Deborah and her niece Jenna (pictured) are finding success in their photo careers

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Deborah Kolb started her photography career when her job was in danger (she's never looked back)In 2008, my life as I knew it changed dramatically. 

I was in the executive search business, recruiting and placing people on Wall Street. I worked with financial market institutions around the world. But then the 2008 credit derivative crash happened and my business was hugely impacted. 

I had just hired my niece after her college graduation to join my search business, and we continued to do executive searches in the challenging market, but I knew it was time to explore something new while keeping the search business growing. It was time to take my love of photography to the next level. So, my niece and I grew our skills in photography to see where that could take us. 

With an already-deep love of photography, I wanted to dig deeper. To find out how to create the sort of photos I had in my mind. Through workshops and mentors, my journey began! 

Practicing on people I knew, I progressed quickly. Here is my niece, Jenna, in the morning sun.

Deborah and her niece Jenna (pictured) are finding success in their photo careers

Once I got a handle on taking good photos, I discovered I particularly liked shooting women and I fell in love with boudoir photography. Boudoir is not just about taking a sexy picture. To me it is creating a moment in a woman’s life where she feels totally alive and beautiful—and it was something I was good at. 

Deborah Kolb enjoys taking boudoir style photographs

While building my portraiture and boudoir business, I uploaded images to stock agencies, too, and found a lot of success with it. These days, I sell daily on Shutterstock, my favorite microstock agency. 

As my portfolio and photography career grew, I kept an eye out for more opportunities.

That’s when ImageBrief popped onto my radar in 2013.

It’s a site where companies can hire photographers to suit their needs. They have many publishing clients, and, using my creativity, my competitive spirit, and those recruiting skills from my executive search career, I found I was adept at attracting clients. Book covers in particular have been a high-seller of mine. I’ve been able to create the image an author is looking for to sell their story. So far, I’ve licensed 14 covers.

Those gigs on ImageBrief eventually led into something even more lucrative… commercial photography. 

In 2015, I was hired by Torani—the syrup company—to create images for their ads and I had so much fun.

Here I am with my models (and my baker in the background):

Deborah Kolb enjoys the variety her photography career offers

And here is the ad that resulted from that shoot: 

Deborah Kolb shot this photo for a Torani ad

My success has only kept growing from there.

In 2016 and 2017, I was hired by TruStage Insurance for my largest-paying commercial shoots yet. It was my first time working with a video technician and having a budget for a lighting team. I grew so much during the process and had a lot of fun. And, for the 2016 shoot, I got to take photos at the Disney ranch in Southern California.

Here is one of TruStage’s ads with my photo:

Deborah Kolb shot the photo used in this insurance company ad

2017 has been a momentous year for me. This year, I officially closed my search business and am now a full-time professional photographer, pursuing both commercial clients and continuing to work my portraiture business. All that because I followed my passion. Think what could happen if you dared to follow yours. 

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