Kyle Bailey’s Adventure: From a Rookie to Pro Photographer

Last week I was browsing the web and came across a photostream on Flickr that really caught my eye.

As I was searching for HDR photos, some of the best photos of Vancouver came up under the name Kyle Bailey – Da Big Cheeze.

Interested in what other photos he’d taken, (as well as being intrigued by the name Da Big Cheeze!) I decided to explore Kyle’s official site,

Here’s what showed up on his landing page:

Welcome to my Adventure!

The clock started ticking on March 1, 2010 and I’ve given myself 5 years (43,824 hours) to go from a complete and utter photography rookie who has only used the Auto setting on my Canon EOS 40D during the past 18 months to a Professional Photographer with mad skills that will earn me $10,000.00 per month.

After reading the reading the ambitious mission statement, I wanted to learn more – so I called Kyle down to the hotel for an interview and asked to put his camera skills to the test.

The next morning he sent me the images from our meeting and well….you be the judge.

A Tour with Photos:

Kyle and I first sat down for lunch at the Cascades Lounge and then took a quick tour around the hotel.

Before snapping a few shots, I wanted to understand Kyle’s latest project Rookie-Photo and get to know the man behind the camera.

downtown vancouverPhoto: View from the Pan Pacific roof

What can you tell me about this new project of yours?

About 6 months ago, I came up with an idea and a goal: Go from being a complete amateur photographer with zero experience to a professional photographer who will earn $10,000 per month within 5 years.

What inspired such an idea?

In the past I’ve enjoyed taking photographs, but never really knew what I was doing. I would sometimes get compliments that I had a good eye for photos, but I never really understood the depths of photography. So I decided, if I really enjoy something and I’m passionate about it – why not take it to the next level? I wasn’t afraid to try and push things forward. My philosophy is: You’ll never know you’re good at something unless you try it. So I did!

Oh, and it’s a great way to write off a few travel expenses!

Why did you set the timeline at 5 years and a salary of $10,000 per month?

I think to be considered a professional; you would probably require at least 5 years of experience. Anything less would be too little, especially since I’m learning on my own and have a full time job. I also figure that for most people a salary of $120,000.00 per year ($10,000 a month) would qualify them as a professional regardless of what they do.

How has your progress been so far and what has your response been like from the public?

The response so far has been great and I’ve already received a few sales and online awards for my efforts. I’ve also made a lot of contacts with people on Flickr and Twitter who share my passion for photography and are actively following my progress.

Right now I’m probably taking around 500 photos a month, all with different styles and treatments. I’ve been asked several times now for an article describing my process for creating my HDR images and I’m working on documenting my process so that others can try and learn along with me as I go.

As Kyle and I wrapped up our lunch, we went on a stroll around the hotel. I figured since it was a great day, I’d take him to the pool deck, the Pacific Club Lounge and the 23rd floor roof for a look around.

A View of the Pan Pacific Pool and the Cruise Ship Termial

The Dome on the Roof

Check out the full Pan Pacific photo set on Flickr.

As Kyle and walked around the roof, he told me how he’d been following the progress of the Pan Pacific and Canada Place area over the years and has watched it mature over its 20+ years in existence. He reminisced about the days where there was nothing more than train tracks occupying the harbour, to now – where there is a landmark hotel and a brand new convention center.

As we wrapped things up, Kyle showed me a few photos of his latest acquisition, a modified 2006 Mercedes CLS 500 previously owned by 2010 Superbowl ChampionReggie Bush and Kim Kardashian. Later on I caught a glimpse of it outside and trust me – it’s a beast.

Big thanks to Kyle for taking the time to visit the Pan Pacific Vancouver and answering all of my questions.

Follow Kyle’s adventure of becoming a professional photographer at or follow him on twitter at