Be careful what you wish for, my opinion on losing the passion.

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Studio488
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#1
It’s not all beaches and models, dreamy landscapes or celeb portraits. So I have had lots of conversations with people who are “into” photography, it’s their passion, hobby, in some cases a bit of an unhealthy obsession some would love to know the secret of making money whilest doing what they love, they dream of big studios, shoots, gear, published images and the like and that’s no bad thing, however here is my take on it from the other side.

I have eight staff including me, not one has an interest in photography, two have photography degrees, one a degree in film and television, I have come to the conclusion that working five days a week at the coal face so to speak can lead to your passion/hobby, call it what you will, being sucked dry and your interest simply disappears. Let’s face it If you stand on a conveyor packing digestive biscuits all day at some point your going to be sick of them.

That’s the staff, as owners (me and the wife) it’s even worse, almost most if not all of what we do is business related, it’s a full time job, we have an accountant, but we still need to do the vat and ensure everything is sorted for them, we have to product loads of invoices daily, health and safety, HR, building maintenance, marketing, customers, equipment maintenance, insurance, the list goes on.

Now I,am not saying it’s a bad thing, we do more than well out of the business, but it can ruin your hobby/passion, the studio is empty all weekend, 6500sq feet of fully equipped studio and no one in the team wants to use it, including me, None of the team ever wants to borrow any of the kit, we bought two AD200s for an internal project, they literally never left the boxes, I use my iPhone on holidays and don’t even take a camera anymore. (My other hobby of buying photography/studio stuff we don’t even need has stopped!!!).

We have all seen people with real passion, hire a small unit, kit it out, get all excited about what’s coming, and reality hits them hard, the costs, the lack of clients, the clients themselves! the none photography aspects and so on, then a few months down the line it’s all gone tits up.

So my advice for what it’s worth, is be carefull what you wish for, the grass is not always greener on the other side, sometimes it is, but it tastes a lot different, it needs mowing a lot more, it needs to be fed, and above all you have to keep It alive.

Follow your dreams, just make sure you do some research :)
 
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Rich
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#3
Sounds like a friend of mine years ago, he was mad about photography.
It was about the time of the Minolta Dynax slr with af, he put literally hundreds of rolls through it.
Ended up doing it for a living and it sucked the enthusiasm right out of him.
Had to shoot what paid the bills and like every most jobs it just became a chore
 
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Rick
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#4
Sounds like any other business made from a hobby to me.
 
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Keith
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#5
Sounds like any other business made from a hobby to me.
Yup.

I know wedding/event photographers who are miserable with their work, it really shows on their faces too when you see them in action. That 'kill me now' expression.

They make decent money [surprisingly, with those faces] and have managed to get themselves into a very stable position in that market but they can't bear to even look at their gear when not on a paid job. I think it's sad, they could probably make as much doing a 9-5 but they've invested so much into the pro photography they feel they can't just drop out.
 
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matt
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#6
Try doing programming for a living :)
PP/RAW what's that, if the Jpeg's not right then it certainly wont see the light of day, why do you think I like Fuji files - don't even want to see a computer let alone use one when I'm not at work (apart from on here of course)
 
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#7
don't even want to see a computer let alone use one when I'm not at work (apart from on here of course)
I fell into photography because my school friend was keen on it and into newspapers because I was offered a trainee position at an amazing salary. About 12 years later I fell into IT thanks to an argument about pump control (no - I'm not explaining that one!) and the next 30 years was hard work and a smile on my face most mornings.

I still take lots of pictures and use various operating systems for the fun of it. I've been one of the lucky ones who got paid to do what I like. :naughty:
 
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Trevor
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#8
I'm retired now, but in my working life I started and ran several businesses that developed from my hobbies; and yes I got fed up with all of them. :(

I've known many others do the same too and they will probably all tell you the same story.

The only way it can work IMHO is if you can set the business up so that your staff can run it, thus enabling you to take a back seat. I did this for the last business I was in, but I was unsuccessful - my staff were too lazy as well as dishonest and they ran it into the ground. I gave up and retired - a much better way to spend one's time. :)

Photography has been an interest of mine for almost fifty years - I'm so glad I never did more than a few weddings and half a dozen freelance jobs. I've always enjoyed taking portraits, but now only charge people occasionally. It's amazing how the exchange of a few quid can often change things for the worse . . .
 
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#9
Most work is like that, there is a huge difference between hobby, self employed and employed.

Hobby you can ass around doing what you want, self employed you have to do your very best and be efficient and competitive,
employed your screwed - you do things how the boss says and there is nothing you can do about it and its generally horrible.
 
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Jeremy Moore
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#11
Mine's a slightly different story but only slightly. It was the love of being out in the landscape and wanting to conserve it that got me into photography. I'd tried to start a career in conservation but failed; but during that time I must have showed some promise with a camera. It got to the point where I really was bumping along the bottom and I decided to forget the conservation and go with the photography. I'd seen how independent photographers had started publishing their own postcards - eg Colin Baxter in Scotland - where the images were a good step beyond what the commercial publishers were producing. So that became my route into photography. After postcards came a series of books, exhibitions, and freelance work for the Tourist Board. The latter came to a sudden halt when the copyright grab that they operated became absolutely watertight and i just had to say no to them. I began doing wildlife photography as well.

Over the years I found it became more and more difficult to just randomly go out into the landscape with my camera. Increasingly I needed a project to motivate my photography. That worked well for quite a number of years but over the last few years several big projects fell through, mostly thanks to the people i was attempting to work with - publishers and authors. And as many will know postcards sales have been steadily declining over the last ten or more years. Fortunately I now have my state pension so there is less of a financial necessity to keep the pennies rolling in, and I am even less motivated!

Equipment-wise I'm in the process of down-sizing - my Canon kit will all go as I move over to Olympus - but I do wonder how much use I will get out of any new kit I buy. I'm not sure if hobby photography will provide the satisfaction or the motivation that full-time photography did for so many years, or if one last project will come alongto kick-start it all again.
 
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Tony
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#12
I'm lucky in one respect, I am self employed but am a multi skilled designer (products, graphics, advertising, 3d, exhibition stands etc), photographer and videographer, split 50% design and 50% photo/video.

My variety of work still lets me pick up my camera when not working, design things for the house, video family events.

I think it is because I have enough of a mix in my life that none of it is a chore.

I have always said someone can be in a job for too long, especially some jobs that entail the same thing day in day out!
 
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21,688
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Alan
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#13
I worked in computers for a manufacturer and then in 3rd party maintenance. The house was full of them and now I have pretty much zero interest in them, the only game I play on them is a simple pool game and only then now and again. I have zero interest in phones too. I know people who live looking at a phone or portable game console and TBH I think they're more than a little bit sad. I suppose they think the same about me and cameras and lenses, but they're wrong. Obviously.
 

wack61

I've got an itchy hatch
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Darren
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#14
The saying goes, find a job you like doing and you'll never work a day in your life but they all become tedious .
I drive for a living , it was long hours but good money , then 6 years ago my biggest customer all but stopped shipping to the UK so it went to 3 days a week which suited me
This last couple of months it's gone back to 5 days a week and I hate it with a passion, mostly because of the amount of utter morons I come across on a daily basis

Early retirement is the answer
 
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Nick
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#15
Try doing programming for a living :)
PP/RAW what's that, if the Jpeg's not right then it certainly wont see the light of day, why do you think I like Fuji files - don't even want to see a computer let alone use one when I'm not at work (apart from on here of course)
That's so me. Fuji seem to have cured it though. The Jpegs just get a little tweak on Snapseed on my tablet while I'm on the Tube (where I can't really do much else anyway), usually just straighten and crop as the files are pretty close to what I want anyway.

I've no experience of professional Photography, nor do I have the desire to have it. But, having always wanted to be a musician, when back in the 90's it became my job, i found the joy slowly ebbed away from it. I imagine it's similar in any creative field. The nature of having to make a living involves lots of repetition, doing what the client/audience wants (which is almost never what you want them to want). I'm sure there are those who can find a balance and keep it fresh, or who can rationalise that it's better than doing other things, but I failed on that score. I still play every day, and write, record and gig, but it's for me, and as long as I know it's quality, I don't give a toss who likes it or who doesn't! :p

I love making music, and I love making images. If the price I have to pay to maintain that is 7 hours a day arguing with a computer, I can live with that. Of course I do envy (but I'm also happy for) those who can earn a living from their creativity and also maintain their passion for it.
 
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21,688
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Alan
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#16
The saying goes, find a job you like doing and you'll never work a day in your life but they all become tedious .
I drive for a living , it was long hours but good money , then 6 years ago my biggest customer all but stopped shipping to the UK so it went to 3 days a week which suited me
This last couple of months it's gone back to 5 days a week and I hate it with a passion, mostly because of the amount of utter morons I come across on a daily basis

Early retirement is the answer
Yes. I used to sit in meetings thinking "I don't want to be here and I don't have to be here" so one day I wasn't there any more.

I've had a few smirks and snide comments from people who don't know me well when I say I don't work or I'm a carer and when I'm feeling naughty I say something like "I retired at 49 with more money than I'll ever spend so if you think you can do better than that let me know when it happens and I'll congratulate you." I don't have time for paid employment these days.
 
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Lindsay
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#17
Early retirement - nice if you can afford it. A financially-ruinous divorce at 50 meant I am still trying to find work at 63, to make sure my eventual retirement is comfortable (not luxury, just comfortable).
I loved programming back when I started, but though I've been thinking of getting back into it for several years now for enjoyment, I think I've spent too long staring at screens for 40 years to actually do it. I wanted to become a commercial pilot after I got my private licence, but a couple of rides with a night-freight pilot in Texas put me off that. I think I'll stick to hobbies as hobbies - all the above confirms it is the best way to go.
 
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wayne clarke
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#18
Personally I think the secret is to make time to enjoy your own photography if it's your hobby too. Some of our photographers get really fed up with photography, but they never go out and shoot stuff for themselves.
I on the other hand don't get out as much as I'd like but have managed a landscape shoot (rained off but I got some nice shots) and a waterfall shoot where I got some great shots, it's the last two weeks.
It's about making ME time, yes I know it's not always easy, but hey, you only get one life it's not a rehearsal.
 
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#19
I can totally sympathise with those of you who have fallen out of love with photography as a result of "having" to do it - for a living, for a client or whatever. Whilst i'm not - and never have been - a professional, I have gone from being a keen hobby photographer, to doing it for people under some sort of obligation. I include in that photographing events for a sports club when I got too long in the tooth to actually take part in the sport itself, and doing some volunteer photography for a charity - again working at times they requested and shooting specific subjects to a brief. Both obligations are beginning to feel like a burden now and are killing my love of something which used to give me a lot of joy.

So, I'll be having a rethink over the winter. I'll be taking the pressure off by attending the sports events as I wish to, or not, rather than being "expected" to turn up to them all throughout the season, and populating the club's FB page with quality images of the action (which most people then lift and share without asking!!). The charity can find someone else to work for free and provide decent images for its marketing.

My camera will return to being things i use as part of a much loved hobby and I hope the lack of compulsion will revive my flagging motivation. I'll keep you posted!
 

sirch

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Chris
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#20
Try doing programming for a living :)
PP/RAW what's that, if the Jpeg's not right then it certainly wont see the light of day, why do you think I like Fuji files - don't even want to see a computer let alone use one when I'm not at work (apart from on here of course)
But you are on a computer now?

I've been programming on and off professionally for 35 years and have never lost the appetite. I've tried other jobs and they felt like what the OP describes, 10% interesting stuff, 90% chores.
 
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Keith
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#21
Since we're all talking occupations, I work with people who have special needs [intellectual disabilities] - completely different to photography, which is pretty much my personal therapy as well as being just a hobby. I have a daughter with special needs, and it was her inspired me to get educated in that field and I enjoy helping others [despite how I come across on here, which is kind of another therapy - call it venting :) ]

I think if I worked as a pro photographer I'd barely be on here tbh, because once I get home and have the chance to chill I'd rather do anything non work related. I realise that sounds a little hypocritical as I said my daughter has a disability, but obviously I do not see her as 'work'
 
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KIPAX

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KIPAX
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#22
Try doing programming for a living :)
PP/RAW what's that, if the Jpeg's not right then it certainly wont see the light of day, why do you think I like Fuji files - don't even want to see a computer let alone use one when I'm not at work (apart from on here of course)

I burnt myself out on computer programming.. from couldn't get enough of it to dreading the screen :(

I got some great advice when i started photogrpahy as a living............ keep some photogrpahy that you do for yourself for free.. dont make every time you photo must make money.. and i do.. and it's been 15 yrs with 10 and a half of those full time and I still love t :)

I knew a dozen scripiting and pure programming languages ... I still can't spell in my native english proper but 15 languages syntax perfect haha
 
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4,607
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matt
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#23
But you are on a computer now?

I've been programming on and off professionally for 35 years and have never lost the appetite. I've tried other jobs and they felt like what the OP describes, 10% interesting stuff, 90% chores.
I like my job but have zero interest using a computer outside of work other than social interaction and hobby stuff on here.
 
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23,465
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Phil
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#24
I'm not sure whether shooting for money dulled my love of photography or kept it going longer??

For years I struggled to find time to shoot anything when I wasn't getting paid, indeed I still find myself going weeks without shooting anything. And I 'shelve' tons of ideas because I simply don't have the time/inclination to shoot.

That said - I never felt it was a chore; whenever I picked up a camera; whether paid or not, I really love doing it.

OTOH I recently took a camera and 4 lenses and remote flash gear on holiday... never shot a single frame (aside from dinner with my phone), but I'm really hoping to take loads of pics on my next holiday (fingers crossed)
 
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4,568
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#25
It’s not all beaches and models, dreamy landscapes or celeb portraits. So I have had lots of conversations with people who are “into” photography, it’s their passion, hobby, in some cases a bit of an unhealthy obsession some would love to know the secret of making money whilest doing what they love, they dream of big studios, shoots, gear, published images and the like and that’s no bad thing, however here is my take on it from the other side.

I have eight staff including me, not one has an interest in photography, two have photography degrees, one a degree in film and television, I have come to the conclusion that working five days a week at the coal face so to speak can lead to your passion/hobby, call it what you will, being sucked dry and your interest simply disappears. Let’s face it If you stand on a conveyor packing digestive biscuits all day at some point your going to be sick of them.

That’s the staff, as owners (me and the wife) it’s even worse, almost most if not all of what we do is business related, it’s a full time job, we have an accountant, but we still need to do the vat and ensure everything is sorted for them, we have to product loads of invoices daily, health and safety, HR, building maintenance, marketing, customers, equipment maintenance, insurance, the list goes on.

Now I,am not saying it’s a bad thing, we do more than well out of the business, but it can ruin your hobby/passion, the studio is empty all weekend, 6500sq feet of fully equipped studio and no one in the team wants to use it, including me, None of the team ever wants to borrow any of the kit, we bought two AD200s for an internal project, they literally never left the boxes, I use my iPhone on holidays and don’t even take a camera anymore. (My other hobby of buying photography/studio stuff we don’t even need has stopped!!!).

We have all seen people with real passion, hire a small unit, kit it out, get all excited about what’s coming, and reality hits them hard, the costs, the lack of clients, the clients themselves! the none photography aspects and so on, then a few months down the line it’s all gone tits up.

So my advice for what it’s worth, is be carefull what you wish for, the grass is not always greener on the other side, sometimes it is, but it tastes a lot different, it needs mowing a lot more, it needs to be fed, and above all you have to keep It alive.

Follow your dreams, just make sure you do some research :)
I'm glad you wrote that. I found I liked photography at about the age of 12; there was just something about it, almost like a freedom to see everything in the world however I pleased (within reason!), and nobody telling me I should be doing more of one thing and less of another, etc. I could dip in and out of my hobby whenever I wanted, and no one would even notice, let alone get on my case about it. So I decided not to take photography as a subject at high school; and when I left school I decided not to do photography to earn a living. I enjoyed it too much for that.

Photography... over the years I've picked it up and put it down just as often as I've wanted to, but it's always been around and I've always enjoyed the time we've spent together. Free as a bird, and I'm so glad I made that choice. :)
 
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11,945
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Rich
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#26
The saying goes, find a job you like doing and you'll never work a day in your life but they all become tedious .
I drive for a living , it was long hours but good money , then 6 years ago my biggest customer all but stopped shipping to the UK so it went to 3 days a week which suited me
This last couple of months it's gone back to 5 days a week and I hate it with a passion, mostly because of the amount of utter morons I come across on a daily basis

Early retirement is the answer
I hardly ever worked overtime, shortest days I could and no weekend work.
Worked to live and never did anything work related outside paid hours.
Retired a couple of months shy of my 55th birthday and have never thought about work since.
Six years at the end of this month since I slung it in and never regretted it for a second.
 
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Toni
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#28
I have almost always carried my work around in my head since leaving school, thinking, planning, reviewing results. At one time it was very frustrating but now I realise that it's a part of who I am and that's fine. In some ways I'd love to retire right now, but I also enjoy what I do and don't think I'll mind carrying on for another 15, 20 years if possible, long after I'm 65.

For a while I did wedding photography part-time in the late 80s, and it quickly became less fun and much more of a drag, especially when interacting with customers. The taking pictures part was fine, but having to do the donkey-work behind getting a physical album together etc etc wasn't so much fun.
 
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Garry Edwards
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#29
I was a self employed advertising and commercial photographer for pretty well all of my working life, retired 3 years ago..

Most of the work was product photography, including fashion, extremely demanding with rewards to suit. I've had odd spells of losing motivation to a limited extent, but found that there were plenty of genre's of photography that involve skills that I simply don't have, and attempting these in my spare time kept the interest going. For example, I got my first digital camera over 19 years ago and used that for personal work (all monorail camera stuff in the studio and medium format for editorial) and when digital quality improved I started using the monorail for personal work. A friend, with a commercial studio in Florida, rides his motorbike 500 miles or so each way with a large format camera to take landscape shots, and that's what keeps him going.

In your position though, I can understand what's happened, I could never face going to work to take production line product shots - maybe your answer is to shoot landscapes or similar in your spare time, or just to go into the studio and do some shots with creative lighting.
 
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