Beach and Surf Photography: How One Photographer Turned His Passion Into His Career

Have you ever dreamed about quitting your day job to pursue your passion? If you have, you’re certainly not alone. While many contemplate taking that plunge, Eugene Tan turned his hobby of photographing beaches and surfers into the full-time career of his dreams.

At the young age of 9, Tan picked up his first camera and started taking pictures. Years later, the self-taught photographer makes his money by hauling his Canon EOS 1D X to Bondi beach each morning at sunrise to capture the waves, surfers, and sunrise. He uses these daily pictures in his newsletter, on his business Facebook page, and to create new prints for his gallery:

Making a Passion Into A Career

Tan always enjoyed photography and started shooting the beach early in the morning in the 1990’s as an escape before heading in to his day job.

“To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t all that interested in my day job. All I was thinking about was taking my pictures down at the beach in the morning.”

underwater photography

Tan literally gets into his job.

He started his company, Aquabumps, first as a simple e-mail of daily photos he would send to friends. From there, he started a newsletter and now has nearly 50,000 subscribers. Eventually, people started asking for prints of his photos, so he started an online store which later evolved into a physical gallery. As more and more people discovered Aquabumps, companies got wind of Tan’s stellar photography and offered him payment in exchange for advertising on his website.

Tan’s advice to a passionate photographer looking to turn his hobby into a full-time job is this:

“Find a niche. You don’t have to be a wedding photographer. You don’t have to be a portrait photographer. I mean, I take pictures of the beach. I share them with a lot of people, and I sell pictures in my gallery.”

He also suggests developing your own style and deviating from what you see other photographers do in order to create your own artistic vision.

beach photography

Tan uses a camera in an underwater housing attached to a pole to get unusual shots.

sand and ocean

Eugene Tan’s finished product.

You should strive to create photographs that represent your art and your personal style, and as Tan says, “get that shot you haven’t gotten yet.”

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One response to “Beach and Surf Photography: How One Photographer Turned His Passion Into His Career”

  1. Jonnyphish says:

    What a great article!

    These are the kind of stories that keep my hope alive as I travel across vast plains of self doubt. Eugene followed his passion and made a life from it…good for him! He is a fantastic artist!!

    Thank you!

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