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What is the most difficult part about being a photographer?

I love photography. I also think that I’m pretty good at it☺️. I’ve heard, though, that being in freelance can be risky and it can be difficult to make it. I just want some info. #photography #art #photography

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Shannon,

I think the answer to this question will depend on what skills you find challenging.

To be a successful photographer, one needs to be great at self-promotion, and frankly, that's one thing I personally abhor doing. You really should believe that your work is good and that you're worth each penny that you charge your clients. You should be marketing yourself as much as possible so that you can earn steady enough of an income to sustain yourself.

Secondly, I would say dealing with people is another skill that some people will have trouble with. Settings expectations and communication is something that you need to do with every job, but it's essential when working freelance. Also, if you work long enough, you will run into just terrible people that will make the job not-fun.

Lastly, also expect to do lots of repetitive work. Most well paid photography gigs are shooting headshots, weddings, and corporate gigs that may get non-inspiring when you do it over and over again. So be prepared for that and try to find joy in every job you do in some way.

I wish you the best of luck Shannon!

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clem’s Answer

Firstly, if you love photography never be discouraged. It's a hard profession to get into and harder to maintain, saying that the personal gratification can be immense. Before I started working in TV I studied photography. I loved landscape photography but nobody was interested, they just wanted to know if I had any good pictures of cars or food, so... That's one way in, know you're subject. If you know what's trending and can capture that in a photo you're on your way. There are loads of stock photography sites, like iStock and Shutterstock, join up and start submiting work. Make sure you give it a good variety of hash tags and who knows... Someone might buy it! If you're not in... As the saying goes!
Always shoot in the highest format you can and if there's something different/special about your work people will notice. Never give up.
Good luck!

clem recommends the following next steps:

Be original
Submit to stock libraries
keep on keeping on

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Madalina’s Answer

It also depends on what you want to do with your photography business. If you goal is to be one of the folks shooting for the glossy magazines, know that world is very elitist and you will get nowhere having a diverse portfolio (like fashion, weddings, lifestyle, food etc). You'll need to pick a specialty and network like crazy to make sure your work is in front of the right people. Having a team you work with regularly will be key. You COULD do all the styling/propping/location scouting/shooting and retouching yourself, but when you outsource those things and focus solely on your craft your projects automatically become more elevated. You'll still need to go through the process of marketing yourself as the others said above, but your portfolio will be stronger and more likely to catch someone's attention since scouring for a team to work with will mean you've already made some connections.

However, if what you want to do is shoot everything, you could be a jack of all trades. You could shoot weddings to stay solvent, and finance other smaller projects that are closer to your heart, like travel or street photography. Defining your unique style as the others say will be key here as well, to make sure your work isn't all over the place just because your subject matter is diverse.

Another option is to go into fine art photography and network like crazy until you can get galleries to show your work. This is likely the least "tied-down" option, but also likely the least financially secure. It typically takes decades to break into the art world (unfortunately, if you're a woman it sometimes takes longer).

You could also be a staff photographer if you're into commercial work. However, you'll definitely reach a pay threshold, because corporations will see you as an expense and there's only job security for a few years before you either get bored, become a drain on the company, or they decide to outsource or automate. However, if financial security is what you need at first (maybe you want to pay off student loans quickly), it may be a decent place to start.

Madalina recommends the following next steps:

Research - find photographers you admire and think about what you like; is it their sense of light, their subject matter? This should help you define what you're interested in
If you want to not be a staff photographer, make sure you take a project management and a business class, even if it's an online course. You'll have to do all that yourself.
Assist other photographers in your area so you can see first hand how they handle their business and client partnerships. You may be working for free as an intern, but you'll learn a ton. Work to graduate from that into a full time assistant/retoucher role.

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Manish’s Answer

Hi Shannon,

I am an IT professional but Photography is my hobby and this also gets along with my profession as i get to travel (You don't have to spend your own money for photography this way :-)).

The tough things i find in photography are:
1> Cominh out from Auto mode and Start using Manual mode on your dslr.
2> Checking the clicked photographs with experiments and learning from it--Most Important.
3> Photography is 50% done with your clicks and rest 50% you have to do editing, so in parallel learning a software like Adobe Photoshop is required.
4> Selling your images. There are many sites like shutterstock, getty images, imagesbazaar.com, where you can sell your clicks, but before that check the portfolio of these companies, the photo galleries and see what sells.

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John’s Answer

I love photography but never pursued it as a career opportunity. A piece of advice that I've picked up on after years of following photography sites and successful photographers is: Find something that makes you unique and your style distinctive. The successful photographers, regardless of what they are photographing, all seem to bring a unique feel and style with their images that set them apart from what everyone else is doing. They're are passionate about their work (not just viewing it as making money) and are fully committed to the art of photography.