from nursing major to photographer

posted 2 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 2
1 posts

GIRL, stick with nursing!!!! Or if you really hate it that much, switch your major to something else that will provide you with the education to make a decent living for yourself.

It’s HARD WORK out there as a photographer. You won’t make much money and you’re competing with tons of other people who have the same idea as you (“I just bought a DSLR! Now I want to be a photographer”).

Keep it as a hobby.

Sorry to be so blunt but this is reality of the situation. Don’t believe me? Go on some photography forums and see what they say. 

Post # 3
4732 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Dreambee:  You need to join a photographer forum, the kind of advice you’ll need you probably won’t find here on the bee. As a professional photographer, I just want you ask….you sure about giving up nursing school?? lol Photography is a VERY hard business to earn a living in, and the vast majoirty of people who start businesses close up shop and/or burn out pretty quickly. Not to dimish your dreams, but being a photographer is so much more than owning a nice camera. The best advice I can give you is to practice a lot, and truly LEARN how to shoot before you “set up shop”. You should be shooting properly and consistantly before you start charging and taking money. Aside from that, researching and learning the business side of things, and establishing yourself as a legit business is very very important.

Post # 4
2151 posts
Buzzing bee

Dreambee:  Do not quit nursing. Or if you do, select a reasonable back up that can make you money. (I studied photography in college, and have been paid for my work/had shows in major cities, I have never made a full-time living or even close to it, and I don’t know anyone who has. My friends have gone to MassArt, Museum School, Pratt, Parsons, SVA, Rochester, and Cooper Union).

If you are serious, I recommend that you begin by doing it part time, as a side job. This is how almost all freelancers start out. Most weddings are on weekends, and I’m sure most family photos are on weekends too, so it should be doable.

The market is tough, but you want to do family portrait/event stuff, which fortunately there is at least a demand for.

You need to start by either:

1.Taking a reputable photography class. (You must be comfortable with lighting kits, composition, and be a photoshop whiz). You can learn photoshop on, be prepared to spend hours doing so.

2. Get an apprenticeship/ part time job. You need to be an (unpaid) apprentice for a professional photographer. You will be carrying gear, setting up lights, backing up data, and organizing files. If you live in a major city your odds of getting such an unpaid internship without being in an art school are very slim. 

3. If you want to go this route (it’s not the best photography, but it’s a living) you could try to work at a mall type portrait place. The composition is usually boring, and the lighting is tacky, but it will give you good experience on doing a fast turnaround and working with customers. It will also give you an idea of the business. 

4. Learn the business. Being a freelance photographer is being a business owner. You need to learn quickbooks, learn about invoicing, learn about marketing, learn about contracts. 

5. Reach out to a working photographer in your area. Ask if they will give you their honest opinion on your portrait work. Non-photographers may have a good eye for fashion or interior decorating, that doesn’t mean they know anything about photos. Finding an unbiased professional is vital. 

Best of luck. If you want to post photos here I can give you at least a semi-professional’s opinion. Only if you want an honest opinion, just thought I’d offer 😉 

Post # 5
1498 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Dreambee:  Get an education in Photography if you want to be a photographer.

Post # 7
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Not a photographer, but if you ever get to the point where you have a website for your photography service – please post prices (or at least a range). And don’t call your prices “Investments”! It’s my pet peeve!

Post # 9
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Dreambee:  Because that’s the important part…hehehe.

Post # 10
1676 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Dreambee:  As a nurse who is not passionate about my job, my advice is to stick with nursing. I envy those who are able to feel passionate about their work, but more often than not a job is just what you have to do to make money. If you have a good steady income, you can do photography as a hobby, and if/when you develope your skills, you can then begin trying to make some money. Like others have said, it is hard to make a full living off of photography. There are enough opportunities in nursing that you can always supplement your photography income with a nursing shift here and there.

Post # 11
795 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

GrannyPantiesRock: Yikes! DH is a nurse, has been for years and he loves his job! He enjoys helping others and even with the bad he knows its his calling. I also LOVE my job. I think if you really hate something you shouldn’t be doing it. DH talks to me all the time about nurses who need to leave because they aren’t passionate and are in it only for the money. I don’t believe you should be in nursing for the money – its a job that requires a certain type of person and if you aren’t that type of person you don’t belong in the field. 

Post # 13
995 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Dreambee:  I commend you for going in with the right attitude. Were some of the previous comments less than encouraging? yes, but you took them to heart and then filed the info away without getting defensive. You will learn and grow fast in this industry doing that. It’s true, people starting out are a dime a dozen, but with talent I made it six successful years in the business. My downfall was being a really sensitive person, and I would never have responded so well to these comments… If you’ve got the talent to go with your great attitude, youve got a real chance; good luck chica!

Post # 14
14 posts

As a highly qualified and experienced RN with numerous post grad qualifications who has never enjoyed their work, but kept going through uni as i didn’t want to be seen as a “quitter” or “failure” I would STRONGLY suggest you follow your heart and change to photography! 

Whilst i did, and do appreciate the knowledge I have learnt during my nursing studies, it never made me happy… it took me years to gain the confidence and be ok with myself to admit that I just didn’t draw the same pleasure or satisfaction from nursing that some of my colleagues did.  I saw and worked with a lot of burnt out colleagues who not only hated their job, but we’re also starting to hate their life and I decided that I wanted, and most importantly DESERVED better for myself.  I wanted to wake up in the morning and not dread going to work, not count down the hours until home time and days until not having to work.  Eventually I took a leap of faith and changed jobs and haven’t looked back since…

Doing what makes you happy will inspire you and you will ensure you are successful… As the old saying goes Do a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life! 

All the best with your decision!! 

Post # 15
549 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Your heart can lie in many places. If you aren’t passionate about nursing do NOT go into the nursing field. There’s nothing worst than seeing/having miserable nurses who lack compassion and hate their job. Save yourself the self-loathing and find another steady career.

With that said… It’s very easy to love photography when you aren’t 100% dependent on it for money. Freelance is extremely stressful! I’ve been freelancing semi-professionally for 2 years and have never made close to the poverty line. Just because you see the value in your work doesn’t mean others will. People are cheap and will want a $1000 package worth of product for $300. I realized I want to shoot only things that I WANT to shoot, not book gigs solely because I need the money. Now I’m going back to grad school for a career that I am also passionate about in conjunction with photography. I’ve always wanted to do 2 things in my life. 1. Travel the world and 2. Help people (but not have 100% patient interaction). As a photographer and future PA, I can do and will have both of those.

Anyway, I know that wasn’t your question. But go on and find local photography groups. On LinkedIn there’s a Women in Photography Group and a Nikon group; join those.

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