Every year, it seems to get harder and harder to make a living as a photographer. And yet every year, more and more people purchase DSLRs with the intention of doing just that.
So I figured it might be helpful to provide a reality check for those who are wondering when the big money is going to start rolling in.
Here are 25 clues it’s time to give up on your photography career:
- You still can’t get a picture accepted by iStockphoto after maxing out your credit cards on gear.
- Your contest entry in the “feline” category, captured during a thrilling photo safari on the plains of the Serengeti, loses out to a picture of a cat napping on a sofa.
- When your studio is burglarized, all your photo gear is taken along with the picture frames and mattes — but your photos are mysteriously left behind.
- Upon hearing you’re covering the local beauty pageant, the suddenly camera-shy contestants scramble to revoke their model releases.
- Your photos always run big in publications — not because they’re great images, but because the editor needs a long caption to explain what the picture is about.
- Brides gladly pay extra to remove your watermark from their pictures.
- When you travel abroad with your camera, street urchins pay you to not take their pictures.
- After scanning your portfolio, the organizers of the workshop you want to attend inform you they are fully booked — even though the venue is the Rose Bowl.
- Your unretouched images are frequently featured at PhotoshopDisasters.com.
- A memory card of 64GB is not enough when you’re shooting jpegs for an hour-long assignment.
- Facebook doesn’t use your uploaded images, even though your privacy settings are set for everyone to view.
- A kid with a cellphone nails a picture of the Loch Ness Monster while you stand there chimping by the lake.
- Despite shelling out big bucks for the latest vibration reduction or image stabilization lenses, your pictures are still fuzzy when you shoot in broad daylight on program mode.
- You’re not sure if it’s possible to disable autofocus, red eye reduction, auto white balance and program and still take a picture.
- You think “depth of field” refers to the depth the local humane society requires you to bury your pet.
- You spend thousands of dollars attending workshops to master a certain effect, only to find out there is now a Photoshop filter or plug-in that achieves that same look.
- Every time you get a color space mismatch warning in Photoshop, you think it’s asking you to change your clothes.
- You don’t realize you can almost fake the bokeh of a lens using Photoshop’s Gaussian blur filter.
- Adobe relents and gives you a full refund — on the condition that its tech support staff never has to deal with you again.
- Your competition does better with a chroma key backdrop than you can with lighting gear and models on location.
- Whenever you order 20 x 30 prints from the local photo finishing lab, they call you because they assume there’s been a mistake.
- Your spam filter captures more solicitations for photography workshops than Viagra prescriptions.
- Your spouse books another photographer to do her portrait — and it’s not a boudoir session intended as a gift.
- The biggest fan of your online portfolio, who is currently incarcerated, obsesses over your geotags.
- Clients ask you if facial-recognition software is included with the package they bought — and they’re not being sarcastic.