How do you make a living with Digital Photography?

  • gregdavidson
  • Newbie
  • Newbie
  • gregdavidson
  • Posts: 11

Post 3+ Months Ago

I was always intrigued with the field of photography I could never see myself earning enough money off it. I took a few pics with my digital camera and posted them on Fotolia but nobody bought any of them. Maybe I should move to Hollywood and join the paparazzi.
  • Anonymous
  • Bot
  • No Avatar
  • Posts: ?
  • Loc: Ozzuland
  • Status: Online

Post 3+ Months Ago

  • Bogey
  • Genius
  • Genius
  • Bogey
  • Posts: 8388
  • Loc: USA

Post 3+ Months Ago

I never actually tried making a living off photography or haven't tried in that field but what I would think they do is get learned in the field, learn techniques, get known, make your own web site, get it known, take great awesome pictures, dare to explore the wild and shoot shots... ...

There are more better photographers here than me ;)
  • joebert
  • Fart Bubbles
  • Genius
  • User avatar
  • Posts: 13502
  • Loc: Florida

Post 3+ Months Ago

Naked people.
  • SB
  • Moderator
  • Genius
  • User avatar
  • Posts: 8741
  • Loc: Aberdeen, Scotland

Post 3+ Months Ago

Do you want to hazard a guess at how much a photographer earns doing a wedding? Perhaps you know, imagine you are a wedding photographer and you do about 2 weddings a month. Depending on your standard of living, but i think it is possible you could survive off of that when you take into account your annual income from that.

This is just one of many many different areas of photography you can get into, and one of the least lucrative.

I figured out that if i was to be a wedding photographer one day and do a random photoshoot on another day then i could easily (depending on my experience and portfolio) be earning £90k per annum before taxes. Of course, this is in the UK...it might be different in the USA.

But let me assure you, it's not just taking photographs twice a week, there is alot of other work involved too which takes up a larger period of time. Not forgetting the cost of equipment and materials is majorly high at the moment. As much as i'd love to, it's just not possible to jump into a career in photography without spending a larger sum of cash just to give you your first foot in the job.
  • therightpic
  • Newbie
  • Newbie
  • therightpic
  • Posts: 10

Post 3+ Months Ago

I have been checking into this since I am starting a stock photo site.

Two weeks ago I went and shot a bunch of pictures at a friend's wedding. The guy who was there actually getting paid to do it made about $1500 (I think) for about 5 hours of shooting time and I am sure a whole bunch of post-shoot photo processing with photoshop. He is also putting together a photo album for them and gave them all of the photos on a DVD.

If he does 3 or 4 of those a month I am sure it keeps him pretty busy but would be a fun job.

I live in Utah and he told me that the week before he spent down in Zion's National park taking photos. He probably sells those on his site as well.

This post is getting long, but you did ask...

He also had a Nikon D200, which is not a cheap camera, and about 5,000 lenses and adapters for it. I would guess he had about 10-15k worth of equipment, which is an investment you would have to make if you wanted to be a pro.
  • SB
  • Moderator
  • Genius
  • User avatar
  • Posts: 8741
  • Loc: Aberdeen, Scotland

Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm gonna guess he probably had alot more moneys worth of equipment, that is unless the "5,000 lenses and adapters" comment was an over exaggeration.

It isn't cheap as you say, the equipment is expensive. The more expensive it is the better the product, the better the product means a better standard of work, and the wider range of work and higher standard you have the more you get paid.

That £90k comment was more me saying this is what you'd get before you take into account any expenses. Depending on the jobs you are doing to earn a figure near that you're probably talking about earning £40-50k a year after paying for material and equipment...again this is just on the basis of doing 1 photoshoot a week and a wedding.
  • therightpic
  • Newbie
  • Newbie
  • therightpic
  • Posts: 10

Post 3+ Months Ago

Yeah, all my guesses on costs of equipment were just that, guesses, but for 15k you could get a pretty nice setup for doing weddings or other types of shoots outside of a studio. A studio is another matter.

I was definitely exaggerating about 5000 lenses but he did have a large bag with probably 4 or 5 lenses, was changing memory cards like you would change ammo in a gun battle, and had an assistant with another Nikon D200.

A couple of other random thoughts:

My brother-in-law is a videographer and he paid $2-3k for the portable lighting that he takes around with him to do interviews and things. His setup consists of a few small spotlights on tall stands and a large square umbrella type light.

I would bet that you could get started doing weddings on the side for probably 3-5k if you started with a decent SLR and a few multi-purpose lenses and a good suite of editing software. However, as you said, SB, the more you pay for your equipment the better your product would be and that opens a whole bunch of doors and gives you a wide array of things you could do to generate income as a photographer.
  • pulpmojo
  • Newbie
  • Newbie
  • User avatar
  • Posts: 6
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Post 3+ Months Ago

90K pounds before taxes and expenses! That's like $180K! One wedding per week is really optimistic, especially considering the winter off-season when very few people are getting married not to mention the cut-throat competition out there. I think the typical average for established wedding photographers in the median price range (~$1800) is around 20-30 weddings per year. The few other photographers I know make an average of about 75% of their income from weddings and the rest from portrait work. It's certainly possible to make $180K/year but it takes years to get to that point and you have to be really good not only at your craft but also at promoting and marketing yourself, after all, you can't expect to make that kind of money working for someone else, so being a steller business man or women is certainly a must. And yeah, that camera equipment can get really expensive, I think I have around $25K invested in equipment right now. Ouch.
  • pulpmojo
  • Newbie
  • Newbie
  • User avatar
  • Posts: 6
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Post 3+ Months Ago

Oh, and since you mentioned Fotolia Greg...

the trick to selling stock is to really know what type of images will sell. Just to give you a very general example... images that sell have to be crisp and flawless, the images that sell the most are images of people doing stuff and which also convey an idea and/or emotion to the viewer. Pretty pictures of landscapes, barns, and pets don't do so well.

another thing which is essential in the world of stock is volume volume volume. A certain stock photographer I know turns in anywhere between 2000 and 3000 unique and SALEABLE images every year to the big stock agencies (corbis, gettys, alamy).

Post Information

  • Total Posts in this topic: 9 posts
  • Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests
  • You cannot post new topics in this forum
  • You cannot reply to topics in this forum
  • You cannot edit your posts in this forum
  • You cannot delete your posts in this forum
  • You cannot post attachments in this forum
 
 

© 1998-2014. Ozzu® is a registered trademark of Unmelted, LLC.