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Changing careers is always a scary proposition, and re-inventing yourself at the age of 60 – even more so.

As I approached retirement age with no prospects of being able to retire, I knew I didn’t want to continue with my computer business. Photography never held much more than a passing interest for me, but as it become more digital, I became much more interested in the possibilities of photography as a career, especially as a “retirement” career.

As is my habit, I wanted some sort of accelerated learning process, one that would allow me to touch and explore the many aspects of photography, from the technical side of taking photos to the complexities of trying to earn some money from it.

So when I stumbled upon the Ultimate Money-Making Photography Workshop in New Orleans in February of 2009, I could tell my questions were going to be 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, including ribbon cutting ceremonies, politicians shaking hands, local fairs, concerts, and everything in between. This 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.

So now, five years later, I’m finally closing down the last bit of my computer business and ramping up my photography business as a full-time career. And when people ask what “my story” is, I always start with that 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.

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