When trying to make a name for yourself in the competitive photography industry, it is easy to feel devalued by those who think full-time photographers are the only experts in their field. The part-time photographer (a.k.a. the weekend warrior), is the one that is in that in-between working that 9 to 5 grind and running the portrait or wedding business on the side.
There can sometimes be some biased assumptions against those who juggle a day job to make ends meet. However, here’s what you need to keep in mind – most professional photographers have this setup at some part in their businesses — and some are very comfortable with this system to have very successful careers. Potential clients have been convinced to stay away from those of us who live the dirty double standard – and that you can’t be a “professional” in your own right if photography is not your 24/7.
Let’s pick this apart for a minute. What are the cons that someone might assume of the modern-day part-time photographer?
Reason 1: They aren’t as good as the full-timers.
What does that even mean anyway… on what criteria are we grading on? That is what the portfolio is for after all. If you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty, you can differentiate between professionals and amateurs by considering other variables such as having a business license, equipment insurance, tax ID, etc. These are the folks who are in it to do things right and more common than not, they are striving to work 110% on their photography to reach their ultimate goal (and saying bye-bye to the day job).
Reason 2: You can’t charge as much as the “big dogs” if you have another job.
This is probably the most controversial thing I hear in the industry – especially with wedding photography. But keep in mind, the proud weekend warriors are busting their butts all week long to be able to do what they love. I can tell also you that here Virginia Beach, there is an absolute surplus of wedding and portrait photographers and we range from all levels of skills, price range, and experience. Your photographer’s price range should reflect the quality and experience of work and the images they create. I also can’t stress how important it is for your big events (such as weddings, maternity, and newborn sessions) to actually take the time and get to know your local photographers. Everyone — client and photographer — has a vision and it is the professional’s job to make sure that the client is given the best possible service, so in retrospect, we are all on the same team here.
The bottom line is, whether full-time photographer or weekend warrior, a real professional will come across as such – professional.