How you know you’ve made it as a pro photographer
How do you know when you've made it as a pro? Professional Photographer asked five Imaging USA 2017 speakers about success:
"When your clients become repeat clients, year after year and for all their photographic needs. When your clients think of you first when planning anything that needs to be photographed—all of their life events, you’re a part of." Kay W. Eskridge, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, Images by Kay & Co. Photography, Phoenix, Arizona
"I’ve had a lot of great professional accomplishments through the years that helped me feel more successful and validated me as a professional photographer. But the day clients stopped asking about my pricing and wanted to own one of my portraits because it was created by me—my vision and my work—was the official day I knew I was a true professional photographer." Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, Hayes & Fisk Photography, Richmond, Virginia
"For me, making it was really two parts. The first was when I had previous clients coming back to me for business knowing I could provide them with a photographic service that others couldn’t. I had a style, a vision, and my clients wanted that. The second level would be when I made it to the Board of Directors of PPA. The growth I did while on the Board made me realize the level I’d reached previously as a pro photographer had a long way to go." Mike W. Fulton, Cr.Photog., TriCoast Photography LLC, Lake Jackson, Texas
"I’ll know I’ve made it when I can retire and live comfortably during retirement based solely on my photography. But [until then] I hope to never feel like I’ve made it. The day I feel like I’ve made it before retiring will be the day I gave up and became complacent. I want to always feel like I’m striving to be better, regardless of what I’ve accomplished in my career." Audrey Woulard, Audrey Woulard Photography, Chicago, Illinois
"I don’t think one should ever think, I’ve made it. If you truly believe you’ve made it, you’ve just shut the door to amazing opportunities for growth and development. However, I do think it’s important to set goals, whether it’s getting a CPP designation, entering image competition, selling X dollars per year, going full-time, opening a store front, being published, and the list goes on. I think you can say, Yes! I did that, but then always follow with, What’s next?" Cris J. Duncan, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, CJ Duncan Photography, Lubbock, Texas
Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer.