Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => The Coffee Corner => Topic started by: HSakols on March 01, 2013, 10:09:44 AM

Title: How do you earn a living?
Post by: HSakols on March 01, 2013, 10:09:44 AM
I'm curious how you make a living so you can pursue your photography.  If you are a professional photographer, I curious what it is that generates the most income?  eg weddings, advertising, architecture.....  Somehow I don't think many are earning enough to live on by selling fine art prints alone.  Thanks to the fact that I don't have children and have a job as a teacher, I have some money left over for my hobby. 
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Chairman Bill on March 01, 2013, 10:12:57 AM
I fill young heads full of stuff & nonsense, at a UK university. It doesn't pay enough to keep me in the D800e & big fat flashy lenses-style I'd like though  :(
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: SunnyUK on March 01, 2013, 10:13:40 AM
I earn my living as an IT consultant. Photography is my hobby.  

Computers used to be a hobby many years ago, but after they became my profession, it stopped being fun. So I'm keen on NOT turning photography into a job.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on March 01, 2013, 11:42:05 AM
I filled young heads full of stuff & nonsense at a U.S. University for 35 years, grabbing time now and then for a little photography. The job paid a pittance, as Chairman Bill has suggested, but with my retirement I can now spend more time on photography.

I just took down a gallery exhibit with 38 of my prints, 9 of which sold! The proceeds will almost cover the costs of putting on the show.

The best photographers that I know personally all subsidize their passion with income from other sources.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rob C on March 01, 2013, 12:08:37 PM
I'm curious how you make a living so you can pursue your photography.  If you are a professional photographer, I curious what it is that generates the most income?  eg weddings, advertising, architecture.....  Somehow I don't think many are earning enough to live on by selling fine art prints alone.  Thanks to the fact that I don't have children and have a job as a teacher, I have some money left over for my hobby.  



I'm retired and not (obviously) of today's generation of young turks; maybe my take's redundant.

I did weddings and passports and every goddamn thing that came my way for the first six months of working on my own.

One rainy Glaswegian afternoon at a wedding, standing on the steps in the gloom, awaiting the arrival of bride and Papa, I had this vision of David Bailey drive past slowly in his Rolls-Royce, smile at me and vanish into the murk.

So help me, I swore there and then that never, ever again would I do anything but that which had driven me to become a photographer and go solo: fashion photography and anything to do with girls.

I’d never shot a single fashion pic in my life but I had absolutely no doubt that I could and would. And then I did. Didn’t make me rich and it was a dying market because most of the Scottish knitwear industry, once huge, was being swallowed up by English groups and the work moving south to England, both photographic and manufacturing. As that work shrank I decided to try calendar design and production for a couple of fashion clients as an adjunct to shooting their twice-a-year ranges and that took off and, from there, I moved outwith fashion and I ended up doing nothing else but calendars for some years. Much better return than fashion ever offered – in my world, at least. The calendars also supplied most of the product for my photo stock with Tony Stone.

I also used calendar product for holiday brochures of which there were a few doing the rounds for a some years, mainly after I left the UK to live in Mallorca. I shot hotels and apartments too, for these productions, but as with everything, that changed and photo-students began to do it for the trips… no money, just slavery abroad for a week or so.

Yeah, as a business, it has been going south for almost as long as I can remember. When I started, I just didn’t know that for most of us, the best had already been. The supers always did and still do very well, but that’s life in the art industries. And there’s one of the really important issues: we sometimes aren’t quite aware that we are in an industry, where all the industrial laws of profit and loss apply just as seriously as in farming, a grocery shop or for Boeing.

In retrospect, I think I did the right thing: play for the big one, the one you think you can’t live without, and if it doesn’t roll your way, get out with as little pain as you can and do something normal, probably boring but with reasonably secure tenure and a handy little pension at the end of days! But, if it’s art, never settle for second-best because you’ll probably end up hating yourself for your own betrayal.

I see folks around me here with several pensions, reasonable health and comfortable lives. None were photographers. It doesn’t look such a bad deal now…

Rob C

Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: WalterEG on March 01, 2013, 04:20:56 PM
I have worked as an imaging professional in Television, Film and (mostly) Photography since 1965.

In the beginning there was portraiture — fashion, beauty and publicity — and nudes.  Working in a general practice commercial studio that meant I also shot product and food along with industrial and architectural assignments.

When Playboy and Penthouse started in Australia I moved to working solely with them and other men's market publications, holding positions such as 'Photographic Consultant' and 'Glamour Editor'.

In the early 90's I tired of the cavalcade of epidermis and packed it in, switching to architecture which is where I remain.  I have also shot for a customised Harley-Davidson magazine for over 30 years.

My real photographic passion is in my personal work which is a mix of art-nudes and anomalies of the built environment.

As the earning potential of commercial photography has been eroded due to a variety of forces in recent times I have taken to supplementing my photo earnings with Admin duties for a community organisation.

It was nice in 1965 to see laid before me a range of lucrative options from which to carve out a career.  I'd hate to be a kid starting out today.

Cheers,

Walter
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: AFairley on March 01, 2013, 04:40:56 PM
I went to art school, and in the late 70s- early 80s, I had a very small studio in NYC specializing in shooting jewelry and crafts objects, after I got married, I gave it up for a more steady income in a variety of careers, the latest one of which is attorney in a small law firm.  The good news is that I can afford decent gear (DSLR, not at the level of MFDB), the bad news is that I don't have as much time as I would like to use it.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on March 01, 2013, 05:11:53 PM
I started in engineering, then went to college and then university to learn computing in the very early days of computing. Eventually ended up teaching advanced computing and digital imaging and design at a large UK university (teaching at Uni seems to be a pattern for those who have already replied to your question). Eventually got tired of jumping through all the hoops at the Uni, so went on to work with the war wounded and visually impaired military service people returning from various war zones, usually head shots or land mine and rocket propelled grenade damage etc, again teaching all aspects of computing as well as photography, but more importantly trying to connect people back into society through the creative use of all manner of new technologies. Also taught night school for PS and photography and of course computing in its various guises. Also did some commercial work, product stuff and holday/brochure work for a few large organisations - but none of it paid very well, although I did get to travel to some nice places.

Took early semi-retirement and moved 500 miles to the IoS to concentrate full time on photography, where I now sell my work in various galleries and of course teach photography workshops and advanced PS etc. Still doesn't pay very well, but we are just about comfortable enough and old enough for it not to be the main issue anymore.

It is the passion for photography that drives me and most other people who do it I assume, so I don't ever think about profitability or ever have for that matter, I just do it because I feel compelled to do it and of course I also very much enjoy it. So everything I now earn from photography however large or small, is a bonus.

Dave
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Tony Jay on March 01, 2013, 05:17:53 PM
Slightly of topic but that was a wonderful mini-biography Dave.
I always had a lot of respect for you but much more now.
I will be looking at your image making with new, and hopefully better informed, eyes to see how your life experiences may be informing your creative approach.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: David Sutton on March 01, 2013, 05:37:15 PM
I teach classical and flamenco guitar privately. The bad news is that there is no holiday or sick pay. The good news is that even after an earthquake sent many students to other parts and the studio to heaven, there is still enough to finance other interests. I was a working in sales when I began learning music at age thirty, which is late for a career change. But it undoubtedly rescued me from what I felt was a useless life. To be able to contribute to a community in a meaningful way and to be paid for it is wonderful.
As Eric says, most photographers who are still enthusiastic about what they do have second incomes. We are lucky if exhibitions cover costs, but there are some things in life more important than money. We hope that our images have meaning and add something positive to our corner of the world. Whatever else we do to earn our living I believe it important to cultivate the gift of enjoying our work. When I don't look forward in the morning to spending the day teaching, I'll retire or look for something else. Though age may get me first.  :)
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Stan A on March 01, 2013, 10:38:13 PM
I'm brand new here, but I'll play. I'm a cop, I see a lot of ugly in the world and what people do to each other so I use photography to capture the beauy in it if I can. Ironically I didn't do a lot in the hobby for some time, but my photography skills ( for what they're worth) landed me a spot on our crime scene team as a photographer. I convinced my department to go digital, which resparked my own interests....... Sunsets are much nicer to shoot than dead bodies (pun kinda intended)
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: David Sutton on March 01, 2013, 11:38:00 PM
I'm brand new here, but I'll play. I'm a cop, I see a lot of ugly in the world and what people do to each other so I use photography to capture the beauy in it if I can. Ironically I didn't do a lot in the hobby for some time, but my photography skills ( for what they're worth) landed me a spot on our crime scene team as a photographer. I convinced my department to go digital, which resparked my own interests....... Sunsets are much nicer to shoot than dead bodies (pun kinda intended)

Welcome aboard sir, and thank you for your contribution.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on March 02, 2013, 12:25:18 AM
Slightly of topic but that was a wonderful mini-biography Dave.
I always had a lot of respect for you but much more now.
I will be looking at your image making with new, and hopefully better informed, eyes to see how your life experiences may be informing your creative approach.

Tony Jay
I'll second the motion!
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Kirk Gittings on March 02, 2013, 12:35:18 AM
Architecture and fine art b&W prints-full time since 1978.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Schewe on March 02, 2013, 01:17:12 AM
I'm curious how you make a living so you can pursue your photography.

Now? Or when I was working? Big difference...

I got into commercial/advertising photography in the early 1980's after graduating from RIT with two degrees in photography. I spent a few years shooting "product" and "food" before getting into what's called (or was) special problems–often involving special effects and/or special rigging and model making. In the late 1980's I also got into commercial film direction.

In the early 1990's I got into shooting for digital imaging–figuring out how to shoot multiple elements and how to put them together; first with a 3rd party digital imaging artist (Raphael from Huston TX with NASA digital stuff) then later with my own imaging systems and Photoshop.

That worked well in the 1990's where I made an obscene amount of money producing images that were, well, impossible to produce. That sort of ended around 9-11-2001 (not sure if anything relating to that date is relevant, but that's when I saw budgets falling and AD's being complete idiots and assholes).

Since early 2000's I've branched out to; developing software (PixelGenius.com), speaking and teaching and writing (a few decent books) and leading workshops and the occasional video tutorial. I still shoot personally (I don't really accept clients these days).

The other thing I got good at is investing...I made a ton of money in the 90's (because I could charge as much as I wanted to do the impossible stuff I did). I was so busy I really didn't have a lot of time to blow the money I was making and I've been reasonably good and increasing my net worth by careful investing (without really having to do a lot of "work", per se–the key is to buy low and sell high).

Photography is now really just a way of life for me...pretty much all of the stuff I do involves photography in some way–although I don't do it commercially any more.

I don't have a good feeling about commercial photography these days...clients are cheap idiots (IMHO) that would prefer to buy the cheapest shooter and fix it in Photoshop. In general, the level of expectation of quality has taken a nose dive...

I never really got into shooting anything other than commercial, advertising work. I've shot my fair share of product, still life, food, special effects, big production, people, lifestyle (but not fashion). The thought of shooting a wedding gives me the willies...I could simply not stand the pressure. I can do portraits pretty well, but I could NEVER deal with retail. The thought of just anybody walking through the door would drive me nutz.

Do whatever you need to do to enable what you want to do...I really don't do much of anything for money, but everything I do tends to produce money. One big factor is to have multiple streams of income from multiple sources and always keep busy doing something productive.

I'm not interested in being a fine art photographer...all the fine art guys I know work way too hard and again, I'm not good at retail. I have zero interest in making prints for other people to buy because I have to interest in dealing with those people. I end up saying what Rhett Butler said in Gone With the Wind:"frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn". Yeah, I'm a butthead and pretty set in my ways. But, I have fun!
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: kikashi on March 02, 2013, 02:31:50 AM
I'm a barrister. I was a surgeon for ten years or so. I've written software in the past but I find I don't have much time for it now.

Jeremy
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: RawheaD on March 02, 2013, 04:05:39 AM
I'm a relatively recent archaeology Ph.D. but have yet to score a job in the academia, which is what I want.  In the mean time, I put bread on the table mostly through translation and interpretation work between English and Japanese.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Wills on March 02, 2013, 04:08:00 AM
I'm a full time photographer all our household income comes from portraits.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rob C on March 02, 2013, 04:54:56 AM
1.   "I don't have a good feeling about commercial photography these days...clients are cheap idiots (IMHO) that would prefer to buy the cheapest shooter and fix it in Photoshop. In general, the level of expectation of quality has taken a nose dive...

2.   The thought of shooting a wedding gives me the willies...I could simply not stand the pressure. I can do portraits pretty well, but I could NEVER deal with retail. The thought of just anybody walking through the door would drive me nutz.

Schewe"



Schewe -

I never realised just how similar some of our attitudes.

Had I but had the business head too...

Rob C

Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Schewe on March 02, 2013, 07:53:00 AM
Had I but had the business head too...

Well, I actually fell into that by accident–it was something my father kinda forced onto me and I developed some skills more by serendipity that by intention. I don't really take much credit for myself...it was really a situation where I was so busy, I didn't have the time to waste a lot of money. I ended up investing much of the proceeds of my work in good companies that ended up doing really well. I wasn't kidding about buy low and sell high :~) That works pretty well!
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rocco Penny on March 02, 2013, 08:53:08 AM
A usurper...

Interior finishes contractor,
lucky to have provided many top shelf personalities with their built environments.
February 2008 changed the game.
I retreated to the hills and commune with nature and spirits now.
It doesn't pay, but I'm rich as a "Son of these hills"
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Ken Bennett on March 02, 2013, 09:20:49 AM
I work at a university, too, but as the staff photographer in the publications/news office. That way I don't damage too many impressionable young minds :) I get to work with a terrific group of designers, writers, and web developers. This is not your run of the mill "in house" unit, these folks are something special. Been here 16 years, before that I was a freelance news and corporate photog for about ten years, after starting my career at a small newspaper (fresh out of college with a degree in economics.)
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: HSakols on March 02, 2013, 09:46:21 AM
I've enjoyed reading all of your responses.  Welcome snowbanker.  I find locking myself in my studio after a rough day of motivating 10 and 11 year olds is excellent therapy. Back in 2002 or 2003, my school district had technology trainging money available for teachers. My colleagues were taking lame courses in excel and powerpoint so asked the district if I could take a class in digital imaging from Rich Seiling from West Coast Imaging. Before taking that class my digital darkroom was a Canon FS4000 scanner and a Mac 7200.  It was slow but worked! A few years later I took Charlie Cramers class.  Now I spend too much time making landscape photographs that I store in a archival cabinet that once was in the Ansel Adams Gallery.  No I did not steal it, but got it from the Yosemite Mountaineering School where they used it to store maps.  My problem is I keep making prints, but sell very few.  Instead I donate a few every year to my small community of El Portal.  Since 2001, every sixth grade student I have had has been given a small matted print during their promotion.  I grew up in Palo Alto, CA and still go back to the area to visit family.  During my visits I'm reminded how much of a Luddite I am.  My brother is disgusted that I still do not own a cell phone and our truck is dirty. Hopefully my hobby is teaching me some transferable skills that I might use in the future.  I think I understand color management better than many yet I'm no engineer. I've shot one wedding at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley.  It was quite fun.  A couple of locals got permission to come dressed in the most gaudy outfits including some mighty fine brides maid dresses. Oh and the brides father came in drag. The minister was priceless.  
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on March 02, 2013, 12:25:26 PM
10 years as a wedding photographer shooting fine art on the side. My legs have given up on me just as I hit the height of my career :( and I'm now managing a repro studio for a museum and teaching in a local art college.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Dan Berg on March 02, 2013, 02:20:52 PM
40 year corporate pilot. Presently flying Cessna Citation CJ3
Custom furniture and cabinetry business owner 1987 to present,part time since 2009
Opened printmaking and mounting studio in a vacant 1000 sq. ft. of my cabinetry shop which takes up the rest of my time.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Johnny_Johnson on March 02, 2013, 02:53:14 PM
40 year corporate pilot. Presently flying Cessna Citation CJ3
Custom furniture and cabinetry business 1987 to present,part time since 2009
Opened printmaking and mounting studio in a vacant 1000 sq. ft. of my cabinetry shop which takes up the rest of my time.

Nice plane Dan! Is the cabinet shop where you lost your fingers?

Later,
Johnny
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Dan Berg on March 02, 2013, 03:49:45 PM
Nice plane Dan! Is the cabinet shop where you lost your fingers?

Later,
Johnny

Still have all my fingers but my lead craftsman cut one of his almost off.
They sewed it back on but he missed 6 months work.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Johnny_Johnson on March 02, 2013, 03:53:03 PM
Still have all my fingers but my lead craftsman cut one of his almost off.
They sewed it back on but he missed 6 months work.

Sorry Dan, must have been thinking of someone else. Glad that you've still got them all.

Later,
Johnny
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: ThomasR99 on March 02, 2013, 05:29:51 PM
Hospital pharmacist here, been practicing for 25+ years.  I find the job to be very 'right brained' dealing with med issues and staying current with the latest medical/p'ceutical research, and managing the staff (somewhat akin to herding cats, but the eclectic personalities keep the days interesting). I find photography lets (ok, forces) me get out into nature here in the Pac NW (US) and stretch my legs and get the 'left brain' back in gear after being suppressed the rest of the time.  Interestingly, I think it may actually help in the job as well...being creative, thinking in a new way, trying to 'see' something in a way I never have before may help with the job.  I sometimes get 'creative' ideas that oftentimes work surprisingly well. 
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rob C on March 02, 2013, 05:59:02 PM
Hospital pharmacist here, been practicing for 25+ years.  I find the job to be very 'right brained' dealing with med issues and staying current with the latest medical/p'ceutical research, and managing the staff (somewhat akin to herding cats, but the eclectic personalities keep the days interesting). I find photography lets (ok, forces) me get out into nature here in the Pac NW (US) and stretch my legs and get the 'left brain' back in gear after being suppressed the rest of the time.  Interestingly, I think it may actually help in the job as well...being creative, thinking in a new way, trying to 'see' something in a way I never have before may help with the job.  I sometimes get 'creative' ideas that oftentimes work surprisingly well. 



Get 'creative' in a British hospìtal and you'll find yourself on the cover of at least two tabloids by the next morning. You'll  be facing a class action by that lunchtime.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Jaffy on March 02, 2013, 06:13:21 PM
I've been a highways/traffic engineer for 30+ years, surveying, road safety, traffic signals, etc, I liked the irony of being a prat on motorcycles at the weekend and then going into the road safety dept on Monday. Currently I deal with highways problems, so always immediate, always different, and photography is therefore a good way to relax and contemplate life around me.
I'm good at spotting potential problems but not so good at seeing solutions, so working as part of a team is good for me and the thought of running my own business fills me with dread; I'll never be rich but will get a pension.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: David Eckels on March 02, 2013, 07:29:29 PM
I'm a professor and have been doing biomedical research and transplant related clinical work for over 35 years. When you hear that someone "found a matched kidney or heart" we're the guys that do the laboratory work for that. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a professional photographer. I loved the darkroom and when I joined my high school yearbook team as Sports Editor, I was in hog heaven: all the film and chemicals and paper I could ever imagine and the Journalism Department paid for it! Had to leave the darkroom when I started having allergic reactions to the chemicals in my late teens. A while back, my dad suggested I have a look at the digital darkroom and photography has once again become my passionate obsession! Somebody mentioned the left/right brain thing above and I think there is real truth in that, but the science of digital imaging is also completely fascinating. I am devouring Jeff Schewe's "series" right now (Image Sharpening, Digital Negative, Digital Print when released); anyone who has not read it...highly recommended! It was probably good that I didn't get to be that pro photographer from some of the stories here, however. The intense criticism I received from the study sections at the National Institutes of Health over a 25 year continuous funding run, prepared me for the crtiques I have been getting here ;) ;) Seriously, I have enjoyed meeting this group and enjoy the "community" immensely. So many interesting people, so many intriguing stories, and some great photography!
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: orchidblooms on March 02, 2013, 09:11:37 PM
surely an interesting group here...

i like schewe's

...I really don't do much of anything for money, but everything I do tends to produce money. One big factor is to have multiple streams of income from multiple sources and always keep busy doing something productive....

this is my M.O.

i have been self employed since the day the 1st space shuttle exploded - walked off the job thinking... 'there has to be more to life and living'

i have been doing landscaping - irrigation - lawn service - snow service - and since 1992 involved with my now, late mother the 'orchidlady' (orchidblooms.com) working with our family flower business

i develop software for ecommerce - as part of our flower / nursery business - we sell tropical flowers and orchids shipped from farms 2 of which i have interests,  in hawaii

i have loved photography from a very young age - as a youngster 7-8yo i would use my dads press camera!

i also have become a savvy investor

i love the thrill i get every time i press the shutter!

great thread

p.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rob C on March 03, 2013, 04:14:55 AM
surely an interesting group here...

i like schewe's

...I really don't do much of anything for money, but everything I do tends to produce money. One big factor is to have multiple streams of income from multiple sources and always keep busy doing something productive....

this is my M.O.

i have been self employed since the day the 1st space shuttle exploded - walked off the job thinking... 'there has to be more to life and living'i have been doing landscaping - irrigation - lawn service - snow service - and since 1992 involved with my now, late mother the 'orchidlady' (orchidblooms.com) working with our family flower business

i develop software for ecommerce - as part of our flower / nursery business - we sell tropical flowers and orchids shipped from farms 2 of which i have interests,  in hawaii

i have loved photography from a very young age - as a youngster 7-8yo i would use my dads press camera!

i also have become a savvy investor

i love the thrill i get every time i press the shutter!

great thread

p.


Maybe punctuation?

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Tony Jay on March 03, 2013, 04:23:02 AM
Really a very interesting thread.
Fascinating variety of contributors and occupations so far.

To continue the left/right brain thing, although for me I am ambidexterous which is helpful when doing tricky medical procedures in the ICU, I have also never been able to bring a truly analytic approach to problem solving in medicine preferring a more synthetic inductive apporach. This can be handy for making very rapid decisions with resuscitation-level patients.
The photography angle for me has no real connection to my occupation.
Instead, it has grown as a natural extension of my love for the great outdoors.
The possibility of an income from photography is there but will currently take more time to develop than I could easily devote.

Look forward to reading others contributions.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Stan A on March 03, 2013, 07:36:56 AM
I've been a highways/traffic engineer for 30+ years, surveying, road safety, traffic signals, etc, I liked the irony of being a prat on motorcycles at the weekend and then going into the road safety dept on Monday. Currently I deal with highways problems, so always immediate, always different, and photography is therefore a good way to relax and contemplate life around me.
I'm good at spotting potential problems but not so good at seeing solutions, so working as part of a team is good for me and the thought of running my own business fills me with dread; I'll never be rich but will get a pension.

Prior to being a cop I was a power lineman, which led me to a decade of building traffic signals, which then led me to working a couple years as a traffic signal technician, which then led me to being a cop for the last 15 years for the same city.... Had a lot of fun doing the traffic thing....now I stop people for running some of the same lights I built... ;)
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: RSL on March 03, 2013, 08:24:06 AM
I was a professional soldier (USAF) for 26 years and then a software engineer for 30 more. For fun I did a bit of computer science teaching on the side at Colorado Tech but was losing money for every hour I taught, and had to give it up. I folded my little corporation in 2008 and finally retired.

I've been a photo nut since about 1943 when I brought up my first print in the darkroom I'd built in a fruit cellar. I started getting serious about it in 1953 when the Korean war ended and I was flying F-84's out of Taegu. I started doing weddings and other work for pay in the mid sixties. I considered resigning my commission and taking up photography as a business, but found I hated having to make the sort of clichés the work called for, so I quit doing it.

Since then I've been a happy amateur who makes an occasional print sale out of local galleries. Nirvana.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: orchidblooms on March 03, 2013, 11:02:30 AM

Maybe punctuation?

;-)

Rob C

Rob - this is perhaps some of my best writing

:)

i am a horrible spellor - fast typer - oftem my hands are miss-position on the keybords so words are nonsensical...  sometimes i catch this - and well....

glad you took the time to point out what you perceive to be my shortcomings...

btw - what is wrong with...

there has to be more to life and living? 

perhaps i could have written 'there has to be more to life than just living' ... ?

that line.... came to be in my minds eye at the time, however, when i was angy, upset and was thinking exactly what i posted.... you see rob,  as i  walked out the door with cnn covering the space shuttle challenger tragedy... playing it over and over...  i was thinking.... there has to be more to life and living....  as everyone on the challenger - was obviously, dead.

so now you have the backstory -

i have never looked back

phil
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rob C on March 03, 2013, 11:51:29 AM
Rob - this is perhaps some of my best writing

:)

i am a horrible spellor - fast typer - oftem my hands are miss-position on the keybords so words are nonsensical...  sometimes i catch this - and well....

glad you took the time to point out what you perceive to be my shortcomings...

btw - what is wrong with...

there has to be more to life and living? 

perhaps i could have written 'there has to be more to life than just living' ... ?

that line.... came to be in my minds eye at the time, however, when i was angy, upset and was thinking exactly what i posted.... you see rob,  as i  walked out the door with cnn covering the space shuttle challenger tragedy... playing it over and over...  i was thinking.... there has to be more to life and living....  as everyone on the challenger - was obviously, dead.

so now you have the backstory -

i have never looked back

phil



Phil,

If what you write above is the real deal, then I'm sorry for bringing it up. Just seems unlikely you can develop software but not use commas, capitals and periods. I can't develop software.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: orchidblooms on March 03, 2013, 12:46:48 PM


Phil,

If what you write above is the real deal, then I'm sorry for bringing it up. Just seems unlikely you can develop software but not use commas, capitals and periods. I can't develop software.

;-)

Rob C

rob... no biggie...

i started writing my own php ecommerce apps for our flowershop in 1998 - there simply was no such thing at the time - i simply rolled up my sleeves and figured it out...  started using an open source app back then called phpshop - it was feeble and very basic... learned how it worked and took ideas from that app and started to write my code for our apps....

our app was the first in USA/ probably the world, for florists, to offer a recently view items feature!

there have been many iterations of our apps over the years

we now service over 200 florists in USA and some in canada....

i am now in about the 7th version,,, rebuilding our whole app using a framework called laravel - best bet is spring 2014 for rollout...

when i am in app mode - it is in office - in the dark planted infront of monitors for as long as 30 hours in a sitting - with the doors closed - no interruptions - nothing like what i do here...

:)

p.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on March 03, 2013, 06:59:52 PM
Funny how what goes around, comes around.

I made my first decent money while still a student (of economics), in the '80s, working as a freelance photographer for Do-It-Yorself and Home-And-Garden type of magazines. I also had a cover or two at the time, plus a regular column on photographing flowers and macro photography.

Then my finance career took over and I made some pretty decent money working as an expat for Fortune 200 companies in Eastern Europe. Photography remained a hobby. The two kind of intersected briefly when I was the finance manager for Eastman Kodak in Russia in the late '90s. I then moved to Barcelona, Spain, obtained my MBA from Chicago Booth, and ultimately moved to the States in 2004, managing an IT consultancy start-up. Since then I've had a magazine cover (paid) and a several national and international competition awards, as well as several pages  published in photographic magazines (unpaid though).

My finance career apparently irrecoverably ended with the Great Recession, as all my efforts to return to the corporate world turned out to be just an exercise in frustration. In the meantime, I've taught business classes occasionally at a college level (as well as while in Spain).

Back to "what goes around, comes around:" I am now contemplating going back to photography; workshops (encouraged by the interest expressed by some forum members), art fairs, e-books perhaps... Scary, but will see.


Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: PeterAit on March 03, 2013, 07:13:43 PM
I am ex-faculty at Duke University Medical Center and am currently partner with my wife in a small pharmaceutical consulting company. Yep, when you buy your next prescription you may be helping me pay for paper and ink!
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: HSakols on March 03, 2013, 10:19:23 PM
Slobodan,
You're obviously a talented photographer.  At least you have some business sense which many of us lack. What was it like working for Kodak in Russia? My wife is Latvian and does not like my idea of taking the Siberian Express to Kamchacta (sp?). 
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on March 03, 2013, 11:57:08 PM
... What was it like working for Kodak in Russia?...

I said that my hobby and my career "kind of" intersected while at Kodak. The thing is, I think i was the only photographer among the people I met there (which includes some senior managers from Rochester, not just local employees). Sure Kodak had its research team, chemists, color scientists, etc., but the majority of the organization was predominantly sales and marketing, for better or worse. Never got the impression that they understood photography and photographers, or that they cared. I told my general manager, an American pretty close to the top guys in Rochester, that in my opinion film will be dead in about five years (the year was 1999), he just laughed me off. Coincidentally, I shot my last film in 2004. I was always thinking that, had they had a better feel for photography and photographers, they would have seen what I saw: how powerful the digital revolution is. The irony is, Kodak was one of the digital pioneers at the same time.

As for Kamchatka, that could be fun, although I also understand your wife's concerns. The infrastructure is certainly not as comfortable and organized as in US national parks.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: RobbieV on March 04, 2013, 01:18:37 PM
Great thread and highlights the reasons I'm at this forum and have left almost all of the other photo forums on the web.

Graduated from College with an honours in advertising and communications media. Went to university and graduated with honours in Communications: Media, Culture and Society. Would like to go back and continue with my masters in Digital Humanities, but that will have to wait for now I guess.

During school, I worked for a certain Scandinavian furniture company. As I progressed through school, avenues opened and I began to assist in Press Relations, Marketing and Graphic Design. I eventually became the Graphic Specialist at the store level, and am now on a contract at the national level for communication. Hopefully I can make something of myself.

I got into photography about 3 years ago. Possibly a little longer. Since then I've been an avid researcher of the hobby, interested in the technical and creative side. I find my work often feeds into my hobby now, and vice versa.

It feels great to be a part of this little forum. The density of knowledge and direct and constructive environment created on here, as well as all of MR's writings have become the biggest influence on the direction and personal philosophies I have and hold with photography.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Tony Jay on March 05, 2013, 06:32:52 AM
Another fascinating insight Robbie.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Petrus on March 05, 2013, 08:07:46 AM
Started to study engineering after the army, but slipped into photography and then art school for a while. That is, until I landed a job in a major newspaper in -78. Freelance (magazines mostly) until -85, then staff photographer in a major (the only one in Scandinavia actually) news magazine. Working 70% part time now, 5 years to go...  Mostly reportage, location portraits, some news. Some studio portraits also, but no food or fashion, we have 17 guys and girls who are better than me in that. Having an IT consultant wife helps with the travel hobby, but fortunately the main photography kit (Nikon) is provided by the publishing company, I just need to buy the Fuji X-series to play with...

Another hobby is recording classical (student) concerts, I have a good kit for that also (Prism, Sennheiser, DPA, Gefell, Soundfield, Sound Devices etc.), our family production company (= me ) has also produced one Organ CD and two TV travel documentaries. Losing money on that side, but at least some gear can deducted in taxes.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Peter McLennan on March 05, 2013, 08:17:37 PM
I have seen an extraordinary run of good luck. 

In the middle 70s, I replied to a want ad in the newspaper.  Unaccountably, it said "Young, dedicated man wanted to learn the film business". I'm not making this up.  Against pretty stiff competition, I got the gig on the basis of a few still prints from my home darkroom and my neat printing on my application letter.  "Your printing says that you're methodical", I remember him saying. "Above all, for this job I need someone methodical."

He worked at a full services production house in Vancouver.  It had about fifty full-time employees and was a perfect place for a "young, dedicated man to learn the film business". They had the equipment to do it all, from script to mix. A big sound stage stocked with lighting and grip equipment, a mixing theatre, edit rooms and an incredibly well-endowed camera department.  A few days later, he opened an impressive silver case and gave me my first in-person look at a movie camera. An Arri IIC.

He was a Director/Cameraman - arguably the best job in the world. ("Everybody wants to direct", right?) My job was to assist him.  To do that, I needed to learn how to be a Director/Cameraman, too.  So I did.  For about seven years we traveled the world, over fifty countries, shooting sales films, corporate docs, television commercials, TV series, you name it. Eventually, I was given whole films to direct and shoot. Then, the parent company closed the operation and I became a freelancer.

Not soon after, Hollywood discovered that Vancouver was an excellent place to make movies, and since I'd lived there all my life, I was ready and waiting.  I specialized in Second Unit work.  Small crews, less politics, more fun.  Lots of helicopter aerials, for which both the fun rate the day rate are very satisfying.

Nearly four decades later, I'm long since retired and I love photography as much as I did in my basement darkroom back in the seventies.  I have a D800, an Epson 4800 and a 9800 and my favourite thing is seeing my prints on my friends' walls.

I'm leaving British Columbia next week, driving alone to the deserts of the American Southwest for a month of photography adventures.

My extraordinary run of good luck continues. 
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: tim wolcott on March 05, 2013, 10:38:42 PM
Yes I make my living selling my fine art photographs.  All Landscapes and have never wanted to shoot anything else.  I did in the very beginning work for some great photographers like Bruce Weber, Atkinson and also designing the pigment printing process and later inkjet.  Made a little money working with the inkjet community but made made at least 90-95% of my money making my photographs and selling them in galleries. 

NOthing is more fun than shooting and producing the first print.  I did enjoy designing and inventing the inkjet pigment process but only because it allowed me to print the way I wanted too.  Tim Wolcott
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rob C on March 06, 2013, 04:53:08 AM
I have seen an extraordinary run of good luck.  I'm leaving British Columbia next week, driving alone to the deserts of the American Southwest for a month of photography adventures.

My extraordinary run of good luck continues. 


You are not kidding! Long may it continue.

Rob C
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rand47 on March 07, 2013, 07:00:46 PM
Fun and informative thread.  It is nice to get a sense of folk here.  Let me start by reiterating how much I've learned from you all, and how nice it is to gain a sense of your life-journey in and outside of photography.

My folks bought me a little Ansco 120 box camera when I was 10.  (That was 56 years ago!)  I immediately became "the family photographer," an appelation with which I was enamoured.  :-)  That was the beginning.  I went on to take lots of photos over the years in my 'yout' and then, in high school, take on the role of school newspaper and yearbook photographer where I first got to get my fingers wet in the school's darkroom and learned about developing and enlarging my own work.  When I went into the Army as a volunteer during the Vietnam era, I became by default, my Combat Engineer Battalion's recon photographer.  That was interesting.  Field work, darkroom set up in a GP medium tent, only did darkroom work at night since it was too hot in there to work during the daytime.  I had to learn on the fly to calculate development times when my chemicals could only be cooled to about 90F.  I developed a sort of "reverse zone system" to compensate.  LOL  Recon missions were fun.  I eventually dumped the Speed Graphic provided by Uncle Sam in favor of a Nikonos that I bought w/ my own money at an Air Force BX.  That sucker was immune to the dust, mud, muck, rain, rice paddies, small arms fire, etc.

After Vietnam I taught basic B&W photography at the Post Craft Shop at Ft. Lewis, WA, and managed the darkroom there for a couple of years, as a side-job.  When I got out of the military I applied and was admitted to Brooks, but didn't go due to financial constraints.  Instead I sought a career in the Fire Service in California.  Over the years I rose throught the ranks and became Fire Chief/CEO of one the Los Angeles area fire departments.  I received a PhD from the University of Hard Knocks during my career due to some unusual circumstances and opportunities in helping to represent and manage the city I worked for.  All the while retaining my interest in, and doing some photography as time allowed.

When I retired, I had the privilege of pursuing my avocation in a serioius way, and as luck would have it I bought a Bronica ETRSi kit (pretty extensive) just before the dawn of digital.  Fortunately, I saw the writing on the wall early on (after reading one of Michael's early articles on "is digital as good as film" in the Canon 10D era), sold the Bronica kit before it was completely without value, and bought a little Olympus 3."somthing" mp ditial camera, then an Olympus E10, and took classes at a local art insitute in "Photoshop."

The rest, as they say, is geography.  I now have a thriving consulting business in mentoring future senior fire service leaders, and helping fire departments with leadership and organizational development.  I basically flunked "Retirement 101" but that has enabled me to afford a really nice digital darkroom w/ a couple of printers, a really nice computer and monitor, and some good FF and APS-C digital cameras and lenses.  I shoot 99% for my own pleasure, make prints for friends, neighbors, and other photographers.  I find the pursuit of a really fine print as rewarding as the image capturing process iteself.  I'm completely self-taught (well, taught by Michael & Jeff really when it comes to digital) and had a "highlight" moment last year when I attended a session or two at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.  I noticed a guy at the Epson Vendor Booth who was talking to people, taking their files and making prints for them while tutoring them on file optimization for printing.  Interesting.  They had a table with various prints made on the different Epson offerings, paper-wise.  I noticed that they didn't have an example of Hot Press Natural on the table, so I went out to my car and brought in a print I had just made on that paper and gave it to "the guy" saying that if he'd like, he could just throw it on the table as an example.  The guy looked my print over pretty carefully, then told me it was a "really nice print" and put it on the table.  I came back at the end of the day to fetch my print and "the guy" reiterated what a fine print it was and that he'd had a lot of comments from people on it.  "The guy" (I'm so dumb I didn't even know who he was - had I known I'd never have dreamed to foist one of my prints off on him) turned out to be R. Mac Holbert!  Holy cow.  I think when I found out who he was and that "he liked my print" it made my year.  Perhaps decade.  (I suspect Jeff is getting a kick out of this anecdote.)

As I said, I'm pretty much self-taught all along the way, and deeply appreciate LULA and all of you for your knowldge.  I learned early on what a "good print looked like" from going to see exibitions of folk like Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, W. Eugene Smith, Edward Weston, Joseph Karsh and others.  I still go to the galleries in Carmel evey chance I get to absorb and learn by observation.

I'm not all that prolific.  I don't care to be.  I'm always in pursuit of an idea that is never fully realized on paper.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Gordon Buck on March 07, 2013, 08:39:24 PM
What an interesting thread! 

I’m simply a mechanical engineer whose hobby is photography.   In fact, my wife once said “You’re not really a photographer, you just like cameras!”.  I objected to her observation but it contains a lot of truth.  I do like cameras but am making a serious study of photography and digital processing techniques.  Luminous Landscape, its forums and comments from many of you have been most helpful.

Many thanks!

Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Petrus on March 08, 2013, 12:09:43 AM
in high school, take on the role of school newspaper and yearbook photographer where I first got to get my fingers wet in the school's darkroom and learned about developing and enlarging my own work.

 Over the years I rose throught the ranks and became Fire Chief/CEO of one the Los Angeles area fire departments.

Good story, I also photographed for my High School yearbook in Santa Paula, where I was an YFU exchange student in early seventies. It IS possible to shoot usable football pictures at night games with fixed 45mm lens camera and Tri-X pushed to 1600 ASA...  Anyways, I wonder if you ever met my American dad Walt Walker, who worked as a fire captain at the Malibu fire station up on the hills, of course already retired a long time ago. Would be a funny coincidence.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on March 08, 2013, 12:29:56 AM
Hi,

I'm working a school there we train nuclear power plant operators, and I'm maintaining some of our models. My background is in engineering.

So, photography is a hobby for me, had a camera since I was 10. I am much interested in how things work, but I also shoot images.

Started shooting, film, progressed to MF film around 1990. Converted from darkroom to lightroom using scanners around 1998 and went fully digital around 2004.

I'm decidedly non commercial, just shooting for pleasure and satisfaction of ego.

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: LoisWakeman on March 08, 2013, 08:08:36 AM
I am a technical writer specialising in software and pharmaceutical process documentation; the parish clerk for my village in Devon; a web site designer and copywriter for local small businesses; and a very part-time photographer and potter. I do sell a bit of my craft, but although it covers my equipment and material costs with a bit over, isn't really a way to make a living!

I've been mostly self-employed since about 1982, though the clerk's job is "proper" employment.

I'd like to reverse the order of work work and fun work - but with many UK personal pensions being worth diddly squat, cannot see myself retiring any time soon, sadly!
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rand47 on March 08, 2013, 09:02:35 AM
Quote
I wonder if you ever met my American dad Walt Walker

We never met, but I know the name!  Chances are good we've worked the same campaign fires in the Malibu at some point.

Rand
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: Rob C on March 08, 2013, 01:56:17 PM
I am a technical writer specialising in software and pharmaceutical process documentation; the parish clerk for my village in Devon; a web site designer and copywriter for local small businesses; and a very part-time photographer and potter. I do sell a bit of my craft, but although it covers my equipment and material costs with a bit over, isn't really a way to make a living!

I've been mostly self-employed since about 1982, though the clerk's job is "proper" employment.

I'd like to reverse the order of work work and fun work - but with many UK personal pensions being worth diddly squat, cannot see myself retiring any time soon, sadly!


That's a beautful picture, Lois. It reminds me of a couple that David Hamilton did in an alcove in his Ramatuelle home (AFAIK), but he didn't do them as pleasingly.

He did do some excllent shots of Venice, though, just in case anyone thought him limited to too young girls. And beautiful straw hats.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: niznai on March 17, 2013, 03:29:43 AM
I smash the landscape others come to take pictures of.

Before and after.

Get paid well to do it, so it works for me. Pretty satisfying too especially when in anger.
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: HSakols on March 17, 2013, 08:52:02 PM
Do you have any visuals ? I've smashed the landscape.   http://vimeo.com/18242035
Title: Re: How do you earn a living?
Post by: niznai on March 20, 2013, 03:38:20 AM
Do you have any visuals ? I've smashed the landscape.   http://vimeo.com/18242035

Oh, plenty. Not my work, but you get the idea:

https://www.google.com/search?q=open+pit&hl=en&rlz=1C1GGGE_enAU427AU428&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=qmVJUcebLeqZiQenj4DwDg&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1109&bih=512

These would be the "after" shots.