Well, you've finally done it - closed the doors of the professional practice and sent a farewell notice to the ATO. You've tossed the letterhead, invoice forms, and business cards into the fire and told the accountant that you will be doing your own lying in the future. You are set to be a real amateur.
No turning back. No doing jobs for money. From now on the only compensation you will be receiving will be "exposure", "a drink", and "recognition". And the occasional bucket of lemons from Mr. Valducci's tree. There will be more lemons than drinks.
The demands on you will change - while no-one can compel you to deliver the goods on time, they will expect you to hand over every raw file that you have taken so that they can have them printed at Officeworks. This might have seemed unreasonable when you were a working professional but that was when you were a person with a camera in hand - now you are a camera with a person attached. The camera has remained sharp but you have become fuzzy.
Do not despair. While you no longer will have money, you can still have fun. By all means turn over the raw files to the person who demands them. Just copy them all into 1993BFG.3.0PiX format on a 5" floppy disc and hand it over. And a pleasant smile when you do so doesn't hurt.
Your own photography will improve greatly in the future. You will no longer be asked to make tins of cabbage ends or anorexic teenagers look appetising. No one will ask you to take 3.2 metric tonnes of lighting equipment up the top of Bluff Knoll in relays to capture the magic of toilet paper. You can go to a wedding and drink.
Better still, you can go to a wedding and watch the wedding photographers at work and let them watch you watching them. If you know how to let out good strangled shriek or do a very slow face palm you can have fun all afternoon. A slow wink also does the trick.
Are you worried about the piles of gear that are still stacked in the locked cabinet? Well, if you haven't finished paying for them you need not worry too much longer. The leasing and finance companies will be sorting that/you out in short order. If it is yours freehold, you can either use it to take immensely detailed photo essays of spit or you can take it to the camera markets that they hold every three months. You can then bring it home again.
There is an opportunity for the new amateur to join the art scene. This can be effected on-line or in person by attending at local art groups. Sociability, kindness, and the ability to see good in everyone is an asset in this sort of affair. It is rewarding if you are prepared to learn the language of Artspeak and are not afraid to try a few halting phrases. " Awful Dreck " and " Ghastly Daub " are useful...
Finally, have you thought of finally settling down and writing the Great Australian Novel? Or the Definitive Outback Photoshoot? Or setting fire to paddocks? They are all equally attractive propositions, and as you are a free agent you can turn them over in your mind...