Meet Yechiel Orgel
Yechiel Orgel was a hardworking employee, moving up the ranks at B&H Photo, the famous Manhattan photography and video equipment retailer. But as much as he enjoyed his job, he had a dream to be a photographer. He knew that the longer he waited to follow his dream, the more difficult it would be, and as his family grew it would be harder to leave a steady income behind and strike out on his own.
Luckily, he was in the right place, because at B&H he was able to readily acquaint himself with high-end cameras. So, with hands-on opportunity plus access to books in the library, tutorials and other resources, Yechiel taught himself quite a bit about photography. He started by familiarizing himself with various Canon and Nikon cameras, graduating to more and more sophisticated equipment. Becoming proficient in photography became a passion.
Although his first love was street photography, he felt there were better income prospects as a child photographer—taking portraits of kids—but he found that children didn’t have the patience he needed in order to produce perfect photographs. It became clear to him that inanimate objects were easier to work with, so he continued with the kids to earn an income, but concentrated off-hours on product photography. He did that for six years. B&H was very supportive of him and his quest, and through his job he was able to meet many renowned photographers.
When the time was right he made the decision to leave B&H and devote himself full-time to a career as a product photographer. He worked hard and it paid off. Then out of the blue he received a call from Gillette, a major brand of shaving and personal care supplies, which led to his first high-profile job. He sees a bright future in the field of commercial photography.
Yechiel Orgel remains devoted to his work and has become a visionary in e-commerce advertising. He is known for his dynamic use of light and composition, which produces images of unmatched quality.
In Yechiel’s words
So how did I actually make the decision to leave the comfort of my day job and move fully into the unpredictable world of photography?
Taking the jump was huge and it took me a good eight months until I was actually able to say “I’m leaving” to B&H. I was missing days regularly at work, taking on photography jobs during the day. I’ve got to hand it to B&H: they were wonderful and extremely patient with me. They knew this was my long-term goal, and as long as my job wasn’t suffering, they pretty much gave me a lot of leeway.
That is, until the day they told me I had to choose what I wanted. I couldn’t have both anymore. I was pretty much only a part-time worker at this point and they couldn’t hold onto me much longer.
When that happened, things escalated from scary to terrifying. I knew I had to make the jump and I had to make it fast. This step I imagine is really hard for anyone. Leaving a day job and a secure paycheck is never easy.
So let’s backtrack just a bit.
Starting in 2012, I had opened a business corporation. I was extremely strict with the cash flow coming in and going out. I never took a penny for my own personal needs. Because of this decision, slowly the money started adding up. Slowly my client list started building. And slowly my confidence in myself started building.
I knew I could do this. I knew I would do this.
I put a lot of effort into my work. I really enjoy what I do, which I think is a great and necessary thing. So many people work at jobs they have no interest in. I live and breathe photography. I love setting a beautiful speaker down onto my shooting table and working the lights until I get that beautiful harsh look with gorgeous gradients. Products can sit for many hours without a fuss. They don’t get cranky, nervous or hungry. I found the style I loved and I never want to stop.
I put loads of effort into my website and SEO. I read up on the process and I worked on it all by myself. I built a solid client list.
The day I got an email from Gillette’s PR company… I will never forget that day. At first I thought it was spam. Why in the world would Gillette be looking at me, a lowly photographer from Brooklyn, New York? But it wasn’t spam, it was real, and so was my first high-profile gig that got into the details of worldwide usage rights, contracts, etc.
It felt good. It felt great. It felt wonderful!
Since then I’ve been contacted by numerous brands and have done photography work for what are likely considered “big” clients. I can’t believe my good fortune each time it happens. Baruch Hashem, business is good, and I pray that it continues.