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Thibaud Tellier is a 32-year-old photographer who specializes in interior photography and real estate reporting (with a personal passion for documenting landscape images). Based in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Thibaud recently transitioned to a full-time pursuit of photography after 10 years working as a trained mechanical design engineer. Now, the self-taught photographer works with clients from across the Ile-de-France region to showcase real estate properties, gourmet culinary spreads, and more. His portfolio, which Thibaud describes as depicting images with “texture, simplicity, and depth,” continues to grow.

We spoke to Thibaud about navigating his journey from established mechanical design engineer to professional photographer. Here, he shares advice for other creators aspiring toward their own self-taught success.

Tell us about your recent career shift from mechanical design engineer to photographer.
“My job as an engineer didn’t totally suit me. I wasn’t fulfilled. The idea of [being an] independent [photographer] had been on my mind for years. I was doing landscape photography on weekends and holidays, and I did a few gigs for friends, such as a christening and a wedding. [But] photography has been a private activity for “me, myself, and I” for a long time, and I was somehow shy about it.

With the current health crisis, my employer needed to part with a few people. It was the perfect opportunity for me to get started, so I volunteered. I was lucky enough to be able to leave my company to launch my project full time. Thanks to that, I was then able to focus on developing a photography business. I took the plunge and everyone around me supported me. It was very motivating and gave me confidence.”

Thibaud from behind the camera

© Victor Cavasino / OCUS

How did you begin to establish client relationships and work with brands?
“When I launched my business, I knew that finding new customers was going to be hard. I went around to all the real estate agencies near my home to offer my services for free to build my portfolio. There were a lot of refusals but two agencies trusted me, and I’m now working with one of them (who recommended me to another agency). I also registered with online agencies and photographer companies, including OCUS.

OCUS stood out because it was really easy to find gigs, [as the platform] supplies a map with blue pins showing where missions are available. OCUS has allowed me a chance to launch my business quite quickly because the assignments are recurrent: I’ve been able to work with Uber Eats for food photography, Welkeys for real estate photography, and Médoucine, which allows me to do portrait, interior, and action shots for doctors.”

Which tools have been most important to helping you navigate the photography industry?
“I have [OCUS] assignments almost every day and it really allows me to develop my skills. I also question myself a lot and try to constantly improve my processes. In fact, lately I’ve been training to do packshot photoshoots on a white background. This is an activity that I’m looking to develop in the future.”

Lightning the set

© Victor Cavasino / OCUS

What advice do you have for photographers who are looking to establish themselves further in the field?
“My advice would be to go for it. Don’t hesitate to approach people, agencies, and companies. Sign up everywhere and try what you are asked. It’s a great way to make a book, build relationships, and boost your self-confidence. Just offer your services and see what can happen—in the worst case, they will say no and nothing more. The last thing I would say is to remember you are there to help a client. Try to find what they need to simplify their daily life.”

Thibaud Tellier’s portfolio: