From time to time, I ask on my Instagram stories for people to send me ANY questions they have about photography, business, life or whatever they want me to comment on. A question that pops up a lot is how to make money as a photographer. In fact, quite a few times I’ve been approached by emerging photographers wanting to know how to make money taking pictures.
Brace yourselves because here is the definitive answer to this universal question:
Now that I have your attention, the truth is that there is no secret! Making money through photography is one of those philosophical scenarios where the secret lies within you.
Making money is a reaction to your actions so there is no business guru, 5 point rule or ultimate guide on how to do it. But I can only talk from my experience of course as I was there reading all those blogs, listening to podcasts and trying to crack the code to a successful career in photography. Here’s what I found:
Learn the Basics
Learn to make a photograph first, make sure you know the basics of photography. Then, learn the basics of business, work out your figures and percentages and get to know the law. From now on, you’ll be running a business. In my case, the best investment I did was getting a degree in professional photography from The Photography Institute. (no, they didn’t pay me for this shout out)
Write your business plan to fit in a napkin and keep it in your wallet so you see it every time you open your wallet. Your business plan should be as simple but as ambitious as your goals.
Do or Do Not
Best advice ever from one of the best movies ever! Get off your ass and put the hours. This is probably the best advice I have for anyone asking me anything. Work hard and play hard. In time you’ll find that you will only get back as much as you put into your business and I’m not talking about money.
Sooner or later, you’ll find out that business is all about who you know and whose belly you are rubbing. Years on and I keep meeting the same people at different places and we keep working together. Work on your handshake, your please and thank yous and always say “I’m such and such and I’m a photographer”.
Make a Cult
My life nowadays goes around food, photography and martial arts. That’s good enough for me and those 3 things are what I love the most, what I’m known for and what my business and personal circles are attracted to. What you do should be a reflection of who you are
Chase what You Wish the Most
If money is your thing, then go for it and chase the bank account in Nevis and the vila in Montecarlo. If you want to win the Sony World Photography Award, got for it; whatever you wish the most, work towards it uninterestedly and you’ll be surprised how many people will get in touch to work with you.
Always remember where you came from, where you started and who helped you on your way up, be grateful for the chance that you have. Don’t be an ass and keep your ego under control at all times.
That’s it, you can spend a lifetime reading books about business or you can start making ripples right now and see how far they reach. The secret lies within you!
Like what you read? why don’t you let me know in the comments below and please share this article with whoever you think might benefit from it. If you have any questions or suggestions, send me a message.