A question that often comes to your mind
Is it possible to convert your hobby into a career?
The short answer is “Yes“
Yes but only if you are realistic and have a plan to make the transition into the world of wedding photography or any career.
My views may be directly related to wedding photography and how to start a career in the same. But most of the views expressed, apply to any passion or hobby.
There are two main differences between a passion as a hobby and a profession. It is the money and the pressure to perform every day and in every project. You don’t have the liberty to fail or deliver below par when your art form is your profession.
Strategies & Ideas
Let us look into some strategies and ideas to keep in mind when planning to change your career and move into a new profession.
Multiple sources of income
Switching over to photography as a business? Find more than one way to generate revenue or income. Your obvious question would be “I am a wedding photographer. How am I supposed to earn apart from wedding photography?”
Wedding photography can be one of the key sources of income but you need to have other sources of income if there is a lag in the wedding photography business in a month or even a season.
A regular daytime job has the security of a monthly paycheck. A business means a variable monthly income and fixed expenditure to run a business. Always remember
You don’t want a lack of money to be a source of stress and start creating problems.
How much money do you need?
Is your skillset in your hobby can create a sustainable income to pursue as a career? Have you calculated how much monthly revenue you need to run things smoothly in your life?
These are some of the important questions you need to answer. Most people have no clear answers to these questions or they prefer to escape from these questions.
Are you tough?
You have to be, tough as an individual to be in any business. It is easy to pursue your passion as a hobby but it requires mental strength to run it as a business. You can follow someone’s footsteps.
Just because it can be a profession for few, it can be a career for you as well.
Are you truly passionate?
Most of the quick answer will be “yes”. The word passion has many forms. Are you passionate enough not to treat as your regular job?
It is different when you pursue your hobby when you feel like vs hobby converted into a full-time wedding photography business.
There are chances you will start treating it as a regular job.
Passion tends to fizzle out when it becomes a routine. Only a truly passionate person can bear the brunt and challenges of the business. And still, find ways to pursue it passionately.
Passive source of income
Contemporary wedding photography or candid wedding photography is almost a decade old in India now. A large number of hobbyist and semi-pro photographers are jumping into wedding photography without really understanding the business side of things.
They have a regular day job and want some extra bucks by doing wedding photography. It is not a quick dip into the money pool. They offer services at whatever price that can land them a weekend job.
They don’t understand how to deliver consistent quality and client experience. There is no such thing called a passive source of income.
Every source of income requires your blood and sweat. It needs planning, focus, energy and time.
You will have to lose some “focus” from your day job so that you can put some focus on this. Your primary career is going to suffer a bit and most of the people are ready for that. Are you?
Pursuing any art form is an exhilarating experience. A lot of people enjoy following or practicing art. It is easy for the majority of people when there is no pressure of earning money from your hobby.
They enjoy only when there is no stress in generating income. Do you belong to this category?
There is pressure in every job to deliver. The stakes are high if you want to sustain and excel in your job. The things are more tricky in any business.
It is “your” business. It is your passion. You are supposed to deliver value in return for payment. There are deadlines and there are benchmarks you need to match and surpass. This is all creating pressure.
If you don’t have a plan, you are going to get stuck. It is a matter of time. This pressure and routine inadvertently have pushed them back to the reason why they left the job and started pursuing their hobby as a career. Its a job for them now where they have to do certain things for a predictable outcome. Back to square one.
How to make a plan?
Take a piece of paper. Draw a verticle line in the center. On the left-hand side, write down what makes you passionate about your art or hobby. On the right-hand side, jot down the things which you dislike or you are not good at in your hobby. You have to think and rethink.
Maximize your points and detail it as much as possible.
Be realistic, what you dislike today is not going to change magically in the future and you will suddenly start liking it.
Now make a list of possible options on how you can outsource these tasks so that you don’t have to work on them. You will have to hire people who are good at it and are better than you in doing that day after day. You will have to write down answers and possible solutions to all the questions asked above.
Don’t do it in your head. I repeat don’t do it in your head. You will have to write it down on a piece of paper.
A flawed plan
If you want to be a freelance wedding photographer and planning to build a portfolio by working with few established wedding photographers.
Let me guide you, it is not a plan. This is a plan by every wannabe wedding photographer. This not a unique plan. You are not the first one to come up with this plan. It is a flawed plan.
Wedding photographers with years of experience and awesome portfolio struggle with attracting and converting them into leads.
If you can be realistic and honest with yourself, answer all the questions elaborately. You will see a plan shaping up on paper in front of you.
If you cannot or not ready, then it is just a beautiful dream 🙂