This month marks the 20th year as a professional photographer. In 1991, at the age of 23, I graduated Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Photography, eager to set the world on fire…at least I hoped to. A month later, after sending out 150 resumés around California with no job offers in return, I figured I might as well start my own business. I pounded the payment, I did self-assignments and got them published, and through it all my business slowly grew. There were many months where I wondered how I’d cover my expenses, pay my bills, yet somehow I was able to.

Many over glamorize professional photography, especially travel, assuming you trek the globe simply clicking away with ease while clients pay you….with ease. Far from the truth. You suffer, you sacrifice, you struggle, you have successes, disappointments, moments of amazement, moments of loneliness, all the while wondering where your next paycheck will come from….for twenty years.

Through all of this, I still can’t see myself doing anything else. My hopes was always to lead an extraordinary life – and this goal continues to drive me today. I can’t wait to capture the next image, yet I’m willing to take breaks between shooting to keep myself fresh and hungry. I’m extremely proud of the collection of images I have – to be able to look back at my career in a tangible way is pretty rare – yet I hope to build on this collection and create some of my best images in the years to come. To use my knowledge and experience to be more creative and to grow as an artist.

I wonder what the next twenty years will bring. I’m sure there’ll be some suffering, some sacrifice, some struggles, and some success…hopefully that success will come in the form of a lotto ticket.

About the author

I'm a 23-year commercial photographer, author (The Complete Guide to Nature Photography, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure, as well as numerous articles), photo expert, industry personality, and all around nice dude based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.