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Thread: Don't Give up the Day Job

  1. #1

    Don't Give up the Day Job

    This is an interesting link.

    http://www.payscale.com/research/US/...er/Hourly_Rate

    I certainly will not be giving up my day job based on this. Even for a photographer of 20 years experience you would only be earning the equivalent of a graduate in my area of work....and you have to fork out the cash for equipment, insurance, travel etc. etc. Even with the commission value quoted for a 20 yearer ($10,000) it is pocket money. How do photographers make ends meet? It gets worse because the figures quoted are at the top end of the scale. I have never looked at this before and I must say I am quite shocked.

  2. #2

    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    I may be wrong, but I think the key word here is 'job'. Are we talking about salaried employees? In which case a lot of them will be assistants to a photographer who has a business, or will have a paid post such as a police photographer, which probably doesn't pay very much.

    Some photographers who have their own business must earn more than those figures. There again... Annie Leibovitz....

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    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Some photographers who have their own business must earn more than those figures. There again... Annie Leibovitz....
    Seems that Annie isn't doing too well these days ...

    http://www.businessinsider.com/2008/...15-000-in-debt

  4. #4

    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    I think that is the point. I have yet to meet a business person who does not live on debt., even when there is cash flow in the business. I would agree that the hourly rate is probably relating to 'employed' individuals but most photographic concerns will be small businesses and the hourly rate can still be applied based on net profit. This is the shocker if calculated with honesty. More people who aspire to small business ownership should do the hourly rate sums. You need to divide the net (post tax) profit by every hour you are engaged in the business activity or supporting the overheads (less than 60 hrs per week and you are probably not being honest. Since most businesses do not net in the first 2 years your debt to live is scary and is borrowed at business rates. I suspect hourly rates for self employed are even more dismal. The fact that you can use the business to acquire the trappings of success is usually enough for many to take the risk even though in the UK 50% of businesses fail in the first 2 years.

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    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    I have yet to meet a business person who does not live on debt.
    Hi - My name is Colin - pleased to meet you!

    More people who aspire to small business ownership should do the hourly rate sums.
    I think that if they did, most would probably do it anyway. The biggest issue that I've observed (from being in business over 20 years) is that many mistake "being able to do the technical work of a business" (ie "being a good photographer") with "Being able to run a successful business that does that technical work" (ie "Run a photography business"), whereas the reality is that the two - somewhat surprisingly - have very little in common.

    For a business to succeed, many parts have to work together; in the case of photography, I wouldn't even rate the ability to take great photos (by our standards) to be one of the more important ones (because even average looking photos by our standards may well still look good to the untrained eye; ie "many customers"). So Joe Bloggs thinks he's a great photographer - creates a "photography business" (really just creates a job for himself) - and then struggles because he knows virtually nothing about sales / marketing / advertising / accounting / compliance ...

    ... but he IS a great photographer - and thus - that's what he concentrates on. A couple of years down the track he has insufficient funds coming in to draw a proper wage - has poor financial records - has made no provision for taxation - and eventually all the bad thing all come together a few years later (after the money thet they borrowed against equity in the family home is gone) and they get wound up. Rinse and repeat.

    To use a simple analogy, many "jump in the deep end, and promptly sink" - there isn't always a happy ending. I should add as a footnote that I built my business in the IT (not photography) industry. I'd LOVE to do it in the photographic industry (and I'll probably give it a go when I retire), but I know that it's a very difficult business to prosper in (it's certainly a part of my income stream - including printing etc - but I wouldn't like to live off that part).

  6. #6

    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    ....I'd LOVE to do it in the photographic industry (and I'll probably give it a go when I retire), but I know that it's a very difficult business to prosper in.....
    That's what my Dad did and he seems to be doing OK....press stuff during the week, weddings at the weekend type of thing....I'm not quite sure he got the hang of retirement as he seems to work even more now than he did as a cop

    PS. I also work in IT. Well that's if COBOL still counts as IT

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    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    That's what my Dad did and he seems to be doing OK....press stuff during the week, weddings at the weekend type of thing....I'm not quite sure he got the hang of retirement as he seems to work even more now than he did as a cop

    PS. I also work in IT. Well that's if COBOL still counts as IT
    Hi Andy,

    COBOL - wow - haven't heard that name since I first got into IT many years ago - didn't know it was still used!

    To be honest, my first love was always assembly language, but even that's been too many years now

    All of these modern programming environments are too much for my poor brain I'm afraid

  8. #8

    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Aye, COBOL is still used and things are still being developed in it - or at least the bank I work for still does anyway. More and more of the development seems to be getting done in India these days though so might be doing something else soon enough...here's hoping

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    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Regarding the Payscale website, if you go back to the list of occupations, you will notice that there are many categories of photographers. For instance, the rates for Commercial photographer are a lot better than for the 'photographer' category. I think its just a matter of looking at the right category.

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    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Quote Originally Posted by John C View Post
    Regarding the Payscale website, if you go back to the list of occupations, you will notice that there are many categories of photographers. For instance, the rates for Commercial photographer are a lot better than for the 'photographer' category. I think its just a matter of looking at the right category.
    I wonder where "Playboy Photographer" rates on the scale?

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    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    When I went Pro I already had a business background and was supplementing my income with freelance surf photography for a few magazines.

    I was, through a friend, approached by a group of four startup manufacturers who were launching a new product on the surf scene. We negotiated a 1 year renewable option contract whereby they would all contribute to a good income for me in exchange for doing all their work. The arrangement ended up lasting 4 years, during which time I still had time to do a fair bit of my freelance work, and everybody was happy. I'd built up a fair business in this time and was made a very attractive offer which I accepted.

    I would have never, even back then, turned Pro without the guaranteed income, and I shudder at the thought of anyone trying to start out in the business now. The work is out there, as I have found out since returning to photography, but, as had been said in many places, taking the shots is only a small part of it.

  12. #12

    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Hi - My name is Colin - pleased to meet you!
    Ha..you are my first. You are indeed fortunate if you did not need a start up loan. I have a company froviding consultancy services and that runs without need for bank assistance. However I exclude consultancy from the above since it normally requires the individuals to be well established as employees before attempting to offer a consultancy service.

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    Re: Don't Give up the Day Job

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    That's what my Dad did and he seems to be doing OK....press stuff during the week, weddings at the weekend type of thing....I'm not quite sure he got the hang of retirement as he seems to work even more now than he did as a cop

    PS. I also work in IT. Well that's if COBOL still counts as IT
    You know I haven't heard of COBOL since the 80's; I knew a little fortran and a girl I knew went into COBOL programming; she showed me a program about a hundred thousand sheets long. No thankyou.

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