Jeff Lubin, a former paralegal for the Library of Congress, spent 40 years building a photography brand, that grew to major success. His unique story in reaching his now prosperous life can give hope to all aspiring photographers out there.

Lubin’s uprise is the epitome of ‘started from the bottom now we’re here’. Lubin at one point couldn’t even afford wall space in malls to hang his work, so to gain recognition he did something unheard of. Lubin, as the promoter he is, would walk around upper-class malls pretending he was headed somewhere important with a 30×30 framed portrait. “Every so often,” he said, “people would stop me and say, ‘Oh what a beautiful portrait.” ‘ This tactic surprisingly worked, and helped him gain the acknowledgment he was hoping for.

“I was driven by both fear of not supporting my family and a commitment not to fail,” Lubin said.

The start of Lubin’s portrait photography career had ultimately been based on being at the right place at the right time. Upscale malls and charity auctions had been the main culprits for putting his work out there. He first established his brand by showcasing his work in mall galleries, five at a time to be exact. He even rented a spot in Neiman Marcus’s children’s department to feature his work. While people gained interest and received business cards, clientele started pouring. His subjects are not limited, but his main interest is much centered around family and children portraits. Also, in making it a point to really get familiar with what the client wants out of their portrait, he delivers quality.

“These portraits will be up there forever,” he said. “I will be dead, and they will still be there.” -Lubin

Before you go running to get some portraits done at The Lubin studio, get a load of the prices. A desk-sized portrait with included frames and finishes can range from $525 to $825, while wall-sized portraits run from $2,000 to $20,000. Yup, you read that jump in price correct. Still with those price tags attached, 400 portraits are done a year at The Lubin Studio, concluding they must be doing something right. By the second year of business they made $75,000 in revenue, $275,000 by the fourth, and in 2011 a whopping 1.3 million. You go Glen Coco! 

As a 16-year veteran in the copyright office at the Library of Congress, Lubin never thought his fate would evolve to this. This proves anything can happen, with a little humility and hard work. Attending photography technical school and putting in work to build his brand after a day in his government office, made Lubin grow tired, and detached from his home-life. He couldn’t bare the long hours away from his family any longer and took the risk to quit his secure desk job with benefits, and devote all his time to the portrait business.“It was a huge gamble, with a wife, two young children and a mortgage,” he said of the move. “But I felt dead-ended in the government job.” Lubin ultimately wanted to get to the point of having more leisure than work, and he did just that. He made the decision to be very wise with his costs and also made sure to save, save, save. All these factors jump-started his highly successful career and now he not only works with the rich and famous, but lives like them too.

Don’t forget to check out the photography and paintings that made this all happen at Lubin’s Website