“How Can I Do What I Love, When What I Love is Low-Paid?”

Graham has a long-standing passion for photography. But when it's known for being a tricky career path to make money from, how can he realistically make a future from it?

What's your career history and current job?

I work for a small print company.

I used to be an art teacher, but left teaching four years ago when my school closed down, and moved into the print industry.

How do you feel about your work?

I enjoy the technical problem-solving element, and the customer interactions (most of the time), but a lot of the work is very repetitive and I really miss the creative outlet I had in teaching.

Digital print is all about rules and limitations, and although I can be creative in the way I tackle problems, that's really my only way of stretching my creative muscle.

I'm also surrounded by the same handful of people every day, and although I get on well with my colleagues, I miss interacting with a variety of people.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I've always been a keen photographer, and spend most of my spare time out and about with my camera.

I love street photography – candid moments between strangers in urban settings.

My print job has been a fantastic learning curve for me in terms of my photography, so I'm really grateful that I've had a chance to develop my skills in that way. I've been told I'm really good at what I do, and I'm always learning and developing my skills.

I can't think of anything better than getting paid to be a photographer.

What's the biggest obstacle you're facing?

Unless you're an incredible talent, or you know the right people, it's very difficult to make money as a photographer.

I have friends who are wedding photographers and they all have to budget so carefully over the course of the year to be able to make ends meet. I don't want to be so pessimistic about things, but photography is just one of those fields packed full of people who love their art, but can't make it work as a career.

I'd love to find a way to make that different for me, but I just don't know what I could do that everyone hasn't already tried.

Can you help Graham?

  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • What can he do to make a liveable income out of his passion for photography?
  • Do you know anyone he could talk to?

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