Do You Have the Mindset of a Professional Photographer?

Being a professional photographer is about more than just excelling at creating imagery; in fact, that's often only a small part of what goes into being successful. This great video talks about exactly the kind of mindset you need to have to make it as a professional photographer. 

Coming to you from Jeff Rojas, this helpful video lays down some cold facts about the mindset you need as a professional photographer. I think it's easy to romanticize the idea of a career as a creative of any sort, when in all reality, the most romantic version is probably the passionate amateur, as the burdens of running your own business and trying to reconcile your artistic impulses with the need to have a steady income never exist or mix with each other. In addition to the great points Rojas makes, I think it's also important to always be honest and objective and your own abilities. It's crucial to know if you're ready to make the jump and once you have, to know any areas you need to shore up or perhaps begin learning. Having a close photographer buddy or two whose opinions you trust can make a large difference in this; just be sure (as Rojas alludes to) that they're people who will give you honest feedback, not just validation.

Lead image from Rawpixel, used under Creative Commons.

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Shawn Mahan's picture

Good advice, and really those could be applied in your daily life or any professional field.

Jeff Rojas's picture

Thanks Shawn! :D

Lou Bragg's picture

Do You Have the Mindset of a Professional Photographer? If not sure, Youtubers will tell you all you need to know, for sure...

Alex Cooke's picture

Being on YouTube doesn’t preclude Jeff from being a talented and successful photographer, which he is.

Jeff Rojas's picture

Thanks for the share Alex Cooke! :)

Johnny Rico's picture

Wait so is he a even a professional photographer? I don't see a lick of commissioned work in his portfolio. Please don't tell me this is utter hypocrisy

Jeff Rojas's picture

Do yourself a favor. Google my name before talking crap. A 1-Minute Search on my facebook page and you would have found billboards I've photographed. If you would have spent 2 minutes and you would have seen my clients. Call me when you've done anything of note and before calling anyone hypocritical​.

Johnny Rico's picture

I did google your name, and a single billboard for a small boutique/clothing company last year doesn't change my statement. But it is always neat when you see your work in print for the first time.

Jeff Rojas's picture

Small company? They're in every Costco nationwide... but okay, you're right. I haven't done anything. ;)

Stick to keyboards and complaining, I'll keep making money. :*

Jeff Rojas's picture

Just to confirm your logic... I shouldn't post on YouTube anymore because I have real clients? Got it. Not all photo educators are full of shit... I've had my fair share of those. ;)

Deleted Account's picture

I was rather impressed by the work on your website.

Jeff Rojas's picture

Some people learn by reading. Some people learn by watching. Instead of griping about it..​. why don't you focus on learning something productive or contributing where you feel there are areas for improvement. Don't complain if you're not willing to put in elbow grease.

Jeff Rojas's picture

I didn't contribute to this; the author found my work on YouTube. Therefore by your logic, I can say the same.

As a fellow reader, contribute instead of complaining.

Jeff Rojas's picture

On a serious side note: "YouTube to fill your pages with dumbed-down time-wasters."

I scoped out your rates on your site... If you're interested in raising those, definitely check out more of my videos. Attached is my average commercial shoot day-rate. Always happy to share. ;)

Jeff Rojas's picture

Read my comment above this one. I'm here to help if you have any questions! :)

Shoot me an email at I'm always happy to help. :D

Alexander Petrenko's picture

It's Europe, honey :) Different culture, comparable number of photographers. Photographers work here for pennies... ;)

PS: I assume 9710 includes bunch of other stuff, including usage rights and catering?

Jeff Rojas's picture

I don't just work in the US. ;) Let's be clear people in the states work for FREE.

It's not about where you are; it's about the value you can prove to the clients who have the budget.

While catering wasn't included, I definitely charged for usage rights. ;)

ron fya's picture

Jeff Rojas forget about those idiots that are not willing to learn what it takes to sustain a real business.

Would you be kind enough to transfer the time you're currently taking to hustle with those in order to create great guides on real business practices for those really interested in learning ? :D

From your YT channel, you seem to be doing just that. Here are some additional ideas.

I think the some of the most relevant areas are process & pricing.
Process : what are the people and steps involved when booking a real advertising job, ...
Pricing: deconstruct a real job quote (with actual figures if you don't mind), ...

Because clearly the ONE THING newcomers are afraid of is being laughed at when a professional prospective client they're trying to do business with for the first time will tell them "it's not like that, you're out of your mind". And they wasted a good chance for a cool project. Back to square one.

Anyway, if you're willing to share your valuable experience, that's just an idea ;-)

Thanks !

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Yup I have had to scrape together money for rent.
Showing the bottom line of an invoice tells us something but not much.
Was that the license fee for one image for 2 years?
How extensive was the usage, "media usage" is sort of vague.
Was that for entire shoot, fees and expenses?

Did your lawyer agree that 3% per day late fee is legal and enforceable? (it isn't)

Anyhoo- I love a good ole Fstopper slap fight!

Jeff Rojas's picture

3% per day late fee is enforceable when it's in the preliminary contract. ;)

I provide a service, not a charity.

Everything that you're discussing is in my contracts. I'd be happy to film a video on one rather than "slap fight." :D

Christian Santiago's picture


Those of us who know better know that you probably make more money as a photographer than anyone who would likely comment on these articles. No need to fight in the mud with these haters. I promise you they're in the minority. Most people appreciate what you have to teach.

As always, Thank you for the inspirational tough love. Being a successful photographer is more about business savvy than technique. You're one of the few who excels at both. I actually watch your videos on days when I catch myself being lazy and need to overcome my natural inclination to avoid talking to other humans.

Deleted Account's picture

What on Earth is it with the photographic community and its need to dump on everyone?

Although, all too often, the critics have nothing to show, or what they do have is complete garbage.

Jeff, I think your work is great.