Become A Rural Photographer

Whether you need to earn a little part-time cash to keep your farmstead going or want a full-time career to help buy your place in the country, rural photography could be the answer.

| May/June 1979

If you'd like to live in the country, work at a really enjoyable job, and earn good money too, consider a career in rural photography. Country camera work [1] takes no prior photographic experience, [2] requires only a small initial investment (you should be able to purchase your equipment and start advertising for $400 or less!), and [3] is a downright sociable occupation.

Now, don't get me wrong. The rural photography business isn't a "snap". For one thing, you'll have to have enough get-up-and-go to drum up all your own customers, and your busiest working hours will be odd times like weekends and afternoons.

Country picture-taking won't make you rich either, but it sure pays the bills! And if you don't want to jump into the new occupation all at once, photography also makes an excellent part time pocket-stuffer: You can earn $300 to $400 a month even if you only work on Saturdays and Sundays. Heck, I've actually cleared a sweet hundred bucks from a weekend wedding for only two hours of pleasant labor!

Get Your Gear Together

Of course, you can't take pictures without camera equipment. You may think that acquiring such specialized paraphernalia will mean spending your bottom dollar on a collection of meters, filters, lenses, doodads, and other gizmos too complex to name, but it ain't so. You'll only need three basic "tools" to set yourself up: a camera, a flash unit, and a set of studio lights. And the whole package doesn't have to run you more than $150 to $200!

The Box

Your picture-taker should be—like mine—a good, single-lens reflex camera (the "SLR" feature means that the lens you view through takes the picture, so what you see is exactly what you get). Most portrait and wedding specialists use a large-negative, 2 1/4-size camera, but I've managed to get along quite well with my more versatile 35mm "box."

Whichever model you choose, your camera will be your biggest investment, but it doesn't have to be a wallet buster. You can find a good, used 35mm snapper—with lens—for between $75 and $300 (new ones start around $150 and go on up — way up—from there). Larger-format, 2 1/4 cameras usually cost somewhere between $100 and $300 used (while new ones start at $300).

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