Two years ago I was attending Community College Photography program. Even though I was already a working freelance photographer with more than 3 years of experience and close to 400 photoshoots in my portfolio I was still able to learn something new. I was especially fascinated by black and white film development and shooting film in general, as well as printing in the lab on different types of paper, I had no idea that many different types of texture exist for photographers to choose from. It was a great experience! However, I couldn't not notice that everything is being taught from the photographer/artist point of view and not from the photographer/entrepreneur point of view. Some people will spend 3 years getting an Associate Degree in Photography, spend a lot of money on equipment and photo supplies, graduate with excitement for the bright future and then hit a wall.
California market of photographers is extremely saturated and even more competitive. The portfolio of your work that you've put together in college looks very different from the portfolio of already successful photographers on their websites, most of whom never had any special photography education besides workshops and YouTube videos. So here you are, freshly graduated and no one is calling your phone offering to pay you $7K to shoot their wedding.
The same frustration applies to everyone who decided to make a switch in their career and become a photographer. Maybe you've always loved it and got sick of your 9-5 and decided to take a leap. Maybe you just had a baby and while taking 1000 pictures a day of your child on maternity leave thought that it would be an amazing job to do. Maybe you just moved from another country (like I did 5 years ago) and you have no idea where to start in the city where no one knows your name.
In all these cases, most will give up or never achieve their potential, or will be undercharging, or taking gigs that they don't want to just because they can't say no to someone who is willing to pay them at least something. In all these cases a lot of self-discovery work should be involved. And you might need to ask for help. You should be talking to more experienced people and getting their advice, reading blogs (like this one), researching and working on your portfolio.
I believe that I have a lot to share and enough of great advises to give at my 9th year of being a professional freelance photographer so this blog was born today.
P.S. Images for this post were sourced on Unsplash. Great resource if you are looking for specific pictures for your blog that you haven't shot yourself yet.