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New to the game and looking to expand my skills and maybe make some money to put towards more equipment and training.
So my question to the wiser members of this forum is what area is the most profitable?
Do I try to build up a portrait business or go for landscapes and sell canvasses?
I'm not talking anything major just as a secondary income to see how far I can go with it. I have a genuine interest in Photography and am looking into further education but as I am working in the NHS the pay is not the best and it is a struggle to be able to buy equipment to help get better.
Any advice would be great
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Ok firstly looking at your portfolio you need to develop your skills a bit, luckily you are in the right place to do that.
Before you start thinking about making money from a specific area of photography have a try at them all and see which one floats yer boat so to speak. Technique and skills develop faster I beleive when you are having fun and passionate about what you are doing.
Load some images onto the critique gallery where the feedback is constructive and honest so you can improve.
If you are good the money will be good from any area of photography you aply your trade.
If cash is tight, don't look at portrait photography, as you will need a studio and all the kit that goes with it. Start with landscape, but bear in mind there's thousands of photographers out there trying to sell their images.
Joining a few photo agencies can be good training. It is a big jump from showing photos to relatives, friends and "Facebook friends", who gasp with admiration, to getting photos past hard-bitten agency photo sorters!
Quote: Joining a few photo agencies can be good training.
Libraries, CB, libraries, unless referring to those photographers that breathe rarefied air and have agents promoting them individually. Libraries are the equivalent of steerage class. You won't be able to train with the hard-bitten ones - more likely you'll get your toes broken in the doorway.
Quote: If cash is tight, don't look at portrait photography, as you will need a studio and all the kit that goes with it. Start with landscape, but bear in mind there's thousands of photographers out there trying to sell their images.
I agree with half of this comment because I have a very successful portrait business and I dont own a studio but I agree there are lots of exceptional photographers selling images of all kinds.
I like the way turnover wants to earn his new kit and training but I always advise people who attend my courses to grow out of the kit you have because buying fantastic expensive equipment wont make you any better.
Quote: You won't be able to train with the hard-bitten ones - more likely you'll get your toes broken in the doorway.
Lol! It would certainly be an eye-opener for some who get many 'clicks' on sites such as this and many 'likes' on FB and elsewhere.
Even getting past the initial submission can be a learning experience.
My advice is not to leave the NHS...it is a regular income. and a potential for a pension. I'm afraid I have to disagree with monkeygrip about making money from photography..........only the top few established pro photographers make real money out of the profession, making a living from photography is extremely difficult especially during a recession. The industry is swamped with people thinking they can make money......they can't. When they can't make money from photography they turn to training.......again the industry is swamped with "Trainers". Most are not qualified to teach.........they do it for the money..cynical.......of course I am. These people believe because they have letters after their name it qualifies them to teach others, one so-called top trainer has not taken a picture in anger for years yet tells others how to..
People now have the money to afford better cameras and once they have them they think they are professionals.......look at wedding photography, a few years ago you could make a reasonable living but not now..........to many Uncle Bob's and the price people are prepared to pay is a joke. The big problem is CHEAP.........if it's cheap it's good!!!
Do plenty of research.........I know plenty of people who have returned to mainstream employment and given up on making a living from photography, you have to have contacts and you have to choose a niche where very few others operate.........very difficult to achieve.
I was a pro for 8years and I watched the industry disintegrate around me...........so I got out, retired early and now photograph for fun........
In my humble opinion there are only 2 top photographers in the country who can actually teach others..........one lives in Scotland and the other is from Bristol.......but you must make your own judgements but my advice is take your time...........you will need a lot of learning time..........there is more to photography than looking through the viewfinder and pressing the little button...
I am prepared for the bricks that may come my way........
Julia @ Natures Haven
Julia, thats great advice and I totally agree about a tough market but I have to disagree that only a few top pros make money.
Those that cant do...teach lol I started the training courses as a marketing plan and have now taught the basics to over 650 students never claiming to be a master but it has driven the other areas of my business.
The wedding photography argument rumbles on and on but again if you are good enough people will pay for the quality.
I have perhaps nothing constructive to offer apart from the belief that with the right level of determination, self sacrifice and business planning a successful business is possible. However, the scale of the challenge needs to be understood. One of the best illustrations given to me a few years ago was summed up in the following statement - although I can not vouch for its accuracy:
Quote: There are more graduates qualifying with photography degrees per year from the UK then there are professional photographers working in Europe.
In normal times, something like 80% of businesses fail within the first 2 years but unfortunately we're in a recession. Worse, the cost of living is rising rapidly yet pay rates are static for the luckier ordinary folk and falling for the less fortunate. Even worse, it seems that every newly redundant amateur snapper wants to become a professional photographer.
If you're lucky enough to have a secure job, hold onto it and treat photography as a hobby. Join a camera club and learn from your fellow members. When you start winning competitions, you can sell the pictures in craft shops and galleries. And it won't be long before people ask you to take pictures for them.
One step at a time!
In my old job with the Metropolitan Police, you had to have at least a City and Guilds pass in photography to even get to interview.Those already employed in the Photo department without a C&G got day release to study for their diploma. Now its a Uni degree or forget it. Photo agencies now are required to have their photographers and even sub contract photographers CRB checked in case they come into contact photographically with children in the course of their work.
In my day, if you worked in Fleet street or for a major advertiser and wanted a change, the Met would hire you there and then with a short introductery course. My goodness things have changed. A camera club as thewilliam suggested is the best thing you could do, treat it as a hobby, but you never know what's round the corner.
I have a current enhanced CRB for work.
I'm a long way off quitting the NHS and just looking long term, the training would just be to add another string to my bow and allow me to develop my skills. I am applying to start a C&G course at college but that might be next year now.
I haven't uploaded much here but got more pics on my DeviantArt account, will submit some for critique as that seems to be the way to go here. I'm not trying to set the world on fire and understand by some comments on here that there may be a bit of "job insecurity" and the wedding photographer argument seems to be a never ending saga.
Would just be nice to see some reward at the end of training and in the mean time i'm enjoying my hobby and trying to learn from the experts as much as possible.
[quote]In my old job with the Metropolitan Police, you had to have at least a City and Guilds pass in photography to even get to interview.Those already employed in the Photo department without a C&G got day release to study for their diploma. Now its a Uni degree or forget it. quote]
The cynical side of me suspects that the today's degree is much the same standard as a City & Guilds from the good old days. The real difference is that C&G and HND students learn how to take pictures whereas degree students learn to write essays!
turnover dont let any of the comments stop you pursuing your goals and it sounds like you are approaching it with common sense thats great.
Photography is a creative artform you become technically proficient so you can fully express yourself so dont get bogged down with qualifications its like saying I need a certificate to play the guitar to be in a rock band or I need a degree in kicking a ball to be a pro footballer.
you asked in your original post what makes the most money well the short answer is "your unique style in any field" there are no qualifications on earth that can measure how creative you are.
Practice every minute you have, read forums, mag articles and technique blogs, load your images onto site like this and pay attention to comments from the many people on here who know what they are talking about dont pay to much attention to votes or non constructive comments they are well meant and should be appreciated but most of the time no indication of the quality of your image.
My earlier comments where never meant to discourage you they where meant to prod you in the right direction to becoming a photographer that has a product to sell.
I started my business when the world fell apart 4 years ago and I am still going strong, uncle bobs, cheap cowboys, swpp members (tongue in cheek) even world class pros are not my competition because when I meet a client they employ me and my portfolio the cost which is reflective of my efforts is never an issue.
So lets have a look at more of your work and where possible we can all help you see some rewards.
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