Why I’m Glad I’m Not a Professional Photographer
Updated: Jul 13, 2022
I follow a lot of professional photographers on YouTube and most of them report feeling pressurised to go out, even when they don’t want to, to make videos for their channel.
The pressure comes from the fact that the YouTube algorithm works in such a way that the success of a channel depends on consistency of output as well as on ‘likes’ and number of subscribers.
In some ways it’s a vicious circle, as these success markers tend to be inter-dependant.
For a professional photographer who has chosen this method of getting his or her work known it can be a disheartening prospect having to make a video each week, even when motivation is low, to ‘feed the machine’ that is YouTube.
However, the alternative can be equally daunting as YouTube is one of the most successful ways for photographers to promote their work.
A photography website will not sell prints if no-one knows of its existence!
But to be successful on YouTube requires a lot of hard work and not everyone is able to stick the pace.
For photographers, as well as being under pressure to produce videos there is also pressure to produce good images, to make the video interesting and entertaining, to encourage viewers with a captivating title and thumbnail and then to promote the video on various social media networks.
Some have tried other options such as sponsorship, selling prints or books, or having a separate members channel offering additional material for a membership fee.
Professional photographers often have to work hard to enjoy the experience of photography amid all this pressure.
The photographers who appeal most to me are those who are upfront about this dilemma and who recognise it as a ‘necessary evil’ while trying to strike a balance between satisfying the demands of YouTube and being true to their own vision for photography.
All of these photographers encourage others to enjoy the photography process instead of focusing on the results.
As an amateur photographer I am in the fortunate position of being able to enjoy the freedom to take photographs for myself.
I go out when I want to and follow my own desires.
I am privileged to live near a great parkland which offers countless photography opportunities in all seasons.
Marlay Park is approximately 300 acres of parkland, consisting of mature woodland, lawns and walkways. It includes Marlay house, built in 1794, which replaced an earlier 17th century house. The house overlooks Marlay demesne, with its Victorian cottage (Laurelmere), waterfalls, lakes and boathouse with viewing platform. There are numerous buildings dating back to 18th and early 19th century.
Laurelmere Cottage framed by trees.
I regularly walk in Marlay park with my camera and I always find something to shoot.
On a recent dull June morning I went out early to the park and since there was poor light for photography I used the opportunity to concentrate on two things – natural framing and leading lines – two aspects of composition that I find very helpful to my images.
Marlay Park provided me with lots of subjects for my exploration of these composition techniques. Below are some of the results.
My images may not be great but I enjoyed making them, they helped me improve my composition techniques and, best of all, I spent this time with my camera because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to.
As a photography enthusiast my time is my own and I get a chance to explore and discover new things without feeling under any pressure to produce a certain image, and that's what I love about photography.
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Two well respected photographers recently produced videos on the difficulty of making a living on YouTube while still managing to enjoy the experience of photography.
Thomas Heaton and Alex Armitage, working in two different countries, face similar issues.
The End of the Channel? Alex Armitage
Taking my Van to the Forest, Camping and Landscape Photography Thomas Heaton