Reasons Why Photography is the Easiest Career

As a professional photographer, I regularly engage in discussions about my career choice. Sometimes it’s mentioned how lucky I am to be in a business where I get to take pictures all day and don’t really have to “work” like normal people do. Other times I get to hear inspirational stories from industry up and comers – how they took senior portraits of their neighbor’s nephew and realized they should open a photo studio.

The adventure through the career of a professional photographer is exhilarating to say the least. From photographing squirrels with an iPhone to shooting for National Geographic in a matter of months and from a fixed income to a 6 figure salary in less than a year, a professional photographer is truly blessed.

For career photographers the world over, there are a number of perks that make it a dream job. I’ve compiled 20 of the top benefits:

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1. Anyone can do it.

The phone on your camera produces images 12 megapixels and up. With Instagram filters, it’s easier than ever to express your own unique view of the world with any of the built-in presets.

2. It’s a great career for shy people and loners.

The beauty of a camera is it creates a barrier between you and your subject. Just bring the camera up to your eye and all you have to do is watch and push a button. No more worries about actually having to interact with a person!

3. It’s all about the gear.

Photography is the great equalizer. It all comes down to the camera. As long as you have a better camera than the next guy, your pictures will come out better. It’s simple science.

4. One decent portfolio will get you any client.

People looking for a photographer tend to be incredibly open-minded. It’s natural and easy for people to look at beautiful pictures of wildflowers and instantly know you’re the perfect photographer for their upcoming fashion shoot.

5. All professional cameras are incredibly user-friendly.

Hi-end professional cameras (commonly called DSLRs) come with different “modes” that make shooting in any situation a breeze. Taking little Billy to his soccer game? Just turn the dial the icon for the person running. Showing off that stunning new azalea bush? Switch it over to the flower icon. So easy a child could do it!

6. Almost every photographer finds their true passion in a matter of weeks.

Portrait photography, advertising, and commercial product shoots make up for a surprisingly small amount of business in the photographic industry. The images that usually sell the fastest and for the largest profit are macro pictures of flowers and insects (which can be commonly found in your backyard), sunsets, any landscape shot from a moving vehicle, and cat pictures.

7. Social media pretty much handles your marketing needs for you.

Facebook, Instagram, Flickr… these are only a few of the hundreds of outlets at your disposal. With today’s rigid internet security measures in place, it’s never been easier to safely and securely show off your work. But even with today’s regulations on pirated imagery, you can never be too safe. Be sure to always add a large watermark of your company’s logo to the center of every picture.

8. If you can shoot one thing, you can shoot anything.

After all, it’s the same camera for each picture – there’s really not much difference. Weddings, fashion, and photojournalism all come down to the people. They’re nearly identical.

9. Customers are more than happy to let you express your individuality.

When it comes to photographing people, you’ll find very few customers have pre-existing ideas of how they want their pictures to look. Asking a photographer to replicate a picture they saw one time or to make their images look like a Vanity Fair ad is a terrible faux pas. Nearly everyone understands this breach of etiquette and it’s unlikely to ever hear such a request.

10. Copyright and licensing laws are surprisingly easy to understand.

Unlike the United States tax or legal code, the laws governing ownership of artwork is very straight forward. “The person who takes the picture owns the picture.” It’s so clear and to the point, hardly anyone will ever be confused about their rights to reproduce the images.

11. The money’s great!

It’s a standard of business that a quality product demands a respectable price. When it comes to cherished images of loved ones, advertisements for the season’s hot new product, or coverage of a once-in-a-lifetime event, you’ll find customers are more than happy to spend that little extra.

12. It’s all about the art.

Paperwork isn’t for everyone. One of the best reasons to become a professional photographer is knowing all you have to think about is crafting award-winning images. As a professional, I spend the majority of my days in “the field” capturing fleeting glimpses of the beauty in the world around me. In fact, writing this list is probably the most I’ll even look at my computer this week.

13. It’s one of the easiest jobs to talk about.

Imagine an efficiency expert meeting a new group of people. By the time they explain the intricacies of their job, people might be more confused than when they started. But, as a crafter of unique imagery, all you have to do is tell someone you’re a photographer and they’ll instantly understand that you take pictures at weddings.

14. Getting constructive feedback of your images is an almost effortless process.

Everyone has an inherent ability to determine what makes a picture aesthetically pleasing. All you have to do is send an email of a few dozen full-size, uncompressed pictures to a friend and they’ll be able to tell you what works about the images and what doesn’t. A few sources of good advice might include your grandmother, your neighbor, open-content online forums, Jim in the cubicle around the corner, and 4chan.

15. General education doesn’t really matter when your business is art.

Remember, a successful photography business is about the pictures. There isn’t really a reason to know mathematics or finances. That’s what an accountant is for. If you were never great in English class, don’t worry yourself too much. As we already discussed, photography is a business for “the lone wolf.” There aren’t many instances where presentations or one-on-one meetings come into play.

16. Contracts are a thing of the past.

Gone are the days when simple things like a stay at a hotel or joining a gym require pages and pages of paperwork. Integrity, honesty, and a sense of moral right and wrong are all people need to uphold a deal. The only legalese and business savvy you need to know is how flash those pearly whites and deliver a firm handshake.

17. Once they start, jobs don’t really change.

The professional art industry is one built on mutual respect. You’re offering a service that your customers are paying for and they understand the boundaries of what that means. One of the most delicate situations in a customer-photographer relationship is asking for more than the initial agreement. If at any point your customer asks you to shoot longer or include extra files, happily accept the request. Once the project is done, they will be eager to compensate you fairly for your extra effort.

18. Photoshop will fix any mistake.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a burger flipper, a federal judge, or a heart surgeon – people make mistakes. The beauty of photography is those mistakes don’t have to be permanent. Let’s say you’re photographing a bride after the big dance and her hair is stuck to her forehead sweat. There’s no need to interrupt everyone’s fun to brush the hair aside, just open the file in Photoshop and click the “Fix Hair” icon in the tools pallet.

19. Career advancement is virtually guaranteed.

Just like professional athletes, many of the highly successful photographers are “discovered” by talent agents. By utilizing photo-sharing websites like Instagram and Flickr, It’s easier than ever for agencies to find your work. Just upload a few photos a week and you’ll be solicited for projects in no time!

20. It requires almost no specific training or education.

In the end, your career is all about creating show-stopping images, conveying your unique view of the world around you. If you have an expensive camera, you’re guaranteed to craft masterpieces. Just throw it on “auto,” click away, then sit back and wait for the money to come rolling in!

A big thank you to Ben C. and Elayne G. for their inspiration and help with this list!

A Tale of Two Businesses (Mine and Yours)

A QUICK NOTE:   THIS POST IS A BIT LENGTHY, SO I’VE CUT IT DOWN TO THE NITTY-GRITTY  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ THE WHOLE THING, THE STORY CONTINUES AFTER THE PICTURE.  IT’S A FUN-FILLED BACK-STORY OF HOW I FOUND MYSELF WORKING MULTIMEDIA FOR INDEPENDENTLY OWNED BUSINESSES.

NOW ONTO THE POST!

I’ve decided to make an official upgrade in my business.  Up until now, I have primarily offered photo services, with additional media upon request.  JonKPhoto is now actively marketing a full selection of media services, from photo and video, to advertising and social media.

Basically, if you think your company could stand to have a classier look, market more effectively, and acquire more customers, give me a ring and we’ll chat.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a brochure for the multimedia services.  It’s a bit of a read, but there’s a pretty solid rundown of the primary forms of media that companies need and why they’re important.

– Jon

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… and now a little bit of back story.

Danger? Where’s My Camera?

It was about 10ish years ago, but I remember it rather clearly.  I was sitting in my room with headphones on (quite loudly) and I could still hear these thumps.  It was probably more “felt.”  With the music off and standing on the back porch, the remote wail of sirens filled the evening.  The thumps continued.

So, my father and I piled in the van and drove through neighborhoods around us trying to see what happened.

Through the trees we saw the sky glowing, but the color was coming from the ground.  As we rounded the K-Mart, we saw what was causing the commotion.  There was a blaze we could feel from a quarter mile away.  Jets of fire were shooting 50 or 60 feet into the air.

Clearly there was too much hullabaloo for us to really understand what happened, but from the crowd that had gathered, we deduced that a shop owned by a hydroplane boat racer had caught fire.  We tried to get closer but were dutifully turned back.  The following day, we found out that the tanks of racing fuel had somehow combusted and compromised the acetylene equipment.  When I walked down to see the building, I saw that an entire wall had been blown outward as though The Hulk was inside.

A decade later and well into a career in photography, I still think about the pictures I would have gotten had I had a camera with me.

This also brings up the “photo journalism argument.”  Is is OK to profit from taking pictures of things or events that destroyed someone’s life or income?  I suppose I still haven’t decided which mindset I have.  So until that point, I’ll continue to take pictures of things that intrigue me.

As you can probably guess, there was a fire.  It was at a tree maintenance company about 3 miles from my house.

– Jon

History Repeats Itself

When it rains, it pours.  When it rains dogs… well, speaking in meteorological terms, that’s impossible, but the idea of it is straight awesome.

The last three posts were all about our fuzzy, drool-covered, blanket-hogging, best friends.  So I see no need to stop while we’re on a roll.  Here’s dog post numero 4.

Back in another life (it was something like 6ish years ago) I worked at a dog training company for about a year.  Recently I got back into the whole Rescue League scene and organized a pet adoption fundraiser (That post down there has all the nitty gritty).  Well, in the process of organizing the whole thing, I found myself in touch with that very same trainer.

You’ll never guess what happened.

OK, you probably will.  I mean, why else would I be writing a post about this?  So to answer the question that’s clearly been screaming from the dark recesses of your mind: YES!  Yes I have taken even more pictures of dogs.  Not only that, but I also re-branded his company.  It looks pretty spiffy if I do say so myself.

Also – not sure how many of you fine folks have adopted or are about to adopt, but I would like to mention that Canine Resolution has my highest level of approval when it comes to learning how to make the best of your time with your best friend.  Tell ’em Jon Kopacz sent ya.

Here’s some pretty stuff.  Have a gander!

– Jon

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Still as sporadic, slightly more understandable.

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A question I get a lot is “What have you been up to?”  or sometimes “What projects have you been working on?”  There are assorted variations of this question, but they pretty much all mean the same thing.

I usually respond with… OK – no.  There is no usual response, because it’s so rare that I have more than one current project sharing similarities that we can just pretend it doesn’t happen.  Next week I may be working with an architectural-agricultural hybrid company, a local animal shelter, a community-based restaurant, and a national organization conducting a student competition.  I mention these examples because there was a week last summer where those were the open projects I was working on.   (It was a busy week).

So when I answer the first question and describe my current clients, I’m almost always greeted with the same follow up question, “Oh, wow.  So you’re taking pictures for ALL those?  What are the pictures of?”

Ah.

This seems to be the general consensus about my company and I figured it was time to elaborate a bit on what I do.

Let me begin by saying this is a completely understandable thought process and if you glance up to the those giant words at the top of this page, you’ll agree with me.  I began my company as a photographer and for all my dabbling and involvement in other forms of media, if I find myself going a week at a time without using my camera I get all shaky and my hair starts falling out… OK it’s not THAT bad, but I do find myself daydreaming about the next project in which I’ll actually get to create an image.

So, honest and true, when I’m face to face with a person and they mention that they’ve heard I’m a photographer, I don’t mine.  In fact I actually get a bit of pride out of hearing that.

But when it comes to clients (we’re talking businesses, here) I regularly find that they’re trying to put out new media and have over half-a-dozen contractors assigned to as many different things… and none of them are even talking to each other.

It makes sense for each person to have their own style and that’s what gives a healthy dose of diversity to any good marketing campaign.  But for the finished collaboration to come together in a clean fashion there has to be… well, collaboration.

That’s where I come in.

I may be a photographer, but I’m also a videographer, graphic designer, consultant, and advertising professional – and my client list is rather, shall we say, varied.

More than that, I work with a tight-knit group of media professionals that specializes in everything from web design, branding, and marketing to layout, copy-writing, and packaging.  So when a project on a massive scale comes along or when six assignments come in at once, that are just too much fun to turn down, I can still guarantee success and some top-notch quality.

In the end, when I explain what I’m working on for a certain client, people aren’t usually expecting my answer.

So, I made this to help me explain things a bit more clearly.

– Jon

Sirs and Ladies – Welcome to the most awesome blog ever created.

Howdy folks.  My name’s Jon Kopacz and this here’s my blog.

I’m a portrait, product, and promotion photographer in south eastern Michigan.  The majority of my clientele consists of local businesses and groups looking to do some marketing.  As such I regularly work on a lot of unique and unrelated projects.

That’s why this site is here (among other things).  Cool stuff happens and I’d like to share it with you… no, not that other guy.  Just YOU.  You know who you are…

Anyway, if you look around, you’ll find a rotating collection of previous stuff I’ve worked on as well as current projects.  You’ll also find some of the fun stuff I do on the side.  There will even be posts on interesting goings-on in the photo and design community.  Of course be sure to stop by my collection of  “people to watch.”  Either seasoned pros or up-and-comers, these folks know their business in a wide range of endeavors.

That’s all for now, but be sure to swing by soon.  Lots of fun coming your way.

– Jon K