I’ve grown to hate the word passion, as it seems the to-go-to-word these days for anything anyone’s wants to pursue, even if they are not willing, to eat, breath, and sleep it. I’ve had this question many times in my career and throughout my work – so how can anyone become a successful photographer, and make it work for themselves, and be filled with the definite joy it must surely bring to do such great work….

And I always answer: would you be willing to leave your job? And give that up? How much would you eat this, sleep this, and live it? And if the answer is perhaps only on weekends, or part-time, then that is a perfect answer to be a fantastic, superb…hobbyist.

I’m sure many people would disagree with me…and I’m sure perhaps I’m not even right in my statement, but I do know this is as serious as any business, just as how any business owner would be about their business, and all of this isn’t just about creating pictures, or telling stories, or pretty images that you were able to capture with a fan blowing hair and someone smiling sincerely…

This is about more than passion, because it’s also our survival. Even though I love what I do more than my own life I suppose, I do have to pay bills, and I do have to pay taxes, and it’s also a battle when any economy is down. Still – no victim mentality, and just push back when it pushes you first.

Sitting in a space of not helping even yourself is plainly destructive, and even though I make it sound very easy – I do know what depression is, and I have scraped the bottom of the pit before. I’m only a successful photographer NOW, because of an almost animal-like instinct to drive this towards the best it can be.

Creative hustling is a job we know all too well, and a good friend had told a story about how she was at an event, and someone asked what she did. Her response was, I’m a successful photographer … The person’s response in return was: “oh another one…”

And perhaps yes, it has become a much more accessible career than medicine or chartered accounting, and so many people are trying their hand ta it, and quite a few are getting it very right.

Working with people has able been what’s driven to do this, and after some years in the industry, I’ve also come to choose my battles, and to choose my projects. Well-known photographer Chase Jarvis had shared the following image which I chose as my banner, saying that you should say no, unless the project includes at least two of those…

I’ll let the banner speak for itself.


Yolandi Jacobsz, Specialized Photographer