Photography as a career? - Dreamstime

I have recently been retrenched from my job after 23 years in the IT industry. I have gone for numerous job interviews but as yet have had no success in finding another job, this being due to age, job market congestion etc etc…As part of my retrenchment package I have been offered to study an additional course/s that will help me with job placement in the market. As I am well educated in my field already and my education has not helped me in my current trade market, I was considering doing something completely different. As photography has always been a passion of mine I thought why not go that route and study a professional course in photography and turn a hobby/passion into a career.

That got me thinking though, in today’s world and looking at the average very good contributions by amateurs to this and other stock sites, in your opinions, do you think there is still a market for professional photographers and whether you believe it is a viable or profitable income source given the current trends?

I am really struggling to form an opinion on this and was wondering if a general consensus from contributors would assist me in making this decision? Any ideas on what sort of markets there are to tap into in this field - besides weddings - would also be appreciated?

Photo credits: Fultonsphoto.

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April 19, 2012


Hi Fultonsphoto, first thing I would do is to reveal your name here, no confidential info on your profile, its the work you have to show people, you have to advertise yourself.
Than, go viral, use Facebook, tweeter, everything you can.
Instead of going solo, consider associating with some other photographers or working for another photographer for a while, you will learn the tricks of the trade meanwhile get more experience.
Cheers and best luck to you,

April 19, 2012


Hi Mikefoto, thanks for the advice and offer of assistance, it would help a lot to gain some insight from someone that has been there before and done it. My passion is out in the wild, but I do not think these images are the order of the day and would not bring in the required money needed to continue in photography, but I may be wrong? The other form of photography I was thinking of was freelance sport photography but again I am not sure this brings in enough to sustain a career in photography as I am sure the big guns are established and are used widely by the various sources that would use these kind of images, any thought on this from your experience? Also, where would you say the money lies in commercial photography as a career?

April 05, 2012


Hi Fultonsphoto, I am a semi retired commercial photographer. Digital has diluted the professional industry in many ways, but has opened up many avenues other than pure photography. I suggest find out where your absolute passion in photography lies. Making a success of it will require a lot of energy. Good luck and if I can help in any specific way contact me through my web.

March 20, 2012


Greetings! I work in IT, but time most part I work in studio. I seldom photograph weddings. It is possible to work with subject shooting for advertizing agencies much more. Or to photograph clothes. It is stable and good work. You have an experience with Dreamstime. It can will help to work and with designers in advertizing agencies?

March 18, 2012


Thanks again for all the comments and good wishes. It is great to get the opinion of some really good photographers and professionals. I am really in no doubt that it is a tough industry and will take some time, but time is what I seem to have at the moment and its how I will use it that will matter. I have long wanted to take photography to a new level personally and this may just be my chance. Do I have the expertise, no not yet but hopefully the course I intend taking will give me that, do I have the talent? That is the big question, and the only way to find out is to maybe stick my neck out and try it. As far as the business side of photography as a profession, I have loads to learn and thanks Markstout for pointing some of these out. Thankfully the course I intend taking covers this side of photography and business/career opportunities as well and not only the actual art of photography, so all in all a good course and package. Do I have the right stuff, well guess only time will tell. BTW you guys have some amazing portfolios and great creativity, I hope to be able to produce such images myself in the future...

March 17, 2012


I wish you all the best and I hope if you will take this decision will be the best for you....Is not easy at all.

March 16, 2012


I do earn my living as a professional photographer. Unfortunately, you are right. Things like microstock have seriously damaged the industry. Making it as a pro is going to take some work. It isn't just your ability and creativity. While this is VERY important, it is more important that you learn the ropes of the business as a business, what to charge, how to license your work, how to market and who to market to. This is VITAL and if not done you will only work to destroy the industry you hope to one day earn your living in. The best startling point is to join up with some professional organizations and get very involved. APA, ASMP are two good ones, It is a very rewarding career, but can be difficult. The waters are full of sharks that seek to exploit the lack of knowledge most emerging photographers have for their own gain and the price you pay for failing to gain an understanding of the industry is bankruptcy and watching your dream become a nightmare. Do the research, take your advice ONLY from pros, make your decision and stick to it. One of the ingredients is persistence.

March 16, 2012


I'm not sure what all your experience is in IT, but you might find some contract work on sites such as People with photoshop skills are also in demand on that site. Best of luck with your job transition. Things are a changing :)

March 16, 2012


First of all, good luck with either way you choose to go.
Since you have had years in IT, maybe some of your contacts need photos for updating their web sites? That could be a start.
Contact any web designers you know and offer your photo services.
Weddings keep happening everyday and there can be money in that,too. Best of luck!!

March 16, 2012


Thanks Elifranssens, I have no doubt it is a tough industry and that it may take time, in which I will still keep trying to get a job, but I definately need a backup plan in case this fails.

March 16, 2012


Sorry to hear about your job. I think making a living as a photographer requires full dedication, good equipment and a professional studio... and most of all, a lot of good luck. There are a lot of photographers out there and competition is tough. Contacts are important too.
Probably your best option is to keep looking for an IT job and in the meantime dedicate yourself fully to photography. Photography can be your backup plan and you might just get lucky.

March 16, 2012


Thanks to all for your comments. I will not give up trying in the IT industry, but reality says that jobs in my country are very hard to come by at this point in time, as they are all over the world. I am thinking of adding to what I already have and increasing my options as far as a career goes, therefore the thoughts behind this blog. I am just wondering if photography is the way to go or should I diversify in a totaly different field?

March 16, 2012


As a non young engineer in HW development I can feel your pain.

I would say go for the class. It will be fun and it will take your mind from the difficulties and the frustration due to the situation.

On the other hand don't give up searching for a job in IT. You only need one job and it can happen any day. At our company somebody got hired in a demanding engineering position after being unemployed for 3 years! It can happen. Also they say the market is improving.

All the best and keep up the good work.

March 15, 2012


Go for it... It shoould be great to work on what you like more.

March 15, 2012


Just want to wish you GOOD LUCK!
You have many beautiful pictures in your port and it might well be possible for you to success in professional photography. I think it depends on what sort of person you are, and which subjects you prefer to shoot. If you like communicate with people you may be in better position, since that's where most of photo-professional's start their carrier - covering weddings, events, school/college life and such. It's hard to advise anything not knowing you personally, but one advice is obvious: don't give up and don't force yourself into doing what you are not comfortable with/about.

March 15, 2012


My feeling is that you should not leave the skills in the field of Information Technology. I also have this kind of expertise. Probably in the search for a new job in the photography field, the best thing would be to take advantage from the possession of this deep IT competence. Nowadays having multiple expertise could be an advantage for you. In fact is more difficult to find young people with multiple competences. Good look for your future job!

March 15, 2012


Having your passion as a job it must be Best Thing Ever.

You can start be uploading as many picture you can on the stock agencies for improve your skill and then to build a solid portofolio.

I think, one of the most important thing it's to build your NAME as a good photographer and that's take time.

It's my personal opinion and I'm not an amateur in this field


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