Dear entitled photographer, this is NOT how you start a photography business

Jul 30, 2019

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Dear entitled photographer, this is NOT how you start a photography business

Jul 30, 2019

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Dear Entitled,

I came across a screenshot of your “I have started a photography business” post in a “Classifieds” Facebook group:

I don’t know your name, but honestly, even if I did, I wouldn’t use it. It’s not my way. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to address your post, because girl, I sure do. You are asking for a lot of stuff from strangers to run this business you have started and apparently, expecting to receive it, so I settled on the adjective I felt best exemplified this sort of request. I hope you don’t mind.

And, dear Entitled, rather than address the requests all at once, I thought I would dissect it, much like a frog in a middle school biology class. We’ll take our pins, affix this post firmly in place and then cut into it, examining it bit by bit. Exciting, right? Of course it is, just like this new business you just started.

“I tried to make a fundraiser bit it wasn’t for a “cause” so they deleted it. But, why not make a post. My goal amount 1-2-3-4.”

First of all, how dare they delete your fundraiser. ANIMALS! To be fair to Facebook, they probably are used to people asking for help with serious medical issues or raising money for a surgery, but anyone with a shred of common sense can see that it really is quite inconsiderate of them not to put your post asking for a camera and computer and a lump sum of money for your business on par with someone experiencing a devastating loss. I mean, does it get more inconsiderate than that? Come on, Facebook.

“I have started a photography business.”

Congratulations! Those are really fun words to say, aren’t they? I think the only thing more exciting is saying “I am a Professional Photographer.” And the ultra cool thing, dear Entitled, is anyone can say them. You don’t need to validate either statement. Oh, I know, there are those naysayers who believe that just making the claim doesn’t make it so but who are they to define this dream you’ve had for ten minutes? They don’t know that you’ve thought about this all last night when you weren’t watching Netflix. Did they not read your post in the Classifieds? Those words didn’t write themselves. Yeah, the grammar is a mess, but you are busy running your new photography business, not your new “grammar business.” Am I write? Dam strait.

“So, yeah…after this episode of “Orange is the New Black” I’m going to think about my dream of starting a photography business.”

“I didn’t want to do this. I don’t have the slightest idea what to ask. These are things I need: I need a camera, not even a new one. A used camera, one that I can take and get pictures from.”

Dear Entitled, do not beat yourself up. How can you be expected to know what you need for the new business you just opened. Hello? You are too busy running your new photography business to know what you need to run a photography business. Girl, where do you find the time? No wonder you don’t have a camera yet.  I just hope you don’t forget to care for yourself along the way. Self care isn’t selfish.

As for the camera, I think you’re on the right track. I’ve always found the cameras you “can take and get pictures from” are the best cameras for a photography business. Please. And you said you don’t have the slightest idea what to ask for you. I suspect someone is riding the modesty train.

Is this one of those Take and Get Pictures From cameras?

“I need to go out and get a laptop for editing photos, a used one, just one that allows editing. I need props, things for baby photos, things for family photos, blankets and other things.”

I think Best Buy sells those editing laptops. Maybe Walmart? But be warned: don’t let anyone sell you a non-editing laptop. Girl, it’s tricky, ‘cause they look the same, so stand your ground and insist on an Editing Laptop. (We call them “EL’s” but that abbreviation became confusing once Stranger Things got popular.)

Friends don’t lie…and they don’t let other friends buy non-editing laptops.

“I most definitely need a nest egg, something to assure I’ll have money set aside for expenses such as travel, small mishaps.”

Oh, Entitled, this sentence alone tells me you are on the road to success. I mean, CLEARLY, strangers considering where to put their hard earned money will read this and think, “Okay, this photography business owner knows her stuff. She’s already asking people to donate for her expenses. Are we SURE she’s only been doing this for 5 minutes? Let’s take the money we were going to send to our local dog rescue and send it her way to help cover her travel. You know what, that’s not enough– that kid in Guatemala can sponsor himself. This photography business owner needs money for her mishaps.” Good for you, dear Entitled. I mean, have you seen the price of business insurance? Only an idiot would buy that.

No shoes for you today, little guy.
Someone started a photography business and needs our money for a nest egg.
Stay inside if it gets cold.

“I don’t need this money immediately. I don’t need it, I want the help. I won’t be offended if you don’t want to donate. I know there are much more fundraisers more important than my own. With how life is, I don’t have the money to go out and get these things to start up my business.”

Woah. Girl…you don’t need the money immediately? Could you possibly be MORE considerate. I mean, here you are, running your photography business, slaving away on Facebook posts and yet, you are willing to wait for the money to roll in for everything for your business. Can we clone you?

“Karen, what’s wrong with you?”
“It’s this woman on Facebook asking everyone for money to start a business that she’s already started. She’s willing to wait for the money she wants. I mean, come on, guys. She isn’t demanding we give it to her immediately. We are not worthy…WE ARE NOT WORTHY.”
“Karen, seriously…what’s wrong with you?”

Listen, dear Entitled, I know you aren’t asking for a set amount of money, and again, who can blame you? I mean, really, who knows how much money is actually needed to start a photography business? Or any business. No one has ever been able to figure that out. I’m pretty sure every successful business owner has just sort of made it up as they go along. Mistakes? Please. That’s where that nest egg comes in. After all, it’s just money and there is no shortage of other people making to give to you and your dreams.

So, dear Entitled, in closing let me just say how happy this entire post makes me. You know, the photography industry has taken a bit of a hit lately in regards to perception. All those people calling themselves pros, holding memories so carelessly in their hands. It’s kind of devalued the whole profession, you know?

It’s nice to know that you really care enough to do it right.

I recently discovered I have a passion for a thing I want to do but can’t afford right now,
so instead of working hard and earning the money to pay for it myself,
I’d like everyone ELSE to pay for it.
Oh, and I won’t be buying business insurance, so you might want to consider giving a little extra to cover me when something goes wrong.
REMEMBER: MY DREAMS ARE EVERYONE ELSE’S RESPONSIBILITY.

About the Author

Missy Mwac is a photographer/eater of bacon/drinker of vodka and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can follow her social media links here: FacebookTumblr. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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23 responses to “Dear entitled photographer, this is NOT how you start a photography business”

  1. KCWang Avatar
    KCWang

    One might state the obvious and say there are a lot of dumb aye ess ess people out there.

  2. Daniel T Jester Avatar
    Daniel T Jester

    “welp, petapixel posted it so I guess just come up with a snarky caption and post it too” ~DIY Photo

    1. Robert Valdivia Avatar
      Robert Valdivia
  3. Jasmine Bless Avatar
    Jasmine Bless

    Probably the best article I’d read all day. ..well, considering that I only read one a day before work??

  4. Kevin Gonsalves Avatar
    Kevin Gonsalves

    I feel sorry for you, having to bring other people down just so you can feel better about yourself. Think about spreading more light into the world rather than this hateful crap.

  5. Numya nunya Avatar
    Numya nunya

    How bout you write an article that doesn’t make a person who is trying the bad guy. You don’t know this persons situation at all so just be better than this article.

    1. Simone Avatar
      Simone

      That’s just it. That person isn’t trying. They want it handed to them without putting in effort.

  6. Gary Maxwell Avatar
    Gary Maxwell

    So the person made some mistakes. Is it really necessary to insult them? Just give them constructive criticism.

    1. Frank Hunter Avatar
      Frank Hunter

      Problem is, entitled people don’t take criticism. Everyone else is always wrong.

  7. Russ James Avatar
    Russ James

    Yeesh, this article is incredibly douchy. It’s honestly one of the most entitled, privilaged, and therefor hypocritical articles I’ve read in a while. Hope things get better for you, we really dont need any of this trivial BS. Good luck Missy!!

  8. Carter Tune Avatar
    Carter Tune

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read this year. One way it could be even funnier would have been to call it the “Millenial Buisness Plan”; with blank spaces for the kind of business.

  9. Marko Avatar
    Marko

    What a dumb article. Really. Who cares what she is asking for, who are you to judge her? She does not sound entitled at all, just desperate. She is asking for a kind word, not aloof attitude from self righteous people.

  10. CJB Avatar
    CJB

    As funny as this was in places it was also self righteous throughout. Even if it often makes me yawn, crowd funding has become a social norm.

    Our world is mean and cruel enough. This was just an ugly way to add more ugliness to the world. I mean get on your high horse and ride.

    You should have at least included their link. I’ll bet you would have made them thousands, and lots of actually useful advice.

  11. Simone Avatar
    Simone

    Don’t mind the easily offended DIY. This was a funny one!

  12. Jeremy Jones Avatar
    Jeremy Jones

    While I absolutely agree with the replies the author gave in her article, I don’t for one minute believe that the originating Facebook post was genuine. I’m guessing it was posted by a “professional photographer” like the author out of cynicism for what the industry has wrought. Sounds way too tongue-in-cheek to me to be someone’s actual request for help.

  13. me smith Avatar
    me smith

    Does this make me a stakeholder in her business? I can understand the frustration from photographers that worked hard to make it without crowd funding, which is reflected in the tone of the article. You can be a great photographer, you might not be a savvy or smart business person, which from experience this can make or break a photographer.

  14. Guy McLoughlin Avatar
    Guy McLoughlin

    Everything starts with opportunity and today many people have no opportunities that will help start their career.

    If Annie Leibovitz wasn’t able to get an office job at Rolling Stone magazine, which later became a photography job at Rolling Stone magazine, her photography career would have never happened.

    Opportunities like Annie Leibovitz had at Rolling Stone magazine are next to impossible to find today, so you have to be prepared to do anything that will help get you started, even if you have to resort to crowdfunding. You do whatever works to get things started.

  15. Andrew Miller Avatar
    Andrew Miller

    Devils advocate. How is the above different from this one.

    https://www.patreon.com/annegeddes

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      She’s not using it to start a business? You’ve really no idea who she is?

  16. Oliver Musa Bangs Avatar
    Oliver Musa Bangs

    Good afternoon to everyone in this forum. My name is Musa Oliva bangs. I am a Sierra Leoneian, and a student trying to accomplish his dream and career as a photographer. You all here are my seniors, and am looking forward to get an help from you all. Like an advice and more thanks to you all God bless you ? all.

  17. Steve Thorpe Avatar
    Steve Thorpe

    Wow! This is so obviously written by a professional photographer, NOT a professional writer. Your straw man is so obviously a fake, self-created target for your derission that it makes you come across as a little bit pathetic.

  18. Woah Dude Avatar
    Woah Dude

    They weren’t trying to bully people into donating they just wanted to know if anyone wanted to contribute, not even money, they asked for advice, even saying that they’d get used equipment, very realistic. If people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year can’t spare some advice or words of encouragement then I guess that speaks to them.

  19. Jerky McJerkface Avatar
    Jerky McJerkface

    They could at least start an OnlyFans page and work for that camera instead of begging for one.