FAQ - Jen Dobson


How can I become a photographer like you?

I get emails and messages with this question all the time, and my answer is always the same.  Just start shooting.  Take whatever camera you have- any kind of camera and start taking photos.  Learn as you go and learn how to teach yourself.  Read books, take classes.  Creative Live even streams photography classes live for free.   If you don't know how to do something, look it up. Google it, search for it on YouTube.  There is no magic pill you can take to become a photographer.  Pick up a camera, go experiment, learn from yourself.

How did you break into your career now?

Not long ago I was a real estate photographer working 12-16 hour days.  It was my first paid photography job and while I learned a lot, it really wasn't a good work-life balance and my creativity was completely drained.  

I knew I wanted to make a living that allowed me to travel but I wasn't sure how to start, so I started reading The 4-hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and The Suitcase Entrepreneur by Natalie Sisson.

Those books made me see that I could design a careeer that allowed me to do what I loved.  I am still working to achieve my goals, but Natalie Sisson's Freedom Plan course gave me the resources I needed to quit my job and start working for myself.  I saved up as much money as I could, quit my job and got busy building a portfolio and a client base.  I also went on my first solo trip to Hawaii and spent 1 month in Puerto Rico.

What Gear do you use?

I am hoping to try the Sony mirrorless systems next, but right now I use the following gear:


     -GoPro Hero 4 Black

     -DJI Phantom 3 Pro

     -Canon Rebel T3i

     -Canon 5D Mark III

     -Iphone 6s

What is your background?

I always loved spending time outside.  I was also always an artistic kid growing up and I did a lot of painting.  I first got into photography when we had to study a photographer for school, and I chose Ansel Adams.

But my love of nature also went hand-in-hand with my love of animals, so my first job was at a dog kennel.  I worked with animals for 14 years and graduated college with a degree in animal behavior before finding my way back to photography.  Now I prefer to combine everything I love most through landscape, travel and adventure photography.

How are you able to make a living while you travel?

I won't give away all my secrets, but before I started traveling, I cut out as many expenses as I could.  I eliminated bills and sold everything of value that I didn't need.  I was also very lucky to have family I could stay with while I worked on selling my home.  I pay for all of my expenses with a credit card so that I can earn points towards travel, and I signed up for new credit cards with extra air mileage bonuses.  All of that work bought me time to build my business up while I traveled.

What advice do you have for people who want to become photographers?

Don't wait for permission.  There are a lot of great ways to get experience in photography, and if you can't do it or don't want to do it through a formal education, that's ok.  Look for internships or just start teaching yourself.  Take online classes, watch YouTube videos.  Just learn as much as you can and get out shooting. Over time, your photos will speak for themselves.

What advice do you have for people who want to travel?

You will never feel 100% ready.  Do your best to prepare, but give yourself a deadline and stick to it.  The to-do list will never be done.  Go anyway.  Life is short and there's a big beautiful world to see.

Do you license or sell your photographs?

You can purchase prints on my website or if you're interested in licensing imagery, contact me.

Powered by SmugMug Log In