Starting Your Photo Biz… Part 4: Fame and Fortune


O tiny fledglings, the time has come to spread your wings and graduate from Photojojo’s School of Photographical Biznezz.

Before we send you out to conquer the world, allow us to impart a few more nacreous accumulations* of wisdom.

In a fit of journalistic fervor, we interviewed Dane Sanders (’cause he’s Mr. Profitable Photo Business Guy) about getting your business noticed, keeping it successful and having a fine old time in the process.

Pop open the bubbly and prepare to break it over the prow of the S.S. Photo Biz!

Starting Your Photo Biz… Part 4: Fame and Fortune

p.s. TODAY ONLY: We’re giving away Fuji Instant Cameras and our Ultra Wide Cameras on Facebook and Twitter. Find out how to win!

p.p.s. LAST DAY for free shipping in the Photojojo Store!

p.p.p.s. Read the guides that went before: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Photo credit: Banalities

Be Yourself

mirror-smThe best thing you can do in the photo business is trust yourself.

Your unique style will be the main reason people seek you out. Imagine if David LaChapelle or Rosamund Purcell had just tried to shoot like everybody else.

Dane says he floundered about when he started, trying to be like other people because they were successful.

Once he got really clear on what his own style was and what he really wanted to do, the money starting rolling in.

Trust your instincts and keep striving to improve your own vision. Your signature style is your best form of marketing.

Under-Promise, Over-Deliver

rep-smSince word-of-mouth is the best way to get new business, you gotta protect your reputation. Make sure your clients are going to say good things about you.

How? Easy! Don’t disappoint them.

Always overestimate cost and time: if it ends up being faster and/or cheaper, they’ll be thrilled. If not, it’s what they expected anyway.

Same principle goes for estimating the scope of a job: promise less than you can deliver, and always deliver more than you promise.

Once you develop a reputation for honesty and for going above and beyond, people will happily recommend you to their friends.

Represent who you are and what you do accurately, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and you’ll do great.

Get a Website

web-smBefore you do anything else, set up a website for yourself.

Make it simple, make it logical, and make it easy to find. A well-designed, functional website makes you look like a pro and gives people confidence in you.

Get a domain name that people can remember: ideally your name or the name of your studio (like annawolf or orangephotography). Make it short, easy to spell, and use “.com” if you can possibly get it.

Invest a little money in buying up domain names similar to yours (like or or That way if people misspell your name or get the domain wrong, you can still redirect them to your site.

Revisit Starting Your Photo Biz… Part 2: What’s In a Name? for heaps o’ helpful tips!

Make Your Website Good

Since you’re in a creative field, people expect you to have a better-than-usual website.

If you don’t have experience building a site, get help.

Get a techy friend to design it for you, or use a service like Wix, Carbonmade, Weebly, FigDig or Squarespace to help you build it. Pay somebody if you have to–it will absolutely be worth it.

Make the site quick to load, easy to navigate, and as logical as you possibly can. Read up on effective web design and building online portfolios.

When in doubt, follow these rules:

  • The fewer pages, the better.
  • Go for bigger pictures.
  • Aim for smaller file sizes.
  • Make your contact info easy to find.
  • Avoid moving objects, flashing colors and sound.
  • Simpler is always better.

Social Media <3 You

twitter-smUse Facebook and Twitter like a rented mule.

Marketing yourself via Facebook is becoming one of the most effective ways to get new clients.

One wedding photographer spent $300 on Facebook ads targeted toward engaged women in his area and got $60,000 of revenue out of it. Hot damn!

Friend your clients after a shoot- that way they can find you easily and recommend you to their friends. Add your Twitter name and Facebook URL to your business cards, too.

Use Twitter to invite people to events you’re shooting, post sample shots, or let people know you have a new gallery up.

Oh yeah: don’t forget flesh-and-blood people either. When Dane started shooting weddings, he put together a quick slideshow of photos from the ceremony to show at the reception. Admiring guests went home with his business card tucked in their tuxes, and so the business grew.

Markets You Might Not Have Thought Of

Even when you don’t have clients, get out and shoot for fun. Personal work keeps your portfolio fresh, and who knows? You might be able to sell it!

Oft-overlooked photo buyers:

  • Stock agencies
  • Greeting card companies
  • Packaging designers
  • Local restaurants and businesses
  • Office buildings and corporations
  • Interior designers

Extra Bonus Info!

Want some more resources? Tools? Tips, hints and insider information? OK.

Photopreneur: crazy-smart, extra helpful blog about making money as a photographer. Here’s a sampling of their articles on marketing.

Facebook Marketing Toolbox: 100 clever tasty tidbits that’ll help you trawl Facebook for money.

Photo Marketing Guru: just like it sounds. Plenty of articles about marketing your photo business on the web.

PMA: handy Marketing Toolkit with links, templates and tips from the Photo Marketing International.

Alright everybody, time to switch your tassel to the left and toss that mortarboard in the air! Get out there, keep your nose clean, and when people ask how you got to be such a marketing whiz, tell ’em Photojojo sent you.

Photo credits: meddygarnet, Jesse757, SashaW.