Opinion: You're never too old to become a pro photographer

Age is just a number
(Image credit: James Coleman on Unsplash)

Every month a lucky N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine reader gets to spend the day shooting alongside a pro Nikon photographer. The pro in our current June issue is maternity photographer, Tianna J-Williams, who first picked up a camera when her daughter was born. She quickly worked up the confidence to quit a successful medical career and start a photography business. Five years later and the studio is thriving, she’s won numerous awards and is a Nikon Z creator.

Tianna is still a young woman, but with an extremely busy career and a baby girl at home, she had every opportunity to put obstacles in the way and avoid following her passion. It was equally inspiring to see her student for the day, Marie’s, enthusiasm who, following a milestone birthday, had decided to buy her first camera and is determined to give photography her all.

• Read more: The best professional camera

And yet, for many, it can be difficult sometimes to avoid thinking about what might have been if only you’d picked something up earlier in life or spent more time practising it in the first place. Heck, some people seem to think that once you start down a particular path or surpass the age of 25 (four if you want to be a classically trained musician...) there’s little point in trying something new. But that’s an outdated way of thinking. 

We’re always hearing from readers who have taken up photography later in life or professionals who ditched their stable nine-to-five in pursuit of their photography business dream. And it’s been well reported that hobbies were on the rise during lockdown and that more adults are willing to take a chance and set off down the road less travelled than ever before. 

Photography isn’t the only creative discipline where late bloomers have confidently stamped their mark. It’s well known that post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne didn’t create his best works until later in life and literature is rife with famous authors who delayed starting their career. American author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, of Little House on the Prairie fame, was well into her 60s when her first book was published.

Plenty of famous actors are late bloomers too. If Samuel L. Jackson had given up on his then-unremarkable acting career before his mid-40s, he’d have never starred as the unforgettable Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction and subsequently become one of the hardest-working and in-demand actors in Hollywood. 

So, the next time you find yourself questioning whether it’s too late to try something new – photography or otherwise – grab the bull by the horns and do it anyway!

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Mike Harris
Technique Editor

Mike is Deputy Editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine, and brings with him over 10 years experience writing both freelance and for some of the biggest specialist publications. Prior to joining N-Photo Mike was the production editor for the content marketing team of Wex Photo Video, the UK’s largest online specialist photographic retailer, where he sharpened his skills in both the stills and videography spheres.  

While he’s an avid motorsport photographer, his skills extend to every genre of photography – making him one of Digital Camera World’s top tutors for techniques on cameras, lenses, tripods, filters and other imaging equipment, as well as sharing his expertise on shooting everything from portraits and landscapes to abstracts and architecture to wildlife and, yes, fast things going around race tracks.