Thoughts & Images by Scott Robert Lim
“The bigger the dream, greater the sacrifice”
It is easier to be a multi millionaire than to be a full-time, self sufficient, professional photographer. Living a life of a self employed artist is one of the hardest things in life to accomplish. Quite frankly, it would be a dream come true for many to be a full time photographer/artist earning a sufficient wage . I contend the general public does not personally know very many people or any friends who are self employed artists who can earn a decent living with their craft. I would wager most of us know more multi millionaires than successful artists. If one can beat the odds and make it as a full time artist , it is almost like winning a lottery since very few have done it. The question remains, is it luck, meant for only those who are naturally gifted or is there a formula to this success?
As a mentor, one of my greatest joys have been helping a number of artists do the impossible- develop careers as self sufficient photographers. It is currently one of my primary goals in life and a passion. As I study success patterns I have noticed one key factor that makes a HUGE difference between those who “make it” versus those who don’t.
There is one common thread that binds these successful photographers and it is directly related to SACRIFICE. All of the photographers who have “made it”- sacrificed and gave up working their traditional jobs and committed 40-80 hours a week to develop their craft and business. The success rate for those who’ve have done this versus those who haven’t is such a huge gap I now assume if an artist doesn’t spend at least 40 hours a week at their craft for several years, they will almost NEVER become world class photographers who can independently support themselves and a family. It is common to see the part time photographer do well for maybe a year or two but their business usually fades for a few reasons…
Their work may be sufficient for part time income but it does not transcend to the next level of excellence required to provide them a good, full time income. Here are three reasons why…
1. They don’t have the time required to practice 50 hours a week devoted to their craft and transcend their work.
2. They don’t have the proper learning base or have a very successful mentor that will groom them into a world class artist and business person.
3. It is harder and harder for part time photographers to separate themselves from the masses. Technology and digital imaging software will always close the gap between the good and average photographer. Don’t be just good, be WORLD CLASS in imagery and in business.
The path to becoming a professional athlete is very similar to becoming a full time artist. There MUST be a HUGE sacrifice of time and commitment! The odds of making it are slim but the pay off is downright amazing.
PLEASE RESPECT OUR JOB AND THE INDUSTRY! Part time effort and sacrifice is never going to compare to those of us who have invested YEARS of FULL TIME dedication and sacrifice. I have poured my heart, soul, mind, body, spirit and MAJOR financial resources to get where I am. Sorry to say, there are no shortcuts, no magic formulas.
“No pain, no gain”, as the popular saying goes. If anyone wants to even consider becoming a gainfully employed artist and produce work at a world class level, it is a full time commitment and this person will have to find 40-60 hours a week devoted to developing their craft to catch up with those of us who put in this amount of time and effort.
the DREAM continues…
I would like to commend a few photographers that I have helped. I am extremely proud of their accomplishments as successful, FULL TIME photographers. They truly beat the odds and I know they sacrificed much to get where they are now!
Marie-Lyssa, Toronto, Canada
Bandele Zuberi, Birmingham, UK
Tauran Woo, Los Angeles, CA
Gurm Sohal, Vancouver, Canada
Sarah Dawson, Sacramento, CA
Esther JuLee, Atlanta, GA
Mandie Haberman, Madison, WI
Junshien Lau, San Jose, CA
Erik Vail, Seattle, WA
Stephen Ng, Sacramento, CA
Chris Chen, New York, New York
Amber Hughes, Vancouver, Canada
Arielle Langhorne, Pensacola, FL
JEZA- Zabrina Deng & Jeremy Chan, San Francisco, CA- On the rise, both have quit their full time jobs to pursue photography as a full time career and will make it!! Please book now while affordable!
Renae Lamb, Sacramento, CA
Stroll down memory lane! I have MANY fond memories, some of the best moments of my life with the people below. I have been blessed to be a part of many of these fine photographers for several years. Here are a few pictures of us around the world…
LET YOUR JOURNEY BEGIN, come to the next SR International Workshop…