Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Photography jobs

Today my thoughts went to photography jobs. There was no special reason for this other than today I had a job offer (which I accepted) that gives me more hours in a location 2 miles closer to where I'm living (albeit in the other direction). Of course it's a few more hours but more importantly 25% better money. This makes a huge difference to me. Maybe this coming year I might even have to pay tax!

So, thinking about jobs, especially photography jobs, I came across a website advertising photography jobs. I found one on which photography jobs were advertised. Most of the jobs had start dates of 2004 - 2011. The site had not been updated since. This is one of the big problems with online job sites - there's no knowing whether the advertised job is genuine or an attempt to get an email address or to steal an identity. Similarly there's no knowing whether it's an agency playing games. In my 46 years on this planet, I have yet to find an employment agency that was worth bothering with.

If you're thinking of embarking on a photography career, ask yourself a few questions. I suggest starting with:

  • Why did Sears portrait studios go out of business?
  • Why did Picture Me vanish from the local Walmart?
  • Why do you never see people being photographed at Olan Mills?
  • Why did The Chicago Sun-Times dispense with all its photographers?
  • Why do all the photographers in the studio in your local mall earn minimum wage only?
  • What career progression is there in photography?
  • What do all the local photographers do for their main income?
  • How many people in your area are trying to peddle photography?

I can answer most of those questions - there's no money in photography. There's no career progression in photography. There are hundreds of people flogging photography and failing. There are more people claiming to be professional photographers than have actually earned any money from it and a quick check of the Yellow Pages, Chamber of Commerce and online will tell you roughly how many people are flogging photography. It is not an never can be a main income when everybody with a cellphone has a camera and when really excellent cameras can be bought in Walmart at Walmart prices.

Photography is a confidence trick. It's an avenue down which many are lured to be mugged and robbed blind. It's almost like somebody pointing a gun at you and saying "give me your wallet". In order to participate you have to buy a ton of stuff - cameras, lenses, flashes, camera bags, tripods, studio stuff, advertising, business licenses, insurance and a whole host extra. If you think you're going to get away for less than $10,000, think again. This will likely get you no income at all. You have just been robbed by the camera industry which specializes in giving hope to the poor, the destitute, the low-income people by saying "with just a camera you can make millions". It's as bad as pointing that gun at you and saying "your money or your life".

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