A couple of weeks ago I had coffee with a friend of mine who wants to become a fashion photographer. She has quite an extensive (and very good) portfolio, but is just starting to fully break ground into working professionally in the industry. As our conversation progressed, she casually asked, “what do you think, is it worth it?” The “it” in question being, working as a professinal photographer. Or more specifically, will all this time, effort, and struggle ultimately pay off financially? It’s an interesting question that too few of us consider, but I think this is, as the saying goes, putting the cart before the horse.
In a world of endless possibilities, its natural to try to make as much money as possible so that we have the greatest number of options avaliable to us. In this way we are constantly adjusting our lifestyle to the resources avaliable to us. The problem is, too often this leads to constant feelings of inadequacy and the lingering suspicion that someone somewhere is having a much better time than us.
Perhaps a better approach is to first think about what kind of life we’d like, the ideal day-to-day, and then arrange it to be so. Maybe such a life would involve constant travel for one and drinking with friends for another. Maybe you want to live in the city or in the mountains. Whatever your ideal daily life entails, knowing what you want first and then figuring out what needs to be done to get there makes more sense.
So is it worth it? It’s worth it if you like expressing yourself through photography, illustration, painting, wherever. Its worth it if you like uncertainty, surprise, and adventure. It’s not worth it if all you want is a huge paycheck, sorry to break the news, but a career in the arts isn’t a likely path to become a millionaire. If that’s what you want, maybe you should give finance a try.
Image by roeyahram