Fstoppers Answers - When Did You Make the Jump to Full Time Pro?

Fstoppers Answers - When Did You Make the Jump to Full Time Pro?

Each week, we ask our writers a question generated from the public in a series that we call "Fstoppers Answers". Last week, we asked our writers the long "What Is Your Photo Education? How Important Do You Think Formal Education Is In The Field?". This week, we ask our staff "When Did You Make the Jump to Full Time Pro?"

Patrick HallCo-Founder | Wedding Photographer I was working at a Ritz camera while applying to dental school. Lee Morris had just gotten fired for the greatest story ever told and then I found out I had been laid off. Sometimes it's sink or swim, but preferably it would be a smooth transition.


Peter HouseStaff Writer | Commercial Photographer I have been working for myself the last 3 years. Prior to that I was a staff photographer for a local magazine, and before that I shot for some nightclubs and music events. Both those previous photography related jobs allowed me to build up and put into place networks which later allowed me to work for myself. It was an uphill battle fought mostly with Kraft Dinner and ramen noodles.


Ben SassoStaff Writer | Wedding Photographer Immediately. As soon as I knew that I wanted to make a living as a photographer, I forced myself to do it by quitting my old job. This left me with nothing but time to do what I needed to do to get my feet on the ground, and the urgency to force me to get to it. It wasn't the easiest thing to do but it was definitely effective.


Zach SuttonZach Sutton PhotographyAssociate Editor | Headshot Photographer I was fortunate enough to fall into full time professional pretty gracefully. I was shooting on the side during college, so when I finished up, I decided at that point that I wanted to focus on photography full time. Since I was doing it part time while in school, I had already established my name in the local market, and was able to jump into it pretty painlessly.


Lee Morrishttps://fstoppers.com/author/lee-morrisCo-Founder | Wedding Photographer For me it was a very slow process. I assisted many photographers and worked at a camera shop. As I started to make more money on my own I started assisting less and cut down on my hours at the camera shop. Even after I was making enough money to support myself I continued to work other jobs for the extra money/experience. Even today I still assist other photographers.


Gary MartinStaff Writer | Studio Manager In 2010 I quit a perfectly good job as the director of marketing for a technology company to join Apple and work on their business team as an solutions expert. During this tenure I really dove into everything photography and motion and learned everything technical I could about digital asset management, workflow, and editing/retouching. After about a year into the job with Apple I began taking on commercial photographers as clients and worked as a consultant and digital tech in my spare time. About one year into this part time gig, a full time position as studio manager opened up with one of my existing clients and I took the job and quit working at Apple. As a studio manager with RGG Photo I am responsible for everything marketing, SEO, most of the retouching, video editing, BTS video, portfolio development, building opportunities, and project management. I shoot for local agencies and editorial publications as well.


Rebecca BrittStaff Writer | Commercial Photographer I made the jump to full time pro shortly after joining the Fstoppers writing team. I was approached by a local ad agency that wanted to hire me full time. It was the oddest interview of my life. Usually during interviews you're trying to convince people to hire you, and in this case they were trying to convince me to take the job. I accepted and worked with them for a year. Now that I am freelancing again I wouldn't dream of going back part-time.


Pratik NaikStaff Writer | High End Retoucher I went full time about four years ago. I was working in a sales office and at the time I knew I wanted to leave. For the year following, I made a calculated plan where I would save enough to make it worthwhile. I also made sure I had enough clients to get by before I made the jump as well. I had that basic safety net to hold me up after I went full time and then things took off slowly from there.

As always, if you have a question you'd like us to answer, feel free to ask it in the comments below. Also, feel free to share your experience in going full time pro in the comments below.

Zach Sutton's picture

Zach Sutton is an award-winning and internationally published commercial and headshot photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. His work highlights environmental portraiture, blending landscapes and scenes with portrait photography. Zach writes for various publications on the topic of photography and retouching.

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When my bill-paying office job got outsourced to India.

@Patrick Hall "fired for the greatest story ever told"

Do tell :)

It is a very very long story (many have heard it). I think Lee needs to film a short 20 min video with actors or animation so everyone can appreciate how awesome it is. Basically we were both prank calling our store manager WHILE we were at work. It went on for 3 months and finally the police got involved. I'll leave it at that haha.

You two were obviously made for each other. A good friend bails their buddy out of jail when they get into trouble. A best friend sits next to you in jail laughing right by your side.

@PatrickHHall:disqus @lee morris @pratik naik

I decided to take the plunge this past August and pursue photography full time in Southern California. Things started out well at first because I already had prior bookings for the upcoming months. Now however, things have slowed down to a creep. My main income is due primarily to weddings, but as most in my industry know, these aren't the kind of gigs you can book last minute- my clients usually book me anywhere from 6months to 2 years in advance. I'm fortunate enough that I'm living rent free at the moment, but I still have many bills that need to be payed. I prepared for these circumstances by putting a decent amount of money aside, but that can only keep me afloat for so long. I have been emailing any and all photographers(wedding, portrait, fashion etc) in my area for assisting gigs but the responses have been nil. I'm thinking of getting a day job where I can meet potential clients- possibly country clubs, bartending, restaurants etc. I try to keep myself busy with editing, photographing for my portfolio, online promoting etc, but at the end of the day, I do need some sort of income. What are your thoughts? What am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance