What it's really like being a photographer. Every second person I meet has a gorgeous camera and considers themselves a amateur photographer, and I can guess often look at some of my work and goes, wow I could do THAT!
My response would be, please do!
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE what I do, but is is not glamorous. It's my photos that look that way, but that take a lot of hard work. After just over a year doing this I can finally say it pays for itself, but it doesn't pay me.
Part of my personality, and what shows through in my photos is I like trying new things, being adventurous and making you photos treasures. This means I am constantly looking for and buying new props. Its got to the stage that whenever I pick up a large item in a shop my daughter, Kitty, says, "are you going to put a baby in that?" :-)
And I like you children to look happy, so I will lie one the dirt with them, make stupid noises, and make a total fool of myself to capture that smile. (and if you know me personally you will know I'm like a big kid myself)
Then there is the equipement. Yes I too have a great camera, but not one, I have 2. Imagine if one died at a wedding and I had no back up? So along with that I need memory cards, lots of them, and batteries, at about $60 a camera battery the 6 I carry costs a lot. Oh we also need a specialized flash units on each of those cameras, so add $600 per, $3000 camera! Add to that bags, lights, reflectors, our car..... Are you getting the idea?
So when I say it's $50 for a shoot that isn't money for me, it really is a bargain, and it really doesn't go in my pocket, but instead it goes towards paying for the equipment I use, ect
Then in order to keep up with all the other photographers of course I use photoshop. I am against piracy so that cost me $1600. and just when I thought that was all I needed someone told me about add on actions. These cost about $150 a bundle but they help me give your photos that vintage look, of the black and white with a hint of color, the sun flare that looks natural, etc, etc. It makes brides look radiant and newborns look like dolls. So yes, I need that too!
The other thing us photographers have is the "wanna be us photographers", the "friends' who want to emulate what we do but don't want to put in the hard work and do it themselves, and definitely don't want to spend much money doing it. The want the easy option. So they ask us how we did something, can we give them a free copy of the texture we used,can we give them a copy of the soft wear we used, can they use our props, can they even use OUR STUDIO, can they come with on a shoot and 'help', sorry they can't afford to pay for anything, but they will steal our ideas and want us to help them do this.
So what I do get from being a photographer is not material riches, I get very excited if I make $50 that is purely mine,I love that I am now able to pay for a twice a month cleaner, I get recognition, I make people happy. The tears I see when a down on herself woman sees her boudoir photos and cries, and asks 3 times if that really is her body, the huge portait you have hung in your living room that I took, the "OMG, I love all of these photos, how will I ever choose?",the Mom that calls me and says, my kids can't stop saying what fun they had, and we adore the photos, and the clients that let me record parts of their child's life, seeing newborns become babies and then children.Knowing in some small way i've brought happiness to someone makes me happy.
So I will not earn a lot doing this, and no it's not a easy job. No it's not worth giving up your normal job to do. (I would make much more doing a minimum wage job), yes I can normally be found at 1 am editing infront of the TV, but I LOVE what I do, I LOVE my clients(well most of them) and I wouldn't change it for the world (maybe :-).