When Do You Know If You Have Made It As A Photographer?

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Yesterday my friend Imanol Miranda reminded me of a question I posted in photography group we belong to called RGV Photoshoot Connect: When do you know if you have made it as a photographer?

Before I give my opinion on that question let’s Throw Back Thursday to the time we use to do photography for fun. Picture that first photo shoot you ever booked. Are you visualizing it? If you were like me you were probably asking your most prettiest friends to model for you. Remember putting the camera to your face and seeing endless possibilities? One, two, or three hours would fly by but you didn’t care because you were having fun. And don’t forget the hours spent in post processing contrasting the sh#% out of the shot because you wanted to show it off to your friends who would tell you your camera was the best and you would agree!

Those were the good’ol days!

Now we’re booking sessions left and right for both the pretty and the ugly. The possibilities have ended because every photographer and their mother have shot at so and so spot. The three-hour-for-fun photo shoots are now 30-minute mini sessions for ten-times the amount of money because our time and knowledge is now “valuable”. And if most of you haven’t outsourced your editing you’re probably still spending hours in Adobe Lightroom until your a$$ has gone numb.

So have we made it as photographers?

I’ll tell you this much…I freaking miss those days when you didn’t have think about paying taxes every time you pick up your camera to photograph a client. Creating a business is like birthing a hungry monster who never stops eating. But we’re making money doing what we love right? What’s that saying? “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Some of you are doing well for yourself. You have your own studio, you’re featured in magazines, and even traveling to shoot gigs. Still there’s some of you struggling who have a career job because photography does pull in enough cash. So who’s made it as a photographer; the full-timer or the part-time shooter? My opinion is both can claim to have made it! This why I say this.

You have made it when you learn to value free time and your passion over money!

Take this time to reevaluate your passion for photography. Sit down with a pen and paper and plan the next best thing for your brand. Approach a fellow photographer to talk shop. Share some your best work from the for-fun-days to remind you of why you picked up a camera in the first place. Take a Monday off to take your kids out to lunch at a park and take silly selfless with them. Time cannot be bought and we as photographers, know the importance of memories — so go out and make some.

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5 thoughts on “When Do You Know If You Have Made It As A Photographer?

  1. Hey, thanks for writing about this topic Ben! When I first read the question my answer was: to make it big in photography you must be making good money and having lots of clients lined up. But then I thought, that would mean being a successful businessman with a successful business. That would be a great accomplishment but I also thought: What about my artistic passion? At what point can I say I made it artistically or stylistically? After all, I got into photography because of my passion for art and design so I have to satisfy that artistic part me. That’s tough question to answer because as creative people we’re always looking to improve our work. I believe I have many more years of shooting to go before I can say I’ve made it in that regard 🙂

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