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Tag Archives: wedding photography

The following is catered towards wedding photography, mainly because of all the photography industries out there, it’s most feasible to make a living shooting weddings. There are definitely those who are financially successful doing commercial, fine art, or landscape work. But the truth is, they are few and far between. In addition, I will be […]

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  • Sophia Q. - Thanks for this blogpost. I’ll send it to everyone that has asked me “you spent HOW MUCH on wedding photography?!?” and then looks as me skeptically.ReplyCancel

  • Tweets that mention FAQ: What should I do to become a full-time photographer? (or, “10 reasons NOT to become a professional photographer”) » Junshien Weddings & Portraits -- Topsy.com - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Junshien Lau, Joanne Namocatcat. Joanne Namocatcat said: RT @junshien: FAQ: How can I become a professional photographer? (This is a MUST READ.) http://bit.ly/27rWW9 […]ReplyCancel

  • JulieLim - Junshien, thanks for this post… I’m not even close to shooting a wedding yet and I am so scared especially after reading the list BUT if I really want to make it to the top I cannot let anything stop me. Same goes for other wedding photographers who are trying to make it out there.ReplyCancel

  • Chris Chen - great post my friend…..clients don’t know how much time we spent on post processing their images. They think it’s a 8-10 hour gig.ReplyCancel

  • Ian - Well said… These are definitely all the things I thought about and it’s good seeing it from you as somewhat of a reality check.

    ***You get to pay for your own equipment!*** <== NOT fun.



  • saphoto - this is all 110% true.ReplyCancel

  • hien ngo - thanks for the great words Junshien!ReplyCancel

  • donald lee - great post.ReplyCancel

  • Quincy - dude! So So So So So VERY True! great words!ReplyCancel

  • uberVU - social comments - Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by junshien: FAQ: How can I become a professional photographer? (This is a MUST READ.) http://bit.ly/27rWW9ReplyCancel

  • Ingrid Joy - Amen to that!ReplyCancel

  • Sean - Man, number 8 hits so many artistic industries hard. Your post rings so true, and it’s painful.

    To play the Devil’s Advocate though, number 2 is a little misleading. The person working at Starbucks is an employee, while a photographer is a small business owner. As with any business owner, the photographer’s job is to claim as little as possible for income tax (which is most likely how the Bureau of Labor Statistics gets its information). Associated business costs can be written off of revenue, and many businesses are “inventive” in their accounting. Businesses also pay less tax than regular workers.

    On a different topic, when are you going to take a vacation and visit us up here in the Great White North?ReplyCancel

  • saphoto - and weekend warriors bring down the market price of quality wedding photography national average hahaReplyCancel

  • leland wong - I’m looking for a job.ReplyCancel

  • Kevin Isabeth - While this post is scary and probably very true, it hasn’t put me off wanting to be a pro photographer. Thanks for the facts of life chat.ReplyCancel

  • Faizal - yes. spot on! i never thought about all these before.
    great post!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Nodurft - Wow! I just had this very conversation with a wonderful girlfriend I did a wedding with this weekend. I felt like I was bursting her bubble. But I love her and don’t want to see her suffer. But she’ll be walking away from a very lucrative career that anyone would envy in this economy. One other thing people need to consider before jumping into weddings, there’s nothing more difficult to shoot (if you’re doing a good job). Just because you love photography and bought a bottom of the line camera in the “Pro” level ie. Rebel or D90, doesn’t make you capable of taking on the low lighting conditions for a wedding. You need YEARS of excellent shooting before walking into a wedding.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Pretty much why I say “no” when people ask if I plan on doing full-time! That, plus I’m not really a small business person, especially if it takes up weekend time. :PReplyCancel

  • Paul D - Okay. This list is somewhat of a reality check but I think it is misleading. Many of the points directly have to do with business choices. (1 through 7 and 10). Most photographer’s fail for the same reasons that most small businesses fail – lack of planning. A good business plan will actually force you to ask yourself all of the pertinent questions and come up with answers. (health insurance, equipment costs, rate, etc.)

    What is completely absent from this is the freedom and joy that comes from doing what you love. “Working” 80 hours a week is nothing if you love what you’re doing.

    I am looking forward to reading the real answer.ReplyCancel

  • Kenneth - Great thought-provoking list! Does #9 mean that there’s still hope out there of making it as an average, mediocre photographer? (Okay, okay, stop throwing the tomatoes!)ReplyCancel

  • KS - As someone who is a “weekend warrior,” this is an enlightening post, although I have a few things to add:

    1. Everyone starts off doing $2-3K weddings. But, people get what they pay for. Better photographers will charge more for their skill, and although not everyone can tell the difference between a decent photographer versus an artist, there are always people willing to pay for better photography.

    2. Photography is eReplyCancel

  • KS - As a “weekend warrior” myself, this is an enlightening post, although I have a few things to add:

    1. Everyone starts off doing $2-3K weddings. But you get what you pay for. Better photographers will charge more. It’s plain economics. And although not everyone can tell the difference between a decent photographer and an artist, some people can. There will always be a market for the talented. And I would venture to guess that pro photographers *prefer* the discerning bride that can tell the difference between average and great.

    2. Yes, photography *is* expensive, which is why people start off as weekend warriors. I bet most/many photographers started out that way. These people (including me) get the experience they need under their belts until they have the skill that justifies leaving their day jobs to become full time pros.

    3. Long hours: Do they matter if you love what you’re doing and find passion/purpose in it? I’ve always believed that if you land a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.ReplyCancel

  • Raymond Chou - Well said Junshien. I can attest to a majority of your points. Tis true tis pity.ReplyCancel

  • Article Disappearance? - […] This Was on the DPS twitter. Is this what you were looking for? __________________ JRG1979 Sites:flickr Gear: Nikon D90, Nikon 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S Nikkor Lens, Nikon 50 mm f/1.8D Nikkor AF Lens, Nikon SB-600 AF Speedlight Flash (Its OK to edit and re-post my pictures on DPS) […]ReplyCancel

  • Mike - Great job with writing this. It spells out the unspoken truths very well.ReplyCancel

  • Karl Johnston - well that was fucking depressing.

    though sadly true

    I think I must be the only pro photographer out there trying to become a weekend warrior. To be quite honest I would love to be full time, and I am currently..but to face reality I would rather do what I love, enrich peoples’ lives through my photography and work a different job, with more protection, benefits, more insurance, more satisfaction and possibly a consistent income.

    I love running businesses, building them…but there’s only so much you can do to be different and now even the best photographers, the most reputed photographers, the best image creators on our planet…aren’t really professional photographers (they’re WWs)

    And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    But man, is it really damned difficult being an artist in this day and age.

    And there’s also nothing wrong with that.

    Though, who says you can’t do both? The average person changes career paths 7 times in their lifetime..why do you have to stay a pro photographer or an accountant or an astronaut or a pole dancer or whatever? I’ve changed career paths twice, nearly changing it for a third time in the past 10 years.

    I’ll still continue doing what I love, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to just stick to that and that alone…like was said in #1: “You are the human resources, IT, admin, marketing, sales, and accounting departments all wrapped up in one.”

    One thing I’ll say..running my own business as a pro photographer has taught me more about life, business, myself and other people than any other job I’ve ever had working for someone else in a job I didn’t believe in or want to do. I’ll still continue doing what I do, and in the meantime if something better comes along..well I’ll go do that for a bit, so should all of you..what’s tying you to doing one profession ? Branch out, evolve, adapt..that’s business after all.ReplyCancel

  • anastasia - i’m using this as a reference. this is a good post and thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Peter G. - Very accurate. Very realistic. Very honest. Great post!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - Very well said Junshien ! I think I’ll just refer to your post whenver someone ask me that same question.ReplyCancel

  • Eric Farewell - Ahhh yes, I’ll be sending lots of people to this link in the future… THANK you for taking the time to write all the stuff I’ve had to repeat over the years.ReplyCancel

  • Weekend Links | iffles.com - […] a professional photographer, and I always respond with an emphatic “no”. This list of 10 reasons NOT to become a professional photographer touch upon some of my reasons why (via […]ReplyCancel

  • Tracy G - They are charging even less out here…I am such an idiot…lol.
    ah so.ReplyCancel

  • Budianto Chen - True, but I’ll take that risk, let’s see next year which path that I’ll stand on. Thanks for the post..ReplyCancel

  • KarmaGarda - Nice post, found it a very interesting read. I agree with all your points accept one. You’re post title is invalid. It should read:

    “10 reasons NOT to become a professional WEDDING photographer”

    seeing as that was the only area you dealt with! Apart from that, about time someone said it.ReplyCancel

  • KarmaGarda - Sorry about the typos! Also, I should clarify, maybe it should be titled “event photographer” as opposed to just “wedding”ReplyCancel

  • Les liens de la semaine #8 at Event-pics Blog - […] 10 raisons pour ne pas devenir photographe professionnel […]ReplyCancel

  • Best of 2009: Fashion shoots and blog posts recap » San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Photographer - […] “10 reasons NOT to become a professional photographer” Unquestionably THE most explosive post of this blog. This article has been read by almost 4000 people, and has raised a few firestorms around the web. See what the fuss is about. […]ReplyCancel

  • Procks - |
    KarmaGarda – Nice post, found it a very interesting read. I agree with all your points accept one. You’re post title is invalid.
    It should read:
    “10 reasons NOT to become a professional WEDDING photographer”

    I totally agree with this reply.
    The article mostly covers about the Wedding Photography.
    And another major fact is that more than half of the wedding photographers are Amature-photographers who like to call themselves as Pro-photographers.
    There are many successful wedding photographers as well. Why dont we take those references.
    And about competition, It’s every where so thinking about working in a non-competitive environment, I guess wont be practical.
    I’d love to work 60-80 hrs a week on what I enjoy than
    to suffer from 42 hrs/week which i dont enjoy.ReplyCancel

  • Arielle - Soooo well said! You know how to put in word clearly, reality.ReplyCancel

  • Cristiano - Man! What a sobering list! I think I’ll keep my photography to a hobby. ^^

    I work as a pastor and I think I’ll one day make a top ten list for becoming a pastor! I think it’s sorely needed.ReplyCancel

  • Tweets that mention FAQ: What should I do to become a full-time photographer? (or, “10 reasons NOT to become a professional photographer”) » Junshien International Photographers | San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Photography -- Topsy.com - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christina Chen, Ryan Chua. Ryan Chua said: Another MUST READ for aspiring wedding photographers out there! This one is by pro wedding photographer Junshien… http://fb.me/LDFkIq4l […]ReplyCancel

  • orange county photography - NUTS!I did a really long reply to your post but my internet crapped out and I lost it all! Oh well, just wanted to say that it was a great post! Nicely done!ReplyCancel

  • Robin - Hardcore and sobering. I’ve said that I have no idea where my photography will take me but all I know is I want to keep learning.ReplyCancel

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Ladies, are you wondering where all the unattached single guys live? Guys, are you frustrated with the lack of eligible single girls in your area? Well, I have good news and bad news. First, the good news: somebody has taken data from the US Census Bureau and created a nifty little interactive map of singles […]

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  • Kat - Hahaha, hilarious! Thanks for this.ReplyCancel

  • Ted - nice!! I am near the epicenter for single women!!ReplyCancel

  • lynnkaichao - LOL. what a plug. hahahhaReplyCancel

  • harvey - too bad I live near sunnymale and man jose. =(ReplyCancel

  • jeanny - this is pretty hilarious. look at those two teenie red spots on the map.ReplyCancel

  • yanni - holy crap! i need to move to the US!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Eric - Oh my…good thing I am already married. Ha ha ha…you said it is easier for the women but I would fathom to guess they are thinking, “Sure there are a lot of single guys out there but there are not enough “quality” single guys out there.” =P Good luck all you singles. And I agree with Lynn, nice plug.ReplyCancel

  • Natalia - this is hillarious! =DReplyCancel

  • saphoto - lol get a 5″7 girl for kai kai from Taiwan haha
    junshien, move to utah.babahhahahaha jk
    welp, this makes me not one of the blue dots at least =)ReplyCancel

  • Polymath - Your map can’t be right… if this is correct, there should be more men than women in the US, which is… untrue…
    Couple points of data:



    The second link is the more interesting one, with regards to this issue.

    Take note of the graph looking at gender ratios by age brackets… By age 24 there are more females than males in the year 1990, by 34 in the year 2000. If you look at the distribution map, it doesn’t match the so-called derived data in xoxo’s map. Xoxo claims to be using census data, but that just doesn’t make sense.

    If there are n men and m women, and x are married, then n-x/m-x = the ratio of singles, male to female. Above 1 is male predominant, below 1 is female predominant.

    Biologically, there are more males at birth, and this number drops over time. The death rate for men exceeds women throughout life, typically, after birth-mortality has improved with the advent of modern OBGYN.

    Recent data has suggested that birth rates for males has decreased, and in some areas is now below 50% of live births, which reverses a well documented pattern over the last several hundred years (and probably before that, but accurate census data for pre-modern is hard to get). Some have hypothesized changes in stress patterns, environmental toxins, radiation as well as lifestyle pattern changes. Bottom line is unknown, but should the trend continue, overall oversupply of females may increase in the next generation.

    Unless infant sacrifice becomes more mainstream, vis a vis PRC habits, that has approached a 54% male population ratio. Not good for societal stability, by the way…ReplyCancel

    • Junshien - @Polymath: Dear Ferd, you genius is staggering, but I will muster a paltry attempt to keep up with your brilliant analysis. Even so, I remain rather confused.

      The national atlas article states that “Up to age 24, the male-female ratios were about 105, reflecting the fact that more boys than girls are born every year and that boys continue to outnumber girls through early childhood and young adulthood. The male-female ratio dropped gradually in the working age groups, from 105.1 in the age group 15 to 24 years to 92.2 for the age group 55 to 64.”

      Isn’t this reflected in Jonathan Soma’s map? After the age of 35, we do see far more women than men. Also, the map is an analysis of data of SINGLES only, whereas your two articles look at the overall male-female population. If in general, there are more male births, men marry younger women, and men die out faster … then we shouldn’t we be seeing a sausage fest until around middle age (though the imbalance isn’t THAT excessive, considering that 40 extra single males per 1000 singles is only 4%), after which the single women outnumber the single men?ReplyCancel

  • lizsong - lol. thanks for sharing this.ReplyCancel

  • maria - bahaha. my friends would LOVE this.ReplyCancel

  • Best of 2009: Fashion shoots and blog posts recap » San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Photographer - […] “Where do all the singles live??” If you’re single, you’ve had this discussion more times than you can count. Where are all the quality girls? What are all the good men? An interesting look at the statistics, along with a nifty interactive graph. […]ReplyCancel

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A little bit of background information about why photographers are so expensive. Many of us work 80 hour weeks, and no, we really don’t make anything close to $200/hr, though that would be very nice.  =P  Also, the author only covers the extensive time required for great photography; he doesn’t go into the costs of equipment, […]

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  • Ted - Wouldn’t it be nice??

    But thanks for the link! I am gonna link it to my blog too!ReplyCancel

    • Junshien - @Ted: I’m thinking even $100/hr would be nice too. =P

      @Eric: “Okay, so they can now take nicer bad pictures.” Lollll so true!ReplyCancel

  • Eric - I know it would be very nice to make that much per hour. Yes, many people don’t realize how much work goes into producing good images. As the article says it might not even be the time to shoot it but all the time spent learning how and what to do. Most just don’t get it, example being, someone asked me about becoming a better photographer. I said “If you are serious I recommend Scott Robert’s workshop.” Answer…”Oh that would be nice but I can buy a new camera for that.” Okay, so they can now take nicer bad pictures. Go figure.ReplyCancel

  • Shawn Richter - Thank you for reposting my article, I’m glad you enjoyed it enough to share with your readers.ReplyCancel

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