I have taught hundreds of young people up to this point in my life. Many of them proclaim early on that they want to be a "photographer". The most common type is a "National Geographic" photographer. This one sits along side many other rare jobs that the young, zealous heart can't help but dream about. There's nothing wrong with this, in fact, I encourage this sort of loftiness when stating long-term goals and what you eventually aspire to be. Here's a few quick facts and tips to help you on your way to stardom.
FACT #1 Did you know that in 2012 the median pay for a photographer was $13.70 per hour!
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Photographers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and communication/photographers.htm (visited August 20, 2014).
TIP #1 Don't think about the money.
Starting out it's important to focus on getting better and shooting. I know it's tempting to spend hours on your "portfolio" website and making it look like your a "pro" when you're not (I did this by the way), but when it comes down to it your struggles and process of "becoming is what shows others your level of professionalism and why they should you money for a photo shoot over the next "average Joe" photographer.
TIP #2 Your photos better get people's attention. Make and post original, consistent photos that make people think. Be original, simple and surprising! During my graduate program I had an instructor in one of my photography classes say "the world doesn't need more photographers , it needs more people who pay attention".
FACT #3 Lots of people hate their job and it shows through their work. Even though I am not following the "rule", I am the source here. I have been around 100's and 100's of miserable people over the past 12 years and they suck at what they do. If you still need a source, here you go.
TIP #3 Don't be a photographer if you wouldn't do it for free. I am convinced that one of the keys to life is simply doing what you love without money being a factor.
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Stay hungry and keep shooting guys.