Hard Truths About Being a Professional Photographer

No doubt, the idea of being a professional photographer is a dream for many of us, but on the other hand, the reality of it can be far more difficult than you might imagine. This excellent video essay discusses some of the hard truths about being a professional photographer that you should be aware of before you undertake it. 

Coming to you from First Man Photography, this great video essay discusses some of the hard truths about being a professional photographer. No doubt, a lot of hobbyist photographers would love to become professionals one day, but on the other hand, it is important to have a realistic understanding of what that entails. Perhaps one of the most surprising (and potentially frustrating) aspects of being a professional is how little time you will spend actually taking pictures; in fact, you can expect to likely spend less time taking photos as a professional than you would as an amateur. The vast majority of your time will likely be spent attending to business matters, such as bookkeeping, advertising, answering emails, and much more. It is something that is quite important to be aware of before you take the plunge. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments

In advertising when you go full time, it's no longer about your photography, but the photography need of someone else. It's still photography but it's also all about being challenged to produce something that in the end is not personal to you. But there is huge satisfaction in getting put into weird, fast paced and complicated situations.

Very very very good advice and insight! Spot on!

I'm pretty happy with the way things are going for me.
I photograph motorsport and the season here is about 8 months, the other 4 months I put my camera in storage and don't touch it. This is great as I don't get burned out on photography. Now every time March/April is around the corner, I can't wait to start travelling and photographing again.
I photograph about 2-3 times per month, which is fine. I do get paid so does that make me a professional photographer or something else?
Of course, I have a full time office job.

I don't often watch photography videos and find I spend more time reading articles about the craft. Something in this video caught my eye and I watched it the whole way through. I enjoyed the straight talk, the passion and feeling behind it, the experiences -- good and bad -- that were the basis for the presentation. In the end, this video is more than just about the business of photography. There's an emphasis on craft and on thinking about one's life, the sacrifices one is willing to make, or not. Thank you very much for addressing these issues as they relate to photography.