make money with food photography

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Feb 24, 2023

Corporate Job to Dream Career Working From Home

What if your love of food and photography could lead to a successful career?

If you've ever felt stuck in your job, Shelley's story will inspire you to pursue your dreams. After years of 40-50 hour work weeks, she decided that it was time to leave her “safe” job for something new.

Joining Pretty Focused – Food Blog Photography not only gave her a career change but a lifestyle change as well. Today, she has a home-based photography business that provides the freedom, flexibility and finances to work when and where she wants.

As part of an ongoing series where we interview Pretty Focused grads, we were excited to speak to Shelley about her journey from the corporate world to becoming a work-from-home photographer. It was an invaluable opportunity to get a fresh perspective from a recent grad as well as a more thorough understanding of what it means to make a living as a food photographer for bloggers.

Here's her story at a glance:

  • Shelley was sent home from her former place of work during the pandemic due to her acute kidney disease and had to brainstorm remote work ideas to meet financial needs and have flexibility in her lifestyle.
  • Talking with a family friend, who was also a Pretty Focused grad, opened her eyes to the lucrative potential of photographing food for bloggers.
  • Shelley decided to join Pretty Focused – Food Blog Photography and invested in essential gear such as a DSLR camera, 50 mm lens, tripod and backdrops.
  • After graduating from Pretty Focused, she opened a shop selling exclusive food blog content, which sold out within minutes. She immediately raised her prices.
  • Now Shelley has the financial freedom and flexibility to work where and when she wants at under 30 hours per week.

Read her full story


Get To Know Shelley

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 1:52 When did you join Pretty Focused?
  • 3:30 How did you hear about Pretty Focused?
  • 7:34 Did you have a camera?
  • 8:08 Have you upgraded your camera since starting?
  • 9:25 How Shelley earned more as a food photographer than in her corporate job
  • 10:26 What are your hours compared to your last job?
  • 11:00 Shelley's first sales
  • 11:52 Are you selling exclusives solely?
  • 12:33 How Shelley decides what recipes to create and sell
  • 18:23 What gear do you feel beginners need?
  • 19:37 What about styling supplies?
  • 23:40 When selling semi-exclusives, which backdrop sells first?
  • 25:05 How long did it take Shelley to graduate?
  • 27:01 How Shelley has been able to Increase the quality of work
  • 31:37 What kept you going?
  • 35:00 How do you find inspiration for creating recipes? (listener question)
  • 36:55 As a Canadian, how comfortable are you with creating recipes for ‘middle America'?
  • 41:06 What does a typical week as a recipe developer / food photographer look like for you?
  • 43:29 How are you delivering images to clients? (listener question)
  • 44:03 What percentage of bloggers would you say purchase vegan/vegetarian/gluten free recipes? (listener question)
  • 49:00 What is Pretty Focused?
  • 51:16 What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining Pretty Focused?
  • 53:34: What would you say is the average monthly income of a Pretty Focused graduate?
  • 1:02:32 Learn about Pretty Focused's pay-in-full bonus

Resources Mentioned

​Shelley's Story

It was 2021 and Shelley was ready for change. She had been regularly putting in 45 to 50 hours a week at her job and wanted to find something that would be financially rewarding but also have fewer hours and more flexibility. And, preferably, something where she could make an income from home.

To give some background, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, it had a drastic effect on life for so many around the world. But for Shelley, who has acute kidney disease, this was especially true. She was sent home and not allowed to leave her house for nine weeks due to her illness.

This posed a serious problem as the automotive dealership she worked for remained open yet there were no preparations in place for Shelley to do her job remotely.

Facing the reality that her normal office life was no more, Shelley and her husband started to brainstorm work-from-home ideas. Beyond meeting financial needs, a big requirement of any remote work would be flexibility. An empty nester, Shelley knew she wanted something that would fit into her lifestyle and still allow her the freedom to embrace new opportunities.

As part of her research, she knew she had to talk to a family friend, who was a Pretty Focused grad working successfully as a full-time food photographer for bloggers. Shelley had no idea what that actually meant but she was intrigued.

“How could you make a living from something that is so niche, so unlikely to work?”

Inviting the family friend to dinner, Shelley and her husband peppered her with questions about becoming a food photographer for bloggers. When Shelley first heard about working for bloggers as a career, she was skeptical. Like most people, she was surprised to discover that photographing for bloggers is a lucrative way to make a living from home.

Talking with her friend opened her eyes to the potential opportunities within the blogging industry. Shelley had no idea that there were so many people out there who worked for bloggers full-time and were able to support themselves through it.

Most people believe food bloggers are usually doing it as a hobby, not a job. Yet, as Shelley learned, the reality is that food blogging has become an ultra-competitive industry over the last decade. Top food bloggers have had to build teams and outsource work to make their businesses stronger. As a result, working for bloggers is one avenue where you can make money online without having to deal with the immense pressure of running an entire food blog yourself.

When they started talking money, it solidified that the right decision for her was working from home as a food photographer for bloggers. Depending on experience, expertise and clientele, Pretty Focused grads can make anywhere from $40 an hour up to $100 an hour or more.

50% of Full Time Pretty Focused Grads Report Making More Than $50,000 a Year

As Shelley learned over dinner with her friend, the key to making a successful career as a food photographer for bloggers is having the right knowledge and skillset. To make sure Shelley had those skills, her friend highly recommended Pretty Focused – Food Blog Photography.

Not only did Pretty Focused – Food Blog Photography offer a full curriculum and personalized coaching, its graduates are admitted into a Buyers Club where clients are waiting to hire them. The numerous testimonies from those who had graduated from the course and reached their financial goals were huge selling points.

In December 2021, Shelley took the plunge and joined Pretty Focused – Food Blog Photography.

To start her Pretty Focused journey, Shelley had a DSLR camera (a phone or point-and-shoot camera will not work), a 50 mm lens and a tripod. Because she could only practice the course in the evenings – she was still working full time at the dealership at that point – she also invested in artificial lighting to capture beautiful images no matter what time of day it was.

As for styling supplies, she made the smart decision to purchase only items that were essential for her work – a standard marble styling board and one plain white subway tile backdrop. This inexpensive setup immediately paid off and has since been used in 80% of her client work. Other items she needed — dishes, cups, cutlery and such — she was able to borrow or acquire from friends and family.


The Results: Shelley's Success with Pretty Focused-Food Blog Photography

Working full-time, 40+ hour weeks by day – and on her Food Blog Photography in the evenings and on weekends – Shelley was able to graduate in about 10 months.

The hard work, dedication and practice paid off. Following graduation, Shelley was admitted into the Pretty Focused Buyers Club, where her ideal clients were waiting for her. She opened a shop selling exclusive recipe content to food bloggers. her work sold out within minutes. She even had a blogger message her and tell her that her prices were too low. Of course, she raised her rates immediately after hearing the news and clients were happy to purchase at the higher price.

Perhaps even better than having the financial freedom was the flexibility Shelley has gained now being able to work where and when she wants. She went from working an average of 45 hours per week to now working just under 30 hours per week. Best of all, she has other perks like working in her pjs and never having to worry about asking for time off.

What started as an uncertain time due to her illness, turned into a life-changing moment with the help of Pretty Focused – Food Blog Photography. Today, Shelley is thriving as a full-time food photographer for bloggers. Her success story and journey have served as an inspiration to many others who are looking to make money from home while still having time for their family and other passions.

What if you could turn your passion for cooking and photography into a dream career?

Pretty Focused – Food Blog Photography helps aspiring food photographers get hired. Whether you’re looking to make a full-time income or just supplemental income, there is something for everyone inside our course. Plus, with the support of a community and top-notch coaches, as well as our Buyers Club that connects you with clients, you’ll have everything you need to succeed.

So if you’re looking for a new career or just want to explore the possibilities of working from home as a food photographer for bloggers, join the Pretty Focused RoadMap and learn if this is right for you.

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