Photography as a business is hard work. Really hard work. Ask any successful photographer and they’ll tell you. Even if it looks like they have an easy life now, they’ll tell you they had years of struggle to get where they’re at and they’re still probably doing more work than you, even after attaining a measure of success. If you’re a hobbyist, you can probably ignore this post.
Running a photography business (or any kind of business at all, really) isn’t for everybody, that’s for sure. But when and why should you call it a day and find a “real job”? That’s the question commercial photographer Scott Choucino attempts to answer in this question as he talks about some of his history in photography and how he approaches the work.
I once saw Zack Arias say in a live stream that “photography calls many but chooses few”, which is a very short-but-good way to summarise Scott’s video. I don’t think it’s necessarily the photography side of things that’s not choosing a person, though, but the business side. Plenty of people are outstanding and amazing photographers but never make a penny from it. Not because their work is terrible, but because it has no real monetary value. They’re creating images that there’s no market for.
For those that want to succeed, if you’re already shooting one type of thing (that doesn’t sell) really really well, then it’s relatively easy to shift over to shooting something else (that sells) and figuring out how to shoot that really really well, too. If a photographer is motivated enough to really turn photography into a business, it’s what you have to do.
Scott lives and breathes photography, and it’s really no different than running any other kind of business. If you want it to be successful (really successful), you need to live and breathe the subject matter. You need to work harder than the competition – and there’s a lot out there when it comes to photography these days – to make yourself stand out above the rest and prove that you’re dedicated and can deliver on your client’s demands.
The funny thing about posts like this and videos like Scott’s… They tend to work as qualifiers that allow people to self-identify.
If you read this post, watched Scott’s video and thought to yourself “Meh, they’re full of it”, you’re probably in denial and good look to you. If, however, you thought “Hell yeah!” then you’re probably already on your way to success. Perhaps it’s already made you consider packing it all in – in which case, perhaps you should until you’re more determined. Or maybe it’s given you that determination to succeed already.
Have you considered quitting? Why did or didn’t you?