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Old Oct 4, 2006, 7:39 AM   #21
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I have no scientific data to back this up, but I would surmise their are a lot more well off accountants, consultants, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, etc than their are well off photographers.

Most pros I've talked to can make a living but they aren't making 6 figure incomes by any means. Some are just happy to be able to make a living doing something they love.

I know one of the Photography magazines last year ran a seris of articles about different photography careers - sports photographer, presidential press corps and a couple others. I know both jobs were extremely difficult to get and they just aren't plentiful.

But, judging wealth by gear is a poor way to judge something - that's a capital investment in a business. And, in some cases the gear is not their own. For instance, the sports shooters from the major papers don't own those $7000 lenses - the paper does. Also, pay attention to what they drive - if someone is paying $20,000 in gear costs that money could just be coming from another source - are they driving a 5 year old civic or are they driving a Lexus?

But, as everyone here keeps saying - it's about a given photog's ability to be a true entrepeneur - it's sales and marketing more than ability that dictate success - whether it's photography or any other start-up business.
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Old Oct 4, 2006, 9:42 AM   #22
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Having a expensive camera and lens does not mean your rich.
It means (probably) that you are willing to purchase the proper tool for the job.
I am not rich (at least to my definition of rich) and I have a Canon 600mm f4 IS. I had more money in camera gear than my car was worth. I could have spent that money on buying a better car, but I choose not to.

A camera is a tool. Nothing more. If you take photography seriously you'll find what you like to take pictures of and what you need in a Camera & Lens to get the pictures you want. For some people that is a monster lens because they shoot wildlife or sports. For other people its a short lens 'cause they shoot wildlife. Then you save your money and you get the proper tools for the job.

And JohnG is absolutely right about renting lenses. I know the place that rents 600mm & 500mm lenses to the major news outlets in Boston. Heck, when I purchased mine the sales person said outright "if you find you don't like the lens and but don't want to sell it we could stear equipment rentals to you when we run out of inventory." Many outlets can't afford to own them for the few times that they use them, so its much cheaper to spend a few hundred and rent one than purchase it.

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Old Oct 4, 2006, 11:34 AM   #23
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That is one of the big downsides to digital.
It can be a real struggle to keep up with the changing equipment and your competition.
In "Ye days of old" a set of film body would last until you broke them, sometimes 10 years or more and they did not cost 8$K each either.
With digital you are luckey to make 3 years to write off the bodies and replace them with new current ones.

The equipment you need varies by what kind of work you are doing and is just part of your business expenses. Comes out of either your working capital or a business loan. Either way it has to be recovered and be accounted for.

Yes some photographers do real well, but check with the government stats on what the average income for a photographer is if you can find them for your country.

Here are a couple of salary comparison survey sites.
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Old Oct 4, 2006, 12:29 PM   #24
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Alright, thanks so much for clarifying guys.

I personally think that I would be able to better justify spending on the camera + gears in futurewhen I am a professional photographer. :-)Instead of (lets says) an engineer or architect etc spending about $30,000+ on camera & lenses/equipments. :G

I meant, as a pro photographer; I would clearly be investing on those things for agood reason. Because whatever camera or lens I willbe buying in futureis going to help me make money. Unlikesomeone with adifferent profession spending like $10,000 on his photography hobby. :G (My opinion)

In short, I will see more reasons for myself to spend on camera gears as a photographer.

Just my thoughts, regards.

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Old Oct 4, 2006, 12:53 PM   #25
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The lawyer or architech who spends $10,000 on his photograhy 'hobby' will generally have more money in his bank account at the end of the year than someone who buys those tools for thier trade as a photographer.

Most mechanics own over $10,000 worth of tools.

Landscapers presumably own much more equipment (trucks, trailers, mowers, etc). Nobody goes into lawn-care to justify buying that shiny riding mower down at sears.

Not a good way to judge things. Do it because you want to, dont do it to justify spending money on a camera or to get rich. Conversly, you'll never make it as a lawyer if it dosent interest you.
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Old Oct 4, 2006, 12:55 PM   #26
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BenjaminXYZ wrote:
BTW, are photographers really thatrich??? I usedto see some (if not most) of them having lensesandcameras that cancost a lot. Ialways used to see photographers having all those very costly professional glasses and SLR bodies. (Just keeps me wondering :-))
They had a lot more money before they spent it on those expensive lenses and cameras. But if you want to stay on top of your game you have to have the best equipment, and know how to use it.
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Old Oct 4, 2006, 2:41 PM   #27
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lets not forget that an engineer or medico spends a lot of money just for the training and the paperwork. the thing about photography for most pros is that they are in business, not everyone is good at business.

i would suggest anyone looking to get into photography as a 'business' look long and hard at the bottom end of the market first. that would be weddings if you are a people person or real estate.

research your field well, corner a working photographer and find out all you can. observe how they work and critique their performance (no not to them !) try to remember their equipment suite. examine professional work in your chosen field and try to work out why it works, or doesnt. you can do that today on the net.

train up on the required skills in equipment handling, and that is every part of it. people skills, business skills, marketing skills, software skills. make sure you have a contingency for every eventuality including operational matters and breakdowns. yes the bad news is you need two of everything.

dont bitch too hard about equipment costs, research what you need and make sure you are right, and look after your kit. the capital costs are probably less than buying a taxicab or a truck. although a studio is going to be a drag on your income as is a fixed office. as it happens my entire house is my office, and so is the front of the ford.

dont forget you have to factor in the best in computers and software to make it happen, its usual to be required to do additional things, sort of value adding, to compete well.

so there are many facets to the photography formula, but you must get the business things right or you wont be around long. outside of that, working for yourself doing something you have your heart in....its a beautiful thing. work hard at it, then work harder, then work smarter

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Old Oct 5, 2006, 12:12 AM   #28
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Thanks, people for more advices.

Rriley, thanks for your special input. (It particularly struck me)

I think I should consider working part time as a photographer in future. Perhaps I shouldstudy a different coursein college next year. (But I wouldALSO like to be a professional photographer in future)

What do you guys think? What is your advice on that?

Now don't get me wrong guys; my main intention to work as a professional photographer is NOT to be a gear fanaticlike you allmay haveimagined. Iam interested in photography in general, and the gearswill just beone of the aspects to add interest to my photography in future. :-)

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Old Oct 5, 2006, 5:12 AM   #29
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I work as a part-time pro, having a full-time career in another area. I shoot weddings, portraits, graduation photos, class reunions (decent money there if you know what you're doing) and small-product photography. My full-time job affords me the benefits I'd otherwise be paying for and I can pick & choose the photo jobs I want. To cut down on advertising expense I strongly suggest joining a local Chamber of Commerce. These normally have business networking events where you can meet other business owners and get the word out about yourself. I would also suggest that even as a semi-pro, spend the $$ on a business insurance policy (even if it's just you in the business). It 1) can protect you from omissions and errors, 2) many venues for weddings (country clubs, banquet halls) require it for any outside contractor (DJ, photographer) working there and 3) it makes you look like a serious contender. Just my 2 cents.
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Old Oct 5, 2006, 6:18 AM   #30
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someone else said before that you probably should engage an accounting course,
good advice, but I would go further and suggest a small business course
this is because accounting for small business needs to be focussed to your needs and hence the good news is it will be shorter. And in the bargain you will learn a lot about the tax act, marketing and sheduling a small business, centered on your local laws. typicaly such courses are short, take copious notes and store them in some logical order. gather the tools you need like invoice and letter templates

likewise a photography course could be a good idea, but choose one that will suit your needs. perhaps strangely I dont say this because you will learn about photography although no doubt there will be gains, one would hope you have a good grasp of the principles already. But you will network and play among other photographers, be able to bounce ideas around your social group, and absorb their experiences. you will be focussed, creative and goal oriented.

if your as headstrong as i am, you might actually skip part B. i learned my trade by trial and error, some would say trial by ordeal. i critiqued my own images and compared them with the work of better photographers, i was a hard marker.

i kept it simple, i didnt spend money until i had too, i improvised, i lived with my goal 24 hours a day


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