Chef Turned Food Photographer Reveals How Much Money He Earns

CNBC’s Make It is a series focusing on younger people and personal finance. This week, the show featured a food photographer who has only been a full-time shooter since 2020.

Sean Audet is a 30-year-old from Winnipeg, Canada who worked in the food industry as a chef and as a teacher before realizing that he had a talent for taking photos of food.

“On the lower end, usually we might charge $1,000 for a shoot. That’s often if the client is new and they want something a little more introductory to get to know my studio,” Audet tells CNBC’s Make It.

“On the higher end of things, [I charge] sometimes closer to $17,500. But again, it varies wildly depending on the project.”

Audet says his food photo business has been “absolutely growing consistently” since he founded it in 2018.

“I think I might have made around CAD 10,000 and then it would double and double again, essentially every year,” he says.

“It was at that point I realized that I should probably pay attention to it and it was definitely something to pursue.”

Audet is working hard for his business, putting in 60 hours per week, but, he says having agency to be creative every day is “priceless.”

Before going full-time into photography, Audet was working at a college as well as cooking at a pop-up restaurant but he was able to quit those jobs.

He tells CNBC Make It that the freelance photography gig has become the most lucrative work of his life. Last year, the business generated around $134,000. He lands most of his clients from Fiverr, a platform that connects businesses with freelancers.

Audet says that when he was a chef, one of the aspects he enjoyed the most was plating. This presentational aspect led him to food photography.

“Although it seems like a bit of a leap, it really wasn’t. I was able to sort of leverage those skills that I had developed in the kitchen into a really successful early career doing food photography because I already had that kind of soft skills essentially.”

Audet says that he sharpened his photography skills by watching tutorial videos on YouTube and plenty of trial and error.

Image credits: Feature photo licensed via Depositphotos.