Professional photography 5 reasons I decided to quit.



Professional photography, many dream of becoming a rock star photographer surrounded by wealth and fame, but what is the life of a photographer really like? On January 12th 2012 I decided to take a bold move into the world of photography. I went to a concert with a girl I was interested in dating who happened to bring a DSLR with her that day, and the idea of becoming a photographer instantly captured my imagination. The following week I mustered up $1000 and rushed down to BestBuy to purchase my first DSLR.
In the beginning, photography was simply a hobby for me; I practiced taking photos of random objects, just learning the basics of the camera. Eventually, I started practicing on that girl and realized that I enjoyed photographing people, and fashion. Photography soon became an obsession!  Several months flew by and suddenly I saw myself surrounded by a sea of anxious girls willing to do anything who wanting their photographs taken.
The obsession really started getting to my head after I submitted my work to Snap Orlando 2012 and ended up being placed on exhibit as one of the finalists. I should have been on top of the world but I wasn’t. I was obsessed! These minor victories weren’t enough. I wanted to expand but at the same time I wanted to run away from it all.  Shortly afterwards I found myself in a legal bind and lost my main source of income; photography was all I had to keep me motivated to continue alive, it was a love hate relationship one that would shortly spiral out of control. Being a professional photographer is not what those who enjoy the status paint it as; here are some of the reasons I decided to run away from the industry.

1.         The Models

            Honestly, photography isn’t as glamorous as you might believe. During my time as a photographer I was only able to shoot one celebrity “Tylor Hilton” and he was a complete shit of a person. Besides my interaction with him, and his various agents I had the opportunity to shoot for the books of several modeling agencies out of which the experiences varied from very professional to pseudo modeling.
            The people in this industry are damaged fruits. They are some of the most disgusting, self-loathing pieces of shit that I have ever met. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying all of them fall into this category it’s just the majority, and don’t even get me started with the try-hards from modelmayhem who in fact are usually not even models (but lets give modelmayhem its own number it deserves it!).
            Looking back, I make myself sick for even venturing down this path; it was a path of callous empty-headed debauchery! I can totally see how as a photographer you can become a jaded misogynistic asshole. During my time as a photographer, especially after my work began to appear on the pages of some of the major agencies in Miami I had hundreds of messages from girls wanting shoots, I had girls showing up at my house at 3am, girls pretending to be my friend, pretending to date me, pretending to live in my apartment, pretending to care about something other than their illusionary career. I admit perhaps I too am a bad person for feeding them the hopes of becoming something that they would never be. I should have been the guy who told them they were too short, old, talentless, or too common but I didn’t. Did I take advantage of them fuck no, they knew why they were there just as much as I did, was it symbiotic I’d say no, but was it completely my fault they held on to their delusional dreams; I would beg to differ!
            During this period of time in my life I was miserable, I spiraled into depression, I stopped taking care of my apartment, I stopped trying to improve as a human being I simply spent all my time surrounded by shallow girls looking for fame. I endured some of the most intolerant, bigoted, ignorant, racist, and offensive conversations from these people. I was constantly in awe of how stupid the majority of these girls were. Towards the end of my time doing photography I started to justify my actions by saying that stupid people deserved whatever happened to them because of their lack of foresight and intuition. I mean if you are 23 and still trying to be a fashion model, still trying to meet unsuspecting photographers and pretend that you aren’t interested in shooting with them, and that you just want to hangout umm don’t you deserve to be used? I mean read a fucking book about modeling… If you are over 18 and haven’t made it you are probably just wasting your time, are you just that stupid? Eventually I started to simply look down on women, I started to see them all as stupid, vain, empty headed, props for my photographs. I also decided that they couldn’t be trusted, and that they wanted to be objectified. You must see it from my perspective, a girl who claims to be a model gets dropped off by her boyfriend at a shoot, you as a photographer insist on not shooting nudes, but she refuses to comply suddenly she’s naked and she’s grabbing your hand, she’s kissing you, now you’re both naked; one thing leads to another and at the end of the shoot her boyfriends comes back picks her up and she doesn’t flinch… yea how the fuck are you not suppose to start second guessing every women you meet, especially when the situation above happens with several different girls on numerous occasions… like I said before disgusting shallow people!

2.         Agents

            An agent is simply a digital pimp… whether it is your agent or the agents of the model.  Again don’t get me wrong some agents are cool people I know several, but the majority are disgusting dirt bag scum filled shit heads who only want to use you. During my time as a photographer I had to deal with so many agents who either had a dick up their ass or lacked a dick up their ass and desperately needed one. Agents who wanted you to fucking work for free, agents who looked you straight in the eyes and lied to you about obvious shit, agents who talked down to you as if you were just some shithead with a camera, pervert agents; creepy old men past their prime, and fascist agents who wanted to control every element of you and your client’s life. All in all I hate agents, they are some of the worst human beings I have ever met, I have personally seen agents drive young girls to anorexia, these people disgust me.

3.         Other Photographers & try hards

            One of the principal reasons I decided not to continue in this industry were the other photographers! Photographers are some of the most cynical assholes you’ll ever meet I include myself in this one. Honestly, it is rare to find a photographer who upon seeing your work isn’t willing to ask you to open your mouth a large as you can in order to take a giant shit down your throat! Photographers love wiping their asses with other people’s work before tearing it to shreds.
            In fact it doesn’t stop with your work, photographers will follow you around spreading rumors about you to everyone you know in order to destroy your brand. This happened to me even before my legal situation occurred. The life of a photographer is petty, one giant continuous ego trip.
            In addition to the haters you have the hordes of old pervy men to deal with. On the contrary to my experiences with female models mentioned above, these old men actually seek out the weak in order to take advantage of them, they prey on these young girls and in many of the cases they make the first move. A major misconception is that an older gentleman has more experience as a photographer and thus his work will be much better, nothing can be further from the truth! I have seen some of the worst work ever come from these old fucks. In actuality at times I had to take a second look at some of their work just to try and figure out how the fuck it could be so horrible, I mean your camera has fucking autofocus right? Worst of all these old fucks pay these girls, thus creating a fake paradigm where girls who aren’t and who will never be models contact photographers for shoots and demand payment.
            The truth here is that photography might seem easy but it really isn’t. It’s a lot of hard work and dumb fucks like these make it harder. Additionally the over saturation of wanna-be photographers and cut throats makes it an impossible market to participate in happily, your only alternatives are misery or denial of reality.

4.         Model Mayhem

            This could almost be a completely separate article but I will keep it short because we are already over the 1.5k words most people are willing to read. Model Mayhem was one of the major sources of frustration I had as a photographer. Hundreds of wannabe models spawn from this site, eventually I erased my profile on the site but this didn’t stop the influx of random emails and messages on my fanpage from MM girls. These are the worst! Girls who have no “real” modeling experience who contact you demanding that you pay them for a shoot you have no interest in doing with them.
            Empty-headed girls who don’t have a clue about modeling, or the modeling industry who will argue with you about why you should shoot them from free. Girls who stalk your fanpage and Instagram from months, even after you’ve informed them that you no longer do photography. The list goes on and on!

5.         How real business professionals see you

            I have an IQ of 134, I am in college, and I had a very lucrative job before encountering my legal situation in June of 2012. As a photographer none of this mattered, when approaching business owners, before or during a shoot the reaction was always the same, you were treated like shit and second-guessed!  I honestly don’t understand why this came as a surprise to me, I should have remembered that time at my old job as a business analyst when a photographer came in to photograph our offices and he was being shit upon by Steve (the owner of the company). When you are a photographer everyone assumes you are just some ignorant fool with a camera, they assume you have no education, and that you aren’t that intelligent, they think anyone can just grab a camera and take photographs (I am sure this is very insulting to those of you who actually went to school for photography, then again you’re a fucking dumb ass for going to school for photography). I for one hate being talked down to, especially from people who are most likely less competent then I. Constantly getting treated like worthless crap from clients, editors, and other people was one of the main reasons I decided photography just wasn’t for me.  
            Additionally since these people don’t value you as a photographer, nor do they truly value your work they are in most cases trying to figure out how to get you to work for almost free if not completely free. In many cases they were shocked when presented with a contract, and on two occasions I had to just hop into my sports car and drive away.


The take away here is that photography isn’t glamorous, it’s a grind!  You spend hours behind a computer sending emails and editing your work, you get treated like shit by models, agents, clients, and other photographers. In most cases you aren’t really helping society, you are actually making important elements of humanity shallow and meaningless, and you aren’t being fulfilled as an individual. In my case I took photography too seriously and every person I knew was part of that world… from the girl I was seeing to my friends, and when I quit photography all these people vanished, they were all full of shit.  This is the reason I am writing this article, I am hoping you do not fall into the same trap as I did! Go out and do something constructive with your life, become a writer, scientist, or other professional who can actually make an improvement to life on this planet as a fashion photographer you will never do that!

My old work can be found here www.scott-leonard.net by no means am i quitting due to lack of talent you can judge for yourselves. 


















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