My Advice to the Guy Who Wrote ‘Advice to Aspiring Full Time Photographers’


Dear Mr. Kim,

I read a blog post of yours titled “Advice to Aspiring Full Time Photographers” reposted on PetaPixel.

It’s filled with lots of exciting tidbits like:

“I think being a full-time photographer is overrated.”

“I think there really isn’t going to be a market for selling images in the future.”

“There is nobody really making a living selling prints, selling books, or licensing photographs.”

“Images are pretty worthless (in the marketplace)”

“Start a blog.”

“The “traditional means” of being a full-time photographer is over.”

“The only photographers I really see making a living “shooting” photography include commercial photographers and wedding photographers”

And then you write, “realize that my advice isn’t probably any good– because I have never made a full-time living just from shooting.”

And I can’t help but wonder why on earth didn’t you just lead with that sentence?

Now, I realize you don’t know me. Unlike you, I don’t make a full-time living teaching workshops. (90% of your income-wow!) I don’t make any kind of living teaching workshops, actually. I don’t make any kind of money from Amazon Affiliate advertisements on my blog. Come to think of it, I don’t have any advertising on my blog.

But I AM a full-time photographer, so your words mean something to me. And I suspect they mean something to all the hard-working men and women who DO make their living not with workshops, but with their camera.

And while I am all for not sugar-coating realities, buddy, I’ve got to say that you are way off base here. I understand you’re a street photographer, so maybe your viewpoint is a little one-way. Get it? One way? Street photographer? Hello? Is this thing on?

You make the argument that professional photography is on its way out because “everyone can afford a nice DSLR nowadays and put together half-decent professional work.” Well, you know what else everyone can afford, Mr. Kim. You know that thing that most people own or at least have in their possession?

A stove.

Yes, most homes have a stove. Most have an oven, too. Even a microwave. And they are pretty dang easy to use: turn it on, the burner gets hot, put the food in a pan and you’ve got dinner.

So, by your reasoning, with all these affordable kitchen appliances that allow everyone to put together dinner, there should not be a single restaurant still open for business.

And yet…

Most of us have coffee makers, too. Some are fancy, some are simple, but they all make coffee. And pretty cheaply, too, right there in our own homes.

By your reasoning, all these affordable coffee makers that allow everyone to make coffee should have put Starbucks out of business a long time ago.

And yet…

And don’t even get me started on scissors. SCISSORS. We all have them, which means we could use them to make our own clothes or cut our own hair.

And yet…

Now, I can’t be too upset with you. As you’ve admitted, you’ve never made a living being a full-time photographer. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about… Which makes me wonder why you wrote this blog post offering advice to aspiring full-time photographers in the first place.



About the author: Missy is a photographer, eater of bacon, drinker of vodka and your guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can read more of her work on her blog. This article originally appeared here.