This might seem to contradict my recent post about making a living from creativity. But,
- I always reserve the right to change my mind.
- I’m not completely contradicting what I said earlier. More like adding a caveat.
First off, I’m not hatching a plan to make photography my primary source of income. That would be a complete contradiction of my earlier post. But I think I’ve gotten my skills up to a level where I can at least make some money, if nothing else to support my gear habit.
As I mentioned in the title, I’m also terrified of this prospect. What if nobody wants to pay me to take photos?
I think in recent weeks I’ve been sort of talking myself down from what I really want. A lot of people do this, especially when they think what they want is unattainable. Sometimes it is. For instance, if I wanted to be a professional ballerina, well, that ship sailed a long time ago.
And I don’t think it’s wise to aim for making photography a full-time gig, at least not right now. Just because you love doing something doesn’t mean that doing it full-time will offer the same experience.
For example, I spent 4 years serving in the National Guard with a unit that I loved. If I could have found a way to replicate that experience full-time, I would have done it in a heartbeat. But we had enough disgruntled former active-duty Army soldiers in our ranks to make it clear that going on active duty wasn’t the answer for me.
So I’m in no hurry to do photography full-time. But am I good enough to, say, book some portait sessions? Yeah, I think I am.
I’ve mentioned before that I was recently asked to photograph a friend’s wedding. The bride and groom seem happy with the photos, and I am, too. Of course I recognize where there’s room for improvement, but all things considered, I feel pretty good about my first wedding shoot.
Shooting weddings is very time- and labor-intensive, so I’m not sure it’s something I’d want to do very often. But I have to say it made the wedding experience more enjoyable for me, too. Having something to do kept me engaged in a way I must confess is not always the case for me at weddings.
I also think trying to bring some money into it will help my craft. It’s one thing to take photos I enjoy around the usual places, but taking them for clients means I have to consider their tastes and need to have the skills to achieve the desired look, whatever that may be.
Except the HDR look. I think 99.999% of HDR photos are horrible. Fight me.
Of course, it’s possible to go too far in the other direction, where you’re only concerned with what others want and not putting any of yourself into the process. Then it becomes a grind that nobody enjoys. Again, that’s why I’m happy to keep this part-time for now. I’ve set a goal to make a certain amount of money from photography in 2017, so we’ll see how that turns out!
Have you faced a similar situation with a hobby or creative pursuit? Please share your experiences in the comments!