A lot of people take interest in photography. Starting out it is all fun. Learning about gear. Taking nice photos. No pressure. After awhile someone will ask you how much you charge. Before you know it you are starting a business and doing it for real. After doing it for a while. Getting some high paying clients and some nice photos. The snobbery kicks in. The Dunning-Kruger effect. It happens to almost all of us photographers after a while. Sadly many never outgrow it.
Back in July 2018 I posted an article about how and why entrepreneurs have a higher rate of depression in my Facebook group the Michigan Photography Network. One member started going on a tirad about how most “entrepreneurs” he knew where actually unemployed and about how much better he was than them. As someone who has lost two close friends to suicide I had little tolerance for this guy’s egotistical tirade and blocked him from the group.
Sadly many can’t separate themselves from their work. They assume if they take a bad photo or have a rough month business wise they are a failure. This thinking leads to depression and for some even suicide. This is one of the reasons I intentionally do many things outside of photography. I’m a member of a local Jaycee chapter, a local presbyterian church, and regularly meet up with friends who could care less about what I do for a living.
A few months later I came across an article on one of my favorite blogs, fstoppers, about not bad mouthing cheaper photographers. The article was great. Those in the comments sections disagreed though. They were going on rants about how cheap photographers should “know their worth”.
Sadly a lot of people make work into something akin to a religion. I don’t though. I realize this makes me worthy of scorn in many circles in both the photography and entrepreneurial circles, but quite frankly I don’t care. I’d much rather make time for the things that matter in life instead of working and networking 24/7.
A lot of times non photographers bring their “photographer horror stories” to me. These include photographers not giving photos to clients. Photographers messing up important shots on weddings. Or photographers just acting unprofessional. Most people seem surprised that I don’t rip into these people. Why? Because we all start out there. Entrepreneurship and photography requires a lot of trial and error. Early on your going to mess up. Some more than others. I get why people hire new inexpensive photographers. But it is a gamble. Your taking a risk. Sadly I get a decent amount of clients each year who try people just starting out and end up hiring me because the shots didn’t turn out the way they like. I don’t badmouth these photographers though. Maybe professional photography isn’t for them and it will remain a hobby. Which is fine. Maybe they will learn from their mistakes, stick with it, and become professionals. Which is just fine to.
I don’t dislike the new guys. We all start out there.
Graduate from the Hallmark Institute of Photography and Highest Academic Honor recipient.
Published in several magazines including Shutterbug, Digital Photo, Outdoor Photographer, and PDNedu.
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