“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”
Ansel Adams, Photographer
Pros and Cons of Working as a Photographer
You think about becoming a photographer? Great! Working as a photographer can have many advantages.
Yet, there are also some downsides related to this career path.
Hence, make sure to check out all the pros and cons of being a photographer in this article before making your final decision in this regard.
Photographer Job Profile
|Job Description||Photographers are responsible for taking nice photos for their clients. They also have to edit pictures to make them look even better. Photographers also have to take care of their equipment and have to communicate with clients.|
|Salary||$65,000 per year on average, most photographers make between $45,000 – $85,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Average job security, while good photographers will always be needed, mediocre photographers may have a hard time finding jobs.|
|Job Satisfaction||Good if photography is your passion.|
|Work-Life Balance||Rather poor work-life balance for photographers since they often have to work on weekends and holidays.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Neither mentally nor physically demanding most of the time.|
|Future Outlook||Rather poor since photographers who are not willing to adapt to the digital world will not be able to stay competitive in the future.|
|Requirements||No special educational requirements, finishing high school will be enough to become a photographer in most states.|
Advantages of Being a Photographer
- Photographers can work on many different occasions
- You can work with people
- You may be able to travel the world
- Photographers can build a strong network
- You can improve your skills on a daily basis
- You can share your ideas on social media
- Modern technologies make it easy to become a good photographer
- You don’t need a fancy degree for becoming a photographer
- Photographers can make people happy
- Working as a photographer can be a nice side hustle
- Photographers can work indoors most of the time
- You can earn decent money
- Good photographers will always be needed
- You can work self-employed
- You don’t have to sit in front of a computer all day long
- Photographers can follow their passion
Photographers can work on many different occasions
One advantage of being a photographer is that you can work on many different occasions.
People need photographers for many different events, including birthday parties, weddings, baptisms and so on.
This not only means that your job as a photographer will be pretty interesting since you will see many new things on a regular basis, it also means that you will have plenty of opportunities to earn money and acquiring new jobs will not be that difficult if you are good at what you are doing and are also willing to adapt to the latest technologies.
You can work with people
As a photographer, you can also work with many different people.
Since you will always have to carry out new jobs, you will meet more people in a year than people who work in most other jobs.
This can not only pretty interesting, but it also gives you the opportunity to connect to those people and you may even make many new friends during your photographer journey.
You may be able to travel the world
Another benefit of becoming a photographer is that you may even be able to travel the world.
There are indeed some photographers out there who have started a blog and travel the world while making money with the beautiful pictures of sceneries they are able to see during their journey.
Of course, not every photographer will be able to make a full-time income from this business model.
Yet, if you are really good at what you are doing and also willing to invest some time to acquire knowledge in the digital world, you may be able to build all the skills you need pretty soon and may be able to travel the world while making decent money at the same time as a photographer.
Photographers can build a strong network
Since you will meet so many new people from your jobs as a photographer, you can also build a really strong network of interesting people over time.
Especially if you are rather extroverted and also know what drives people, you can make many new contacts in a rather short period of time and these contacts will be pretty valuable since they will often recommend you to their family and friends and this just means many additional job opportunities for you.
Apart from that, your contacts may also be able to help you out in case you want to switch to a different job after your photographer career and knowing influential people always helps quite a lot in this regard.
You can improve your skills on a daily basis
You will also always be able to improve your skills as a photographer.
Even the best photographers are just not perfect and always find ways how they can do their jobs just a little bit better.
This means that you will never master your skill and if you are curious and willing to work hard on yourself, you can soon become a pillar in your industry and may even become famous as a photographer one day in the future.
You can share your ideas on social media
Another upside to working as a photographer is that you can share your ideas and pictures on various social media channels.
In fact, it has never been easier to share your work than today since you can do so for free on Pinterest or on various other social channels.
You can also join forums and discuss your work there.
However, keep in mind that you should ask your clients for consent to share your pictures on those channels first to avoid any legal consequences.
Modern technologies make it easy to become a good photographer
There are also many good training videos regarding how to become a good photographer on YouTube.
You can just sit down in front of your computer and watch one video a day to become much better over time.
The nice thing about this learning approach is that you can still make money as a photographer as usual while you are flexible regarding when to watch your daily video.
Those videos are often also of pretty good quality and there is barely any need to buy a course in this field anymore.
You don’t need a fancy degree for becoming a photographer
You also don’t need to go to college for becoming a photographer.
In fact, there is no formal education required in most states and as long as you finish high school, you should be good to work in this profession.
What is much more important than education is contacts in this field and you may have to build some reputation first before you get really good job offers as a photographer.
Hence, you might do some jobs for free for your family and friends and get some good reviews and recommendations that way.
Photographers can make people happy
You will also have a pretty high level of responsibility as a photographer.
People will rely on you that you do your job as well as possible so that they get nice pictures from the most important days of their lives.
While this might imply some pressure, it also gives you the opportunity to feel important and this may really drive you to become better in the long run.
Working as a photographer can be a nice side hustle
You also don’t necessarily have to work full-time as a photographer.
In fact, many photographers only work part-time during their studies to make some money and there are even some retired photographers who still want to work as photographers since they simply really enjoy it and don’t want to retire anyway.
As you can see, you will have many different options regarding how serious you want to take your photographer career and you may also start your photography business as a side hustle and turn it into a full-time business later on in the future.
Photographers can work indoors most of the time
Another advantage of working as a photographer is that you can work indoors in protected environments most of the time while many other people have to work under extreme weather conditions outdoors.
Hence, while many people have to sweat or suffer from the cold, you can work in a rather comfortable environment.
You can earn decent money
Photographers can also make really good money from what they are doing.
In fact, if you are really good at photography, you will often be able to make a decent living out of it and may even be able to afford some luxury.
Sure, you will not get rich.
Yet, some photographers are still able to make a six-figure income.
You can even increase your salary by starting a blog or a YouTube channel to make additional money.
Thus, if you are really committed to photography and are willing to work many extra hours, chances are that you will be able to make a good income from what you are doing sooner or later.
Good photographers will always be needed
If you are really good at what you are doing and are willing to improve your skills every day, chances are that you will just get more than enough jobs.
Good photographers are always requested since there are so many events you need them.
Sure, if you are not good at what you are doing at all, you will have a pretty hard time acquiring new jobs.
Therefore, it is pretty important that you are willing to improve yourself on a continuous basis to outwork the competition and to stay successful in the long run.
You can work self-employed
Many photographers also don’t work for a company but rather work self-employed.
While this implies some additional work and also a higher level of insecurity, it also gives you much more freedom since you will simply no longer have a boss and can do what you want all day long.
Whether starting your own photographer business is for you or not greatly depends on your skill set and your individual preferences.
Yet, I just want you to know that working as a photographer can also be a great way to escape the 9 to 5 rat race.
You don’t have to sit in front of a computer all day long
As a photographer, you also don’t have to sit in front of a computer screen all day long.
Sure, you will have to work with a computer for a certain period of time to improve the looks of your pictures and to communicate with clients.
Yet, you will spend much more time away from a computer screen compared to people who work in normal office jobs.
Photographers can follow their passion
Many photographers are also not in the game solely for the money, but since they really love what they are doing.
In fact, for many photographers, their work actually doesn’t feel like work at all.
It just feels like doing their hobby while making money at the same time and this can be considered as the best way to work possible since you will simply able to really enjoy what you are doing for a living.
Until now, it might seem that working as a photographer is indeed a dream job.
However, I still have to show you all the downsides to a career as a photographer which I do in the following chapters so that you get a more objective picture of what working as a photographer really looks like.
Disadvantages of Being a Photographer
- Being a photographer requires an initial upfront investment
- You have to replace expensive equipment
- You have to build your reputation first
- Photographers may have difficulties finding jobs
- Rather poor job security
- Your clients may not pay you
- Photographers have rather low social status
- Questionable work-life balance
- Few mistakes may destroy your reputation
- Some people you have to work with are just difficult
- Plenty of additional tasks as self-employed photographer
- Photographers have to adapt to latest technologies
- Working as a photographer may become boring in the long run
- Photographers have a hard time switching fields
Being a photographer requires an initial upfront investment
One problem with being a photographer is that it just requires a substantial initial investment.
You will have to buy all the equipment, which includes cameras, lenses and some other accessories which can be pretty expensive and can easily add up to several thousands of dollars.
Thus, make sure that you are willing to spend these amounts of money on your photographer career and that you are also able to raise this money somehow before deciding for becoming a photographer.
You have to replace expensive equipment
Not only will you have to buy expensive equipment in the beginning, but you will also have to replace broken equipment sooner or later.
Thus, while you might think that you earn pretty decent money as a photographer, you will also have significant expenses in the long run and you should factor all this in when it comes to calculating your true hourly wage which is often far lower than initially expected by most newbies.
Photographers have to adapt to latest technologies
Our world is always moving and technologies continue to change and improve with rapid speed.
While this can be great for you since it can make your job just much easier, you also have to be willing to ride the technology wave.
For instance, I know many people who just don’t want to deal with all this technological stuff and rather want to rely on old-school methods.
The problem with this is that those people will just become obsolete in the near future.
Hence, make sure that you are also willing to invest some time and money in your digital education as a photographer so that you are able to stay up-to-date and can offer your clients the best service possible to get a long-term edge over your competition.
You have to build your reputation first
Another downside to working as a photographer is that you have to build your reputation first before making really good money.
In fact, many young photographers have to work for a pretty low wage in the beginning and some of them even work for free to get good reviews and to build their brand.
Consequently, don’t expect that you get all the good deals right from the beginning.
There will be plenty of extra work to do in your first years and you should be willing to work hard to become a real pillar in your industry.
Photographers may have difficulties finding jobs
While excellent photographers who understand their craft and who also know how to build a digital brand will get more than enough jobs in the future, mediocre photographers who also don’t care about brand-building at all will have a much more difficult time in the future.
If you are not willing to invest the time and money to become really good at photography, chances are that you will just fail sooner or later since competition is fierce and only the best will survive in the long run.
Rather poor job security
If you work as a self-employed photographer, you will also have rather low job security.
Clients may just cancel jobs without prior notice or you will just no longer get booked anymore.
In general, you will always have to compete with other photographers and you have to offer better service to your clients to stay in the game.
This can be mentally demanding and many photographers are not able to handle this pressure, especially in case they have a family to feed and don’t know whether they will be able to do so or not just a few months in the future.
Your clients may not pay you
Even if you do a great job and everyone had been happy with your work, some clients may still not pay you.
It’s just the nature of the game and you may just have to sue them to get your money.
This can be quite annoying since it requires some extra work and it may also lead to some additional bad reviews.
Photographers have rather low social status
Another disadvantage of being a photographer is that you will also have a rather low social status.
While people will be really grateful if you do a good job, you will still not be as appreciated and admired as people who can save lives during work.
Some photographers even get belittled and you should just make sure that you are able to deal with this stigma.
Questionable work-life balance
While some photographers report a pretty good work-life balance and are happy with the level of leisure they have, many others complain about it since they often have to work on holidays and weekends and barely have any time to spend with their family or on their hobbies.
Thus, make sure that you are also willing to work during those rather exotic times before deciding for a career as a photographer.
Few mistakes may destroy your reputation
Our world has become pretty connected and small with the invention of the internet.
In our nowadays state of the world, everyone can write bad reviews and if you make mistakes, chances are that they will end up on the internet where potential clients can read them and this may destroy your overall reputation in the industry.
In turn, you may get fewer jobs and may even have to give up your photography career due to that.
Some people you have to work with are just difficult
While many people will appreciate your work, others will just be difficult and some clients will find always something to complain about.
There are people out there who just can’t be happy and dealing with those negative people can really be annoying and exhausting.
Plenty of additional tasks as self-employed photographer
You should also not underestimate the additional tasks that you have to carry out apart from the actual photographer work.
If you work as self-employed photographer, you also have to declare your taxes, care about new rules and regulations, prepare invoices and so on.
This implies plenty of paperwork and you should really make sure that you are willing to do all of this before deciding for working as a photographer.
Working as a photographer may become boring in the long run
While being a photographer is just a passion for many people out there, some people get bored with working as a photographer sooner or later and some of them even quit their jobs since they are simply just no longer interested in what they are doing.
Photographers have a hard time switching fields
You may also have a pretty hard time finding a different job as a photographer.
Since photographers often work in a rather narrow field, they will just not have the skills to work in a completely different field and you should make sure that photography is really what you want to do for a pretty long time to avoid any unpleasant surprises in this regard in the future.
Top 10 Being a Photographer Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Photographer Pros||Being a Photographer Cons|
|Photography can be a real passion||Some photographers don’t make a living|
|Many photographers enjoy their work||Rather poor job security|
|Photographers can make decent money||Photographers always have to improve|
|Being a photographer can be exciting||You need to learn digital skills|
|You can work on many different occasions||Photographers need expensive equipment|
|Photographers can travel the world||Mistakes may ruin your reputation|
|You can work indoors most of the time||Some clients are just difficult|
|You can share your ideas on social media||Rather questionable work-life balance|
|Plenty of free photography courses||Photographers have low social status|
|Photographers can build a strong network||Being a photographer may get boring|
Should You Become A Photographer?
I hope this article helped you quite a lot when it comes to the decision whether you still want to become a photographer or not.
Make sure to take your time and to evaluate all the advantages and disadvantages of being a photographer in this article so that you make the right choice and get really happy in the future.
Also make sure to check out the following articles:
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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