Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Making Money As A Part Time Photographer

It's been my observation that the real limiting factor in making money in photography is that it takes energy and time, both of which eat into our photography time. I nipped into a fast food restaurant for supper (I'd run out of bread) and am working late. I noted the tacky artwork on the wall and thought, I should be displaying my work here - or perhaps at my favourite movie theatre lobby, then I remembered, I already have work at the Glenbow museum gift shop and Trains N' Such and just when the hell am I going to find the time to make prints, matte, frame and deliver pictures, all of that before selling a single one. I quit the farmers market, not because it wasn't successful - it was coming along very nicely, but because it was a hassle and took a lot of time and things weren't getting done around the house and my wife was paying a significant price, both in me not being available, or being tired and grumpy.

Truth is,the biggest limiting factor in being successful as a part time photographer is the limitations in your energy and time and your commitments to others. If you are single and don't have an overly demanding job and a goodly amount of energy and ambition, then the sky is the limit - more power to you.

For those of us with more mortal limits on our capacities, perhaps we shouldn't worry so much about selling. Perhaps we should be looking in other directions for affirmation of our work - through publication and through our website and maybe the occasional show just for the ego of it.


Joe Lipka said...

If you treat it like a hobby it will pay you like a hobby. If you treat it like a full time job, it will pay you like a full time job.

The concept is simple, the execution thereof causes the problem.

I know many people that can do outstanding work. It's just that there "day job" limits the amount of time they can spend on the work and more importantly how much time they can spend promoting their work. Promotion in itself is a full time job.

Anonymous said...

An interesting topic would be "How to promote your work", if it is a full time job promoting your own work, what would you do with those 40 hours?
Most of us part time photographers would like to know the secrets to self promotion, I for one wouldn't know where to start.

Geoff Wittig said...

My experience exactly. I am also a family doc in a small town; I can sell as many small prints/cards as I care to make, but there aren't enough hours in the day. I'd much rather show large panoramic prints, but in my destitute rural area there's no market able to pay for them. I could probably market them effectively in the big city, but then there's that little detail of, you know, my day job of taking care of patients. Which I love.
So many pictures, so little time.