Friend wants to quit a good job, take out a student loan, and become a photographer
For one, he is almost 50 years old, and so the return on investment on the $50K loan will be poor. And if things don’t work out for him, he will have a hard time getting back into the job market at his age. At this time, I think he needs to be preparing for retirement (he doesn't have a very large nest egg, either, which is why he needs to take out a student loan to attend the school).
Also, ever since digital photography eliminated the technical entry barrier to the field, anyone who can buy DSLR camera can take a reasonably good picture. Plus the cameras on phones are getting better and better. I presume that means photo studio businesses aren’t that profitable any more. After all, if people have lots of digital family pics available, why go off to photo studio? And there aren’t that many magazines or newspapers around anymore to hire him as a photographer.
So, in my mind, that just leaves wedding photography. Which means that he’ll be competing with “Uncle Bob” who owns a Canon Rebel T3i and can take good photos for free, or semi-professional hobbyists who have full-time jobs, but who use their free time and weekends to indulge their hobby (and so can offer a wedding package fee for very low cost).
Are there any full-time professional photographers here? How difficult is it to make a career of photography? Are there good opportunities in professional photography, or is wedding photography pretty much all that he can reasonably expect to end up doing? Am I wrong to advise him to not go into the field?