Are There Downsides to Being a Professional Photographer?

Getting to do something you love is awesome. Getting paid for it is even better. It’s not all rose colored though.

I’ve gotten used to always carrying a camera on me. Having interesting moments come up or seeing compositions everywhere was what I always looked for. I still do. Shooting Fujifilm gives a lot of the feel and tactile joy that I just didn’t have when shooting Canon and Nikon. I find myself shooting personal projects a lot less though. While it’s always in my daily carry bag, it’s not tethered to my wrist or strapped over my shoulder like it used to be. This is a good and bad thing when your interest grows into a career.

A different kind of passion for the process

It’s a real thing. I find that I spend more time managing and securing projects than actually shooting. This is even including personal things for fun. It’s not about falling out of love with the craft and art at all. I think to myself “How can I best use my limited time?”. Work / life balance plays a large role. If your passion is what you do for a living, it’s easy to ignore things that are the most important.

Buying gear becomes all business

There’s still always the excitement of getting a new piece of equipment. What’s interesting is you don’t find yourself always lusting after the latest and greatest because everything runs back to accounting. You ask yourself “Will this really improve what I need to do in a meaningful way or is this just going to hurt my bottom line?”. Making those heart felt purchases involves a lot of adding to carts, removing then adding it again to purchase and feel guilty afterwards.

The solution

Finding a long term personal project is a great way to keep the creative and inspiration healthy. Things like 365 day projects or street photography are great ways to rekindle the artistic. The way I see it, the more technique and varied conditions you shoot with, the more you grow as a photographer.

Growth. Growth is the solution.