From Hobbyist to Professional: Step 6. Believe in YOU

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From Hobbyist to Professional: Step 6. Believe in YOU

Believing in yourself might very well need to be your very first step. If it is, re-read the letter I wrote to myself. If you have the courage to take that first step you will never regret it.

For the rest of you who find yourself in the same place I found myself not too long ago I have a few words for you.

You are ready. You are educated. You are prepared. You have worked hard to get to where you are today. Because your phone is not ringing off the hook does not mean your prices are too high or your art not good enough. Be patient. It takes time. And, in the meantime when you do book that client be grateful. Treat them like family. You will get referrals. And, the snowball will only grow larger.

When you find yourself working more than you intended learn to say no even more. Be selective. Take care of you. Take care of your family. Don’t lose site of why you went into owning your business in the first place. It wasn’t to be a slave to everyone else. It was to have flexibility in your schedule. Keep it that way.

When you find yourself in a rut take a step back and think through why you fell in love with photography in the first place. Check out Jodi’s tips for breaking out of a rut, too. Take a break from looking at other artists’ blogs and sites and focus only on your own work. Visit your site as if you were viewing it for the very first time. Get out and take pictures for yourself. Take breaks. Give yourself weekends when you don’t even check email. Not even on your phone. Focus on those around you. It won’t take long before your head is clear again and you are creating work that comes easy, genuinely, and from the heart.

With every step you take be confident, remain humble and do not apologize for any decisions you make for yourself or your business. As soon as you let others dictate your life you will hate what you do. Don’t let it happen. Be kind, be bold, trust your instincts and be you. Then, enjoy a fulfilling career doing something you are passionate about, making money that not only pays the bills, but also gives you a bit extra to take that vacation you’ve always wanted to go on.

You are working your dream job. Congratulations!

Jessica, our guest writer for this series on going from Hobbyist to Professional Photographer, is the photographer behind 503 photography and the owner and creator of 503 |online| workshops for adults and now, KIDS AND TEENS!

p.s. Sign your chid up for one of our kid/teen workshops and use code MCP503 for $50 off. Offer ends May 23rd.

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  1. Shareen
    May 26, 2010 at 10:16 pm —


  2. May 24, 2010 at 9:44 am —


    Thanks so much for posting this. I just stepped away from my corporate job of 9 years and today is my first day as a FULL time photographer! It is scary but when you shine a light on your fears and have confidence in yourself it becomes a lot easier. I’m excited to be my own boss and to enjoy what I do everyday, it’s crazy how much happier I am already! There are a lot of unknowns but I’m excited for the new adventure.

    This was a great article for me to read this morning and very encouraging on the first day of my new career.

    Thanks so much!

  3. May 23, 2010 at 11:35 am —

    Where do you go for inspiration?

  4. May 22, 2010 at 8:35 pm —

    Thank you so much for these posts, Jessica. They couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m totally bookmarking them for future reference. But I must say, I’ve learned more from these past few posts (and their subsequent references/links) than all that I had about the photography business prior. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. May 22, 2010 at 8:24 am —

    I love reading this! I think a lot of new photographers don’t believe in themselves and their worth enough. I haven’t even started a business yet, but know that when I do I will believe in myself first and foremost, or it will never work! Thanks again for doing this series:)

  6. May 22, 2010 at 8:17 am —

    THree words to describe my business:
    Needs advertising help!
    Not good with setting up blogs, etc. Desperately need help to get the marketing thing going!

    I am already a fan of MCP, have re-tweeted and posted on my Facebook page for extra entries!

  7. Mikki
    May 22, 2010 at 12:23 am —

    Thank you!!!!! I so needed all this brillant and wise insight!

  8. May 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm —

    I have really enjoyed your series, but mostly this article! I know I am way to over critical and doubtful of myself and really need to heed your advice. Thank you for all of your advice and insight!

  9. Kim L
    May 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm —

    great series – thank you!

  10. May 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm —

    I really needed to read this today….. Thank you!!! Great series!

  11. May 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm —

    “Because your phone is not ringing off the hook does not mean your prices are too high or your art not good enough. Be patient. It takes time. ”

    i think this is why i hesitate so much… think i’m doing something wrong???. thank you so much! great advice.

  12. Christine
    May 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm —

    Thanks for all the great articles!! Just what I need.

  13. May 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm —

    modern, fresh, fun

  14. Melissa
    May 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm —

    This is definetly where I struggle. Thanks for such a great article Jess!

  15. Marina
    May 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm —

    Thank you! I needed this right now. 🙂

  16. Charisse
    May 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm —

    Another very nice article. I really enjoyed this series. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. It is so important that we “do” and “be” us. The tip about taking a break from other blogs, email & business was so true. I know for me, I am realizing that when I look at too many other photoblogs for too long…that very subtly…I start to forget what I like about the composition of my own images. Those things that define “me” and “my” style. Thanks again for the reminder. I don’t want to do anything that is not genuine. When God made me…& others, he broke the mold after each one. That was definitely intentional!

  17. May 21, 2010 at 11:27 am —

    Thanks, Jessica! This was very encouraging!

  18. May 21, 2010 at 10:05 am —

    I think this is the hardest part sometimes, at least for me. I begin to doubt myself because I’m not out shooting up a storm for clients. Sometimes we all just need to be remided to believe in ourselves.

  19. May 21, 2010 at 9:56 am —

    Focus on those around you. It won’t take long before your head is clear again and you are creating work that comes easy, genuinely, and from the heart.

    This is SUCH great advice Jess!

    BTW: I LOVE that maternity shot! Adorable idea 😉

  20. May 21, 2010 at 9:40 am —

    I love this series!!!! And this was a wonderful article that I absolutely needed. I am in the process of raising my prices significantly (they are SOOO low). And I am absolutely terrified. I have had a lot of very happy clients, but things have been slow lately. Which makes it hard to think about raising prices! It is nice get confirmation that it will take time (although why do some photographers seem SO busy so quickly??).

    Here is a question though. Aren’t there some photographers or some photographers in specific markets, that really are charging too much? There are some people who honestly just don’t have the talent. Isn’t that true? And yes, I often wonder if I am one of them…..

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From Hobbyist to Professional: Step 6. Believe in YOU