Leaving your day job and turning a full-time landscape photographer sounds like a dream come true. But is it really all that romantic? Professional landscape photographer Joshua Cripps knows a thing or two about turning this hobby into a career, and he confirms that it’s not all sunshine and roses. In fact, he believes that landscape photography is a bad career choice for most people, and in this video he’ll give you five reasons why.
1. You will get to do photography a lot less
When you’re a landscape photographer, no one is paying for the actual shoot like with event, wedding and other similar genres. You still need to go out and take photos, but then you need to do so much more to actually get the money. You need to market them in one way or another: stock photography, selling prints, photo tours… Whichever way you choose, it requires a lot of additional work. Oh, and since this is now your business, there’s also social media, accounting, and other joys of running it. All these things require a lot of work, and none of it is about taking photos. Personally, all this is one of the reasons why I never turned pro.
2. You will work harder than ever
In a way, this s related to a previous point. If you decide to make landscape photography your career, you’ll need to maximize your creativity, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship. Remember, it’s not a 9-5 job, and it will become hard to separate your private life from your work life. From now on, you’ll need to do everything that has to do with business ownership, and it will be especially tough in the beginning while you’re still learning.
3. You will see your friends and family less
Although you will now do all those business-related things, you’ll still have to make great photos you’re your portfolio or for sale. This means that you’ll sometimes need to sacrifice your personal life to get the best shots.
4. Relationships can be very difficult
When you turn pro and get to the point that you can travel a lot, how will your partner handle it? Should they go with you? Can they? And do they even want to? Or should they stay at home and wait? Joshua admits that some relationships didn’t work out because he was always on the road and he just wasn’t around much to nurture the personal connections. Of course, it’s not impossible to maintain a healthy relationship as a traveling photographer, but it can require a lot of extra effort on both sides.
5. Something you love can become something you hate
While we’re at relationships, you know how we sometimes grow to dislike someone we used to like a lot? Well, a similar thing can happen in your relationship with photography. When it’s just a hobby, there is no pressure, no expectations, you do it for your own soul. As soon as money gets into the equation, photography becomes a chore, there’s a lot of pressure and expectation, and of course lots of stress. All this can make you want to stop shooting, and I’ve known some people who stopped doing photography altogether because they just couldn’t handle the business side of it. On another personal note: this is one more big reason why I never chose it as a career. I was afraid I’d stop enjoying it, and it’s just not worth the risk. Plus, I’m better at writing anyway. :)
As far as I’m concerned, I’d never turn pro as a photographer, regardless of the genre. I agree with all of Joshua’s points and I think some of them can be applied to any type of photography you choose to turn into your full-time job. However, this doesn’t mean you should get discouraged. After all, if a career in landscape was all that bad, no one would do it. So, if you’re still considering it, Joshua also gives you a five reasons to go for it. And of course, it’s up to you to set your priorities first, and then make your decision.