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How I scored my job as a full-time photographer

How I scored my job as a full-time photographer
Words by Mike Timm 01 Feb, 2019 2 comments
Hi, I'm Mike. I often get asked how I became a full-time photographer. Here's how it went down.


Scrolling my Instagram, continuously seeing a pink banner pop up that looks like spam, I ignore it. I go onto Facebook, here it is again. Must be some sort of scam. Someone tags me in the post, and I finally give it a bit of attention. This is what I read. 

What's not to like?

A two-year internship, paid for taking photos, something I already love doing? Damn, I’m into that. I emailed. 5 minutes later, no response, I email again. Jacqui gets back to me, and within the space of a week, I’ve redesigned my CV, Written a cover letter, got some photos taken of me, done a shoot by myself as part of the application, and been for an interview.

17 March 2017, the day I turn 23, I’m standing in the Jacob Lund office in Loop street, ready to sign my contract.

But Mike, was it easy?

It was definitely no easy task getting this far into this internship, but it’s definitely been worth it. Long days, early mornings, and late nights. Always chasing those sunrises and sunsets. Proving that planning meets opportunity results in success.

Looking back at the last (nearly) two years, it is apparent that the internship Courtney and myself got ourselves into, has definitely come with many opportunities, experiences, and challenges.

Tell me more?

2017, the year where I started my journey as a stock photographer after making it into the internship programme. Having about 3 years of experience in taking photos, I never thought that there was so much to learn in order to become a commercial stock photographer.

One month of orientation and training has come and gone, and here I am, ready to shoot my own stock images under Jacob’s name. No pressure, right? Wrong, Immense pressure. Little did I know that this was the beginning of real learning.

Starting off strong with two of my strongest shoots to date, a Father and Son road trip shoot, as well as a Corporate Business shoot, the importance of a strong concept within a shoot, as well as proper execution was made very clear. Considering the fact that both of these shoots have a very clear feeling and a story that can be shown allows for many commercial applications.


It’s important to remember that once you start shooting on a regular basis, you need to keep your passion for the art intact, this is done by shooting stuff you are passionate about.

Repetition is the mother of learning. 2 Shoots a week for the better part of the year, it becomes like breathing. Up until the date of this post, I have shot roughly 130 photoshoots, and each one brings in new learning curves. Whether it be different energies on set, planning, communication, or simply my own headspace. Each time I pick up the camera, there is something to be learnt.

2018 has afforded me 82 opportunities to shoot something incredible. Obviously, some of them more successfully than others. There are so many elements to consider when doing this job, yet it’s important to keep the process and approach simple enough to ensure a usable image at the end of the day. Focusing on all the elements of basic photography, angles, settings, focal lengths, and modifiers, as well as the more technical elements with regards to what makes a good commercial image is something that has been drilled over time.

Reflecting on these 82 photoshoots, here is an overview of some of my favourites. In no particular order, these shoots, I feel, have taught me the most. Whether it’s just simply the shoots I feel I’ve come closer to the style I’ve strived for, lighting improvements, or memorable sets.


Comments (2)

onyeacholem Laurel Andrew 21 Jun, 2019

nice biography , it’s really inspiring to me.

Mark Timm 01 Feb, 2019

Excellent work Michael. You have come a long way. Keep it up!!

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Female athlete exercising with heavy weights
Loving couple going on a picnic at the park
Smiling couple with kid reading a story book together
Businessman using laptop sitting in car
Female architect working at her home office desk
Friends on a vacation eating snacks and drinks
Father and son having fun at the park
African female architect working at her office
Mother and son playing at home
Romantic senior couple at home expressing their love
Young asian woman in bathtub
Close up of a man picking a boules standing in a lawn
Romantic interracial couple outdoors
Couple enjoying each other's company on beach
Two old men sitting knitting warm clothes
Carpenter in workshop cuts the wood using band saw
Male entrepreneur at coffee shop
Woman hugging her man with love
Business men working together in modern cafe
Pro golfer playing on the course
Designer thinking for new ideas
Woman having coffee with friends at the beach
Business man and woman working late in the night at office
Couple approaching to each other
Loving mother and son playing together
Women laughing while doing pilates workout at a gym
Female taking break after workout at gym
Concentrated photo editor working in his studio
Father and daughter playing at home
Father and daughter sitting at home
Couple embracing each other with love
Students in classroom taking selfie
Man with friends dancing at music festival
Student in high school campus
Businessman going to office by bicycle and talking on phone
Man in business suit talking over cell phone outdoors
Mountains and cloudy sky sunset
Smiling couple listening to music standing in a laundry room
Close up of a tired boxing kid with his coach
Brewer testing beer at brewery factory
Boxing kid training inside a boxing gym with his coach
Female artist smiling with paint brush in studio
Students rising hands to answer the question in lecture
Coach training a boxer kid standing inside a boxing ring
Friends having fun at a music festival
Smiling florist working in her shop.
Woman florist working in flower shop
Man exploring the city
Tourist couple exploring the city
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