We have all heard the “advice” from strangers, friends, and family: being a photographer isn’t a real job. It has been the same story told to photographers for years and we should be over that now, but it still seeps into the minds of young photographers each year as they are handed the same thoughtless advice from those closest to them.
Photographers young and old know the story and they also know how detrimental that advice can be when given to an up-and-coming photographer at the wrong time. This advice, or opinion, is the number one killer of photography dreams. So instead of telling you that photography isn’t a real job anyway, here are three reasons why this advice is simply not true.
Being a photographer is a real job because of the community we have built. There is a giant network of photographers from all niches that can come together for classes, workshops, and conferences to share knowledge, experience, gear, tips, and expertise with the rest of us. It’s like the union of creative people. We are able to learn tips on how to create certain images and how to do our takes through this community. Most jobs out there can’t say the same for their workplace, can they? Being a photographer is a real job because a lot of people are doing it and doing it well and they are sharing the knowledge which makes the whole industry grow.
2. Obsessive Nature
Being a photographer is a real job because it is our passion. Of course, there are things we like about being a photographer less than other things, but taking pictures is our passion. Many other careers are working nine to five at a job that doesn’t fulfill their dreams or passions, but not photographers. We built our whole business model around growth, learning, and creativity and that makes our profession a rarity because of that. We become obsessed with learning new things, finding new gear, testing new mediums and that obsessive nature keeps the heartbeat of our photography business beating. You will never meet a photographer who isn’t obsessed with at least part of their business. For some, that’s the images, for others, it’s the challenge of being a marketing genius. Either way, the obsessive nature keep the whole profession alive and growing.
Being a photographer is a real job because it’s a business! As much as we would love to take pretty pictures all day, the photos won’t buy themselves. A business requires a flow of ideas, products, and money and that sounds like a real job to me. Photography is just as much of a business as a law firm or a doctor’s office. You are using your expertise to provide products or services to clients and customers. Photographers do that too! We use our knowledge, intuition, and inspiration to give clients both a service and a product and we do it with sincerity and love.
The Most Beautiful Work
We learn about marketing, technology, finance, and photography in order to run our business well and that’s a lot of knowledge for just one job. We own a business, we run a business, and we do it with just our own creative spirit.
Photographers might not know it yet, but they all love their business. They may not love all aspects, but one thing is for sure, they love their business because it’s theirs. Most of us have been told that we would never make money or that our passion isn’t a real job at one point or another and the doubt has made us stop and question ourselves. There are much more than just three reasons why photography is, in fact, a real job but we can keep those secrets to ourselves.
Photography is demanding, necessary, stressful, and unique in every way. We should never be ashamed or anxious about making money as a photographer because someone told us we couldn’t do it. That’s all the more reason to do it in the first place. In a world now where distance and disconnection rule the workplace, photography is a career that thrives on intimacy and connection with people and through a lens and that’s one of the toughest jobs out there.