Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography "You Should Quit Your Day Job and Focus on Photography"

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    I had 2 people suggest that I should quit my day job soon and focus on building my photography business. One of them was a full-time photographer who owns a studio. The other one was a sportswear apparel start-up business owner who I recently did a photoshoot for.

    I work full-time as a graphic and web designer and I do photography as a side job. While these comments are nice to hear, I’m realistic and I know that it’s WAY too soon for me to quit my job and start a photography business. I can probably pursue it when my husband finishes nursing school in a few years and gets a job, but not now! I’ve been a hobbyist photographer since 2006, shooting only landscapes. I took an online class in early 2012, and I fully started shooting people since September 2012 only.

    I wonder if any of these fauxtogs were told this and actually did end up quitting their jobs to do a full-time photography business.

    Anyway, if you’re wondering, here is my portfolio (and new website redesign I might add)

    I won’t get offended if anyone tells me “Don’t quit your day job”, after looking at my portfolio because I really don’t plan to….yet!

    Worst Case Scenario

    With the way things are nowadays I won’t recommend ANYONE  give up a paying job to become a photographer.


    I’m on a Vista machine with an I7 processor, 12 GB of RAM and a cable modem with lots of bandwidth.  If it were a random page I came across, instead of a link you provided to your page, I would not have waited for it to load!  Choosing Models from under Portfolio, the main page photos continued to cycle for three images before the Models page appeared, I was wondering if I clicked it!

    The photos are nice when you get to them.  I’m not sure I like looking at the main page photos through the window screen/pixel simulator.

    Your strategy of waiting for your husband to get settled before making a major change is sound.  Transitioning is always nicer than a sudden break and starting over.



    Hello Alarnold  –  I remember you.  You asked for a critique or something of that nature, not too long ago.  The woman in the woods was the image you were asking about.

    Very nice portfolio.  I would say, if you could juggle the paying job and the photography together, then do both.  You never know when the photography may get slow.  I have a buddy in L.A. that is pretty good and he has has ups and downs all the time.  He can make $15K one month and chump change for the next few months, so he kept his day job just for that reason.

    Questions?  For your photography, are you all legal?  meaning, do you have a business license?  Tax-ID #?  Insurance and all that jazz?  The reason I ask, is because if you don’t, you may be missing out on a lot of write-offs.

    If it is still just a paying hobby, then you may consider it, but I would not go the corporation route unless your situation has a benefit for it, otherwise you will be paying double taxes.  The company will pay income tax and require quarterly earning reports to be filled and you, as an employee of the company, will pay income tax as well.  One of the benefits is that you are protected somewhat from lawsuits as the company becomes a living entity.

    I am by no means a professional at this, your better off talking to a CPA  to see what avenue would better benefit you.

    Good Luck!


    Your website doesn’t display your images in the best possible way 😛


    There were a few photos that got cut off by the rest of your site. (I use 1920 x 1080 resolution)

    For being a web designer I would have expected you to have caught stuff like that 😛

    Your website is DREADFULLY slow.


    But I would honestly say that you aren’t ready yet to give it 100%. You need to reassess the photos you have on your site and make sure that you are 100% proud of them (There are some I’d probably take off – specifically most of the “Special Occasion” photos with flash)


    @nairbynairb, I actually did put that on my home page. It was done on purpose. I’m also on the same screen resolution and I kept it because when I saw it on an iPad, my cell phone, and other screens, I thought it looked great. It was my favorite photo and I was pushing tooth and nail inside to keep it on. But it’s now off the home page, but not because you suggested to take it off. I looked at my Google Analytics, and apparently the top screen resolution was 1920×1080. That was the deal-breaker. I also agree that I’m not ready to give it 100%, and even if I do quit my full-time job, I will still do the web and graphic designing on a freelance basis or merge all my services together as one business. I wasn’t 100% happy with a couple of the Special Occasion to be honest, so I removed them.

    I was going through my files and there were many images over 1 MB that slipped through the cracks, so I optimized them again and made sure the file sizes were under 700 KB. My website being slow on people’s computers is a big concern. Before I did that, it wasn’t slow to me, and I’m running on Mac Snow Leopard with 4GB of ram and cable internet. Hopefully reducing the file sizes the images solved that problem.

    – I am not yet legal. I am trying to get there. I am looking to getting liability insurance first. Depending on how things go with the photography (like if I get paid work practically every weekend), I will consider getting a business license, tax-ID, etc.


    I’m on a different machine, with similar specs to the last.  Your page has much improved performance.


    i’d drop that screen effect on the landing page. It’s not really doing anything good for you.

    Some of your photos border on tacky hoochie mama shots. the kind of girls you see in poorly made reggae music videos. Reminds of the time I was the caribbean and the photographer asked a local guy to arrange some models for a US magazine shoot but didn’t vet the girls first and ended up with a beach full of…well I don’t know what they were exactly but they weren’t what he was expecting (they were totally what I was expecting, and I told him so…and then I told him, “I told you so”.)

    When he complained, the local was like, “There is beauty on the inside”. And I busted out laughing hysterically.

    example: http://www.photosbyanjanette.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/marisa1.jpg and http://www.photosbyanjanette.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/marisa2.jpg

    but then you have stuff like this which is cute and playful and works well. you should stick to stuff like this:


    Functionality wise, you should see if you can fiddle with your gallery viewer to get the next/prev to be tied to the image itself. It’s a bitch to keep your mouse moving around to find the little square.

    Feels a little soft in the eyes:


    Photos take a long time to load for me…but it’s likely to just be shitty time warner again.

    As for styling in the modeling section..you should find a better stylist…it’s not good at all. How about some nudes?

    You shouldn’t quit your day job. But you should keep workin’ it. It’s not horrible but it’s not great either. However, I will say that I think that I really didn’t start to improve, exponentially, until I DID quit the day job. I was kind of forced to do it. I probably would have never had the balls to do it on my own.


    @alarnold – baby steps.  The main thing I would do before worrying about the full legality part would be to do enough jobs to cover paying for insurance for you and your gear.  Even if you don’t have much, loosing a camera or accidentally knocking something over can be very detrimental to your wallet.

    I remember being on a shoot and someone backed into one of my light-stands with a large soft-box and strobe, the soft-box and light-stand survived but the strobe shattered along with the modeling lamp.  Luckily for me it was one of my least expensive strobes about $300, but still having $300 smash on the ground by accident is very likely, especially of you shoot on location.  Do yourself a favor and get the insurance 1st before anything else, then talk to a professional CPA.

    You do good work, so you should have no problem.

    Also CC mentioned that your images appear to have a screen or pixel grid over them, I am seeing this to.  Is this by design?  Just wondering.  I have a 27″ retina screen, not sure if that has anything to do with it.  It seems to only be on the images on your slideshow on the home-page.

    As for the loading speed, it seems fine to me, but I am on a fast machine with a cable modem so that may not be an issue where I am located.


    I really like your work and I’ve seen a good progression in your skill since I firat saw some of your stuff. I’d hire you. But I agree it is smart to keep your day job. I’m somewhat in the same boat. I lovd my photography, but can’t possibly consider doing it as my sole income. there are too many what-ifs. Most of my business is in the late summer and through the fall anyway. I make it work with filling up most weekends with photography but I think I’d lose my sanity if I did this EVERY weekend of the year! I genuinely enjoy it and know I’m good but I like that I can separate my day job from my photography so as not to lose the excitement and passion I have for it.


    @ebi – I was laughing when you mentioned your Caribbean trip about the photographer asking a local to scout for ladies. I agree, their standard of “beauty” is so much different from the US. I did a study abroad in the Virgin Islands during college. My roommate, who was originally from Anguilla, was overly-confident about her appearance because many guys thought she was “hot”, but she would be considered average-looking in the US.

    As for models, I think the picking are slim when you’re new. Also, it depends on your area. I live in Vegas where fake boobs, plastic, and hoochie girls are the standards of beauty. When I was first shooting models, I was doing trade for print shoots with people from Model Mayhem, so I can build my portfolio. There was a time where most of the people I was shooting were on the verge of being like those hoochie video vixens that you see on rap music videos. Eventually, I got more and more pickier with shooting with models. I now prefer taller, high-fashion models, who are at least 5’8 and slim.

    – Yes, I understand baby steps are important. I’m looking to get liability insurance because there is this studio owner who rents not only her space, but also her equipment for a cheap price, but she requires insurance. Also, I would get hassled less on locations if I tell the management that I’m insured. I will talk with a CPA down the line to see what my options are only if I get an overwhelming amount of work. As for my website, the pixel grid is on there by design. I wanted a free WordPress template that showcased my photographer better. This was my old design (http://dev.photosbyanjanette.com). The idea came from this photographer, Dean Zulich, who was the runner-up on VH-1’s The Shot, and I wanted my website to look similar to his – http://www.deanzulich.com/. I was happy there was a similar template out there for free.

    @Browneyegirl – I’m glad you’re seeing a progression in my work. Even if I was a more successful photographer, I am not going to drop my main bread and butter. I still love web and graphic designing, but photography has taken over this past year because it’s just new and exciting for me, just like when my web career took off almost 8 years ago. In fact, in the far, far future if I get enough work and clients, I’m looking to run my own marketing and media agency that offers web and graphic design, online marketing, branding, and photography. I’ve worked with enough re-branding and change of ownership projects to find out that photography has always been left out in the cold because the company has spent a lot of money on re-branding and renovations. I’ve been part of web launches to find out that the company barely has enough product shots and ends up using stock photography.

    I think with the over-saturation of  photographers in the midst of fauxtographers, being a full-time photographer is dying breed. Today, I just met with a photographer who went to school in 80’s and really knows his stuff, but can’t sustain enough business to support his family, so he’s a financial planner full-time.


    The photographer I occasionally 2nd shoot wedding for is not only a full-time engineer for a large company, but does a wedding almost every single weekend. I honestly don’t know how he does it. He has a handful of regular employees (my best friend was his head photographer for awhile until it got to be too much for her with having a full-time job as well, so now she does occasional work) and I am one of his few occasional fill-ins now. He usually does the editing for every wedding but sometimes has one of his employees do the editing. He can get a wedding done in 2 weeks. It’s nuts. Besides that, he has a family with two young children and they recently moved to a bigger city while he keeps an apartment in their former town where the photography studio is based out of, where he stays 2 days every week. He’s extremely successful with his business, and a very booked and sought-after photographer. I feel honored that he considers my skills to be equal to his standard and has offered me many more opportunities as an employee if I were willing to move three hours west but I’m not. Even with how successful his business is, he apparently still sees a need to maintain his other engineering job (which I’m sure pays a ton). I’m not sure if his wife works. It’s possible she doesn’t and takes care of the kids, so maybe he’s providing dual incomes for the family.

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