From Student to Shutterbug: How Sean Audet Went from $0 to $134K in Photography

Samantha Miller
Photo Credit: CNBC

The seemingly random progression of Sean Audet’s career is, in fact, a powerful demonstration of the impact of following one’s true calling.

Following stints as a biochemistry student, a fine-dining chef, and a college instructor, Sean discovered his true calling in photography and turned it into a successful full-time job.

In this post, we’ll learn about Sean Audet’s fascinating background, including how he started his photography business, how he manages his freelancing budget, and his plans for the future.

The Genesis of Sean Audet’s Photography Journey

A Fusion of Culinary and Photographic Skills

Winnipeg, Canada was a crucial part of Sean Audet’s formative professional experience. He found work at Red River College in 2016, but not in photography. Instead, he was a recipe researcher and developer.

In addition, he was responsible for instructing a “pastry arts” course, during which he honed his skills in food styling and presentation for the camera. The undergraduate program that introduced Sean to food photography was designed to assist local businesses with plating, photographing, and advertising their meals.

Discovering a Hidden Talent

This attempt at self-photography marks Sean’s first steps into the world of photography. He borrowed a camera and went into uncharted area, only to discover he had a talent for it. His work stood out from the crowd because of his ability to both cook and take photographs.

The Leap of Faith

By the year 2020, Sean Audet had amassed enough support to take a risk. He gave up his other employment teaching college and cooking at a pop-up restaurant in order to focus on photography. It was a huge leap of faith, but one that would significantly improve his professional and financial future.

The Business of Photography

Sean Audet Used Fiverr

Sean Audet’s freelance photography business became the most lucrative endeavor of his life. In the past year, his photography business brought in approximately $133,900 in U.S. dollars, a testament to his skill and dedication.

What’s remarkable is that most of his clients are sourced through Fiverr, a popular freelance platform. This highlights the role of online platforms in connecting talented individuals with opportunities.

The Price of Freedom

While the financial rewards are significant, Sean doesn’t shy away from hard work. He dedicates up to 60 hours per week to his craft. However, what he cherishes most is the ability to control his own schedule and be creative every day. The freedom that comes with being a freelancer is something he considers priceless.

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Building a New Career from Scratch

The Art of Balancing Act

Sean Audet’s journey into full-time photography was not without its challenges. To make this transition, he had to rely on the income from his previous jobs while he honed his skills as a photographer. This meant juggling multiple roles and working long hours, often sacrificing his personal time.

The Learning Curve

When Sean started taking photographs in 2018, he was earning approximately $56,500 per year from his roles at the pop-up restaurant and the college. However, his newfound passion for photography came at a price.

He committed himself to rigorous self-improvement, dedicating countless hours to watching YouTube tutorials to enhance his camera skills.

The Year That Changed Everything

The turning point in Sean’s career came in 2020 with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant industry was hit hard, prompting Sean to redirect his efforts towards photography.

He invested around $15,000 of his own money in acquiring new equipment such as lenses, lights, and backgrounds. This investment paid off as Sean’s revenue nearly tripled over the next two years.

Breaking Down the Photography Budget

The Value of Investment

Sean’s success story underscores the importance of investing in one’s passion. By investing in higher-quality equipment, he was able to attract major clients like McDonald’s and Campbell’s, significantly boosting his income.

Today, he commands fees ranging from $1,000 to $17,500 per shoot, reflecting the diverse needs of his clients.

The Cost of Quality

Quality often comes at a price, and this holds true in photography. In 2022, Sean spent $19,000 on production factors like location rentals, models, stylists, and additional on-set help. This is a testament to the commitment required to deliver exceptional results in the world of professional photography.

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Calculating Risks Without Fear of the Future

Sean Audet has found his true calling in photography and has no plans to switch career paths again. However, he is far from complacent. He aims to expand his footprint beyond Winnipeg, transforming his city into a production hotspot. Sean envisions collaborating with other local photographers to elevate Winnipeg’s artistic reputation.

Sean is not averse to embracing technological advancements. He’s keeping a keen eye on generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney. These tools have aided him in fine-tuning his images and streamlining client communication, saving valuable time.

In Sean’s words, working as a freelancer comes with its unique set of challenges, but the benefits far outweigh them. The agency over his time and lifestyle is invaluable to him. This career choice has given him the freedom to express his creativity while enjoying financial success.

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Samantha Miller is a business and finance journalist with over 10 years of experience covering the latest news and trends shaping the corporate landscape. She began her career at The Wall Street Journal, where she reported on major companies and industry developments. Now, Samantha serve as a senior business writer for, profiling influential executives and providing in-depth analysis on business and financial topics.
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