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Making a living


In the past 3 days I've met two professional landscape photograhers.
Both told me they make a good living from landscape photography, the first making enough to employ a family member to do his admin.

Of course I came straight home and checked out their websites - and I was really disappointed, horribly burnt out highlights on one and simply mediocre shots from the second.
Neither looked particularly 'commercial' either.

Do you think EPZ sets the bar too high?

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strawman e2
11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2009 3:17PM

Quote:
Do you think EPZ sets the bar too high?

No.

It is my impression that the bar is rising, well at least in terms of technical quality.
csurry
12 9.2k 92
22 Feb 2009 3:19PM
No I just think some of us are more critical of our own work than others or the general public would be Smile

I also meet lots of people that tell me they are professional photographers in all sorts of genres, and generally their work can be disappointing. But then I am not the customer and if their customers are happy who are we to question?
User_Removed 5 694 3 Scotland
22 Feb 2009 3:27PM
Absolutely, selling pictures is the name of the game and what the customer likes the customer gets. The tag "Professional" just means that person earns money from photogrpahy.
JennB e2
7 60 1 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2009 3:37PM
I agree with csurry. One thing I do know is that the standard of much of the work on here is so high it makes me push myself more and more. I have been really into photography now for 3 years and I know this site has had a massive influence on how hard I have worked to improve, mainly by looking at others work. When I look at some of my early portrait work to now I can see how far I've come. I still look though and wish to be as good as some of the people on here who are incredibly talented. There are tons of people on here better than some pros, some pros (defintely not all for all the fab pros out there) can get stuck in their ways and churn out what sells to be honest. I've come across this with weddings, I backed my friend for the last 2 years as her 2nd photographer and between us we worked really hard to produce individual albums that clients were thrilled with. We often went to wedding fayres to research prices and types of albums and some of the stuff about is just awful.

I think its hard not to judge others work, its part of the reason this site helps us improve, recognising what works and what could be improved.

PS I really don't want to offend any pros as there are many amazing ones about, it just is true that theres a scale of good to bad with pros.
csurry
12 9.2k 92
22 Feb 2009 3:45PM
One issue is that anyone can tell you they are a pro and even tell you that they earn enough to support their family purely from photography, but are they and do they?

It isn't that easy to tell is it? I met a couple that claimed to sell thousands of cards per year. Yep well selling them at 30p each (which is what I saw at a show they were displaying at) then yes I'm sure we all could.

Recently sold 200 cards at 1.50 each to someone else to sell on. So probably made more from those than the couple for selling 5 times as many. I did them because I enjoyed it, wanted to support the project long term and it would get my website address out there. I made a profit per card of nearly a 1 against costs, but that takes no account of time of course.

Personally I'd like to submit images to a more specialist library but I'm not sure I'm ready for the commitment that means. And that's probably what holds me back. Maybe if I was more confident and less concerned with quality I would already be one of these famous professionals Wink

Seriously if you have marketing skills more than photographic skills then there is a market out there. Personally I'm not good at selling myself. I'm off to focus tomorrow to get some lessons from a few people I know that are good at blagging! Grin
peterjones e2
12 4.0k 1 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2009 3:49PM
Sad to say an excellent business person who is a mediocre photographer generally will be far more successful than a brilliant photographer who is just a mediocre business person.

Take for example the number of brilliant artists who have starved in their lifetimes.

Who ever said life is fair?
I have no desire to be a professional photographer - I'm happy to potter along as I do now.
I'm sure Cheryl is right about the marketing - if you can talk the talk other people will be convinced you're as good as you say you are.
stolzy 9 3.8k 7
22 Feb 2009 6:37PM
As someone said, 'professional' simply means they earn income from photography.
We all know there are poor professional photographers, here on EPz too. But, the only criterion is whether they sell pictures or not.
SuziBlue e2
12 16.2k 10 Scotland
22 Feb 2009 6:47PM
That's for sure. I know of someone who does events and I can tell you this, he's not a very good photographer, steals other people's work and claims it as his own and he's a complete con artist too. But he sells his pics.
csurry
12 9.2k 92
22 Feb 2009 7:19PM

Quote:That's for sure. I know of someone who does events and I can tell you this, he's not a very good photographer, steals other people's work and claims it as his own and he's a complete con artist too. But he sells his pics.


Or from that description sells other peoples pics Grin
steve_kershaw e2
9 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2009 7:30PM

Quote:That's for sure. I know of someone who does events and I can tell you this, he's not a very good photographer, steals other people's work and claims it as his own and he's a complete con artist too. But he sells his pics.


lol and how is (removed by moderator) these days?
SuziBlue e2
12 16.2k 10 Scotland
22 Feb 2009 7:37PM

Quote:Or from that description sells other peoples pics


I'm not sure of he sells those but they're passed off as his own.


Quote:lol and how is (removed by moderator) these days?


LOL!
22 Feb 2009 7:52PM
Completely off topic, but the following thought came to mind after reading the advert above for "Touch Up Software Download"

"Gosh! They've got software for everything these days!" Smile
jas
steve_kershaw e2
9 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2009 8:39PM
I'm not sure Ronald McDonald will ever get his michelin star, but he probably has more money than all the michelin star chefs put together,

you provide a service and get paid by the customer, the quarter pounder with cheese deluxe may be a culinary nightmare, but the customers love it,

there are several areas of photography that are a numbers game, if you are selling your 6x8 print for 5.00 you cant spend 2 hours getting that special shot,

obviously there is a very broad spectrum with lots of overlapping skill levels, but this is the same in every aspect of our lives, ultimately a pro photographer is selling his skills, and if he pitches too high for his level he wont survive.

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