“…when are you going full-time with photography?”

I have heard that question so many times over the last few years.  Sometimes people assume I already am full-time and it makes for good conversation.   No doubt the topic also comes up because I work full time and photography is a “side project” which takes up 40+ hours a week and keeps me up until 2-3am each night.  That’s all changing…

I’m going full time as a photographer as of June 25th.  One response I’ve heard a few times now is, “it’s about time.”  This has been a significant and difficult journey over the past 3 years, and I’m choosing to see it as a beginning.  Sure, it is the end of a 15 year employment relationship at a company I dearly love, which encompasses my entire adult life… but i leave with nothing but gratitude and loyalty.

Why now?  Thanks to the amount of work I had, 2009 was the hardest year of my life.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • Some days I would see my little boy for 20-60 minutes total, or not at all.  The time I saw my wife was distracted, to say the least.  Editing on the couch and watching TV is not quality time.
  • I lost approximately 1100 hours of sleep last year, going to bed at 2-4am and at work by 8am.  Not healthy.
  • I couldn’t offer either job 100% and that isn’t acceptable to me.  It made my completion times for photo jobs and weddings longer than I would like to see, I had no time to expand, etc.

I’m no martyr… I know I’m not alone, I just wanted to explain myself.

It was time.  I needed to wrestle over the decision for a few months, evaluating all the factors with friends who know me well, and photographer friends who know me and the industry.  In fact, in a large way, I have Benj Haisch and Mike Smith to thank for helping me with this – not to mention Zack, Ken, and a host of friends who have great experience.

This is who I am… this is who I am supposed to be right now.  Who we are is God’s gift to us, who we become is our gift to Him.  I wanted to share a number of the images that made the last few years so meaningful to me (I’ll probably add to the images over the next few days).  The first image is of the founder of the company I have been at for half my life, and he passed away this year.  I spent a good deal of time with him over the years, and I had the honor of being with him for many of his last days.  I spent countless hours pouring over pictures and details and documents from his 80+ years on Earth with the mission of creating a slideshow/video that reflected who he was as a person.  As I held his hand at his bedside that last week, I couldn’t help but think about the risks he took to start his own publishing house at the age of 50, leaving another prominent publishing house, started by his dear friend.  Risk.  Payoff.  Legacy.  I have Bob to thank for making this decision, as well.

It’s about time?  Nah… it’s about timing.


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  • Sean OpenshawWay to go Jay! I think there are a lot of us in the same boat, knowing where we want to be or where we should be (photography), but for whatever reason, our path has taken us on a detour. I can’t imagine that with your distinct style and quality, you will have any problem getting work. Again, way to go and the best of luck.

  • benj haischstoked for you, man. it’ll be so incredibly good for your family and your relationship with Jesus, too.

  • scottyyour words are way more powerful than any of your photos. thanks man.

    oh and what benj said.

  • maddiewow, congratulations! i’m extremely jealous! your work is definitely good enough to be a full-time photographer. it’s incredible, infact. so i’m jealous of that too! i’m still sitting on the fence myself. i don’t have a husband and children, but i work a 40 hrs/week day-job, then shoots 2 or 3 nights a week, play on 2 softball teams two nights a week, and have a boyfriend. and honestly, editing has been on the back-burner for WEEKS! i’ve recently outsourced my color-correcting (haven’t seen the final results yet, but i’m hoping it will make a huge difference in the amount of time it takes me!), and i’m hoping that will help me keep my sanity until i can afford to quit my day-job. geeze, that was a lot of info, sorry about that. but my non-photographer friends don’t seem to understand, so i was excited i could relate to you a little bit 🙂 anyway, i wish you the best of luck, but i think you will be doing just fine!! 🙂

  • MarynWell said and well done.

  • megmanionsillikerjay – you’re awesome! much happiness + success on your journey – the world is ready for your talent….full time!!! as dr. seuss said – you’re mountain is waiting, so get on your way!! xo

  • BethanyAnneoh geez Jay you have this totally annoying way of making me emotional. After reading your post then looking at the first picture, couldn’t help but tearing up… but just a little. 😉

    The photo of the Haisch’s is one of my favorites ever too.
    beautiful, beautiful work, all of these.

    I’m glad you’ll be able to spend real time with your family now, even if it meant giving up some good things. God bless on this new chapter! 🙂

  • caleb rexiusthis blog post brought me a lot of joy. I wish you the best, and we will certainly continue to work together. blessings to you and your journey ahead.

  • morgaineJay, I fully understand decision making and striving for balance in work and personal life. Blessings on the journey, my friend… may it be smooth and joyful all the way.

  • Gareth Robins (Wedding Photography in Auckland, New Zealand)I’m just blown away by these photos. Each one carries so much emotion and character. Just amazing. The thing I love the most is that the colours, and lighting, and exposure is just right. I mean it’s totally spot on, perfect. This is great photography.

    I wish you every success as you go full time. I will be keeping a close eye on your work now, and can’t wait to see more. ~ Gareth

  • Paul PrattJay

    It’s about time!

    Seriously, congratulations you definitely deserve it. Enjoy the change, the journey and most of all the time with your family. I hope one day to push my own quality level up to the point where I too can be in your position.

    Once again, congratulations.


  • kristin browni have been checking in on your blog now and then ever since i saw zack arias’ critique of your website. you have such amazing images and i love your style.

    i’m so glad you are able to make photography your full-time job now–i can’t wait until i can quit my day job and do what i love. congratulations!

  • Brandon WitzelWelcome to the family.

  • Rensche MariCongratulations Jay! I wish you all the best, your images are amazing and you will enrich peoples lives with great memories.

  • Tomme HiltonSo glad for you Jay, what a dilemma of many of us in this economy and still a decision many of us struggle with for various reasons. The older we get, the more we realize time really IS all you have. Make the most of it!
    My glass is raised to you.

  • MikeSo awesome man. You made this happen on your own. We are all proud of you 🙂

  • Nirav PatelCongrats Jay!!! This is so awesome and I am very happy for you. Take care man.

  • JasonJay,

    I was turned on to your work through Zack’s critique, and all I can say is that my mouth fell open! Not because your work is fantastic, but because so many of your images are how I see portraits in my mind.

    After being out of photography for almost 9 years, I just recently jumped back into this amazing digital world of photography and seeing your work has just catapulted my already elevated enthusiasm! I know you have dealt with some self-confidence issues, so all I can say to that is “Jarvis who? Give me Jay Eads.”

    I’m always looking to learn so if you are ever in the New Orleans area, please send me an email… dinner will be on the wife and I.

  • jayeadsUm. Wow. Thank you! Never been to Nawlins. Might have to find a reason 🙂


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