No Such Thing In Photography As Going Pro
If there is one thing I wish for you to learn from this photography article, it is that there is no such thing as “Going Pro.” Serious photography is art. When considered properly, it can provide a lifetime of happiness and artistic expression.
The nothing of “Going Pro” is a myth, and if you want lifelong satisfaction out of photography, it is important you dispense with the notion.
I know many people who produce top quality art in their spare time while pursuing income in other fields. I know a number of other people who do earn a modest living in photography, while supporting it with work in other fields.
Once you are out of college and paying your own bills, you indeed are “Going Pro.” But you may be in sales, or an engineer, or any number of fields in the modern economy.
Are people capable of deriving their entire income from photography? Of course there are. Consider professional sports. In any given year, there are barely 350, NBA basketball players, 800 MLB baseball players, and 1,500 NFL football players. Millions of athletes play all of those sports.
Ansel Adams, considered the giant of our field, relied on grants and commercial jobs. Many of the great artists in history were poor or relied on the largesse of other people to continue their pursuits. Van Gogh died penniless. Emily Dickinson wasn’t even “discovered” until she passed away. William Carlos Williams had a day job as a pediatrician and general doctor!
What you need to remember is that art is truly important to your life, and making a living is the means to allow you to pursue it. Worrying and making these separate endeavors a single pursuit is going to set you up for failure, even if you are a truly hard worker with amazing photographic vision.
Make your living, just like millions of us. Pursue your art, just like thousands of us. Find a side job or two, and if you find you are just too busy with those side jobs, then perhaps you can be one of the few to make a living with it.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.