The one thing you have to do to be a professional photographer

by Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor on February 16, 2017

in This is Art,This is Business,This is Life

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Emphatic doesn’t mean honest.

And passion doesn’t mean truth.

What almost anyone tells you you need to… have to… must do… is partisanship.

“You need to get a better camera or you’re not a real professional!”

“You have to be on the top social media venues multiple times every day!”

“You must do these three things [read: buy my training] or you’ll never be successful!”

Here’s your permission to let go of all that horsesh*t; the expectations, the pressure, the discouragement.

You have one requirement as a professional photographer:

Be honest.

This translates to every corner of your business:

– Don’t put art in your portfolio you can’t create with reasonable consistency.

– Don’t not perform due diligence to get legal when you start charging.

– Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

I know how scary it is to just…be honest. As a startup photographer, there’s so much fear that people will reject you if you don’t puff up your art and abilities and presence to look bigger, better than you feel you are. These are the same fears we had as teenagers trying to act smarter, stronger, prettier, and more confident than we really felt.

Separate yourself from those masks and expectations.

Let your unique, worthy, true light shine.

And let your community see the reality of you and your art, so those who are in alignment with you today – and this will change with time and growth – can choose to be blessed by your work, today.

This is the secret to peace as a professional photographer.


  • BRAINSTORM SESSION: Get out your pen and paper. Make a list of 10 ways you’re holding yourself back from making art and asking people in your community to do business with you. File this away in your Brainstorms folder.
  • SUBSCRIBE TODAY: Book yourself solid shooting clients you love for pay you’re worth. Don’t miss out on my best stories and ideas: subscribe to my e-mail newsletter today at the top-right of any page of this site.
  • DO THIS NOW: What’s the biggest challenge holding you back? E-mail me at I read everything, and I look forward to helping you make a breakthrough today.

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