This is for the person who sees the world in photos, who loves the craft of photography and gets frustrated when they witness less “crafty” photographers hustling them in marketing, value creation and profits.
If any of this sounds like you, my advice is simple: decide right now if you’re a glorified hobbyist or professional photographer.
Who is the Glorified Hobbyist?
Many of the most talented full-time photographers I know are actually glorified hobbyists. They enjoy the illusion of “busy-ness” but resent the challenge of business. They are dangerously impulsive or utterly indecisive and don’t do well with criticism. Their methods or workflows break under pressure.
Until recently, I was a glorified hobbyist.
Realizing this truth was at once terrifying and liberating. Below are some insights that have worked for me on my journey from Glorified Hobbyist to Professional Photographer:
1. Stop charging for your services by the hour.
“People and businesses who hire you are, in the end, always looking for a certain outcome. They may not know exactly what it is or why they need it in the beginning. And that’s when it’s your job to help them define the outcome and associate a value.” – Jonathan Fields
2. Study (and implement!) Best Business Practices for Creative Professionals.
“You don’t have to be a starving artist. Art and money aren’t mutually exclusive.” – Ramit Sethi
3. Practice delivering kick-ass presentations for the people you truly want to serve.
“The value of any creative business no longer (solely) rests on the quality of its final product. Whether it is a sofa, a photograph, a floral arrangement, lighting, stationary, or a shoe, there is too much great stuff out there for you to rest on your work alone. You might be that good, but not so good as to stand wholly apart. Today, you need an amazing process to get to your final art as much as you need to be able to produce amazing art.” – Sean Low
In short, if you truly love the craft of photography, then embrace the challenge to create a sustainable business that nurtures your artistic vision. You won’t regret it.
About Parris Whittingham
A born New Yorker, Parris is inspired by the soulfulness, wisdom and love of his mother and grandmother.
He leads a passionate team of storytellers & craftspeople to boldly explore remarkable love stories. Follow his musings on twitter. Explore the TEDxTalk.
Bio photo by Jessica Lehrman