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Rising Stars: Meet Jeffrey Wolk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeffrey Wolk.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I spent most of my working career in the print industry in a family-owned printing company called Wolk Press. The company was acquired by a large corporation (GraphicTec), and after a lifetime commitment, I was handed my pink slip in 2008 with no severance package. I did not know it at the time, but I had already started my new career in photography, fulfilling studio work for some of the businesses in smaller companies. My particular field in print was in prepress, I was instrumental in bringing my previous employer up to speed in Photoshop and color management, but even with my high levels of skills, I could not find employment. I decided to follow my passions and moved from printing to photography as my new profession. I spent five years below the poverty line, barely holding on to my house before I started making a living wage. In 2013 things changed; I had been perfecting my real estate and architectural photography niche and was getting noticed. My background in lighting and studio photography allowed me to produce images of magazine quality (Think Better Homes & Gardens) for my clients, and by 2014 I was making more money with my photography than I could have ever made in printing. I would like to sincerely thank those who have supported me and allowed me the opportunity to earn their business.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Once again, I find my financial well-being being challenged due to the pandemic. People were not very keen on having strangers come to their house to look or take pictures during the past year. The scarcity of new homes combined with the glut of homebuyers has sharply reduced the need for quality photography. To compound things, many homes are now being sold before they are listed, neglecting the need for photography altogether. This time things are different than my last financial setback. I have a large & growing customer base and an excellent reputation. I know that better times are coming.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I specialize in real estate photography, but I also do portrait work and event photography and run a series of photography workshops. I like the fact that lighting large rooms professionally is challenging, and I get personal satisfaction at resolving issues daily. Likewise, I like not doing the same thing every day. Working with people at events and mentoring upcoming photographers adds a lot of diversity to my career, and I do not have the monotony of sitting in front of the computer five days a week like I did in printing.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Photography is a very competitive field, anyone with a cell phone can take a decent picture. If you do not have a niche or can provide a something others cannot, it will be hard to sell your work. Having a skill that targets a particular market is essential to keeping you ahead of the competition.

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