Is professional photography dying out?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Karaya Senior Member • Posts: 2,042
Re: This thread makes me feel so good!

Machine Gun Kelly wrote:

That I have been content to remain a amateur photographer. My situation has some similarity to Machine Gun Kelly's. I live in a rural area. I have had many people tell me my photos are so great I should be making money from them. My best friend took it upon himself to have business cards printed for me billing me as a wedding and portrait photographer. The owner of the local coffee shop I hang out in asked for copies of my photos to display in a slideshow over the sales counter. The people running a local sci-fi convention 'elected' (volunteered?) me to be the 'official' convention photographer. I estimate I have between $20k and $30k 'invested in equipment.

This is all very nice, but I do not think I want to pursue a career as a 'professional' photographer. I love receiving complements on my photos. I have shot a few weddings and sold a few prints. I think my total 'profits' from all this might pay for dinner at a five star restaurant for my wife and myself.

I have taken an honest look at the situation. I have not a single entrepreneurial bone in my body. I have an introverted personality. I see photography as an art. I like to shoot with large prints as the final goal. I like prime lenses and natural light. I prefer a minimum of post processing. I like a 'classical' style of portraiture. In contrast most people I talk with are content to view photos on their computers. They like an edgy look. They are most impressed with heavily processed photos - like HDR. Many either have an inexpensive DSLR of their own, or plan to purchase one soon. Many people have expressed in interest in purchasing prints, but have pleaded poverty. I know some of these people have printed copies of the small jpegs off my website - on plain printer paper no less - for their own uses.

So, given all this, why should I bang my head against the wall trying to pick up a few dollars on the side shooting weddings and portraits and such? I am enjoying my photography more then ever since recommitting to maintaining my status as a dedicated amateur-enthusiast! I can shoot how I want and just have fun!

To be quite honest, I would have been happy with less equipment and photography as a hobby.

Well, yes, I think most advanced amateurs would be happier just keeping it as a hobby. I don't understand the mercenary attitude most Americans seem to have. Why is there this expectation that those of us who have invested heavily in photography have to justify this by trying to turn a profit? I mean, if I had $20k stuck into a bass boat and tackle would people ask me about my plans for making a profit in commercial fishing?

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