I read an article a while back called ‘10 Reasons Why Being A Photographer Sucks’ and there was a truth there I didn’t foresee when opening the article. Now yes I was curious to the authors points and it is why I opened the article but some of the number reasons are very much why I have been changing my own perspectives, why I find myself exhausted by my own passion.
Point #7- People Want Something For Nothing— I can not tell you have true and relevant this is in my life. I have more and more people come to me and want my work but not to pay me be they friends, family, or strangers. It has gotten so bad in the last year I am actually looking for a full time position so I can scale my photography back to a hobby and that has never been a goal of mine.
In fact when I started this business and passion journey in my freshman year of college my goal was to travel the world with a camera in hand, making images that my clients loved, and being free of the corporate rat race not looking to re-enter the rat race because of being mentally exhausted fighting for recognition and fair treatment as a paid photographer in my own business.
#3- People Will Rip You Off— Gosh how true this one is, and not just people for me, companies, corporations, and venues where events are held. In fact I have caught companies using my images for marketing so they can make money but they stole them from me without payment. It is literally insane that they see the value of the work enough to take it but not to compensate the creator— not to mention I can not say how many of the images held a recognizable face that by taking they didn’t even have proper releases to use the persons likeness legally.
It is literally appalling behavior and something I have dealt with for years and years now. It is also the number one way to set me off— stealing.
I can’t even stomach the halfhearted I didn’t know copyright laws because in this day and age it should be known and understood that creatives works belong to them and if you want to use them you need to purchase them. Yet we are constantly undervalued and appreciated.
And the third point I was struck by: #10- Post-Production Work Sucks— and I couldn’t have said it better. There was a time I lived for learning new things in photoshop and then there came the time when knowing how to achieve the results in my camera superseded my desire to spend days staring at a computer screen.
I live to get the shot has perfect in camera as possible, my style has taken on that photojournalistic edge and my equipment is specifically purchased to make the ease of creating in-camera easier on me. Do I love photoshop and what it can do- definitely. But the constantly ‘can you make me skinny’, ‘can you change my eye color’, ‘can you, can you can you’, and the answer is yes but I won’t.
I do graphic design work making posters, flyers, logos, and more that is where I find the need for those programs my photos no longer live in for hours on end after shooting. I found a happiness in achieving on camera for photos and in creation with post-production software for design. A delicate balancing act.
And then what I think should have been a point so I will call it #11- Mental Exhaustion and Doubt— This for me has been a constant struggle, I am anxious trying to figure out how to make it, how to get clients, what will make people stop stealing my images, what will make them likely to pay more for my images, and I lose sleep. I question myself all the time, was this what I should be doing, should I conform to a normal job, was my family right?
It is mentally exhausting being in my own head, dealing with the self-doubt let alone the nay-sayers who can be a constant in ones life. The difference is you can escape outside nay-sayers and disturbances but can never outrun your own mind. These are the things clients never know and never hear, we have to be confident even when it’s been a bad year, sales are down, cancellations flow after a ton of unforeseen circumstances, and you just found your image making someone else money yet never purchased from you.
It doesn’t surprise me the number of people who do this as a hobby because when you turn it into a full time income it really can suck sometimes. I question myself more than I would like, I offer amateurs advice I wish someone had given me when I started and yes there are a lot of days when I feel like quitting to do anything else.
Treat your photographers and artists kindly we have a lot of hidden obstacles.