How does a photographer make enough money to fund significant works throughout a full, 30-year career?

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Significant bodies of work happen because photographers have the opportunity to produce over long periods of time. They have a career where they refine and develop their craft, where they get to look at things critically and get to hone whatever their style and message. If you look at the cost over that period of time, you have to have some sort of revenue stream coming in. It can’t just be the credit card. It can’t just be the loan, or this idea that somewhere down the road, you’re going to be discovered and it’s going to make everything OK.

Matt Slaby, LUCEO Images

There Are 6 Comments On This Article.

  1. Really? You mean photography isn’t free? Huh….I thought it was just “taken care of” by the universe. I can’t believe photographers have to make a living while producing their work. That just seems sooooo strange…(is the sarcasm sinking in yet?) I figure my mom will just pay for it…..that’s cool right?

  2. I applaud that someone has taken the trouble to bring this up. This is the conversation we need to be having now more than ever.

    There will be a drought of talent in the future after all those who could-not-survive and those in-it-for-fun have long gone. Yes if you just need someone to push the button there will always be someone coming up, there always has been. But when you need experience, quality and that ‘something extra’ that only being an experienced professional can bring…

    That something-extra is going to get thin on the ground. Its not all about the electronics! Keep telling ‘em because they need to hear it again and again and again.

  3. Agreed although this statement appears to be statement of the obvious it is important. New mechanisms for funding need to be and are being uncovered such as crowd funding. Like any creative tool from paint to plasticine the camera is a means to an end. There is no substitute for talent and creativity and so there will always be a personal element to the output. This should motivate us to keep pushing.

  4. I just hope photography doesn’t fall by the wayside in this digital age in the same way the music industry has. Here’s a site that’s doing something differently, for photographers and the buying public alike. Google Citizen of Photography. A great idea and opportunity for photographers to make money now. And not “in 30 years maybe”.