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Theres no money in photography

  • 14-01-2023 2:52am
    Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

    To be honest theres no money in photography, only 1 in 1000 will make a living from it, the rest of us do it as a hobby, we all take good pics but smart phone apps are making us look novice, unless you know somebody that will hire you all the time you are fecked, I was on this forum years ago shakeyblakey, I had a canon 1dS, two 550ex flash, ste2 remote and all the trimmings, I got 1 decent job a year, if I was lucky, my kit was worth over 8k, 24/70 , 100/400 all professional lens, I did a few weddings, other meaningless jobs.

    If your into photography do it as a hobby, youll lose your mind and your money


  • Registered Users Posts: 364 ✭✭ HorseSea

    Very true, was in a similar position myself, though I only ever intended it as a hobby I did a couple of jobs. Everyone is a photographer these days or at least they think they are. Long gone are the days when you just had to wave a white lens to part the crowd :-)

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

    thats the only photo I made money from, did a few weddings, 1 a year,

  • Registered Users Posts: 364 ✭✭ HorseSea

    I did two weddings, only as I couldn't say no, they were good friends. Most stressful thing I ever did. It's not like you can ask them back tomorrow for another go :-) Thankfully both were happy with the results. Never again.

    Do you mind me asking how you made money from the photo. Great photo, just wondering how you commercialised it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

    I had it on Getty years ago and a hotel chain bought rights to it, its gone now but still hanging in hotels around the world

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

    My other pic of the mound of the hostages in Tara was the most copied photo I ever had, still shows up on web searches with a copyright sign beside it, lol

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  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

    all from years ago

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

    My 1DS clapped up and I now use a 5Dmkii, I dont post my pics online anymore, actually havent used my camera in over a year,must get back to using it, but only for fun.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake


    to get getty to even look at your photos you had to have a professional camera and kit, L lens, if you had the best photo in the world but taken on an ameture camera they wouldnt even look at it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 364 ✭✭ HorseSea

    I could be writing your posts, here's my lone expired Flickr account

    and I am on a 5DMkii as well. Also collecting dust since pre pandemic!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,277 ✭✭✭ Furze99

    And hasn't been for over a decade now or more. And yet we live in an image rich world and the media are always looking for the right shot. So if you're in the right place at the right time for news journalism, that is one avenue.

    Back in the day, I worked in a commercial studio. The bread & butter work was product shots for advertising features and brochures. Repetitive studio work but paid bills.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,494 ✭✭✭ Mister Vain

    I wouldn't agree that smart phone apps are making us look novice, but it is difficult. I haven't had any paid work since covid. You don't really see studios in towns anymore, the ones offering family portraits. They used to be fairly common.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,436 ✭✭✭✭ kippy

    Smartphones and the general cost of hardware and software have made photography more accessible to many but I would agree, smart phone apps defo don't make professionals look novice.

    My main engagement with professional photographers is at weddings and I have to say you can spot a pros photos a mile away. That said it's a dying profession I would think.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

    It is, no two ways about it, I used to make money doing weddings, I have all the gear, 800 a day, but one in 365 days, its 0.30 cent a day, or maybe notI cant count, but it will not put a hot meal on your table every day

  • Registered Users Posts: 569 ✭✭✭ Oscar Madison

    Perhaps your style of photography just doesn't appeal to the masses?

    Do we though as 'photographers' overrate our own photography & I have seen it & been a victim of it!

    I wonder if today photography means a whole lot to many people?

    There is almost saturation coverage of almost every event or disaster to befall us!

    Have we just become accustomed or fixated with the instant image?

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 mark blake

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  • Registered Users Posts: 569 ✭✭✭ Oscar Madison

    I've sold a few framed images but not enough to make a living from it but in my mind at least I'm doing ok!

    I am in full time employment but not photography related.

    It is starting though to pay back in part what I have spent over the years on it!

    You can't just sit & wait for it to happen! You have to put yourself out there with your images!

    I have an idea that I'm toying with at the moment but my current work situation

    prevents me from going forward with it but perhaps it's more of a self confidence issue?

    We'll see come the summer what I'll do!

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,934 ✭✭✭ John_Rambo

    There's a living to be made from photography but it's not easy and you're going to be taking photos of things that aren't nice or are hard to photograph. You have to be a confident, a good communicator, clear, articulate and good at making people comfortable in you and your cameras presence. You get the odd nice gig that comes up, one that really suits your style and those shots shine.

    Graphic design qualifications & a decent grasp of video & editing will help.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,494 ✭✭✭ Mister Vain

    Too many photographers doing weddings. You're better off specialising in funerals. Less competition.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,884 ✭✭✭ dinneenp

    One of the main challenges is the volume of competition & getting your work found.

    If you have a website, you're a needle in a haystack. And if you have photos on a commercial site (Getty, Fineartamerica etc.) you're a larger needle still in a haystack.

    Then you have to ask, do your photo appeal to the masses. Abstract is my favourite style but it's not for the masses (unless you're already famous). I have some photos on Fine Art America and get the odd sale, some of the hurling ones here and (like someone above) this was licenses through Getty for BT for a few years.

    I've had a few exhibitions in cafes and these would normally get a few sales. It's as much joy in seeing your photos in public & the pride in knowing that someone likes your photo enough to buy it as the money from the sale, which isn't anything big. You could always charge an exorbitant price for photos in an exhibition, this actually makes them more appealing to some.

    I'll do the odd birthday, communion, wedding but these are just for friends or friends of friends.

    All of above is for non-full time photographers. If you want to go fulltime, it's a different discussion and a long slog to get your name known.

    But, to summarize, I agree with the OP & others. You could spend an evening (or two) uploading to some commercial sites, paying special attention to the key words) and approach some cafes but don't expect a big return.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,213 ✭✭✭✭ BorneTobyWilde

    I would have thought with the popularity of Onlyfans that there would be countless creators looking for professional photographers to create content

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,434 ✭✭✭ Flinty997

    I know one reasonably successful photographer. They spend as much time socializing and networking as they do working. Because it's those long standing social contacts they get work through. They do some work outside of Ireland as well. They've been at it long time. Perhaps it's harder now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 36,124 ✭✭✭✭ ED E

    If you were getting one job a year you were making it a hobby. Unless you really gun for it you won't make a dent. Weddings are word of mouth. 1/year isnt enough to keep your skills current (Weddings arent technical photography, lots of practical tidbits in it).

    Still a lot of money in it but today if you've not got a successful instragram to promote yourself you're dead in the water. End of.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,494 ✭✭✭ Mister Vain

    You don't need a professional photographer to record you fingering yourself. Any decent smartphone will do the job.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,884 ✭✭✭ dinneenp

    It's a business and the actual taking (and editing) photos is only one part of the business.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,848 ✭✭✭ Gregor Samsa

    Funeral photography is a thing, maybe not so much in Ireland, though (which is surprising, given how much of a social occasion they are here).

    There's plenty of niches for professional photography, finding one and whether they pay well is another matter. There's a charity in the UK that provides remembrance photography services to parents who have suffered the death of a baby before, during or just after birth, where they take family pictures of the parents and the deceased child. It may sound macabre on first hearing it, but this is the only chance that family have to have a photographic memento of the child they lost, so it's a big deal for some. At the other end of the scale, I remember coming across one photographer who specialised in boudoir with a large white python. So women came to her for tasteful shots in their best underwear, and she had the snake that would be used as a prop, and this appealed to a particular clientele (mainly goths, I'd say).

    I'm purely a hobbyist myself (thankfully). I know two people that got into professional studio/event photography. One gave up his office job and ploughed a considerable chunk of savings into a studio in his garage in one of our smaller cities. He lasted about a year before he went back to an office job. I'd say this is the story with most people who give it a go.

    The other set himself up in my town with a rented studio. I thought he was mad, as it's not a big place and there were already at least 3 other established and prominent studios in the town (along, I'm sure with plenary of others I didn't know about - Golden Pages lists 24 photographers in the town at the moment). However, his business has thrived, and he managed to keep paying the rent and make a living even during Covid. So fair play to him, he might well be in the minority, but he's doing something right.