Lee Sacrey Photography – Lee's Chatter

Mainly Photography but a little of everything at times

So you want to be a Photographer?

with one comment


While we were back on the east coast, about a year ago or so, I came upon this great old building which had been completely restored. It once was a general store and Merchant Business for the fishery. It was for sale and I could see a Museum, Photo Gallery and Studio there. I had to take a few pictures of it. I wonder if it is still for sale. It is located in Twillingate, NL.

So you want to be a Photographer?

So you enjoy taking pictures you say. Well how serious are you about it? Do you think it would be a nice career? I bet there are millions of people out there who see photographs in a book, on a website, a calendar or even just post cards and think about the millions (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars that photographer must be making. I find that thought process very interesting.

I am blessed as an Amateur Photographer. I am a business owner first and that business employs me full-time. Then, after a days work is done, I can grab my camera gear and off I go to discover. No real concerns about what landscape or animal I need to snap, that will have people opening their bags of money to buy. No concerns about what event, portrait session or wedding I need to photograph to feed myself. I can shoot what I want, just for me. I know what you’re saying. You’re saying “Lee, you have a website and (starting this week at least) it list what prints you have and at what price. Don’t you have some of those issues to think about?”. Yes I do but not at the same degree. I know my mortgage is paid, my kids have food and clothing, my wife isn’t stressed about where the next cheque will come from and my camera gear is paid for, if I sell a photograph or not. I can take my time to learn what people want, no pressure to perform, no need to get the perfect shot.

So let’s explore the thoughts we have of the rich photographers (I know there are some but, it doesn’t appear to be the norm). First, there is equipment. Let’s not get crazy with top end equipment. I will use what I have as examples. I have two DSLR bodies, a Sony Alpha 100 and a Sony Alpha 700. I have vertical grips for both. I have six lenses, a flash, two tripods, two camera bags, a multitude of batteries and charges, camera and lens cleaning kits and a set of Cokin filters. I use an Apple MacBook Pro, a 20” widescreen monitor, a bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse, an Epson 1400 large format printer and a Wacom Bamboo pen and pad. I use iPhoto and Aperture 2 as well as Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 for editing and photo management. So what did it all cost? My best guess (I can’t say I know the cost exactly as my wife may ask) $10,000.00. Not bad, I know Photographers who have one camera body that cost as much. Also, remember that I use all this and process the images in a home office, a home office, that the mortgage payment has already been made. I get to a shoot location in a vehicle that my full-time job can allow me to pay for. Imagine, if I invested all that money with no real guarantee that the cash is rolling in. Imagine, the pressure to get that photograph just perfect so everyone will want a copy. At $ 40.00 a print, how many do I need to sell to survive? How many weddings do I need to photograph to survive? How many workshops must I lead to feed me and my family? Just think of the time required to get all of this working just right.

So, back to your comment and question. I do have a website with print pricing and a weekly blog article. I try and have at least 6 to 10 new photographs posted each week.  There is also, my time to photograph, process the pictures, write the blog article and update the website. I also try and plan a workshop here and there and read about the new equipment. I also have to try and learn new techniques and photography styles. All this without the stress of having to earn. I currently spend 20 to 30 hours a week on this hobby and in all that time I have sold one $ 40.00 print (minus the printing cost). As someone in my office said “I only need to sell another $ 999,960.00 worth of prints and then I can quit”.

I am waiting for the day that this hobby of mine allows me to retire and just push the shutter button. Even with all the things I noted above, I am still wanting for that day. I am not sure if it will ever arrive. I am not sure if my hobby will be as enjoyable when the pressure to earn gets factored into the mix but, I am still waiting.

So you want to be a photographer? Well, strike while the iron is hot, just don’t go from the hot iron into the burning flame.

The next time you see that photograph you like so much, think about the work that is required to make that photographic artwork. Next time you see that Photographer shooting away don’t assume his/her life most be so great, because they get to do what they love all day. As they say, the grass is not always greener.

So there you have it, my continuous chatter for another week. All you Photographers out there keep doing what you do. Keep showing us the beauty in the world. We really do appreciate what you do, now if we could just get your names out there for the world to see and hear, your lives would be a little more stress free (once we have emptied our pockets a little).  Oh and National Geographic call anytime – my photography career waits by the phone, lol.

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Written by leesacrey

September 20, 2009 at 12:00 PM

One Response

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  1. I am amateur photographer and not waiting that National Geographic will call me. I know that my photos are not good, but I want other people to see them and to know how the world is in other part of our planet. That is enough to me.

    Happy photographing!

    sartenada

    December 2, 2009 at 10:41 PM


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