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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> DPCers who have "Gone Pro". Have you?
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11/17/2019 01:32:43 PM · #1
Okay....

First I want to establish the caveat that for the "pro" part of the discussion that it's about getting paid for your work, *NOT* whether or not you can live off of what you make with photography.

Never on any level have I really ever seen it mentioned that this place cranks out quality photographers that are exactly that: Professionals.

You take off with your camera to an event, you set up your home studio, you create that perfect composition because you've trained to use "The Eye" that you have to its max advantage, and at the end of the day, somewhere there's now an image on a business website, on canvas above the couch in the living room, or enlarged matted & framed to the tune of a couple hundred dollars, because, yeah.....

It's *that* good.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I could say any, much less all of that, when I got here and started to try to grow and improve.

I think it's because of the unfettered diversity in styles, genres, cultures, equipment, and personality that make it possible for DPC to turn out terrific photographers.

Anyhow, this is less about tooting your own horn than a curiosity I had about how many others have ended up with their lives forever enriched and changed just 'cause they wanted to learn a thing or two about that newfangled digital thing they just bought.

But do toot your own horn a little that we may celebrate your good fortune as well.

Message edited by author 2019-11-17 13:52:43.
11/17/2019 01:55:25 PM · #2
I started photography when our four "children" flew the nest for "real school" (I'd homeschooled them for twelve years). I was extremely bored and looking for a hobby. I'd been shooting family stuff for well... "forever".

Everyone: "Lydia, be sure to bring your camera when you come..."

So, I started shooting friends for free... and others started seeing their photographs and asked if I would shoot their people... Sure! And they paid me! Mostly casual portraits and some high school sports.

So, I started a little business, never advertised, just "word of mouth" recommendations. I remember one month I made enough to live on! Ha!

So... yeah... if getting paid for your work means you've gone "professional". Then, that's me!

I don't shoot for pay any more, though. Just for fun.

Everyone else tell their story, please! It's gotta be more interesting than mine.

11/17/2019 02:08:40 PM · #3
Does microstock count?

I was quite enthusiastic at one stage, though I never earned much for my efforts.

I believe my highest scoring challenge photo even made it onto the cover of a book once but it must have been a very small print run because it didn't even earn an extended license.

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I've lost interest in microstock now. My style doesn't really suit what they're looking for. But sometimes I think I should give it another try.
11/17/2019 04:08:04 PM · #4
Mostly It's just an enjoyable hobby, but I occasionally make a little money. I once made $688 off this as a stock photo (a former challenge entry). I received it while unemployed, but the money had sat in my Getty account for a few months, so was not earned while unemployed and it didn't count against my unemployment comp.
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I also donated it once for free use by a fire department fundraiser. This is just their mockup, I sent them the hi res copy with logos removed.
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11/17/2019 04:43:10 PM · #5
Yes, I have gone professional and mostly event photography. I used to do live shows but that is A LOT of work specially coming back home at 3AM and at 5AM get a call for the editorial photographs and just have few hours to do selection and post processing.
11/17/2019 05:11:58 PM · #6
I have sold a few not because they were for sale but people had seen them and asked to purchase. I have displayed my favorites on the monitors in my patient operatories. When patients and staff ask to have a picture I gladly print a copy and give it to them as a gift. I am retiring from dentistry in a few weeks and will have more time to consider supporting my photography obsession and expanding my interest in the hobby by finding a way to sell images. I would be interested in hearing from other members who do sell for recommendations on how, where and the nuts and bolts of marketing.
11/17/2019 05:24:29 PM · #7
Over ten years shooting MLS listings for realtors and broker/owners. It's sporadic, we've had to adjust our pricing over the years and add services like drone and pole aerials. It's a good business for the semi-retired. Eric ' . substr('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' ozerad does the shoots and I do the editing. Same day delivery. Real Estate Photography Team
11/17/2019 06:11:28 PM · #8
Oh, I've made several thousand in the last couple months, been gallery listed, and shot gigs for Google.

But I'm still not where I'd consider myself a pro, I just shoot and make some $$ sometimes.

And I guess a lot of spaces are decorated with my work, that does feel good. :-)
11/17/2019 06:11:52 PM · #9
I did the "pro" part for first, for 25 years or so. Architectural and some editorial photography. I don't try to sell anything anymore :-)
11/17/2019 07:11:58 PM · #10
A local photog (and past member here) has been selling images that feature on book covers. Recently a pic of a mailbox she shot made it onto the cover of a Stephen King novel. So I am also looking into submitting there and maybe just maybe making more than $50 a payout which is what I currently get selling via Alamy. I give them exclusivity, and they keep 50%.....
11/18/2019 12:39:05 AM · #11
I once received $1 (!!) for one of my images from an online site. That made me horrified that I will now have to share that dollar with the US tax office so I removed all my images from selling Web sites ;)

PS Corrected typo, too early, not awake yet

Message edited by author 2019-11-18 00:52:33.
11/18/2019 02:54:51 AM · #12
When I first approached DPC I was already working with videomaking. I graduated in foreigner languages in 2001 and I got in touch with the University TV of my area to train myself as a journalist. When I was there, between 2004 and 2008, they proposed me to deal with video since I already knew a few things about photography and video. So when I signed up here I was working with video, but not anymore at the University - I opened my own business. After 4 four years I decided to go freelance and since then 50%-50% between photography and video and especially in the last couple of years I mostly work with photography, travelling the world working for Lamborghini and working on the landscape field with agencies and other companies. I can say that DPC has been sooo important to improve my creativity!
11/18/2019 06:16:59 AM · #13
Done the 'Pro' bit. I found it took away the enjoyment, I shot a ton of Weddings, it killed it for me.
I now shoot for fun and my own personal peace of mind and I am slowly getting back into it again.
11/19/2019 10:19:19 AM · #14
This is great! And also about what I expected in the way of self-deprecating commentary. Personally, I think the completely professional only aspect is all out hard work. I've done weddings, sports, portraits, product photography, real estate, and pretty much anything you can theoretically find a way to charge for.......and pretty much hated it all. I'm with ' . substr('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' MAK as far as having the businerss aspect of it suck all the air out of the room. ' . substr('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Lydia, your experiences are much more akin to what I'm talking about. Most of what I've been paid for has been due to someone seeing what I'd done and contracting me to do so. That's how I ended up doing weddings, sports, portraits, found myself in a restaurant shooting, then eating, the product, and various other jobs. The gallery that ' . substr('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' LoVi and I have has turned out to be the best of both worlds for us. We do what we want, then offer it for sale. It's working out well for us because as well as having something tyo sell right now, we do commission work for those specific requests.

As far as the self-deprecation sh*t, I'll tell ya one thing. There isn't a one of you that spoke up who doesn't have at least a half dozen prints that I'd buy in a heartbeat if I was looking for seriously good stuff to put on my walls.

' . substr('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('https://www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' GolferDDStoo bad you're retiring. All that gallery space in your office, halls, & waiting room GONE!!!! LOL!!!

11/19/2019 10:29:40 AM · #15
Originally posted by GolferDDS:

...I am retiring from dentistry in a few weeks ...


Retiring from dentistry?? I didn't realize that you were that long in the tooth ;-)

Well somebody had to say it!
11/19/2019 11:17:47 AM · #16
I would never sell out and go pro. For me, it's all about the art.

OK, that is not true at all. I have made a little money for a few portraits, Linked-In profile pictures, and some family holiday pictures. Mostly for friends of friends. I was approached about having one DPC entry be a cover on a small run self published book. I asked for a nominal fee and a copy of the book. When I go the book, it was unreadable -- really bad. To me, it just confirmed the old saying that you shouldn't judge a book by its amazing cover.

I have never shot a wedding, but I am not sure I'd want to. I don't think the tremendous amount of work required scares me so much as the pressure. I would like to shoot more portraits, but, sadly, I am not very good at it. My technical and lighting skills are fine. It's interacting with the subject, putting them at ease, and coaxing the best out of them that I suck at. I shot a friend at our house. She was generally uncomfortable getting her picture taken, and it was evident in the photos. My wife stepped in and sensed the situation. She began chatting with the subject. She was great at getting her to relax. The photos improved enormously. So, if I were to go into the portrait business, I need her as a partner.
11/19/2019 11:28:58 AM · #17
I guess if you consider being hired to shoot by different event companies and shooting some wedding for pay being a professional. I would qualify under those circumstances. I have had the fortune of being hired by Spartan and shot many of their events...including them flying me to Iceland for an event. I also shoot cheer, gymnastics, triathlons and marathons for a few different companies. On my own end, it is usually HS sports where parents or boosters pay me. I also do a few wedding here and there.
11/19/2019 12:07:19 PM · #18
Originally posted by markwiley:

I have made a little money for a few portraits, Linked-In profile pictures, and some family holiday pictures. Mostly for friends of friends. I was approached about having one DPC entry be a cover on a small run self published book. I asked for a nominal fee and a copy of the book. When I go the book, it was unreadable -- really bad. To me, it just confirmed the old saying that you shouldn't judge a book by its amazing cover.



hahahahaha!
11/19/2019 01:41:22 PM · #19
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by GolferDDS:

...I am retiring from dentistry in a few weeks ...


Retiring from dentistry?? I didn't realize that you were that long in the tooth ;-)

Well somebody had to say it!


Yup. Been in practice over 40 years! Its hard to believe all that time has past. I have loved my profession and the honor of helping people enhance their smiles and their health. I have had the pleasure of treating grandparents, their children and their children's children. After dedicating my life to my profession and raising a family I decided that it was time to see what other things that life has to offer while I am still healthy and able to enjoy. Its been a great ride:) P.S. The term "long in the tooth" goes back to the 1800's when the age of a horse was determined by the length of his teeth!
11/19/2019 04:56:25 PM · #20
Originally posted by tjbel05:

I guess if you consider being hired to shoot by different event companies and shooting some wedding for pay being a professional. I would qualify under those circumstances. I have had the fortune of being hired by Spartan and shot many of their events...including them flying me to Iceland for an event. I also shoot cheer, gymnastics, triathlons and marathons for a few different companies. On my own end, it is usually HS sports where parents or boosters pay me. I also do a few wedding here and there.

Yup...

It's that we've gotten to a point by being here after a while where we've not only learned a little bit, but established our own styles, genres, and people notice. Sometimes we find ourselves in the position of getting to be a part of something we would not have were it not for being the photogs that we are. That's what I like most. I've shared some really good times and had some excellent adventures 'cause someone said to me, "Hey, would you mind coming along while we do this thing and shoot some pics of it?". That has been terrific for me. Sometimes I almost feel guilty if on top of some cool adventure that they want to pay me. But I graciously acquiesce......(Mercenary slut that I am!)

Oh.....the cheer thing? Yeah...... I showed up at one of my daughter's events to shoot. Strangest thing...... I ended up with 85 daughters! LOL!!!

Most importantly, it's been my time here that has made it possible. The community especially. I have gotten so much support and encouragement as well as tips and general photography help.

Another thing that amuses me. I belonged to a couple of local camera clubs for a short time. Even told 'em about DPC. But both of them were these little insular societies with their heirarchy and old boys' network such that they haed it all firgured out. It was kind of funny 'cause I used to clean house in the competitions. When they'd have their "experts" come in and grace us with their vast knowledge, there was never even one time that anything was shared that I hadn't been already exposed to here at DPC.....and in much more depth than what they had to offer. Don't get me wrong, there were some good photogs in the clubs, but they were not widely knowledgeable in the ways you can't help but be exposed to here.

Good stuff, this place!

Last thing. I *hate* being *the* wedding shooter, but I love to go to weddings with my camera. One thing I have been particularly grateful for is that I have phenomenal photography luck. That weird thing about being in the right place at the right time with my camera. If I show up at your wedding with my camera, I *will* get a couple of shots you'll love forever. Do I have any clue what that might be? Nope! But it's happened at every single wedding I've attended.

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Yeah....speaking of unusual adventures, that's my ex-wife getting remarried. I shot their wedding for their wedding present. We had fun with that!


11/19/2019 08:35:45 PM · #21
Great work Jeb...I HATE shooting weddings,no matter how well I know the couple (or don't). To me, weddings are stressful and chaotic. There are so many wonderful candid moments that are missed because you had to go and shoot some stock wedding pics. Things only get worse the more drunk the guests get.
11/19/2019 09:50:50 PM · #22
Originally posted by GolferDDS:

Yup. Been in practice over 40 years! Its hard to believe all that time has past.


It sure does go fast, LOL. Got a few years left myself, but it seems like it is coming up unbelievably fast.
11/19/2019 10:04:00 PM · #23
well I used to shoot social occasions, loved doing it and the people I worked with,All the Blushing Brides and all, including one thatshot through to Aussie with the best man a few weeks after her wedding.,,,,,lots of laughs and dramas and meeting a whole heap of lovelly people
11/20/2019 03:35:56 PM · #24
I've been doing it professionally for around 15 years or so. Mostly I'm doing things on my own... a lot of work with various school groups and sports teams, senior photos, as well as weddings and corporate head shots, etc. I've also been shooting Steelers games for a group of 5 newspapers in Northwestern PA (I've photographed well over 200 games, including two Super Bowls).

I also do occasional work for Reuters, which is fun because those shots wind up in very high profile locations. I've had shots in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and throughout the world on those occasions.
11/20/2019 06:20:02 PM · #25
Originally posted by alanfreed:

I've been doing it professionally for around 15 years or so. Mostly I'm doing things on my own... a lot of work with various school groups and sports teams, senior photos, as well as weddings and corporate head shots, etc. I've also been shooting Steelers games for a group of 5 newspapers in Northwestern PA (I've photographed well over 200 games, including two Super Bowls).

I also do occasional work for Reuters, which is fun because those shots wind up in very high profile locations. I've had shots in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and throughout the world on those occasions.


That is very impressive Alan. You have obviously put alt of work into getting where you are.
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