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Thread: Stay at home mums (and others) and photography as a profession

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Stay at home mums (and others) and photography as a profession

    Owning a forum, I get to see some repeating patterns in the way people post. One that always intrigues me is the stay at home mum’s who join up and announce they are planning on becoming a professional photographer.

    I often wonder what makes photography appear as a good profession for them to pursue when they have a young family. Those of us that know what goes into being a professional photographer, are very aware that it is demanding, time consuming, and hard enough when you don’t have children to attend to.

    The market is over-saturated with photographers and it can be damn hard work, yet for some reason the ‘public’ perception is far removed from reality.

    What makes the stay at home mum (and others) believe that a course and a DSLR will turn them into a professional photographer? We so often see these introduction posts and then within a week or two, they stop posting and we never hear from them again. Is that cause they have succeeded in setting up their business or is it that they have realised that being a professional photographer is not as easy as they thought it would be, and have moved onto another idea?

    Is it AP's role to educate people in this regard? Is it a lack of research by the person seeking to take up photography as a career?

    I am always happy to see someone succeed with the career choice they have chosen, but I find it concerning that photography obviously appeals as an easy career option, when the reality is far removed from that.
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    It's all about the Light!
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    There is a huge gulf between 'nice photos' on Flickr or from relatives and Becoming a Professional Photographer.
    (BTW the thread quoted covers some basic but major issues)

    And even if you have decent skills and talent there is still the big jump into business.

    AP can help educate, but in the end every adult is responsible for their own destiny.
    Last edited by Kym; 05-06-2011 at 9:07pm.
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    Without wishing to be disparaging of mothers of young children in general, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact their children are at the "cute" age, and every snapshot a mother takes is drooled over by other family members and friends. Perhaps these mothers get the idea from this that taking photos in general is just an extension of what they are already doing?

    Obviously, for those of us "in the know", nothing could be further from the truth! Learning to photograph really well is a skill. Yes, it can be learned, and some people take to it like a duck to water. Others struggle, and many of these people refuse to accept that they just don't have the aptitude for it but will "soldier on" because someone sometime said we had taken a really "fantastic" picture of little Jimmy! Yeah .... guess what? We all get lucky sometimes!

    Then there's the business side! Why, oh why, do people think it is "so easy" to go into business? If it was so easy, then why do so many businesses fail in their first year? Answer - because they haven't done their homework!

    FWIW - I'm not planning on setting up my own photography business any time soon - and then some! For me, photography is a hobby.
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    Member Jorge Arguello's Avatar
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    That is true, Rick. The Photography as a profession is not recognized for all until we acquire a professional work of one. It is then when we realize that DSLR and it’s use is not enough to call someone (or ourselves) a good Photographer.

    I guess you have seen posts of people thinking on getting an expensive DSLR and join AP to ask for advice, then no more posts.

    Sometimes it looks that AP is educating not only the people who likes photography (like me) but also those who does not have a clear idea on what a good photography needs behind.
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    yep, in today's environment with digital cameras everywhere people see images and presume they are all "snaps" making a living from photography is a very different situation indeed.
    Cheers David.

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    I think there's no problem, there are a few mums with cams here (prob a few dads too) who I've seen go from nowhere to starting to earn some pocket money.

    I'm more annoyed at first time posters that want a shortcut by asking everything here and giving nothing back in turn
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    I think there's no problem, there are a few mums with cams here (prob a few dads too) who I've seen go from nowhere to starting to earn some pocket money.

    I'm more annoyed at first time posters that want a shortcut by asking everything here and giving nothing back in turn
    I agree, that mums and dads can make great professional photographer, but what I wanted to know is why their is a perception that it is an 'easy' career choice, when reality is so different to that? How has this perception come to be, that its as simple as buying a DSLR and doing a course?

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    I think you're confusing a career with two or three portrait sessions a $100 each and a $500 wedding every couple of months. That's hardly a career, it's a hobby, it's akin to selling Tupperware.

    To bridge from that to a career is a huge difference

    I don't see too many here, or elsewhere, creating a career, but I see plenty making a few thousand a year. Some of them good photographers, some of them not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    I think you're confusing a career with two or three portrait sessions a $100 each and a $500 wedding every couple of months. That's hardly a career, it's a hobby, it's akin to selling Tupperware.

    To bridge from that to a career is a huge difference

    I don't see too many here, or elsewhere, creating a career, but I see plenty making a few thousand a year. Some of them good photographers, some of them not.
    Again, no. They post saying "Hi, I am a stay at home mum to 3 boys, and I am going to setup and become a professional photographer" It is not what I confuse between hobby and career, I am just reflecting on the incidences of this type of post, and how THEY perceive becoming a professional photographer as being easy. It isn't about what I am confused about, or not. It is about WHY is photography perceived as being an easy career choice.
    Last edited by ricktas; 05-06-2011 at 9:39pm.

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    I would come accross this regularly when selling cameras.

    I would have people, ok I will say it, predominantly stay at home mums or mums with kids at school, come in and not only want to buy a camera but would also then go on to ask what they should be charging for their work. Yep that's right, never owned more than a cheap arse point and shoot and would be "going into business" as a photographer.

    I think this harks back to the many photographers over the years that have placed the "value" or "more expensive" part of photography on the prints rather than putting the value where it belonged, with the photographer to make the images in the first place.
    People no longer "value" photography because they don't want to buy all those expensive prints, just take the photos and drop them an a disc, that's cheap isn't it ??
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    OH MY WORD!!! Finally someone has come out with it (and the owner no less)!!!

    I am a wannabeeee....I have been lucky to take a few good images but to be honest it was due to luck over skill. I would love to do 'this' as a profession but I know that I simply cannot produce the goods consistently to make it. I am sick to death of the 'stay at home mums' who think that all it takes to be a successful photographer is to shoot 'Billy" in his favourite sleep suit and bib and that makes it a good photo. To Mum it is a sweet pic and soooo adorable...but you know what, it ain't gonna make you a pro!!!

    That said, we see the posts time and again so it is not going to change. The pattern is....get pregnant....have kid...take pics...family member says 'WOW they are so good, you should be a pro".... rest of the world goes 'crap....another idiot into the fray!!'

    Sorry for being so blunt but man it does annoy me so.

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    Actually I find that just choosing stay at home mothers as the perpetrators of "i am going to start a business" because I have cute kids, and have nothing else to do, quite sexist. There are many males on AP who claim to have a big camera and now they "can be a professional".
    I think that each person can have dreams and aspirations and should not be belittled if they don't come up to the standards of others. All professional photographers had to start somewhere, even if it was at home. How many people here have a small studio to play photographer in? I think everyone should go take photos and stop trying to stir the pot.

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    Personally I see it as people have alot of smoke blown (you know where) on their pics by people who have an emotional attachment to sets of images and not had any proper CC

    I am a stay at home dad of some sorts (I work nights on the weekends) and have time during the week to spend with my Son. I know I can take a good shot but for every ONE shot there is a trail of 100's that do not even see the light of day to family and friends. now this week we went into the Royal National park to see what bucket loads of water dumped on Sydney looks like and I honestly found it SO HARD to even focus on taking a pic let alone the 100's I need for that ONE image!

    I got the photography bug purely from the birth of my son, I wanted to make sure I can document his life because it is a one shot deal, and when number two comes along it will be the same thing (hopefully with an a900... YES PLEASE)
    And I think that many people see it as something that is instant and very easy to do because of the nature of DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

    ATM I am studying Graphic design and it is alot harder than I imagined but I knew what I was getting myself into as I researched what I need to do and the outcomes. Its just too bad I actually, since joining AP have well and truly wanted to take my photography to the next level. (my studies have faltered a little)

    So in summary I think people get really deflated after realising what is actually involved in becoming a photographer, and that their really great pics are not really that great in comparison to what is being viewed on these forums.
    Well thats what I felt cause I am BLOWN AWAY with the quality of the images posted by the AP community
    when I was dumped with the photography job of the MIL wedding (and I admitted that indoor night pics are not my bag) I honestly was really deflated to the point I dont look at the wedding pics forum


    I don't think that it is AP's fault, as you have the most AWESOME community here By far the most proactive and fantastic admin and moderation team ( mistakes, I think I made them all)
    but once the sparkle fades and reality sets in "POOF! the dream is gone"
    Last edited by mechawombat; 05-06-2011 at 9:52pm.
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    Look, I get at least an email a week asking for advice on becoming pro, apart from recommending that they go talk to a pro I'm as honest as I can be. In the end the majority never bother to reply

    So, I say, good luck to you, wanting to be a pro photographer is like wanting to be an actor. You might ge lucky and land a few bit roles in local theatre but to be a successful actor is damn hard work and a lot of luck.

    Dads with cams, mums with cams, it looks easy, but it ain't.

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    In my view, the proliferation of digital photography has put cameras into the hands of many people who would never have bothered to purchase a film camera.

    Modern digital cameras produce pretty good results, and it's easy for people to think that all one needs to be a professional photographer is good gear.

    Merely owning a great camera doesn't mean one will either take good photos or be a successful business owner, and I'm sure those around here who run photography businesses will be quick to point out that there's more 'business' in a photography business than there is 'photography'.

    There's a lot more to photography than owning a DSLR.

    Owning a scalpel doesn't make someone a surgeon.

    Owning an HSV doesn't make someone a V8 supercar driver.

    Owning a DSLR doesn't make someone a professional photographer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    In my view, the proliferation of digital photography has put cameras into the hands of many people who would never have bothered to purchase a film camera.

    Modern digital cameras produce pretty good results, and it's easy for people to think that all one needs to be a professional photographer is good gear.

    Merely owning a great camera doesn't mean one will either take good photos or be a successful business owner, and I'm sure those around here who run photography businesses will be quick to point out that there's more 'business' in a photography business than there is 'photography'.

    There's a lot more to photography than owning a DSLR.

    Owning a scalpel doesn't make someone a surgeon.

    Owning an HSV doesn't make someone a V8 supercar driver.

    Owning a DSLR doesn't make someone a professional photographer.
    well the HSV owners would disagree HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA
    Sorry Off topic

    But the public perception is "oh you have a DSLR you must be a PRO"

    BTW Xenedis its your fault I have hung around I love your work!

    Actually I find that just choosing stay at home mothers as the perpetrators of "i am going to start a business" because I have cute kids, and have nothing else to do, quite sexist. There are many males on AP who claim to have a big camera and now they "can be a professional".
    I think that each person can have dreams and aspirations and should not be belittled if they don't come up to the standards of others. All professional photographers had to start somewhere, even if it was at home. How many people here have a small studio to play photographer in? I think everyone should go take photos and stop trying to stir the pot.
    Maybe those guys are "Compensating"

    Sorry I am just a clown who has an itchy trigger finger
    Last edited by mechawombat; 05-06-2011 at 9:59pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kazdez View Post
    Actually I find that just choosing stay at home mothers as the perpetrators of "i am going to start a business" because I have cute kids, and have nothing else to do, quite sexist.
    It isn't sexist, it is an observation of posts that have occurred on the site. The reality is that we see this line time and time again. Now if by raising a comment about the actions of a particular demographic is going to be referred to a sexist, then we are missing the opportunity to discuss a real and valid issue, and I find the sexist defence totally ridiculous. Just cause I raise something about a particular demographic doesn't make it sexist. You want us to stop stirring the pot, yet you try to do so by turning this into a sexist argument? Hmmmm! I am not about to become politically correct, and not raise an issue cause some might find it sexist.
    Last edited by ricktas; 05-06-2011 at 11:03pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    In my view, the proliferation of digital photography has put cameras into the hands of many people who would never have bothered to purchase a film camera.

    Modern digital cameras produce pretty good results, and it's easy for people to think that all one needs to be a professional photographer is good gear.

    Merely owning a great camera doesn't mean one will either take good photos or be a successful business owner, and I'm sure those around here who run photography businesses will be quick to point out that there's more 'business' in a photography business than there is 'photography'.

    There's a lot more to photography than owning a DSLR.

    Owning a scalpel doesn't make someone a surgeon.

    Owning an HSV doesn't make someone a V8 supercar driver.

    Owning a DSLR doesn't make someone a professional photographer.
    I play golf. I own the clubs that Tiger Woods uses.......believe me, it does not make me a professional at all.

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    I see it as an attraction to a perceived easy income ?
    What young family doesn't have a problem with income ?
    They think & chat with friends about ways to get a cash flow, between kids sleeps & later with kids at school.
    One day at the shopping centre is a photography set-up, Christmas is obvious but other times just kids shoots & some family group shoots, even glam & lingerie for Mums sagging ........ um, ego. The camera goes click, click, Mum or Dad goes click, ah ha, bucks & flexible times, bingo !
    Well we can do that too & better. So off they go, camera, computer plenty of time, I got all that, yippee. I can do a course, even a degree & I am off !!!!!!!! SIMPLE
    Col

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    Hmm,

    I find this quite interesting that this topic has been started soon after (within 1 hour of my first post) I posted my introductionary post and of course LOOK at my user name!!!

    Maybe JUST MAYBE I should remove my posts and leave the forum if that is how you all think.

    I have seen PLENTY of SAHM"S become great photographers....

    I was hoping that this would be a supportive place for people wanting to do better photography but maybe I was wrong.....

    AND you will find that MOST of the SAHM'S/SAHD'S do photos of babies and the likes....

    I am not going to be doing pictures like that.....

    So you cannot put all of us SAHM'S in the one box....
    Last edited by WannaBe; 06-06-2011 at 12:46am.

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