immediately but if it is enough to feed a family is another question.
    I had quit a few approaching me after they turned “pro”, asking what to do because they don’t have a penny left and simply not selling enough to survive.

    All of your points are great and hit the nail 100% on the head BUT to be a pro, making a living out of photography takes a bit more then just a dream.

    Just needed to add this as I heard many which followed their dreams but never thought about the “putting food on the table” side.

  • Dan Bailey says:

    You’re absolutely 100% correct, Rolf. As I said, I applaud anyone who’s willing to try and make a go of it, but I strongly encourage those who want to follow this dream to make sure that they’re well informed, financially solid (read: money in the bank!) and ready for some serious risk before quitting their day job.

    That said, you only live once!

  • Rolf Hicker says:

    That was exactly what I was trying to say but my English was not good enough.

    “””before quitting their day job””” this is what many forget

  • Dana Reed says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your post.

    My plan had been not quitting the day job, but getting laid off took care of that plan. I don’t have money saved up but unemployment insurance will take care of things enough to scrape by. There’s a small business entrepreneur course run by them that I plan on signing up for. Taking the time to finish my portfolio and then away I go. Got a business plan in mind, a niche to create and fill and I figure, why not, what’s the worst that can happen? Have to get a job again? Not the end of the world if so.

    You do only live once and sometimes we put too many things off to stay safe and secure.

    Cheers.

  • Chien Huey says:

    Great article with some excellent points Dan. I’d also add in addition to Rolf’s points that it’s not an all or nothing deal. You can keep your day job and test the waters. Obviously, it depends on your day job and your target photography genre. Fifteen-hour day corporate lawyer and assignment photographer – not so much. Eight or nine hour office job and stock photographer – totally doable.

    Now figuring out when to quit the day job when the side business is growing… that’s another blog entry entirely.

  • Patricia Champeau says:

    Thanks for this. Very much. I’m finding myself exactly where you are writing about, and going for it. Getting too old not to.

  • Dan Bailey says:

    Dana- I got my big start by getting laid off as well. Unemployment and credit cards got me by. Good luck with your plan- you’re right, what’s the worst that can happen- you’ll try something new and you might succeed.

    Chien- You’re absolutely right, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, it can be whatever you want it to be. That’s the beauty of being self employed.

    Patricia- Good luck. Stay tuned here, as I’m getting ready to post a series about how to get started being a pro photographer.

  • […] By Dan Bailey, September 24, 2010 9:26 am With so many visitors stopping by to read my recent post, 5 Reasons Why You Should Be a Pro Photographer, I’ve decided to run a one-week series of posts on how to actually begin that process towards […]

  • Nathan B says:

    Great post! I left my cushy corp job about 6 months ago to pursue photography full time, just couldn’t stand sitting in an office when I could be outside shooting 😉 Though I’m barely making ends meat I am so happy and am fully enjoying life. It is a huge gamble but without risk there is no reward and I’m tired of playing it safe!

  • Dan Bailey says:

    Good for you, Nathan! Keep working hard and enjoying your new life!

  • […] 5 Great Reasons to Become a Professional Photographer – Reading this should make you feel good about yourself. […]

  • 5 good points but it’s still an enormous hurdle to make it in this business, especially nature and travel. I would never recommend this career to anyone unless they are clearly talented and exceptionally motivated. I’ve put more time money sweat blood and tears into this business over the last 20 years, and for the last 6 years my income just keeps going lower and lower. There’s still nothing else I’d rather do and the high points are wonderful but I think it’s going to take me to an early grave or asylum.

  • Dan Bailey says:

    I would totally agree with you, Alan. It’s by no means an easy way to make money, and it does take a huge amount of creativity, talent, drive and perseverance, and still, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to make a living. Also, the business model of photography has changed dramatically during the past few years and unfortunately, what worked a decade ago, may not work now. It takes constant evaluation and adaptation. I spent much of last year rethinking my business model, methods and approach, and I’m trying a number of things that I’ve never done in the past. Much of that is starting to pay off. In many ways, the key to success in this industry is diversifying what you do and who you do it for.

  • […] few months back I wrote a post called 5 Reasons Why You Should Become a Professional Photographer. (As if anyone needs more convincing to jump on that career ship!) Today we look at 3 more reasons […]

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