Six reasons why I will never become a professional photographer

Aug 9, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Six reasons why I will never become a professional photographer

Aug 9, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

It’s been 12 or 13 years since I got seriously interested in photography. However, I haven’t made photography my business, even though I’m very interested in it and reasonably good at it. So why’s that? Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. Why have I never had a wish to become a professional? I generally believe in “never say never,” but let’s say that it’s very likely that I will never become a professional photographer despite my interest in photography itself. I have six good reasons for this. And if you’re having second thoughts about turning pro, perhaps you’ll find yourself in this article.

To make things clear before we go any further: I don’t think a professional photographer is someone who just takes beautiful photos or who is talented for photography. I don’t lack talent, and some of my photos are pretty neat as well. As you can see, I’m very modest too. :) Joke aside, I believe that a professional photographer is someone who runs a business in addition to taking beautiful photos. And running a business is a whole different story. So, this is where my six reasons against turning pro begin.

1. I suck at time management

When it comes to my daily life, chores, and my job, of course, I try to stick with an approximate schedule and I’m not that terrible at it. But it’s so much different with photos, especially with editing. I recently remembered a Facebook status I wrote a few years ago in March. It reads something like this and it will tell you everything about my time management skills:

I came back from Athens in early January and started editing the photos immediately – there are 64 left. Out of 150.

Today I sent my brother his birthday photos. His birthday was on 14 February.

I took photos of my niece, I don’t even know when. The photos are still unedited, and she’s in a T-shirt, so it must have been last summer.

And people ask me why I don’t shoot professionally.

A professional photographer, in my opinion, must respect the deadlines and be able not to feel too much pressure because of them. I’m not really great at either, apparently.

P.S. A part of the photos from Athens remains unedited to this day.

In Serbian, we say “a minute to twelve” if someone does things last-minute. In my case, it’s rather a minute after twelve.

2. Lack of business skills/ambition

As I mentioned, being a professional photographer means that you have to run a business. However, I’ve never had the ambition of running my own. So, I’m not even sure I have business skills as I never had to develop them. Maybe I would be good at it, but I just don’t have the slightest desire to try. It even scares me.

3. Never good enough

Another thing that has affected my decision not to turn pro is that I don’t think my photos are ever perfect. Luckily, that doesn’t prevent me from publishing them, because I still want to share my ideas even if the photos are far from being flawless. But on rare occasions when I took photos for money, I was always extremely nervous that the clients wouldn’t like them. And I hate that feeling.

4. I’m very awkward around people

There are many genres you can focus on as a photographer. However, what most folks choose here in Serbia are those that involve photographing people or just being surrounded by them: weddings, birthdays, all kinds of events… I’m a bit shy, I feel awkward when posing people, and I’m pretty sure they can feel how confused I am. So I’d rather pass.

…but funnily enough, I do like shooting (and attending) concerts!

5. Long periods of being completely uninspired

Honestly, this is what has bothered me a lot lately. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, my creativity has been dropping. I’m at the point where I have absolutely no ideas for photos, but also for recipes and stories I write in Serbian. Nothing! I know it will return eventually, these periods without creativity can happen. But I feel that they’re not something I would be able to afford if I made a living out of photography.

6. I’m afraid that I’d start to hate photography

At this moment, I love photography very much. Even though we’re on a break right now, I’m pretty sure we’ll get back together. :) Anyways, if I started doing it as a business, I’m scared that I would lose the passion and love I have for it. I’m afraid that the deadlines, tons of tasks, and all that I wrote above would turn it into nothing but another chore. A similar feeling to the one I had with my “365 project.”


Maybe you have an ambition on becoming a professional photographer. And you might have found yourself in all the stuff I wrote above. So now you’re probably thinking: “Oh crap, I’m like this too, maybe I should give it up.” Maybe, yes, but don’t do it just yet!

Think about what’s stronger: your ambition or your fears? Your desire or your poor time management skills? Your wonderful personality or your self-doubt?

Before you give up, remember that you can overcome anything and that anything can be learned. Time management and business skills are something we can learn and practice. Our fears and self-doubts are something we can beat. And you can even learn how not to be awkward around people (so yeah, you can even become a wedding photographer as an introvert). Therefore, if you feel like you’re ready to change and train yourself to become a professional photographer: then go for it.

It’s more likely that you’ll see my name on a book cover (fingers crossed!) than in a photo gallery. I don’t think I have what it takes to become a professional photographer, and I have my other passions and skills that I’m developing. But hey – never say never… Right?

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

19 responses to “Six reasons why I will never become a professional photographer”

  1. Clarence Hemeon Avatar
    Clarence Hemeon

    Yep, agree with them all. Also not self centered enough.

  2. Clarence Hemeon Avatar
    Clarence Hemeon

    Yep, agree with them all.

  3. Shreyas Yadav Avatar
    Shreyas Yadav

    Interesting Article Dunja ! I liked the different perspective on this topic. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Justin Case Avatar
    Justin Case

    Some excellent and honest points Dunja. I grew up with photography. I would watch my father working in his dark room from the age of four (I was four – not him). I love photography, but if you’re going to set up a smal business, there’s so many other things you can do that will provide a less precarious income without being at other peoples beck and call all hours of the day and night and across your weekends. Like you, I’d also be worried that it would erode my abiding interest in the photographic image.

    I’ve been doing photography long enough to know that as long as I do it for the love of it, my interest will come and go and come back again. I have put my camera down for years at a time and then come back to it with a vengeance. But a good way to rekindle interest is to buy a new prime lens. Always works for me.

  5. Zoran Avatar

    Spot on Dunja! 1-5 one could learn, 6 would be difficult to fake. Putting a $ tag on your work may kill the beauty of it. @vzoranbos

  6. Bokehmon22 Avatar

    Dealing with people can be difficult. There are too many Karen and Kevin. All it takes is a few bad one to spoiled an entire barrel of wine.

    Over saturation of photographers.

    This pandemic exposed creative jobs isn’t a very stable job.

  7. Matthias Avatar

    Very good points, and pretty much sums up the reasons why I have no desire whatsoever to try being a professional photographer.

    Some people seem to think of “professional” as a kind of badge of honor, and link it to superior output, yet the guy who spends his life doing passport picture is a professional photographer. And remember, the Titanic was built by a whole lot of professionals, the Ark was the work of a lone amateur :)

  8. Crimsonrain Avatar

    This is so me .. although I can handle being around select people. I will not ever do weddings or portraits! I shoot sports and concerts and some Festivals.

  9. Mordechai Avatar

    Nice article. Love the transparency. This is something we can all learn. Being more honest with ourselves.

  10. Dejan Milosavljevic Avatar
    Dejan Milosavljevic

    dang, its too late for me now ?

  11. J.L. Williams Avatar
    J.L. Williams

    Good points, all of them. Photography is photography and selling is selling, and if you don’t enjoy selling you shouldn’t be a professional photographer. I’ve always said that the only difference between a professional photographer and a used-car salesman is that the used-car salesman doesn’t have to make the cars.

    As for doing something you love for money and discovering that now you hate it… that’s called the “overjustification effect” and it is a real thing; see here:

  12. Bojan Avatar

    Great points, just you forgot one very important thing when it comes to photography in servis Serbia, it usually means you need to do weddings which is maybe nice and somewhat creative in some other parts of the world, however here it means you need to put your camera to P (professional ?) mode, use on camera flash pointed directly in the face, shoot jpegs and print right away on location directly from the memory card.
    This will make you hate photography and this business unfortunately.
    I learned this from my music, a passion should be only that. When you do something for money you need to make so many compromises and that is not good when you live something. Also there is a problem of being to sensitive and passionate in doing business which is never good, when doing something for money you should be cold blooded as much as possible.

  13. A. Nonymous Avatar
    A. Nonymous

    Good points. You sound a bit like me. I prefer to operate as a volunteer for a couple local nonprofits, so I’m never really obligated to do anything unless I want to. That’s another thing that keeps me from it – obligation. My career is pretty solid as is, and photography probably serves me better as a hobby.

  14. Bob Locher Avatar
    Bob Locher

    If you do go pro, and love photography, I strongly suggest you reserve some aspect of photography strictly for your own. Back in the day, I was covering sports and used an SLR and long lenses, and came to dislike the whole scene – road trips, scrambling up and down the sidelines, looking for great shots but having little idea of the game etc.
    I picked up a used Leica 3F rangefinder cheap at a garage sale and discovered minimalist landscape shots. That camera ended up giving me more pleasure than any other piece of photographic gear I have ever owned. In the longer haul, I went on to a different career – but the old Leica stayed with me for years.

  15. Michael Avatar

    Haha. These are the six reasons I will never become a professional photographer as well!

  16. defunct up Avatar
    defunct up

    Hit many points on why I like photography as a hobby and wouldn’t want anything more from it. Point 5 especially hits the hardest. It’s difficult being creative during a pandemic!

  17. Steve Tracy Snaps Avatar
    Steve Tracy Snaps

    Retired now

  18. Ted Rice Avatar
    Ted Rice

    I was retired before I took up photography. Not being a people person, I would not make it as a professional. Usually I take landscapes and/or animals to avoid the stress of dealing with people. I would like to sell a few photos to make enough money to upgrade my aging equipment, but don’t want to get into the hassle and paperwork of running a business – dealing with health insurance is bad enough.

  19. stewart norton Avatar
    stewart norton

    To me the one main learnt is you have to be better at business than you are at photography. If you are not into business or relationship building and maintaining and just love taking pictures then forget it. I know many amazing photographers who gave it up and went back to other jobs because they just couldn’t or wouldn’t deal with the business side. And conversely I know of pretty mediocre photographers who have “the patter” and know how to work thier client base and are very successful.