Everyone who loves to take pictures has a different definition of what working as a photographer may be.
Regardless of your intent to pursue photography as a career, you must understand what you are getting yourself into before you decide on this as a profession.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Photographer
- Cons of Being a Photographer
- Pros and Cons of Being a Photographer – Summary Table
- Should You Become a Photographer?
Pros of Being a Photographer
1. Set Your Work Hours
Not all photographers have their own business.
Some of them work for a media or public relations company.
Others might find a corporate photography position.
However, if you become a self-employed, freelance photographer, you can work when you want for as few or as many hours as you want if you provide quality pictures.
2. Get Paid to Travel
Sometimes, you can get paid to travel when taking pictures, which would afford you to explore areas in the world you have always wanted to see but could not.
If you are willing to provide content for someone else’s blog, you also might have travel expenses paid just because you took pictures for them.
Otherwise, you might receive compensation plus room and board paid for when you take pictures for a media company.
You might even receive reimbursement for travel expenses.
3. Variety Keeps It Interesting
It depends on what kind of photography role you have.
However, you may not have to always take the same picture twice in the same setting.
One day you could photograph an engaged or married couple, and the next day you could take continuous shots of a person jet skiing.
The variety of subjects, scenes, and locations could keep it interesting for you.
You may not have to ever be bored when taking pictures.
4. Earn Living Wage Being Creative
If you prove yourself, you may find the chance to earn a decent living wage by using your creativity as a photographer worthwhile.
In case you are wondering how much money you can make as a photographer, you could earn about $67,204 as of March 29, 2022.
This estimated salary figure pertains to working as a Photographer II for at least two years.
A Photographer II, according to Salary.com, uses both photos and videos to capture events.
At these events, people could be dancing, eating, laughing, swimming—whatever.
This position also involves capturing individual subjects (ex: people, animals, or buildings and houses) with just the right amount of lighting and color balance.
Then, it might call for arranging those pictures and photos into a believable, inspiring story.
This is something for you to consider.
You probably will earn more money as a photographer if you combine both video and images in your compositions and include both in your portfolio.
5. Unlimited Photo Subjects
One way to make sure you do earn a decent living as a photographer is to see the uniqueness in each subject you capture.
If you do, you could specialize in more than one kind of photography.
It might take you time to explore what you like to capture on camera the most, but when you do, you may not have any limit to how much you can earn as a photographer.
6. Variety of Opportunities
If you are looking for job security and don’t want to travel, you can always find opportunities near you that might pay you a full-time wage.
For instance, you could find local positions as an event photographer or take pictures for a corporation.
Some of these pictures might feature people in front of a stage, a press conference, or an executive sitting in an office, for example.
Otherwise, you could become a fashion photographer, or you can earn a living taking pictures for store catalogs.
You also might want to consider taking food pictures.
If you do, it could open you up to the restaurant, manufacturing, and retail photography positions.
Another way to earn money as a photographer: There is no shame in creating stock photography and selling it.
This could provide you residual income just on one photo, let alone at least a half-dozen or more that happen to have that unique quality about them.
You also can make unlimited amounts of money as a stock photographer if you own photos of historical buildings no longer standing.
What is more, it is tough to secure model releases for photos.
If you have the right to use humans in your photos, however, you could earn continuous money from them.
7. Career Advancement
After at least a few years of experience and a reputation as an established photographer, you might want to begin teaching photography.
You could become an independent instructor, creating your courses.
Otherwise, you might find work at a high school or university teaching other people techniques you have learned.
Cons of Being a Photographer
1. Travel Limited to Subject
You could indeed work as a photographer and make money taking pictures just about anywhere.
However, you may have to follow where your subject goes if hired to keep tabs on a celebrity.
This also applies to wildlife photography positions, during which time you may have to devote yourself to taking photos of endangered plants and animals only found in specific locations.
2. An Expensive Trade
Working as a photographer does not come cheap.
You need to have the top equipment if you want to provide customized wedding packages or location photography, for instance.
Although you might have a chance to see the world and have some expenses paid for while doing it, you also might have to cover some expenses.
In some cases, you would only receive compensation for the picture taking or just have your room and board paid for – not both.
You must discuss compensation and reimbursements with potential employers or clients before you agree to take pictures for them.
Find out what equipment they will supply too if you’re working as a full-time employee for a company.
3. Competitive Field
It takes a lot of patience and time to master professional picture taking.
It could take you several years to establish a reputation as a wedding photographer, for instance.
The same may apply to photojournalism or street photography.
You can, however, keep your mind open and take on fewer glamorous photography positions if you want to earn a decent living.
For instance, you might have a chance to take on a full-time product photo-taking gig for an e-commerce website.
Then, as long as you are not breaking any Non-Disclosure or No-Compete company clauses with your employer, you can take on creative jobs as a “side hustle”.
4. Expensive Training
You don ’o need to attend college to become a photographer, but most of the ones who take it seriously may take at least two years of training.
On the other hand, your scholarships and financial aid along with any portfolio pictures you have could reduce the upfront cost to you.
Learning under famous photographers who came before you would cost you the most.
However, you can acquire quality training from anyone who exhibits confidence in the field, even if they are not famous.
5. Potential Danger
You might not have thought of photography as a dangerous profession but think about it.
For instance, you might create enemies when covering a controversial news story, and someone might send someone to steal your photos because they do not want them published.
Likewise, a robber might just want the camera to sell it for cash.
Some picture takers also have to take precautions against scaring the animals they are photographing.
For instance, you could startle a lion when in a jungle that might attack you when feeling threatened.
Even locally, a dog could bark, grow and threaten you, or a cat could hiss at you and point its claws toward you when performing pet photography shots.
This does not even cover possible abduction or becoming a prisoner of war when covering world news on location during times of conflict.
However, it is not even so much that as maybe you are taking nature photography and risk having dead trees fall on you or becoming injured while shooting pictures of a tornado.
6. Potential Privacy Violation Lawsuits
Some lawsuits may incur because of privacy violations.
You need to understand your rights and responsibilities, particularly when photographing people.
This also pertains to taking pictures of vehicles with exposed license plate numbers, house addresses, or any other personally identifiable information in the photo.
Be careful, or you could get prosecuted and sued.
7. Copyright Violation Accusations
It is as if you must take at least a year of law classes to understand what you can and cannot do as a photographer.
When publishing photos, you should make sure you understand all the potential copyright issues you might face.
Nine times out of ten, you will not hear a single complaint from anyone, but that tenth time could cost you not only hard-earned money but your reputation.
8. Too Much Work
This should be a good thing, right?
If you are good at what you do, you should take it as a compliment that you now have too much work.
However, it might not even be the kind of picture taking you to want to do, and you might even have people taking advantage of your kindness.
Do not take on jobs you are not receiving enough compensation for to earn you a decent living after acquiring at least a year of paid experience.
Pros and Cons of Being a Photographer – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Photographer
|Cons of Being a Photographer
|1. Set Your Work Hours
|1. Travel Limited to Subject
|2. Get Paid to Travel
|2. An Expensive Trade
|3. Variety Keeps It Interesting
|3. Competitive Field
|4. Earn Living Wage Being Creative
|4. Expensive Training
|5. Unlimited Photo Subjects
|5. Potential Danger
|6. Variety of Opportunities
|6. Potential Privacy Violation Lawsuits
|7. Career Advancement
|7. Copyright Violation Accusations
|8. Too Much Work
Should You Become a Photographer?
If you feel like becoming a photographer is what you were born to do, then you might not have a choice.
You may not be happy doing anything else.
However, if you are in it just to make money, it is not a way to “get rich quick.”