Creating Photos or Flipping Burgers?
You saved up your dinero and plunked it all down on that favorite new camera you’ve been wanting. You’ve convinced yourself that you could do great things with this new technological evolution of the old camera obscura. Heck, you might even earn some real money with the magnificent images that you’ll produce. You say to yourself, “My photos look just as good as (insert your favorite professional photographer).” But, do you really know what it takes to produce salable photographs?
It really is true that great photographs have been made or captured on every instrument known to man – from high school art project box cameras to smartphones. Include of course, the very latest full-frame, high-definition, computer-in-a-box, digital wonder equipped with GPS and a super-fast lens capable of image stabilization, or even your cell phone.
In a nutshell (no reference to anyone’s head), it is the person handling the instrument who makes the image. It is that person’s ability to recognize the peak of action, or that provocative look, or that awesomely beautiful work of nature, and (here comes the meat on the bones) exactly when to click the shutter.
Some people are born to be painters, wordsmiths, sculptors, musicians, communicators, photographers, and a litany of other occupations. Even some burger flippers developed their talents into multi-million dollar businesses. Need I mention Ray Kroc from Des Plaines, Illinois whose company serves up “seventy million and counting” hamburgers in no less than 119 countries through 35,000 fast-food restaurants? Does “Big Mac” ring a bell?
But wait! You say you have the talent and are willing and able to learn what you need to advance your photography career? Great! Passion for your profession is essential if you want to make it big in the burger world or the portrait venue, so let’s take a closer look at what you can expect to earn in the field of photography.
Your Pay Scale
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2014, hourly wages for 52,250 full-time employed photographers vary from $8.71 to $33.14, with the median pegged at $14.66.
Now let’s look at the averages for the burger flipper industry. Again, for the same period of May 2014, the combined averages for food preparation and serving personnel range from $7.83 per hour to a maximum of $11.46, with the median falling in at $8.85.
Of course, at these lower wages you won’t have the responsibilities of running your own photo business, preparing your tax statements, paying your production expenses or utilities, or putting some money aside for equipment replacement, health, auto and liability insurance, or vacations. You also won’t have the pleasure of putting up with an irate bride or her mother who wants her wedding day to be perfect and no, she won’t remember those four-letter words and choice phrases she verbally flung at you in the heat of the moment on her daughter’s wedding day.
Still interested? You just may have what it takes to make it as a professional photographer.