Tuesday, April 12, 2011

photography and me- investment & debt {part 2}

Part one here and more to come in the future.  One thing people just do not realize when they delve into the photography world is just how much of an investment it is.  You think- "all I need is a camera!"
Right?!
NO.
Couldn't be FARTHER from the truth!!!!!!

Although.... all photographers start somewhere.  There was me- editing on picnik (don't do that) and using my rebel xs & kit lens (the cheapest slr available) getting paid $50 for a shoot.  I felt then that that was charging TOO much.  "My poor clients."  Right?  Wrong AGAIN!  No, I wasn't awesome my first several months... but whatever you do, realize they aren't just paying for the outcome.  They are paying for your TIME!  And that is just as valuable.  I had to keep in mind I was spending 10+ hours on each shoot- just trying to figure it all out!  I was online forever trying to find photographers with a style I wanted to emulate- I was researching the best lenses and cameras, and programs.  For starting out it was a great camera, and picnik isn't awful either... but I knew where I WANTED to be meant I had to start spending some dinero.
(I did do free shoots in the very beginning for experience though- I recommend that- stick with friends and family though so people don't take advantage of you down the road... it happens.)
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Random note:  Better equiptment doesn't make you a better photographer in the creativity or editing department but your base image will just be better quality.

6 months after getting my first dslr, I upgraded.  I bought three lenses and lots of other accessories too.

...and out thousands of dollars.  BAM.

Then I realized I couldn't edit pictures forever on my crappy laptop.  I needed a desktop computer and I needed one NOW.

...I got a Mac... thousand plus dollars later, yet again. BAM.

Then... there's programs, actions, and other such editing tools I needed.

...hundreds of dollars more.  (what the heck, no one told me this;)
Then of course..
*external hard drives
*flashes,
*CF cards
*reflectors,
*filters,
*battery pack,
*lens hoods,
*camera bag,
*props,
*gas (to and from locations),
*disks,
*postage,
*envelopes,
*business cards,
*ink,
*website
*trips to and from the post office (with kids who don't stay with you and take off out the door),
*classes/workshops (i took a couple at MCC), the list goes ON AND ON...
oh yes.  All those things that cost time and money.  I still don't have all that yet (thank you endless cash flow... oh, wait.)
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As far as programs are concerned...
Photoshop.  Get it, love it.  You need it. That's all I'm going to say though (sorry my technique is top secret, if I told you exactly what I used to edit my pictures I'd be devaluing them!)  SO that's another thing I learned being a photographer.  Once you create a style you like, and have spent COUNTLESS hours & pennies acquiring your skill, don't just give out your knowledge.  (Why do you think teachers get PAID.   Photographers do workshops and charge for that very reason.  They worked hard to get to that point!!!)  It's OK to not give your secrets away.
Anyway.

Did I get into debt when I started?!  Yes!  It's been less than a year and a half since I started and it took me about a year to get in the positives.  As in, the money I was making from my shoots finally added up to what I had already spent towards photography & honing my skill.

Oh but don't worry, even though I have a pretty chunk of change saved up now that my camera and stuff is paid off, I'm getting ONE- count it- ONE lens and I'll be back to ZERO in my bank account.  This is why Connie B Photography has her own bank account... there's too much to remember and too much to pay for.  Most lenses that are worth your money cost more than your camera body.  Not that camera bodies are cheap, oh no.... and OH you also need a back up camera!  (lol).  In a photography business you kinda have to "keep up with the joneses" so to speak.  If that photographer has THIS well you GOTTA HAVE IT to be as good, amiright?
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Anyway bottom line, photography is both a pricey AND time consuming hobby/investment/business.  Even though it can be stressful not to "have everything I need/want", I love it.  I'm glad I made the decision to do it (even though I had no idea what I was getting into).  I think for me the reason why I rolled with those crazy (pricey) punches is because I have the drive behind the interest in photography.  Not only did I think it looked fun but I was GOING to do this.  It's been a dream & a passion for a while- I was ready to make it a reality.

25 lovely comments:

Leticia said... Reply To This Comment

I'm so glad you posted this! I've been contemplating doing photography for a while now but wasn't sure what I was getting into.
Now I feel better prepared, atleast a little. ;) It's almost as if destiny jumped in and had you post this just for little ole' me! haha.

Stephanie {Luxe Boulevard} said... Reply To This Comment

This is awesome. So glad for you, Connie. I have GIMP on my computer and I have no idea how to use it. I know it does amazing things. Patrick used it to edit the book cover you photographed for me. After all was said and done I just couldn't believe it all it did. I've been trying to take my new camera and use different settings bedsides AUTO. Trying my hardest to say no to AUTO!

Gertrude said... Reply To This Comment

These pictures are amazing! Seems like money is always the problem huh? Though at the end they are all worth it :)

Dana said... Reply To This Comment

Amen sista! Aint it the truth! I have to have it all and it's just a hobbie! Luckily I got Lightroom/Photoshop CS5 FREE! Love a deal!

Jamie said... Reply To This Comment

Who you telling and I just play around. Between that and makeup, I break myself.

Lissa Chandler said... Reply To This Comment

agreed on all counts! photography is time consuming, expensive and difficult but when you love it... you just kinda suck it up and do it. good luck getting established in kentucky!

Piril Maria said... Reply To This Comment

You take amazing photos. So you should be happy!




♥ Love,
http://thebookness.blogspot.com

Natalie said... Reply To This Comment

I love this post and I agree times 9284 to everything you said! We've had this chit-chat many times. I love you so much! You're beautiful..these shots ROCK!

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Venassa said... Reply To This Comment

I love this post. I love the honesty.
I kind of feel like I am where you were when you were first getting into it. I know I want to do this but it is SO HARD.
I got my first (super cheap) DSLR over a year ago, my first non-kit lens exactly a year after that. The financial part is the part that hurts the most. I need to get to the place where I can make at least a little bit off this hobby before I can upgrade much more.

As for your bitter commenter.. did they rather you go on about how awesome photography is, and everyone should do it, skipping over any of the downfalls of it? I love that you're sharing with us the real truth.

good+hardy said... Reply To This Comment

I love this series you are doing. Very insightful. As a lover of photography I can appreciate the honestly and relate to the frustrations. And, can I just say that I sort of wish I had been able to read the bitter comment so I could disagree wholeheartedly! There is nothing wrong with being open about the ups and the downs. Whatever was said I am positive it was silliness. ;)

Megan said... Reply To This Comment

I've always wanted to be a better photographer. Mostly just to take great pictures of my kids. Thanks for keeping it real and letting me know it DOESN'T happen overnight! It seems like so many people are these amazing photographers, and it made me think, man, it can't be THAT hard, but apparently it is! Thanks for the info! If you ever taught a seminar, I'd for sure go, I totally admire your work!!!

Laura said... Reply To This Comment

You probably deleted the negative comment cause you didn't want to talk about it anymore, but I have to say that I was grateful to see some of the 'real' aspects of photography. Even though I don't have a desire to get into it, it all seemed so sugar coated to me in the past. Also...the comment about "everyone who cooks is a chef, etc" was baloney. It totally invalidated anyone who goes to school to get any kind of diploma, degree, certificate, etc. Titles should mean something. You wouldn't call yourself a dentist just for brushing your kids teeth...;)

Ps. all of your posts are very well written. You're a great blogger...

U U N A said... Reply To This Comment

well holy smokes! i wont be starting this hobby in a while now hah. i'm very content with my second hand camera and 14 dollar program haha

Connie said... Reply To This Comment

laura- thank you! But no I didn't delete my comments until she deleted hers. I didn't want to look like I was talking to myself haha.

Yes Megan! That is the key thing to keep in mind. It doesn't happen overnight! That was one of the things that frustrated me the most- because I was impatient and wished I could be better than I was. I didn't know how long it would take to get to a point where I was secure in my work. It is possible for anyone to overcome challenges when attempting a photography career but it does take TIME!

oh U U N A don't say that! As a hobby it is very doable. It is still pricey (to me anyway- with a $400 dslr and $100 lens) that was hobby stage. (Again, for me though). I guess I should've put more emphasis on business. In a photography BUSINESS this is what you can expect. And I'm sure not everyone will feel the same but this was my experience!

Connie said... Reply To This Comment

Venassa, Jess, really everyone, thank you for your comments!!

mandyface said... Reply To This Comment

Thank you for posting your experience and advice!! It is SUPER helpful!

Lauren said... Reply To This Comment

Oh no.. a hater! I'm sorry. You are a babe and your photography is awesome. Crazy how much photo equipment costs. With everything in Japan... yikes! We won't be buying new lens or anything for a loooong time.

Erica Ann said... Reply To This Comment

Good advice, all of it. I do have one question though, if you don't mind sharing. What mode do you shoot in? In class (good ol' Takara :) we learn to use our light meter but I don't know of a time when I've ever had my picture taken and they're fiddling with the light meter before each shot. I'm trying to figure out what modes work best to shoot which subjects...does that make sense?

Ailinh said... Reply To This Comment

This is such an awesome post! It's so neat to get a glimpse of how far you've come with taking photos for people. Very wonderful advice. And girl, that's why you're so freaking goooood!

Bridget said... Reply To This Comment

this is a great post-- i want to get more into it but yeah, i feel like i am not ready to make the financial investment FIRST. can't some do-gooder "sponsor" my dreams of becoming a photographer? like oprah?

style'n said... Reply To This Comment

AMAZING POST! I just started getting into photography...well about a year ago when I started my blog! And I feel like it's a journey and I am still figuring things out. But you are right...it's a big time and money investment. I am so happy that I can just use my camera in manual mode and I have learned not to use flash. Next up more lenses and per your recommendation I think Photoshop! I love these pictures here. And if you have a workshop I would definitely attend.