Success is?

February 20, 2011

Hello friends,

I have a question for you; What is success to you?

A few weeks ago, a model posted on her facebook page that she was tired of all the girls calling themselves models and things of that sort. So I jumped in and expressed my opinion cause I know the poster. I said that ones level of professionalism isn’t determined by another non related person, nor is it by the amount of money a person makes. There were several people who added their replies and one guy, a local photographer who said I was wrong. That being a professional is all about making money. While of course I agree, I also feel that being a professional is MORE about the way you act, than how much money you make. He proceeded to tell me that a lot of people who call themselves professionals, aren’t professionals because they work other jobs than photography and a professional photographer makes 100% of their income from photography. Again I disagreed and use myself as an example saying; “I have 20+ photos published in as many nationally distributed magazines. I have 14 corporate sponsors who promote me and a list of people that would want to shoot with me. If I have a 9-5 job, I wouldn’t be professional?” He then used that time to take several stabs at me saying there’s only three people in Colorado he refers models out to shoot with. There’s only three photographers in Colorado that is worth anything. Now it’s funny because I have many photogs AND models tell me he’s the worst photog in Colorado lol. I have my opinions on him, but that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about your definition of success as a person in our industry.

For me? success comes in many different ways. I don’t look at it as a whole, but parts. Am I successful at having partners/sponsors? yes, very much so. Am I successful at getting the large clients? not so much. Can I get small to medium clients? yes, so that makes me successful in that area. I do not look at the amount of money I make as a way of determining my success level. My biggest concerns is leaving a body of work that will be respected when I’m dead and gone.

To be totally honest, I get more satisfaction shooting a child survivor of cancer, than I do the 1,200.00 full portfolio package I have.

What is your qualifiers of success? I’d love to hear it.


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Comments (3)

Lawrence Keeney

February 27, 2011 by Lawrence Keeney

I call myself a professional photographer and yet I have never made a profit with photography.

I have sold an image for national advertising, I have photographed a board of directors of an international company for their annual report, I have photographed very large industrial equipment for images that were used in national advertising and for banners for trade shows. I have traveled across the country to photograph an explosives manufacturer’s facility for images for their website, etc. etc.

The thing I like to photograph best is new models to help them build a nice portfolio. I do this on a FTP basis.

To me, a professional photographer is one who always presents himself/herself in a professional manner. They are prompt, courteous, are skilled in their trade, and are constantly learning new techniques. Whether they make any money at this profession is beside the point.


February 20, 2011 by Jay

Welcome Bryan!

Thanks for the awesome comment!

I totally agree, success isn’t measured by your pockets, but the mark you leave in the world.

I’m glad to hear I’m not alone.


February 20, 2011 by Bryan

Success to me is the feeling that I have helped someone at the end of the day. I don’t determine success as a monetary object. Success is felt in the heart. I am new in the photography business, do I call myself a professional, yes in many ways. Do my clients want to shoot again? Yes, they do. Do I have contracts with large, medium or small companies? No I don’t, does this make me less a professional? Only to those pompous asses that feel the need to measure success in money and not what or whom they may have helped along the way. Life is too short. Have fun and make someone smile, it may just warm your heart.

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