Chris Ozer, a professional photographer whose clients include Nike, Samsung, and Facebook, did not pursue his passion early on in life. After careers as a jazz musician and a music teacher didn’t pan out, he worked a desk job where he tried to stay sane for five years. Then in 2010, he discovered a little app called Instagram that would put him on a more rewarding, fulfilling path in life.
It started out as a casual hobby. He’d snap a couple pictures here and there, but eventually it became an accidental passion. Whenever he’d get a second at his nine-to-five, Ozer would devour everything he could find on the art of design, branding, and photography. As he continued to hone his skills, he began to get photo gig after photo gig.
He eventually came to the point of no return, having exhausted his vacation time, when he needed to decide as all artists do whether to rein in his new passion and continue safely earning money or to take the leap of faith.
Ozer decided to take the plunge.
“When I left my desk job I had enough photography gigs lined up and savings to last me about three months — not very much!” he said. “It was a huge risk but has paid off in ways I couldn’t have imagined.”
What makes Ozer’s story so interesting isn’t the fact that it’s a Cinderella story. Instagram did not appear in his life like a fairy god mother and light the path to a more fulfilling career with neon signs.
It’s the American dream narrative. Ozer found a platform that he could use to show off his passions, and he worked hard to become more talented. It took dedication, and courage to succeed. Ozer wasn’t given a chance — he created one.
“Success as a photographer requires practice and more practice. There are wide range of new digital cameras that can help an amateur photographer shoot like a professional,” says Fred Tilner, Marketing Director for 42nd Street Photo, a popular camera store in New York City.
You can find Chris Ozer on Instagram at @ChrisOzer.