How I Quit My Job

January 1, 2012

How I Quit My Job To Be A Full-Time Photographer

How I Quit My Job for Photography: Sunrise on the Greenland Sea in Northern Iceland

Please bear in mind that not everything in this post may be what’s right for you. One of the biggest lessons I continually have to face in being self-employed is figuring out what works for me and what I want versus what works for other successful self-employed artists whom I look to for inspiration. I don’t doubt that I have a wicked ton in common with y’all, but we may not value the same things, or live the same lifestyle. For example, Chris and I still have a very “Going Dutch” relationship, despite being married for 5+ years. This works for us. Whether or not you share in the same kinds of ideals is going to determine whether or not this ridiculously long post will be of any help to you.

This is super text heavy — no photos, sorry guys! — and I felt a little like Suze Orman writing it. If you make it all the way through, you’re a champ. If not, well, I made sure to bold the good stuff. :)

I couldn’t think of a better time to post this than on the beginning of a new year. Here’s to a wonderful, thriving 2012 for all of us!

And without further ado, I present you with:

How I Quit My Job
in 10 Talking Points Or Less

(Hopefully Less)


— I’m going to go ahead and admit something here… I’m a pessimist. When I set out to quit my job I continually treated it as “an experiment.” I said to myself, I’m going to shoot for the stars, but I don’t want to fool myself on how long or hard it will be to get there. And then I made a “That’s what she said” joke because, let’s get real, I’m also a Michael Scott fan.

Chris, on the other hand, really is my biggest cheerleader. He tells me all the time that I’m never going to go back to a day job. He doesn’t say, “I don’t think…” or “You probably won’t…” He just says “You won’t.” This provides a huge and necessary balance for me, one that I realize I’m lucky to have. Whether or not I had the confidence and drive to go it alone, I truly believe that a great deal of my success is owed to those who have supported and encouraged me along the way.

But a good support system doesn’t always have to come from your spouse/partner or close family/friends. The people in my life totally rock, but sadly, not everyone is blessed with people who encourage them to follow their dreams. I recently joined up with a very small (but growing) community of photographers on Flickr. It’s our place to share thoughts, questions and get to know each other in a “snark-free zone.” Anyone can join, but it’s invite-only for discretion’s sake. We’ve just slapped together our first print exchange, and I can’t wait to see what other collaborations are on the horizon.

So there you have it: support groups. They’re not just for alcoholics! Find out who your biggest cheerleader is and listen to every word they say! And on the flip side of that, if there’s a Negative Nancy or two in your life, cut them out immediately. They’re doing you no good. Haters gonna hate; the rest of us are more than eager to cheer you on!


— With the exception of a brief stint in junior college (Helloooo, my first financial aid check!) I have always applied this to my life, but it’s even more imperative now that I’m self-employed. Being frivolous with money just isn’t an option anymore. That’s not to say I don’t have fun, or go out to eat, or indulge in a $9 cocktail now-and-then, but I absolutely do not live beyond my means, I do not own any credit cards and I have never lived paycheck-to-paycheck. I’ve always said that just because you have disposable income does not mean that it must be disposed. Tuck it away and SAVE! You’re gonna need it.

If you’re bad with money, consider tracking your income and expenses. There are many programs and services to help you do this — I’m an uber geek and do it manually with Excel spreadsheets. I make sure to include a generous estimate of what I will be paying in taxes so that I don’t fool myself into thinking I have more money than I really do. Accounting for taxes is one of the many pitfalls of being self-employed. To this day I still have friends who think I’m a millionaire because wedding photography is so expensive, but the sad truth is after it’s all said and done, the money we freelancers take home from a job is much less than you might think.


— This might seem like a no-brainer, but I spent a lot of time figuring out exactly what I need to survive. I gave myself leeway so I can still have fun, but tried to minimize unnecessary expenses. For months before I even put in my notice, I would make weekly lists of my expenses that were 100% necessary and decided I needed ~$600/mo to live a tight but comfortable life. I made sure I had saved up at least enough money to cover my bases for 6 months, in case this “experiment” didn’t work out.

Obviously for a lot of people this is easier said than done, especially depending on what kind of city you live in. I come from a town where it’s nigh on impossible to get around without a car (I have more than one friend back home who has been egged or similarly harassed while on their bike!), and summers are so grueling they’re spent indoors watching TV and blasting the AC.

Re-locating to Portland 2 1/2 years ago allowed us to live the dream of a simple life. Since moving here we’ve cut a lot out of our budget. For example, we don’t pay for internet and we no longer own a car — we also don’t have smart phones or a TV. Those are a few biggies right there that save us at least $200 a month. At least.

Ed. Note: Two years after writing this I finally crawled out of the dark ages and bought an iPhone, effectively doubling my phone bill. The important thing is that I didn’t give in to social pressures and shell out simply because everyone said I needed one. Instead I waited until I knew the time was right for me and my budget.

I realize getting rid of your car is unrealistic for a lot of people, but even taking the challenge to drive less will help save a good chunk of change every month. And no, I won’t get on a high horse about how much healthier you’ll feel when you stop driving everywhere, either (But wait, didn’t you just… Shhhhh!).


— Instead of just outright quitting my job, I started reducing the amount of hours I was working so that I could hit the ground running once I was ready to put all my chips on the table. I went from full-time, to part-time, to the point where most of my coworkers weren’t even sure if I still worked there anymore. I filled in the gaps with freelance jobs and waited until the energy spent on my day job was not worth the amount of money I was making. I had a 2-year run at Safeway, but my last 3 or 4 months I was making just enough the scrape by — ~$400/month (my half of rent) — while I worked on building up my business.

It was hard to kiss that cushion goodbye. After all, aside from food and utilities, up until that point all the money I made from photography went straight into the bank. But I was positive that my time could be better spent, and it was because I had been consistently SAVING money that I felt safe enough to quit.


— As you might’ve already guessed, building friendships and networking will put you on the fast track to success. It is entirely possible to go it alone, but I wouldn’t suggest it. Paid advertising can only get you so far, but most people aren’t going to overlook a beaming recommendation from a close friend or colleague.

Again, networking may seem like an obvious one — but I’m going to linger on it for a moment longer. I can’t stress the importance enough of having like-minded friends who lead a creative life. Whether we just talk shop, or get more personal, it’s invaluable having friends who know where I’m coming from and understand the daily struggles of being an artist. We can swap stories, know-how and help each other out in a time of need. Need to borrow a flash? Need a second-shooter? Want to test-drive a lens before you buy it? I’m there for them, and vice versa. Extra points for those who live in the same city as me, because I gain a shooting buddy to boot!

Notice how I didn’t limit this to just photographers, though? There is much to gain from anyone pursuing a creative lifestyle. For example, Chris has been working hard his whole life as a musician. He’s now part of a successful Portland band that I get to practice my band-photography chops on. While I have much to learn in this arena, I’m thrilled that our friendships with each other can be so mutually beneficial. I also recently scheduled a shoot with a friend who is kickstarting a jewelry business. The thing is, artists are in need of other artists just as much as the average person looking for a wedding or portrait photographer. And me? I love what my amazing and talented friends do, and am more than happy to help them on their path to success in whatever way I can.

You know how that old saying goes… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Well, I personally get over-the-moon with warm fuzzies anytime a referral lands in my inbox from a fellow talented colleague. There’s nothing I love more than getting the chance to bestow said warm fuzzies on another pal, too. So share the wealth — of warm fuzzies, that is.


— Or don’t. I know there’s a lot of debate about this particular topic when it comes to emerging photography businesses, and this sort of doubles up with the Networking point, but I honestly believe that money isn’t everything and that sometimes, the most important thing you have to gain from working with someone isn’t how much they’re paying you.

Part of what being a photographer means to me, personally, is being a service to the people around me. I mean, let’s face it! I love taking pictures. Of course, paid sessions come first — after all, I have a business to maintain — but if someone throws an idea out at me and it sounds like fun? Chances are, I’ll say yes. After all, it’s very likely that this person or someone they know might want to book a session in the future, and if I never make that connection, I’ll never get that referral.

Self-employment rides a lot on one’s ability to look far into the future. So break out your crystal ball and ask yourself, “Is this going to benefit me in the future? Could the exposure and networking I receive from this be equal to the money I might’ve spent on advertising?” Sometimes I like to throw in a “Does this sound like a boatload of fun?!” in for good measure. I like fun.

However! This is not an invitation to let people take advantage of you. There will always be people who will try to low-ball your livelihood, and that isn’t okay. As employee and owner of your business, it’s up to you to decide what’s worth it and what isn’t, and to be a good judge of character. You may not book that particular session if you refuse to lower your price, but your business isn’t going to survive in the long run if you always buckle to folks who don’t value what you’re worth, either. Remember, it’s all about finding your ideal client. “Kim Smith-Miller was really easy to haggle with!” isn’t really the kind of reputation — or client — I’m after.

If you’re unsure, stick to doing favors for charities, local nonprofits or businesses/people that you personally would like to support.


— This will require some homework on your state’s requirements (that’s where Chris enters the picture. I always like to joke that I’m going to buy him a plastic visor and oversized calculator), but as soon as you become legit, you’ll be able to write-off everything you buy that benefits your business. That includes new gear, advertising and travel fees, film (!) and so forth.

Once all the nitty gritty details were taken care of I set up business Paypal and checking accounts. This way, when it comes time to do taxes, it’s much easier to track where my money went and there aren’t any mix-ups with my personal debit card.

Depending on your state / living situation, you may even be able to write off a portion of your rent, too. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify for this under Oregon’s laws regarding home offices.

Until that happens…


— I drool as much as the next person over new gear, but I shot my very first wedding with a Nikon D50 and a 50mm f/1.8 lens and some of my favorite moments were captured that day. I continued to use that combo for another year, until I upgraded to a D300. And then I finally got legit at the beginning of 2011 and used that as an excuse to buy a D700.

I still don’t own a high-power zoom lens, or any f/1.4 lenses (sans a Sigma 30mm I don’t use anymore), but at this point I’ve become so accustomed to using what I’ve got that I don’t feel deprived or like I “need” them in order to accomplish a job. Would I love to own a 70-200mm f/2.8? Absolutely. But all in due time, and until then, I’m doing just fine.

The same goes for studio/office spaces. I would love to have a place where I could get out of the house, meet clients, or just edit photos somewhere that isn’t my couch. But it is such an unnecessary expense that would put me into such a tight spot and serve no more of a purpose than ooh-ing and ahh-ing my potential clients with what I have instead of what I do.

And, if you know me, you know that I’m not all that big on pretense. There’s nothing wrong with meeting clients at coffee shops, or editing photos from your couch. Just be sure to go for a walk every now and then. ;) Again, if a client doesn’t want to hire me based largely off the fact that I’m not covered in bling from head to toe, we probably weren’t a good fit to begin with.


— Expanding your services is a great way to keep business steady until you’re rich and famous enough to only do what you want. That’s not to say I take on clients or jobs that aren’t a good fit for me, but I try to think of what other areas of photography my skills or interests might work well in. Last year I took on a few food-and-drink gigs, and this summer I ended a 10-month run as a contributing photographer to Foodily, all of which were pretty much born out of my obsession with taking photos of what I eat.

And then there’s your income which, in my humble opinion, if you’re self-employed it shouldn’t all be riding on one horse. The great thing about photography is that there are many different income-generating avenues you can wander to maintain your business while building your brand. Within the last couple years I became obsessed with creative post-processing and started making and selling Photoshop Actions as well as licensing my photos through the Flickr+Getty partnership. We’ve been slacking on this front, but for a limited time you could even find my own Irvington Cats greeting cards on the shelf of Broadway Books! Some areas pull more financial weight than others, but at this point I couldn’t’ve quit my job if I had just relied on one specific area.


— When I set out to become a full-time photographer, I didn’t have any dreams of becoming rich and famous. My love for this art runs deep, and I was tired of having to work a job I didn’t like in order to support myself and my passion. My time and money were spread thin. Now, my business serves to support me in my exploration of photography, and that’s all I ever really wanted in the first place. Having lavish amounts of money doesn’t mean anything to me if I’m too focused on making bank instead of making photographs and being creative.

In short, I viewed money as a tool, not a beacon — I need money to pay my rent, eat and for my personal indulgence and education in photography. I don’t need money to be happy. As a result of this thinking, I’ve already accomplished my goal. Had I gone the other way, I don’t think there would be an end to the madness.

This is an area where you and I may not agree, and that’s okay. If your aim is to make pantloads of money, that’s great! Rock on. But I probably don’t have any helpful advice to give you. And if you made it all the way to the end here, only to realize that you were taking business advice from a stinkin’ hippy… Well, I’m sorry. :)

Once again, I want to wish each and every one of you a happy new year. I’m so incredibly thankful for everyone who has put their faith in me, my business and my art. I hope the candle that lights 2012 burns long and bright for all of us and I hope that this isn’t the last of any photography tips I have to share.

Happy New Year!


5+ years later and I am just reading this. Thank you for putting your time, effort and heart into this publication. It is a perfect example of living your dreams and being content in your life and aspirations. I do hope you are still following your dreams these days. And again Thanks for the write up!
-Jeremy Shows – Louisiana

hey Jeremy! Just seeing your comment now but I wanted to thank you for your kind words. I am still doing photography full time today, seven years later! Best wishes to you and all your endeavors. <3

[…] long time. It’s how long I worked at my grueling day job after we moved to Portland, before I quit to become a Full Time Adventurer. Every one of those days seemed to pass at a slower crawl than the […]

i really love everything you said!! i’ve been doing photography part time for the last 4 years, and i was recently notified that i’m being laid off from my day-job come the new year. by “force” i’m switching to full-time photographer (thanks to the support of an amazing huband), and i couldn’t be more excited! i’ve been prepping this last week, reading articles and researching books i can read about working with this change. i really appreciate all of your thoughts on the topic, and i’m definitely bookmarking this post for future reference! i’m inspired by you and your work (i’ve also had your actions as a part of my workflow for the past couple years). <3

wonderful support & advice – thank you so much xx

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am inspired, enlightened and encouraged. Thank you!

[…] With my head-shaking and fingers wagging, I now think, “Kim, Kim, Kim! You didn’t quit your day job to pass up opportunities like […]

[…] of my goals after I quit my day job was to see more live music, since I could now afford to stay out cuttin’ rug all over town. I […]

Liked your blog! I’m currently starting out photography business and holding on to my day job. As you said, time is spreading thin and my love for photography runs deep. Thank you for your words of inspiration! When time is right, I’ll be there too .

Add writing to your “Expand & Diversify” skill set, very nicely written. I’ve been more or less freelance for more or less ten years and have figured out some of these things for myself, though some I’ve never verbalized quite like this. A life-changing post. Thank you. GP

Really interesting reading. :)
Hope some day I can say, this post inspired me to start the way of a photographer.

[…] just in case. At the beginning of 2012 I took to my blog and wrote a long post about how I quit, (, and how important it was to pursue my creative vision, even if it meant never becoming filthy […]

[…] just in case. At the beginning of 2012 I took to my blog and wrote a long post about how I quit, (, and how important it was to pursue my creative vision, even if it meant never becoming filthy […]

Very inspiring! Love the passion behind the words. Thanks for sharing, Kim!

Inpiring post, fills me optimism for the future. I’m just a part-time semi-pro shooter right now but who knows about the future now I read this ;-) Thanks
Mike x

Hey Kim,

Coming from a hobbyist photographer who is shooting occasional weddings part time, I just wanted to say a big thanks for this post – really inspiring and got me planning.


Let me start off by saying that I usually don’t read photography blogs as thoroughly as I just read this post. Wow. So much useful information in this. Thank you so much for being so informative! Gotta love having so many amazing photographers in Portland!

Great post! Such an inspiring attitude too. Love your blog and work. Will follow.

New reader here! Hello :D Your work is fantastic.

Thank you so much for all your “For Photographers” posts, especially this one. I’m an aspiring photographer, and while I can’t totally quit my day job yet, this entry has some very helpful info!

I especially like the idea of that flickr Pow Wow group. I don’t have any photographer friends yet and I’ve hesitated in asking questions and joining discussions online because I’ve seen so many shot down by snarky snobs! If it’s okay for not-yet-professionals to join, could I please get an invite? Here’s my profile:

Again, thanks for your help in these posts and for your inspiring photographs!

congratulations on being able to live the life you want. that’s true success!

the only thing i see wrong here is your saying you don’t have a credit card. you *need* to build up a good record of using credit – if you need it in the future, you’ll be in trouble. it’s not something you can do in a hurry.

you may think you’ll never want to get a bank loan or buy a house or etc., but you can’t predict the future. also, you need a credit card for many things that may only occur during emergencies – like renting a car, for example. or staying at a hotel. (some don’t take cash.) even renting in many places requires a good credit report.

since you are so responsible with money, you could get a credit card, set up some auto bill pays on it, and build good credit while not costing yourself anything. there are a million places online to find out about how to use credit responsibly and build up a good credit score without paying any fees.

it’s worth underlining the fact that as a *woman* you need to make sure you’ve done this under your own name. when relationships fail (and I hope this never happens to you or anyone you know), many women are left with no credit under their own name – and therefore can’t do the things they need to do to get restarted in life.

it’s just good advice to pass on to others – get a credit card, don’t use it to buy things you can’t afford, build up a solid credit rating in case you need it.

otherwise – great article and hopefully very inspiring to others. i’ve been self-employed since i was 22 (i’m much older now ;) and it is a wonderful life!

oh, also to add a huge agreement to networking outside your field! For example, I work on a lot of cat projects that I need great quality cat photos! So reading your post, I learned that you take pics of cats and will keep you in my database as a potential future collaborator! :)

Hi! I am not a photographer (well not professional but I am obsessed with taking pictures of cats!) but still found your tips useful for my own biz of cat behavior consulting. I do have one tiny critique, or maybe something you can add in the future. ‘advertising’ your work without advertising. For example, you mentioned your Irvington Cats photos being in a book store, and you provided the link. Great non-advertising advertising BUT when I clicked the link, it took me to book store not the postcards with your photos and I couldn’t find the photo post cards anywhere! Wahhhh! I am a cat-fanatic so of course your mention of cat photos got me and could have been a sale right there! But alas, couldn’t find them. :(

Sooooo, can you post a link to them? lol! I still want to see them! :)

[…] saved the best for last. At the beginning of the year photographer Kim Miller wrote about how she quit her day job to work for herself full time. So many of the stories I share about self-employment come from […]

I just stumbled upon this now and this was amazing to read. Thank you so much for posting this. It provides so much insight and advice into something I only dream of doing. I am definitely favouriting this post to refer to later. You are so inspiring!

Thank you, Julie! I’m glad the post was helpful. I’m rooting for you and your dream!

WHOA. You posted this?! I’m so behind on blogs it’s stressing me out a bit. However, I’m so glad I caught this as it’s better late than never. With the world of art I 100% agree that support groups are so integral when pursuing it as a main source of income. That, and having a wonderful significant other who is willing to pick up the slack on slow months would be pretty important too if living with one. Another huge point on the gear! I think I’m cracking regarding the D700 BUT because I don’t need it aka have not outgrown the D7000/D90, it’s just on a dream list. If I start booking a ton of weddings then it’s time to reevaluate but not until then. My biggest stressor is adjusting to the idea of not having a regular paycheque. Getty is a bit spotty! So I guess my only question is how to get beyond that element of the unknown? Weddings are booked well in advance but I find portraits can be, say, a couple of weeks of warning.

I’m thrilled you took this leap and are happier because of it. You’ve always known this is what you wanted to do so it’s admirable seeing someone taking a risk (well, it’s not as giant a risk when you know you rock at it but still a risk) and likely will excel as a result of the extra time you can now devote to your passion. I’m looking forward to learning more from you! Excellent post.

[…] by Kim on Feb 14, 2012 • No Comments If you’re just tuning in, I quit my day job back in October to pursue photography full-time. At least, that’s the spiel I always dole […]

I might be in love with you. As you know this is a venture I am working towards in the future. Setting up my ducks, if you will. I love to be reminded of the achievability of it, but also of your unique path to making it happen. Okay, I am going to go on a bit, because I can’t help myself now that you’ve just warmed my whole entire heart.

1. Support groups. So important. And important for people to realize it’s up to them to champion their own if they’re not finding it out there, somewhere.
2. Money-smartness. We’re geeks like you, and we use good docs for all our accounting and budgeting, but we pair it with an incredible thing that I highly recommend to anyone who feels they are not so handy with numbers or feel overwhelmed by budgeting: Seriously, you’ll thank me later. You can be geeky like us and pair it with additional manual tracking, but it can serve as a wonderful method of setting your budget and tracking your spending without requiring much number-crunching of you if you can’t handle it. Point 2: intrigued at how you can manage without a credit card. For us, establishing good credit to land apartments and buy a car (and all that stuff Southern CA requires of people) has been a necessity. How do you get an apartment without a good credit score?
3. Explain your presence here without paying for internet? Confused and impressed.

Well, there, lady. You are great. Next time I’m in Portland, I really do hope we can actually make a meet-up happen!

Thanks Jas! I’m happy this post was helpful for you — especially in the unique-path-to-realization kinda way. That’s the one thing I worry about when writing stuff like this. I never want to come off as “this is how it’s done.” I’m much more of a “this is ONE way to do it…” kinda gal!

We love! Actually, that’s a lie. We love it and “hate” it. The only thing we are purposefully not mindful about spending money on is food. We are big believers in eating good… Obviously. :) So you can imagine all the eye-rolling that goes on when I get an “exceeded budget for groceries” email.

About credit cards: I’ll have to go back and make sure I didn’t goof in the post, but what I *hope* I said is that *I* don’t have any credit cards — Chris has one, but we’ve never maintained a balance on it and only ever use it for things like plane tickets, where we pay it off just as swiftly as if we’d paid in cash. The thing about credit is… We really are stinking hippies, sans hacky sacks and dreadlocks. We have a huge distaste for the credit game (we have another word for it round the house and it isn’t “game” ;), and we also don’t have any interest in ever borrowing large sums of money. So… Yeah! I hope that was at least a tiny bit helpful.

I’m surprised by your surprise about the internet thing! Is free WiFi not big in SoCal? Our apartment building has free WiFi (as many buildings do). Now, we always agreed that if we ever moved to a building that didn’t, we would try and make it work with local cafes and the like, but we are yet to see ourselves put that kinda discipline in practice. So we’ll see. :)

And you absotootley best keep me in the loop for any future Portland visits! I get the feeling we’d have the most fun together, and then some!

Thank you so, so much for sharing this! Eventually leaving my day job is my long-term goal as well (once more debt is paid down), and I thrive on seeing other people who have tackled that beast and won. :) As it is, I couldn’t agree more on networking and volunteering, it’s done amazing things for me. Photogs are an awesome group to get to know!

Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a bit, and think its great!!

I’ve also been thinking of taking the plunge to stop pushing paper round my desk for a living, and get out and have some creative fun, and hopefully try and make as much of a living out of it as possible. Unfortunately I dont have all the positive people in my life that you do, and most peoples reaction is not to do it…and that has kinda impacted my confidence in going for it! I’d love to be part of the network to grab a bit of confidence to just go for it, and to get some tips! I’ve recently started a photography blog and hopefully this will be the start of things!! You’re an inspiration! Kitty x

I adore this post, for many reasons. One, you post this on 1st Jan, the day I quit my job too. Two, I went freelance as a food photographer, writer and blogger. Three, it’s everything I need to keep me going for the rest of my year. Thank you! So glad to have found you!

That’s fantastic, Denise! Congratulations on following your dream! And excuse me for being a little cheesy here, but *I’m* so happy to have found *you*. I look forward to following your adventures on your blog! And, while you might’ve seen this coming from a mile away, I really really love the photo of the kitty you’ve got on your Farewell 2011 post. :)

thank you Kim! (: *heart jumping!*

Loved this post! I stumbled upon your blog from a friend on facebook. This was so very well written with lots of great advice for anyone wanting to quit their day job and go for ‘the big dream.’

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to write out this post. I love all of your ideas and your passion for you art. Happy New Year!

Found your blog when I was googling resources on shooting film. Love love your work. And I couldn’t agree more about your last point about your personal view on money and how it will influence how you live your life. Great post!

Thanks for a great post! And a lovely blog, I will surely follow from now on. Good Luck! This Photo pow wow, is it only for americans? If not, I would really like to join! Best of luck to you.

This is awesome. I can relate to most of this (although you’d be hard pressed to find a cocktail for only $9 in NY :P. Damn cost of living here!) and am thinking of writing something similar on the one year anniversary of my quit day.

You’re gonna have a great and big year!! Still hoping I can shoot a wedding in France some day…

Even though I am not a photographer, I found this post very helpful in even considering full time blogging, or doing anything else I’d express myself in. Thanks for the up-front honest tips! :)

Thanks Kim! Wonderful read for both Jeff & myself. Totally see eye to eye on so many levels. This entry is very re-affirming as I’ve had many conversations with friends & family regarding this topic. I especially enjoyed the last bit about money & heartily agree.

Thank you for being a big stinkin’ hippy! And we must get together for photo walks soon! I need to start walking more to avoid the migraines I get when I get, so I’m always up for walking if you need to get out of the house!

And I meant when I don’t.

“Use what you’ve got” gets another hell yea from me as well Kim! Never would I scoff if someone pulls out a D50 for a wedding because well my wedding photos are BEAUTIFUL. Wonderful post!

This post was wonderful! Good for you :)

Thank you Kim for taking the time to write this. You are an amazing woman and artist and I’m so happy I really have gotten the chance to know you this past year! I look forward to a few photo walks in 2012, WOO!

Congrats to you on all your hard work and being able to live doing what you love to do.

I have been an artist since I was 3 and even though I have had some setbacks, I know that a career doing what I love to do is on the horizon.

You really are an inspiration. It’s been amazing to watch you progress in your photography over the years and finally come to this conclusion. I am lucky enough to have a job that I really love and have a passion for. It’s so important to be doing what you love and being comfortable with that. Thanks for taking your time to write this. It sounds almost weird to say (because I’m sure it’s implied) but I’m really proud of you. You’re awesome!

i’m an amateur photographer, but this post was inspiring to me nonetheless. happy new year for you, your family (cats included) and your business :)

I absolutely love this post. I went full-time as an artist last June, and ever since it’s been a bumpy but successful ride, and I keep growing every month. It’s nice to know I’m not alone with this!
I hope your year turns out really well :)

This was such a great post Kim, and I loved everything you wrote. These are things we learn when we let go of the cushion of a steady paycheck, but after a few months we realize, hey, this isn’t so scary after all! I think the most important thing here is to diversify. The passive income provided by say actions for photoshop, and having a Getty Image portfolio are really helpful. You’ve done the work already and put it out there, and now it creates passive income for you while you work on booking clients for photoshoots.

Congrats on a fabulous year Kim, and I know 2012 will be amazing for you as well.

Hey, Kim. Just wanted to leave a comment saying thank you for writing this. Since I’m still in high school & living at home, I’m not too concerned with how I’ll pay my rent. However, there’s some awesome advice in this that I really need to follow (like cutting back). This comes at a good time since I want to start shooting portraits in 2012.

My favorite part was definitely “use what you’ve got.” Since I recently just acquired my second lens (35mm + 50mm), it’s easy to say I don’t have enough to be good. Wrong! (:

Happy New Year!