When I introduce myself to someone as a “professional photographer,” they will often incorrectly assume that I have spent most of my life in a darkroom developing film. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
My photography career only began a few years ago when I decided that my computer business had run its course. I didn’t have a solid “plan B,” but I had a passing interest in photography at the time and I found Great Escape Publishing, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
As it turned out, my timing was perfect – photography was in the early stages of converting to digital and my computer background was a huge benefit in helping me learn the technical side of my camera and picture-editing.
I researched for ages and read everything I could find, but could not see the forest for the trees. I was sure the answer was out there somewhere, but I needed some assistance in even asking the right questions, let alone understanding the answers.
When I stumbled upon the Ultimate Money-Making Photography Workshop in New Orleans in February of 2009, I jumped at the chance to get my questions answered. The fee and travel expenses would be significant for a trip like this from Ottawa, Ontario, but I decided that it would be well worth the investment to have an intensive, accelerated learning opportunity that would probably save me years of effort on my own.
It was all that and more…
• I met, spoke to, and learned from successful stock photographers.
• I met and spoke to ad designers who were actively looking for specific photos.
• I listened to and learned from portrait photographers, and then practiced techniques on professional models.
• I heard from industry experts with insights on how to profit from current trends.
• I listened to and got inspired by success stories from prior workshops.
• I met dozens of other attendees and exchanged stories, opinions, and laughs with them at meetings, receptions, and dinners.
In a nutshell, it was the most positive and inspiring thing I could have done. I returned from the workshops with knowledge, excitement, inspiration, and a commitment to proceed to build a photography career.
At home, a friend quickly noticed my enthusiasm, which led to an interview to be a weekend photographer for the local newspaper, covering local events. This included ribbon-cutting ceremonies, politicians shaking hands, local fairs, concerts, and everything in between.
It gave me extensive experience with people and event photography and led me to fall in love with and become an accomplished wedding photographer. And, perhaps more importantly, I earned my first photography paycheck and realized that I could indeed make money at this.
I offered my services to new local Junior A hockey and semi-pro baseball teams, and this led to becoming a recognized and credentialed sports photographer. I developed ways to turn my photos into money, not only once, but as continuing revenue streams.
I developed a very successful photo booth product where I honed my posing and portraiture skills – so much so that I have finally found a specific focus for my passion: I’ve recently opened a fine-art portraiture studio where I specialize in creating beautiful wall art that people proudly hang in their homes.
My computer business is now insignificant, and my photography business has a storefront in a beautiful, historic, trendy downtown area. And when people ask what “my story” is, I always start with the Ultimate Money-Making Photo Workshop in New Orleans. It was an incredible experience that put me on the path to a professional, money-making career in photography.