As much as you may call yourself an artist, you must also learn the importance of identifying yourself as a business person. If you own a camera, and you're not making any money, this is the reason why.
If you want to make a sustainable career in photography or filmmaking, the harsh reality is that you are not an artist anymore, you're someone who's running a business. The common fate of an artist, is one of a "starving artist." If you survey the industry, there are a multitude of people who's work is nothing short of mediocre, but they're a running a successful business. But then, there are a countless number of ridiculously talented artists out there who are struggling to make ends meet. It's a frustrating irony, but one that shouldn't be overlooked.
In this brutally honest video, FlashFilm Academy breaks down why so many talented artists are struggling today. He explains that:
Like so many of you, I started off in this industry so focused on getting better as an artist that I completely over looked the most important part of this industry: the business side of things.
There is a time and place for creative work and flexing your talented artist muscles, but a majority of the time, it's not what pays the bills. If you're a professional photographer or filmmaker, the truth is, you will be spending 80% of your time on the business side of things, and 20% if you're lucky, actually creating.
The one part of the video that stuck with me, is that, you don't need to be incredibly talented, or need the most expensive gear to start making money and paying your bills. Adjust your portfolio to match the demands of the current market, and shoot what will pay your bills, then you can focus on shooting projects for yourself.
So, the next time you get paid for your work, the next investment shouldn't be in that new lens you don't need, rather invest the money into educating yourself on how to grow your business. Luckily, Fstoppers released their in-house produced tutorial, Making Real Money: The Business of Commercial Photography featuring Monte Isom. It is something you will not want to miss.