So You Want to Make a Living
Back in the nineteen seventy eight seventy seven seventy eight I took a class at a junior college harvey class and I had taken photography in high school but it was really this first class that the instructor was lou bernal and he I was really a tough teacher he was pretty strict and I felt a little intimidated by the class because I've never been very good in the classroom uh had success in sports on the field but not in the classroom so always always intimidated by a classroom environment and when I would put my images up for critique of course the students would all just shred it I thought well, maybe I'm not smart enough to be a photographer and there's one thing though that I did was work hard and this teacher would you have the log in your hours in the dark room and hey would keep it eye on that and so he saw that I was logging in more hours than anyone and in all his students and so I think it was during the class he was kind of upset a bunch of the slackers and so he was in a l...
ittle rent and he said there's only one way to do it in this class that even has a remote chance of making in the real world and we're all sliding under our seats a little bit, he says and as joel grimes and I'm like my heart just stopped I thought you got to be kidding me he would single out me and I was not doing that well in the class in terms of you know, I think success as my end result photography but he saw something in me and that was I had a passion for it and I was a hard worker and that is the single greatest things I possess in life you have that it will take you a lot further than being brilliant or creative genius or whatever it is you think that is gonna make a great tonight we're gonna talk about that here in a minute but it's that hard work ethic that's going to see you through and that passion for that that crap that you have and photography is a really fun thing and so that's what I want to encourage you today is going to be hopefully a session that we look some things about the reality about being a photographer and so the the title of this sex session is so you want to make a living in photography so let's talk about that a little bit and because I've had to do that for thirty years uh and and I've learned to really tough lessons and we've talked about some of them on and I like to pass those tough, tough things that I've learned onto others that help cushion the blow a little bit but you still got to get out and do it. You still gotta learn about the hard way and so that's, the way we know that that's kind of how life is all right. So let's talk about, um, to be a photographer, the odds are that you're going to be self employed. Now there are positions that you can do in photography, that you can have a salary and work for a company. I think that when I was in photography, there were corporations that had full time photographers, and, um, there are positions like that still today, but as a general rule, the odds are if you want to survive, taking pictures, make a living that you're going to be self employed now. That's good and bad, right? Um, when I was starting out in this, my my father was a fireman work for the city hey eventually worked his way up the ladder and no pun intended but became tucson assistant chief and did very well working for the city. Hey, doc, every two weeks. Um and he also had a lot of time off and he worked a second job in the summers way had five kids growing up in a lot of bills and and he was a hard worker, but he didn't really understand the idea of being self employed um, now my wife has our father was self employed, and he understood that meant meant that mentality of mindset, and so he really embraced, uh, my journey a cz a self employed photographer, but my dad didn't really understand that, and so he had always come to me and say, sun, sun, sun it seemed to struggle and I'm living on a on a warehouse, slipping on a phone, matt and middle of denver winner with no heat and he'd say, son, come down to reality you're never gonna make any money in photography, you need to get a full time job and so on and that's true that's you could say that's good advice when your son struggling. Thank you. You kind of have that. Come on, let me ease your pain because he saw that I was barely hanging on and but I had a passion for what I do here, this craft that I have this passionate artist, so I stuck with it, so I had a lot of lean years, but, um, but being self employed is not easy, you know, surviving, negotiating, you know, and usage rights and getting money up front, all those things you have to do to survive in today's marketplace, and so those are important those air hard lessons and I've had some good people around me I had a good studio mate steve sammons that he was a natural, gifted marketing person and he taught me a lot about marketing I cover a lot of those marketing sort of basic techniques and principles and the first session I did on creative live and so I would encourage you to check I was out but so I had some good help but still but I had learned some hard lessons but being self employed is not an easy route but here's the beautiful thing about being self employed you could exceed there's no limit on what you can make you work hard great things gonna happen financially you can also find yourself caught eaten oatmeal three days, three meals a day which I did um so uh anyway a tough road but it's a great road and I don't regret any of it and I love the fact that that I'm my own boss I'm the one that's in charge of my you know destiny in terms of what I'm doing with my occupation all right? So what's the motivation for becoming a shocker for what's your motivation that's a good question for me to ask you so people come to me all the time they'll say, you know, I'm doing this and that and and I saw I asked a question what's your motivation what's the white why you in this and we talk a little bit about this earlier um about the idea of money what's what's what's what's the money uh goal that you have but here's I want you think about two different mindsets now when I was fifteen years old my sister was dating a guy so she was about sixteen he's about seventeen eighteen and he had a couple nikon cameras hanging around his neck he was this photographer and so at fifteen years old that made an impression on me I was like this guy's cool and I thought being a photographer is cool right and so we can think about you know, being an artist and you know that role you know an artist plays and and so we can say that that the image of being a photographer or a creative person is pretty cool and that might be your motivation but I think there's something better and that's the image you hang on the wall to me that's a thousand times more important than what I look like or the role that I play as a photographer so I still think it's cool being a photographer but it's a thousand times more cool to have a picture hanging on the wall and so that's my motivation has been my motivation and I talk a lot about um uh being an art pissed and I believe everyone here and everyone that's listening ultimately to some degree is an artist and I talked about the fact that, um you I think we just as human beings we like the way we have this desire and is to be creative that's built into us, whether you're you're a cook or you know, my brother not used to, you know, we used to restore cars and we, you know, bring his old piece of junk in and we hang out all the dense sand bondo put it together, paint it new interior tires cleanup sent out the door and it was like we did that, you know, there's a part of a creative process that happens when you do that, even then just restoring an old car and so I think it's human beings no matter what we do there's a there's a part of us that says, I want to be creative and so photography is an amazing outlet to be creative in fact, think about where we're at in history. So if it's a two hundred years ago, you were a painter, how many people on the planet percentage wise per capita and whatever were painters made a living at being a painter or an artist? Not a very large percentage with time that percentage has gotten more, but nothing is like today there are more photographers or people creating with a camera than ever and even percentage wise and we were talking about, you know, when the wells photographing cliffs motorcycles the other day, there was this really cool place that we had that cliff found and it's kind of a photo hangout, right? I mean, you know, people are coming and going there. I don't have any photographers. They were taking pictures. It was like I said, is this all wal mart parking lot here and there's a lot of people doing it and to me, that's great. I love that idea because I've had so much fun doing what I'm doing a cz a photographer, creative person. And so I want you also have that fund I want I want I want to share with you in the joy of the process and being an artist too. And so I get excited. And so, um, in tucson, I had this, uh, neighbor who he worked for kodak for thirty years. We tired, and so I found out I said I started talking to him and, uh, I said you are you shooting pictures today? Now, you know, he says I got a bunch of film cameras but out really into the digital thing and it's all you've got to get into digital ah, no, no, no, I said, you have to go get a camera and he did. He went and started taking pictures, and he got excited about taking pictures because the digital gives us some opportunities. We didn't have a film, instant gratification. I could bring it in, manipulated my own lab, so to speak. And and so he started having a lot of fun with a camera, and I got excited to see him get excited, he's not gonna make a living at it here. He made his money, but you get even experienced the joy of the creative process. And so I want you to have that experience also, and that's. Part of my personality is I relish and what others do.