by Colin Quek on 2007-Jun-28

Jan Shim © David Cheok Photography

Is there someone in your life whom you’ve never met but yet for some reason find inspirational?

Jan Shim is one such person who despite his busy schedule as a professional photographer and a parent of two spared a moment to answer some burning questions I had about his career and how he got to where he is today in such a short time …

I learnt from a reliable source that you had been an IT professional for over a decade. For someone who has committed so many years in one profession, was leaving easy and did you consider other options before you settled in photography?
13 years is indeed a long time and in that time I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience that prepared me for what lies ahead. Photography wasn’t what I left IT to pursue, it was in fact to dedicate more time to my already established online motorsports distribution business. It wasn’t until I bought a Canon EOS 300D (also called Digital Rebel in some markets), my first Digital SLR camera and little did I realize at the time that my life was going to change in a significant way.

Why did you choose photography?
While I like to think I have a creative eye, I think it’s fairer to say photography chose me. At least, it was something I discovered by accident and along the way everything just fell into place. It’s a rather long story how I got started and I have plans to someday publish it on my Shimworld Blog so on that note, stay tuned for updates.

I guess your success today is due to the fact you want turn your hobby into a business.
Not entirely true. Photography was never a hobby for me. I bought the Rebel for the intended purpose of taking better photos of the parts inventory I was selling and a better camera to bring on vacation. Other than this, I had not planned on learning photography. Overcoming the learning curve of an SLR camera was particularly frustrating but persistence helped and the rest, as they say, is history.

What would you tell the audience today in one sentence to get them started?
Practice, practice, practice. And that’s just to get yourself PREPARED. The photography business has become a lot more challenging than ever. There are so many variables that can make or break your chances of becoming a professional photographer but the one thing I believe and cannot emphasize enough is to be prepared for opportunities to come your way. A little bit of luck helps.

One Response to “INTERVIEW: JAN SHIM”

  1. Hey CQ,

    I was in the IT industry just like the dude above(Jan) 😛
    I left after 10 years of Good (if not great) service to the InfoComm industry in Singapore.

    Well…I can say that I enjoyed it but during that time, I kept wanting to run my own biz and do something that I am really passionate about. The thought keeps popping up (esp during trying times such as putting and fighting office politics & the pressure of meeting my numbers from month to month).

    If you are looking for a change, JUST DO IT! (just make sure you have some savings to tie you thru, say for 2 years while you are trying it out!

    Jan, made a change, he is successful and happier now and with quality time on his hands!

    Believe In Yourself! You have the Power to change!
    Its in your hands!

    Good Luck & God Bless!

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