There is no doubt that life as a photographer is a competitive place to be ...
I'm a member of a whole bunch of Facebook groups and on a frequent basis someone will request a recommendation for a photographer for a function, adding that they want a reasonable price, or for it not to cost the earth.
Now I can assure you several things.
At the top of the list : Very very few people are making a fortune as photographers. Trust me I know, I've been full time for nigh on 6 years now and survival is only for the fittest.
Year on year it seems that new photographers are coming out of the woodwork, all of them wanting a slice of the pie. Now as a function photographer, mainly capturing Weddings and Barmitzvahs I can assure you where I am at least, North West London, whilst it's not an infinite pool of parties there is lots of work to go around. That being said there are, as with many careers, troughs in the peaks and some months I'm glad I offer corporate photography and video and a boudoir experience like no other.
Next : Life as a photographer is not cheap .. we spend money on our art. If we care about our ability to create and deliver the memories and images to you we invest. We invest in equipment, cameras, lenses, flashes, modifiers other stuff and very little of it is cheap. I'm in the market for a new computer, now whilst I could go mad, I'm looking at a modest investment of maybe £2k. We invest time and money in training. Making what we do, which is complicated and technical, we make it look easy. You don't want to see a flustered photographer on your wedding day trying to work out his settings. We invest in ourselves to make sure we are fit enough to shoot for 6 or 7 hours straight. Finally and most importantly for me I invest in you. I get to know you and build relationships of trust so that come the shoot portrait, boudoir, wedding or corporate you just know you are in safe hands.
You need to busy : You can't survive on one job a month .. nope, the reality is you need to shoot maybe 4 or 5 things in a month. A few events, some headshots .. whatever is in the mix. That can add up to 30 or so hours with a camera in your hands and maybe upto twice as long editing. The hours add up. On top of that you are running a business. I'm writing this blog at 23:31 as a break from editing !!
We love what we do ... of course we do. Why else would we get out of bed at 5:30 for a shoot at 6:30 ... work 15 hr shoot days. Spend our hard earned pennies on specialist equipment that we may only use 2 or 3 times a year, but oh when we do it's so worth it. I rarely see my family at weekends and I'm not sure I can remember when I last really had a day off.
All of that said I choose this ... I want to do it. I used to have an office job that paid 4 or 5 times as much as I earn now ... sacrifices have been made by all of my family. Why ... well because I love to create art, I love to capture memories but most of all what I want to do is build relationships with people that last, that understand the value in what I do and see the importance of a photograph rather than a snap and smile when they see the person they have become when my camera is pointed in their direction.