How Long Does It Take to Become a Professional Photographer?

Becoming a professional photographer is a dream of many, but the road to getting there is anything but short and straight. So, how long does it take to actually get there? This great video features an experienced photographer discussing the journey and offering some helpful insight and tips for finding success along the way. 

Coming to you from Scott Choucino of Tin House Studio, this awesome video discusses the journey to becoming a professional photographer. If this is a dream you are serious about, I think it is worth noting that a lot of even the most successful photographers (including many featured here) made the transition gradually. In other words, instead of just quitting their job one day and jumping into photography full-time, they continued to pull their primary income from whatever job or career they already had and built up their photography portfolio and business on the side until it was to the point where they could reasonably derive their primary income from it. Not only is this a safer method financially speaking, it can help you feel a bit more confident when you do decide to make the switch. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Choucino. 

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Weston Edwards's picture

Well, it only took him a little over a minute to mention his "world wide ad campaign." I'm surprised his ego fit in the frame. He fails to mention important steps like working as an assistant and or studio manager to learn the business. The time I spent doing those two jobs for other established photographers was invaluable for preparing me to shoot professionally on my own.

He also mentions that if his shooting business dried up he would still be able to make a living off his side gigs, such as portfolio reviews and you tube presence among other things. This poses the question of do you quit being a professional photographer when the majority of your income comes from non shooting business?

Deleted Account's picture

"This poses the question of do you quit being a professional photographer when the majority of your income comes from non shooting business?"

It is an interesting question. Consider this about LeBron James:

"Overall, James has made $387 million from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, and raked in another $900 million from other ventures and endorsements, such as a lifetime Nike sponsorship, Blaze pizza franchises, and owning a video production company." (courtesy

Would we still consider LeBron James to be a professional basketball player?

Weston Edwards's picture

Point taken. I would argue that LeBron James is a professional basketball player even though his product endorsements are worth more than his NBA salary. The reason I say this is that I would argue that the majority of LeBron James' available work hours are spent doing NBA activities (Games, practice, NBA PSAs and events).

Bjarne Solvik's picture

I think it is great he managed to turn things around, start from nothing, even photographically, and now run a successful business. Specifically in such a hard business as photography. Well done. I think he have all the reasons in the world to be a bit proud of what his hard work have accomplished.