You have probably heard the old saying, “Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” While I truly believe that, I like to keep the Peace Corps’ slogan in mind when thinking about photography, “The toughest job you’ll ever love.”
Why is photography one of the toughest jobs you will ever love?
The hours stink – Weekend, what’s a weekend? One Sunday I worked on a project from 6:15am until 8:30pm. Those are long hours to work on a weekend after a “normal” work week. That doesn’t happen as often as it used to. Over the years I have created a more manageable routine for myself. I use Mondays to sort out the coming week and to tidy up any loose ends from the previous week. In the past, I did try to do that on Friday, but it never worked for me.
Family life suffers – Your significant other wants you to spend a lazy day around the house, but the “Honey Do” list has more than a few ongoing projects to be finished. The problem here is that there are some very cool things happening that you would love to go and photograph. It’s a tough choice, but I try to make room for everything which can work out well or be a complete disaster. You never know which going in.
The money – Well, let’s just say you probably did not get into photography for the money anyway. Besides, no one has a budget for photos because the economy is circling the drain and everyone is broke so why should you make any money? Sounds reasonable right? Not exactly, the trick here is to find clients who realize that photography is a great way to help market their business in the long run.
Creativity – Huge bonus points on this one! I’m not sure there are many other jobs where you can be playing with smoke in a studio one day and working in a foundry the next. Being out all night on a ride along with paramedics, spending a night in the ER, hanging out of a helicopter at 1500ft, climbing up a vertical rock face all tend to help spark moments of profound creativity or sheer terror, sometimes both!
I have enjoyed being a photographer for many years, and every time I hear that someone wants to get into the business, I think that’s great. The world needs more creative people in it. The more, the merrier I say.