Part time photographers these days.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by RaymondC, Dec 18, 2020.

  1. What I find online these days are many people that get into photography for some part time or weekend paid photography, mainly portraiture and weddings. They also ask quite newbie questions like what brand is best, what is the ideal lens, how much photos do you give them, is this Amazon or China CFL light bulb constant light set up OK. Over here where I am anyway you see them on various FB groups.

    I wonder if they didn't pursue photography as a paid for service how many of them would still do photography and how much would their approach or their equipment change by .....

  2. I suspect that many people who get into some part-time or weekend paid photography start out as amateurs. Until they started to get requests from/via family & friends to do more "professional" types of photography (portraits/weddings) because, for example:
    a) they had a "good camera"
    b) they perhaps had taken some photography courses
    b) family & friends liked their photos
    c) they were cheap to hire, compared to professional photographers

    It's then a small step to offering photography services more widely, even though some photographers are - at least initially - completely out of their depth in 'the business of professional photography"

    I know a couple of people that have moved from 'amateur' to 'paid'. But all did a 2 year 'photography professional' evening class (with assignments) and received a diploma based on their portfolio and competence assessments. During the course they invested in setting up home studios and/or mobile lighting solutions.
  3. I don’t. I prefer to think about my photography.
    Jochen and Dieter Schaefer like this.
  4. When choosing equipment, I think "I'm at point A and need to get to point B. What's the best way to get there?" The same consideration applies to finding work, as a photographer or otherwise. Is there a task which is not getting done? What do I need to do in order to fill that need? If your question is "Can I do it too?" you are already behind the curve.

    For me, the "problem" was the inability to have large gatherings and concerts due to restrictions imposed by COVID. To fill that void you need to bring performers "together" at a distance. As a corollary, you need to bring an audience to the performance, also at a distance. The solutions include video (and audio), social media, and live-streaming. The last will be with us for a long time, well after COVID is vanquished. People will be reluctant to gather, shoulder to shoulder, with strangers.

    Regular photography is largely stalled on my part. Places I liked to go, like parks, are either closed or require an advanced reservation. I cherish the ability to go on a whim, when I get cramped sitting in front of a computer, and find the current culture stultifying. On the plus side, I have a personal library of nearly 200,000 images which I can draw on for stock photos.

    An ancillary issue comes up more than I like. I have been blocked several times on Facebook and YouTube by artistic trolls claiming my original material was taken from commercial recordings. It's a perverse form of flattery, which is easily resolved, but too late for live-stream audiences. I like to think I'm working on my third Grammy (having given up on the first two).
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2020
  5. Would it be true, many working pros are in it for the money? These days on social media you have those who have day jobs but shoot for clients in the weekends. Even I have been told by family and friends. Do you shoot weddings? No? Learn it, make some money! You get make more money shooting weddings than photographing a rubbish truck and call it fine art. Actually someone did say that to me.

    For me my personality is that I rather not deal with people photography. I rather hide away and photograph mountain and skies.
  6. "Why carpenters don't like fire fighters"

    Since fire fighters don't have to make a living at carpentry, they could consistently underbid real and skilled carpenters.

    These "part-time photographers" act in similar fashion.....
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    What I have found to be very similar and consistent for many years (let's say about 45 years), is that many people talk about how they are into Photography for some part time or weekend paid work. Yes they ask questions, seemingly newbie, but probably more likely questions that are regurgitated in-fashion questions.

    This hasn't change much now they just talk on the internet and not so much at camera clubs and I think very few are actually committed and conducting a part time business.

  8. AJG


    Whenever photo processes become easier and cheaper there will be more "professional photographers." This is what economists refer to as lowering the barriers to entry. Photography has become even more competitive and price driven as digital technology has made it easier and made results faster. As images become ever more ubiquitous on the internet their value continues to decline. I think that photography, like many other fields will increasingly have very few "stars" who make a good living and a lot of others who barely make a living at all.
    johnfantastic and Jochen like this.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Shooting Weddings Professionally ranks somewhere on my list of unpleasant jobs a bit below being sparring partner to a ranked, fast, light heavyweight boxer.
  10. Indeed. What did people expect when digital pretty much took over? OTOH digital did give us new paradigms, like Creative Commons. I donate a few images to Unsplash. I also have a bunch of images, mostly taken with the iPhone, on Flickr under the Creative Commons licence.

    I have shot a few. I very much enjoyed them. They are stressful but they are rewarding. It's not my speciality but I'd do it again.
  11. If you Google "Photographers near me" depending on where you live, you will get a pretty long list of who the photographers are in your area. Some are freelancers some are bonafide brick and mortar photographers who offer various in-house services. The later usually started early and invested a lot of time, effort and money into their business. They still might have a passion for photography, but they also have to pay the rent, Insurance and employees.

    A freelancer on the other hand has no overhead and relies basically on word of mouth to attract business. Some are very successful at this, but most are not ! This may be why they only do it part-time. These days, I think there are more freelancers than so-called permanent photographers. The news papers, magazines, sports, advertisement agencies that use to hire permanent photographers are increasingly using freelancers. This makes choosing photography as a career even more precarious.

    The fun sort of goes out of photography when you are too concerned about making profits, pleasing finicky clients or putting out "machine-gun" canned-images based on certain specifications. Sometimes it's better to shoot for the sheer pleasure of it IMHO. Of course that's if you are not worrying about putting food on the table.
  12. In it for the money? Some probably. Is that a problem? But from what I've seen it takes a lot more than just photographic talent to make a good living from it.
  13. Is it really true or not that more of them shoot portraits and weddings than other forms of photography?

    Now with digital it is more accessible. Would some see setting up a part time business as easy money? Curious about this, I don't have much interest in portraiture or generating income from it with an form of photography. Because friends and family automatically think or they ask if you shoot weddings because you have an interest in photography. When most people get interested about photos it is generally looking at photos of themselves and with their friends.

    With FB groups, they ask for gear recommendations and they say they photograph weddings, they have no webpage etc and there is no budget available for backup camera bodies. Ie, I have $2,000US what should I buy to photograph weddings and baby photos. I like it very sharp and no noise and something that is versatile. You also hear about those I have a $200US limit on indoor studio lights are these OK, I want to do baby photos at my home.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2020
  14. Wedding photography is 80% people skills and 20$ art/technology. Most of the "creative" part is recycled from previous experience. How much depends on how jaded you are of the entire process. I don't want to deal with laws and inlaws any more. I have been tempted to sign on as a sub or second shooter, but my boss won't give me time off on weekends. That's what happens when you're self employed (recording and video).
  15. What, exactly, is your problem with these ‘FB groups’. Are you upset aesthetically, financially, physically or for some other bizarre reason?

    Get over your petty gripes
  16. It is not these FB groups. It is that personally I have been told by my uncle and a uni friend who moved here from another city who I have known for 20yrs. They tell me because I am into photography (not portraiture) as a hobby and they tell me go and photograph weddings and make some money. Even after I told them I don't photograph people they tell me to go and learn it. They see it as such a waste. Because I get told by people, I assume other people who enjoy photography might get told as well. Therefore do people that go out and shoot weddings because they think it is easy money and they can make some money off their hobby. After telling my uni friend I don't like to photograph people, then the says to me go visit a food store and ask to photograph their food stock that I can sell them hahah.

    I guess they see it as other hobbies. I know people who enjoy baking and they take their food to the weekend markets to sell or they go and do fundraising.

    When my time is due, they would prob throw all my equipment and computers into the rubbish bin. I don't share my photos with them anymore now. The people I know at least are pretty much into portraiture of themselves and esp with their friends together. Even after a holiday now I used to give a 20 photo on the TV but not now.
  17. Why don’t you post some photos in, say, the Portrait forum and ask if your stuff is good enough?
  18. I'd think twice about paying much attention to someone you've told you don't like photographing people who turns around and tells you to photograph weddings.
    How do you see it?
    The hahaha tells me you have a sense of humor. Good!
    So many choices, right? What do YOU want to do? I'd nurture friends and family who ask rather than tell.

    Best of luck.
  19. I see it as a fun hobby. Some people play video games, some tinker on their cars for hours end a mechanic might even say what's the point, haha esp some old timer mechanics we know anyway. The ones that are not into the latest stuff. Prob when my time is due they would just throw my computer into the trash bin with the hard drives without even formatting them and take my cameras to the closest pawnshop.

    I literally hardly take photographs of portraiture people. I mean really. On a weekend I might go to the city I walk around and take photos of alleyways and buildings and kinda iconic name signs like this iconic area and the red colour arty sign or that rainbow pedestrian crossing or simply the civic square here. If the sky is good and if I am on the mood I might drive out to the waterfront to capture a sunset.

    Apart from a passport of family members at home, haha. They seem to like the China Aliexpress cheapo single speedlight 60x60cm softbox with a white reflector under just so it looks beautiful and classy hahah. Think it is called beauty and clamshell lighting. So other than that, if we have visitors we might go the peak lookout and fire off a few shots half body arms down looking straight at the camera with the speedlight tiled up around 45-60 deg with the white card, LOL.

    Edit. These days it is all online right. I don't do portrait type shots but we might have a Christmas party etc .. or a small group goes to a fruit orchard or a picnic outside at a park maybe with a BBQ, and I might take a few shots of people. So I suppose yeah I have taken a few. Nothing much happens thou, they just want them uploaded to Facebook and you get the likes from a few people, most people don't interreact online with them. No comments really about the photo, if any comments it's like oh where you guys go, it's so beautiful or saying you're so pretty and skinny. Never get requested for a single print or a file emailed to them but I guess that's what it is these days.

    With my own family. Much of my own photography they don't even see it anyway. Like I might had said, when it was as early as 2004 when digital photography was new and so exciting I used to provide a slideshow on the TV like off a USB Stick like 20 photographs of my travel to this city or this country but now I might still do but it is more like 8 photographs, hahah. The comments as expected is always like; oh the country is very modern and developed and bright at night. It was a long exposure hahah. Oh the streets are very crowded. I don't think it really matters if you planned a night blue hour shot or a sunset. To them it is just sky and buildings.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
  20. One person did say they like the photo very much. Both friends I know who are a couple with their young child taken outside on a cloudy day with a single speedlight. I gave them a print about A3 size. For free. Hahah. That's about the most I do with portraiture.

    But yeah. Having done kinda friends groups event photography you can say with Christmas, fun day trips out and about, and church baptisms. Done this for maybe 8yrs perhaps. Not one requested wanted the file or a print made. They were all just uplaoded to Facebook. No one had pulled me aside for a "portrait" type of photo. It might be a family who wants a photo of themselves with their children. Ahh .. yeah. Haha. I'm also not really a portrait type of a person. How do I pose? I have no idea, hahah. Just get up in the early mornings and travel out by myself, LOL.

    With these events apart from the Christmas and baptisms which I alluded to earlier on those are the more "event" things so I take a dSLR. The other stuff like having picnic outside or the orchards or bring a plate share a meal together I just carry a large sensor compact. So I can spend a bit more time eating my food, haha but it seems to get the job done also - images posted to social media.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020

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