Do photographers make a lot of money? Can they?
The certainly can, but usually they don't. (But then again, not a LOT a lot.) Cheers. +++++
There was a time when photography was a real craft and professionals knew a lot about lenses, F stops, perspective, composition, lighting, accessory equipment such as meters and lamps, and so on. Most good photographers also worked in the darkroom to develop their own photos. In other words, it was an entire craft, very close to an art. There was a demand for such people. Then along came digital cameras and all the craft was removed. Composition is still important, but with so many people taking decent photos with digital equipment, the demand for photographers has fallen through the floor. I think the only two avenues left are photojournalism and fashion photography (with some scientific photography still being done).
Most photographers make more money by teaching photography, advertising in blogs and on Youtube than from their actual photography. So now you also know why they always tell what gear to use - the one that pays best (present company excepted, of course). But with all businesses: There is hard work required to run a photography business sucessfully and to make lot of money. Being a plumber would certainly pay better. Anyway enjoy your phototgraphy - without that you re busted from the start.
A few do make lots of money. But in these days when everybody has a camera in their phone the opportunities to make money at photography are not as large as they used to be. In order to be successful in any business which has a hint of "luxury" about it, such as photography, you need "people skills" in large quantities. Just look at the nearest question - "Why should I invest in professional photography for my business?" Making money at photography is not simply a matter of swanning around with an up-market camera dangling around your neck.
Frank: There's a joke that goes like this
There's a joke that goes like this: What's the difference between a photographer and a large pizza? Answer: The pizza can feed a family of four. While this is an exaggeration on the state of the photography industry, it should give you some insight as to the difficulties of being self sufficient as a photographer. You ask about "photographers" as if there's only one type. There are many, many different types of photographers ranging from fashion, product photography, crime scene, commercial work, advertising, wedding/portraiture, photojournalists (dead industry due to smartphones), sports photographers and wildlife photographers, just to name a few. Can you make money doing this? Sure, you can. It's not going to be easy. You'll likely never be hired as a full-time employee, but instead you will be a freelancer. A freelancer makes their money by being hired for a specific project. Sometimes the jobs will come to you, such as a commercial photographer and sometimes you will have to pitch ideas to potential clients. And since the jobs are hit and miss, a freelancer never knows where the next paycheck is going to come from. It's not easy, and it's a lot more stressful than having a 9-5 job, but it can be very fulfilling. Listen, there are outliers like Annie Leibovitz who probably makes $100,000 on a one-day photo shoot. But Annie Leibovitz wasn't always Annie Leibovitz. She worked herself up from a nobody photographer for some startup magazine in the 70s called Rolling Stone, and the rest is history. If you want to make the most money, I'm guessing that fashion and editorial photography are probably high on the list, and photojournalism is probably dead last. At the end of the day, you get into photography because you freakin' love it, and not because it'll make you wealthy, or even rich. If you go into photography with the idea of getting rich, you'll will be miserable.
They can if they try hard enough. That means not all photographers earn the same way. Some make it big while most others wallow in dirt.