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rejected and dejected

July 26th, 2007 at 08:35 am

Well, I got the rejection letter on Tuesday. I was so hoping to get that job. They must have mailed it out the minute I walked out of the building...guess I didn't make as good an impression in those 2 hours as I thought I did. I was seriously depressed yesterday...feeling a little better today. Honestly, truly, I have NO IDEA what to do with my life. The fact that I can only seem to land dead-end jobs is really frustrating. I'm starting to think I should go to law school simply to have something to do for the next three years, and because I'd pretty much be guaranteed a decent-paying job at the end. I feel like I am running out of options.

Thank you for your kind comments about my photos! I'd love to make a career of photography, but I have no idea how photographers make any money. I guess appreciate stability in income more than I thought. My other problem with an artsy career is...criticism. I have a really hard time accepting it. I joined a flickr group that critiques food photos just to try and work on it. Art (and music) is just so subjective; everything is a matter of opinion.

So, until I figure out what to do, I'll be spending day after day at my current job. SO and I both have health insurance through me, and I have to pay my bills somehow.

A couple of recent soccer game photos:

13 Responses to “rejected and dejected”

  1. scfr Says:

    Aw shoot, so sorry to hear about the job!
    I see you love animals and photography ... I don't know how things are in Minnesota, but here in the Seattle area pet photography is a BOOMING business ... Just something to think about ...

  2. PrincessPerky Says:

    Sorry bout the letter..rejection might be something you can practice at, flicker is a good way to start.

    PS I like the ball shot on the bottom.

  3. DivaJen Says:

    I'm sorry to hear about the rejection letter. Frown

  4. annab Says:

    Have you ever thought of selling your prints on Etsy.com? Maybe like cards or something? Maybe not as a career, but as a side gig?

  5. fern Says:

    Yes, the others have beat me to it with a few good ideas...

    If you have free time, why not get prints made of your best shots and start mounting them yourself on nice stationery. You could test them out at a craft show or two, even enlarge, matt and frame them if you think they would have widespread appeal (altho this starts costing a fair bit of $$, unless you learn how to cut mats yourself, but even framing by itself is not cheap).

    Or, as another here suggested, put an ad in the paper (maybe after getting more practice in) and market yourself as a pet photographer, someone who will go to a customer's house and get cute dog/cat portraits. Build a portfolio for people to look at by practicing on your family and friends' animals.

    As a writer, i used to always get a certain digest that was updated each year. It was for freelances and was filled with magazines, papers, sites, you name it, with info on what kind of submissions they take, what they pay, their contact info, everything you would need to know if you wanted to get your stuff published there. And they published a similar volume for photographers, i believe, tho i can't for the life of me remember the name. OH wait a minute, i think it could have been the Writer's Market, and the Photographer's Market. But you could go to your local Borders and browse the reference section, or maybe the photography section; i'm sure there would be similar type reference books that might be of help.

    Or contact your local paper and ask them if they ever hire/use freelance photographers. You could do the same if you have any cooking magazines locally published by you.

    I know all this takes a fair amount of legwork, but it could be done on a gradual basis. Since you are still searching for your life's calling, i would also sign up with a few of the job search engine auto email programs (hot jobs, careerbuilder, etc), where you tell them the kind of jobs you're interested in and they automatically email you job listings in your area each week. I've been signed up and getting them for years, even tho i'm fully employed. I like to see what's out there. Don't give up.

    Law school is a long-term, 3-year commitment. If you go into it half-heartedly, well, that's exactly what I did, and i only made it thru 1 year, so the whole thing was kind of a waste of time and money.If you do it, it requires a fair degree of commitment and follow-through.

    I guess bottom line what i'm saying is you're too young at this point to 'settle' for something humdrum, law school or some other option you're only feeling lukewarm about. Pursue your dreams any which way you can!

  6. mjrube94 Says:

    Sorry to hear about that...Fern's post is packed with good ideas. I hope you can use a few.

  7. luvinmylife Says:

    There is a lady that lives near me that sets up a booth (read table) at different events. She has a flier made up with some sample pics and prices on it. She'll take pics, puts the pics on disc and sells the disk. If I remember correctly, she will take pics for an hour where ever you want (house, park, etc.) and charges $125.00. Just a thought. Good luck.

  8. katwoman Says:

    Just wanted to lend my shoulder in case you still need one.

    On a happier note, you could always (volunteer?) ask a professional photog if he needs an assistant. From what I have heard it's the assistants who do all the work and set up the shots. Could be great experience and maybe some fun, too.

  9. Broken Arrow Says:

    Awww, so sorry to hear that you didn't get the job. I've never posted this before, but I applied for a couple of IT positions, but didn't get those myself. Actually, still hearing for the last one....

    But you know what? I have absolutely NO IDEA what I want to be when I grow up too. I wish I was one of those guys that knew exactly what they wanted to do and made lots of money while having fun doing it. Alas, even now, such a revelation eludes me.

    Your photos are excellent, by the way. I'm not saying that to be patronizing. Guys aren't very good at that. Big Grin

    Finally, I starting to draw the conclusion (though it's anything from conclusive) that perhaps a career isn't the place where you'll find happiness in life. At least not for people who are not sure where they belong in their career life. Or, perhaps there is no such thing. Perhaps, like "love" or "happiness", it's all a matter of perspective. Like, you are if you feel that you are. But you're not if you feel that you are not, regardless of what your circumstance is.

    More specifically, I could complain about my current job right now and the parts of it that sucks, but I've done jobs that are suckier and with less pay. I also believe that there are better jobs that may pay more out there. But for now, all I know is that I am working at my current job. So, I might as well look at it in terms of that this job doesn't define my life. Rather, my life is also about what I make of it when I am away from work?

    I'm rambling. Anyways, please take care. If it means anything, I'm in the same boat as you are, and I'll be rooting for you. Smile

  10. baselle Says:

    When I saw your pictures yesterday, they reminded me of this article in the New York Times. I'm just going to cut and paste because you need an account, and its a pain in the tuchus for me to remember it...

    June 5, 2007
    Web Connections
    When Are Photos Like Penny Stocks? When They Sell.

    Earn big money taking photographs in your spare time!

    It sounds like a late-night TV come-on for a phony get-rich-quick scheme. But in this case, it might just be true.

    Thanks to the Internet and digital cameras, thousands of semiprofessional photographers are now selling their shots through so-called microstock Web sites to customers around the world. But it’s not like the old days of stock photography — before 2000: the price that each shot fetches is not enough to buy a cup of coffee. Microstock Web sites have turned the pricing structure for picture licensing on its head.

    Traditional photographic stock companies charge several hundred to several thousand dollars per image. Microstock prices can be as low as 25 cents, and payments to photographers are even lower, often not much more than pennies per sale.

    But some photographers are making significant incomes from their pictures, making up in volume what they have lost in per-shot commissions. And that, in turn, is affecting the business of some mainstream professional photographers.

    For small-business owners or others needing images, microstock sites can be an alternative to conventional stock agencies, which base fees on the published size of an image, circulation and other factors.

    Microstock sites charge far less, and, with few exceptions, buyers pay a flat fee, no matter how large the image is or where it is used.

    “Maybe a $300 photo for a pamphlet distributed to 300 people is not worth $300,” said Jon Oringer, the founder of Shutterstock (www.shutterstock.com), a four-year-old microstock agency.

    Shutterstock customers, who pay a monthly subscription fee beginning at $199, can download up to 25 pictures a day of the site’s 1.8 million photos, at any resolution. For those who download the maximum, that amounts to 27 cents per shot. Shutterstock photographers are paid 25 cents for a purchased picture; the price rises to 30 cents once $500 worth of their work is bought.

    In addition to Shutterstock, other microstock photo agencies include Big Stock Photo (bigstockphoto.com), Fotolia (fotolia.com), Dreamstime (dreamstime.com) and iStockphoto (istockphoto.com).

    Each uses a different pricing and payment scheme; photographers have the option to upload the same pictures on multiple sites or, with some of the agencies, become an exclusive supplier for an increased commission. There is no fee to post photos on a microstock site.

    Whether the varying approaches matter to customers and photographers is an open question. “The differences to consumers appear to be incremental,” said Bruce Livingstone, who founded an early microstock site, iStockphoto, in 2000.

    Microstock sites do not accept all comers or all photographs. Each employs a team of inspectors who check every picture submitted for technical quality, as well as artistic and commercial merit.

    Shots of dogs and cats are generally not welcome, while “lifestyle” photographs — pictures of people at work and play — are usually top sellers. Other subjects of interest include food, sports and fashion.

    Getting photos accepted for a site is just one part of the battle. Potential buyers can find shots by browsing through a collection and its categories, or by searching using a keyword that describes what they want.

    The photographer creates the keywords; most sites have no restrictions on how many, though Fotolia had to stop some photographers who were adding every keyword under the sun in the hopes that someone would stumble upon the shot.

    Keeping one’s pictures confined to one site may not be a good idea, if the site attracts few customers, or becomes known for specializing in pictures of sheep while you are hoping to sell shots of toothpaste.

    “We did not want to limit the ability of photographers to earn money,” said Tim Donahue, the founder of Big Stock Photo, which does not offer exclusivity.

    Some photographers say exclusivity works. The same picture on multiple sites may have different prices. By being exclusive photographers can more easily trace those who might be misusing their work, either by using an image — on, say, a coffee mug — without buying rights to it or by stealing a concept they like, recreating a photograph and selling it as their own.

    Those who are doing well selling their work on microstock sites have done their homework: they have figured out what type of photographs a site specializes in, what types of pictures sell and whether the commission is sufficient.

    Lise Gagné of Quebec specializes in business shots, one of the most popular genres. Ms. Gagné, who has been shooting commercially for five years, earns more than $100,000 a year selling her work exclusively through iStockphoto.

    “I like iStock’s sharing spirit,” Ms. Gagné said, referring to the extensive discussion groups and other client aides the site provides. “It’s a matter of being fair. You don’t have to go elsewhere.”

    Because volume matters in microstock sales, a large number of shots must be uploaded. Ms. Gagné currently has 4,900 photographs available for sale on the site and adds 5 to 20 more each week.

    Kelly Cline, a Seattle-based food photographer, has uploaded 1,363 images to iStockphoto, and her work has been bought 68,215 times. Significant payments began to arrive once she had 500 to 600 images in her portfolio, Ms. Cline said, adding, “If you upload more, it’s like shooting arrows in the air.”

    Ms. Cline, a former food stylist, began shooting food four years ago. At first, she photographed her own work and then began uploading her material to iStockphoto.

    Today, she said, she earns about $70,000 a year, 60 percent of her income, from microstock sales, and she remains an exclusive provider to iStockphoto.

    But Stephen Coburn, a Web designer at Adobe Systems who began photography a few years ago as a hobby, said he would never use one microstock site exclusively. “I’d feel nervous about putting all my eggs in one basket,” he said.

    Mr. Coburn supplies shots to five microstock sites, shooting people, objects and interiors. With 3,500 photos posted to the sites, he earns, on average, $6,000 per month.

    Michael Shake, a tool-and-die maker in Toledo, Ohio, uploads pictures to 10 sites and earns $1,000 a month for his work. Specializing in shots of houses and new cars, he sells his work to real estate agents and car dealers looking for appropriate illustrations.

    When a tire accessory manufacturer saw his work, he hired Mr. Shake to shoot an advertisement, shipping a tire to his home for the shot. “All I wanted was to earn enough money for new equipment,” Mr. Shake said. “It’s gone way past that.”

    Not everyone is enamored with microstock Web sites. Professional photographers see the sites’ growth as diluting their own incomes.

    “This is the death of beautiful photography,” said David Skernick, a professional photographer in Los Angeles who does not use the sites. Because of the low prices and large volumes of material, “now clients accept anything.”

    Mr. Skernick has seen the value of his own work decrease, from a time when photographs were priced not just on their merit but on their intended use. He said he once sold a photograph that was used on a Brian Wilson album cover for $2,000. “Today I would get $2 for the same use,” he said.

    Still, railing against the sites is about as useful as hoping cellphones will go away and phone booths will make a comeback.

    “Every month, my income from microstock sales gets better,” Ms. Cline said. “You have to go with it or be left behind. Otherwise you’ll be saying, ‘Woe is me.’ ”

  11. PatientSaver Says:

    Broken Arrow brought up a good point, pretty perceptive, i thought. That is, it may be somewhat idealistic to believe that you can find utter happiness and fulfillment through your occupation. There are always the exceptions, of course, Jane Goodall was dedicated to a life studying chimps and Dian Fossi the gorillas, etc. But perhaps for the vast majority of us who won't ever reach those pinnacles of achievement, we must content ourselves with something more modest.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't TRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE to find the right job for you, not just any job (and that's what i was saying yesterday), but maybe i should add a caveat here that it might be more realistic to recognize at the same time that one's job is just one facet, one component of what goes into making one feel happy and fulfilled. I'm sure you know all this, but actually it took me many years to realize, after many, many jobs i've held, that no one job is going to be perfect for me, that, as BA said, it's all a matter of degree, this one may be better than and certainly, one particular job may be better for you at a certain stage of your life, but not at another, that one is worse than this one, but to be able to accept that and realize family, friends, outside hobbies, interests, all contribute to making us feel fulfilled.

    I still want to emphasize that i think you should remain true to your heart and your interests and not to settle. I don't think you have children yet, right? So this is a great time, if you can somehow still keep paying the bills, for you to explore your options, pursue your dreams and find your bliss.

  12. fairy74 Says:

    your pics are terrific! Smile Sorry about the job...Just a word of advice law school is very gruelling (not to mention preparation for the bar exam)..approximately 15% of every 1L class is cut at the end of the first year. If your heart is in go for it, if not leave it alone it's a big commitment on every level...and the pay is not that great for starting attorneys (too many people competing for the same jobs). I think everyone has had good advice about ways to follow your passion, I think you are a really good photographer, best wishes Smile

  13. Val Says:

    Don't fret!!! There's a TON of money to be made being a photographer. My man is a successful photographer and he just started shooting professionally three years ago. He's able to support himself (nicely) and has a great time doing so. If you're serious about learning how to start out in photography, get in touch with him. Check out his website at www.giuliosciorio.com. He absolutely LOVES sharing his experiences and advice with new folks and I'm sure he would with you too.

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