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  • Writer's pictureErica Hills

So you want to make $100k

I often think about the quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “comparison is the thief of joy.”

I couldn’t agree with that statement more! When I first started playing with my camera again in 2019, I was doing it out of the pure enjoyment and sense of peace that it brought me (following my experience with burnout from working as a professional counselor). I decided to pursue photography as a profession shortly after that in 2020 when I launched this business.

I absorbed as much knowledge as I could to become better at my craft and as a business owner. What came along with that was comparison and a desire to pocket $100k. Don’t get me wrong, we all need money, but my motivation was off. I was pursuing something that wasn’t true to me as a person.

Let’s start with the $100k first. Is it realistic to make that much in sales with photography and specifically equine photography? Yes it is. Is it possible to “take home” that much money? Also, yes. But it takes a lot of work that I’m not personally cut out for.

I was reminded that I need and want to be home on the property caring and training my personal horses which continues to be one of my priorities, not traveling the country. I went to Kentucky in 2022 and it was a phenomenal trip with the focus being time with my mom and a bitesize chunk of photography work.

That’s not to say you have to travel to make that amount of money either, selling images to magazines, selling open or limited edition artwork, selling courses, offering 1:1 mentoring sessions, offering styled photo shoots and retreats are just a few ways to increase your profits in this business.

But it’s important to identify what you’re good at and what you LIKE to do. As a professional in the photography and mental health industry I see too many people doing what they think they “should” do. I get it, I’ve been there! And that’s where comparison comes into play.

I looked at so many other equine photographers and compared myself to them. Questioning, is this what equestrians want? Poses like this, black backgrounds like this, prices like this. And it didn’t take me too long to realize how uncomfortable it was to try and be someone else.

I’ve heard other photographers say, “find your style” and I didn’t know what that really meant at first but it’s simply about finding the groove you enjoy being in and letting everything else fall into place. Try all the things! You’re going to mess up and that’s okay. We all mess up and we also all succeed, at least some of the time.

So let this be your 2023 reminder that you’re enough and you deserve to follow your passions in life.

Portrait below taken during a 1:1 mentoring session in Ocala, Florida. I was elated to work with another professional photographer in this capacity.


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