I have been building my portrait and commercial portfolio since 2004. I am working presently on a time line to build my wedding portfolio. I'd consider my experience novice to intermediate, depending on what genre of photography I'm working on. When I send out marketing releases, or when I'm in conversation with friends, some of whom endeavor to be photographers (or already are successful ones), I find a pattern in our conversation, which goes as follows: (For humors sake I've simplified comments, so don't let the below irritate you too much) Them: "How's your photography?" Me: "This is going on, blah blah blah." Them: "That's exciting. I'm envious [insert variations here]" As I peruse the postings here at P-net, I'm finding a theme. Newbie P'grapher: "I'm new" And one or two P'netters: "We don't like newbies. They bring down the field of photography. They make clients not like photographers. They do clients a bad service [insert variations here]." *** As I interacted with friends who wanted to be photographers, the common response from them was envy or insecurity in their position. As I interacted with more experienced--and hugely successful--photographers, the common response from me was envy or insecurity on my position. Then there's the occasional time when I read about someone who "doesn't really want to be a pro photographer"--and their portfolio outshines mine! Hmm. *** Many fields are competitive, and photography is no exception, especially considering how saturated the field is. With cameras so easy to use and easy to buy (at least the consumer models) and in just about every household, we who aspire to be pros have to compete with the popular persona (at least on P-net), Uncle Harry, who may just get a better shot than we. Read my article on my site called Photo History Basics for more info: http://www.denaphoto.com/photohistory.html This sense of unbalanced experience and around-every-corner-seen-and-unseen competition lends a sense of insecurity (maybe irritation, maybe resentment) as to how large a chunk of the cake we will possess. If Uncle Harry succeeds, then a natural response is he is not better than me, but he succeeds, where am I going wrong? If not Uncle Harry, then the amazing Pro Photographer who makes uber dollars, has a studio, has an expansive client area, and travels the world. Their success can lead to as I already mentioned a sense of envy, where the natural response can be, I wish I was that good. I've simplified pro relationships with each other quite a bit, but I'm trying to highlight the insecurity that we can have, and how that insecurity, left unchecked, can inhibit or harm our relationships with other pros, and even our own successes, because we will be too focused on ourselves and what we want, but don't think we're getting, at least in comparison to others. I think it's important to have solid relationships with our professional peers. Thankfully, I'm learning a way out of this mindset, and if any of you have any thoughts on the topic, feel free to post them. *** I had a conversation with my husband, and he enlightened me. "When others in your field do better, then you do better." The idea is that when others in photography succeed, then the bar is set that much higher, which is a good thing for clients, who will receive quality products and services from us. Clients will then be willing to pay more for said quality, which will increase the rate of payment for the novice and intermediate photographers also. "So you don't have to be jealous of others' successes," he said. (This will also lend to more friendly posts!) Then my Grandma said something that caught my attention. She worked in dry cleaning industry for years before doing administrative work for a health insurance company before she retired. "Someone asked me once if I trained the girls everything that I knew. I told him, 'Yes, I do,' and he said, 'Aren't you worried that they'll do better than you and take your job away?' and I said, 'More power to them!'" My thought is I can only be responsible for myself and how I choose to seek out success in my chosen field. Part of that success I believe is hugely related to my own sense of purpose (for me, purpose comes from more than just myself, but a belief that I am created for a specific purpose with cool stuff to do within that purpose, "all good things come from above"--content for another thread perhaps) and willingness to learn and grow as it is my ability to relate well with my peers--with whom I might even become good friends. Thank you to those of you at P-net who have emailed and posted comments to share your tips so that I can, as you, succeed.