I recently had the honor of being interviewed by writer and photo editor Kelly Kingman for an upcoming ebook she was writing for photographers titled“Going Pro” for the Digital Photography School. We met at a local coffee shop for close to two hours while she asked many questions about how I got started as a full-time landscape photographer, how I sold my work, and how I managed to make a living doing what I love.
It was a great and thought provoking conversation, and I was as open and honest as I could be about the fine art photography business and how I sold my work. I was happy to share what I’ve learned in my own career, hoping that it might help someone else avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made along the way. You see I think that being a professional photographer is serious business, and should not be underestimated in any way. It’s not just about buying the latest gear, setting up a website, and learning the latest HDR techniques.
It’s about the dedication, the long hours, the insane competition, mastery of the craft, and the endless study of the art and business of photography. Sure you can pick up a gig here or there and make some money, and all of a sudden you might think you’re a pro. But a career is much more than this, and if you’re not prepared for the myriad of challenges over the long haul, it can be a very painful experience. But I’ve always been a “glass half full” type of person, and as I’ve said here before, only you can prevent yourself from achieving your goals.
Going Pro – How To Make Money Through Your Photography is one of the best resources I’ve seen on this subject in quite a while. I would venture to say it is unique in that it offers advice and valuable information from many different types of photographers working professionally today. Whether you’re interested in commercial, fine art, wedding, or photojournalism, there is great advice for each of these fields. The book covers everything from choosing a business model, finding your customers, marketing, and getting exposure. Even if you’re already a pro, there is always something new to learn and it was great reading for me as well.
As for my contribution, here’s a very short excerpt from my interview:
“I think of my 20 years in music as almost being a boot camp for photography because of all the mistakes I made; now I don’t make those types of mistakes anymore. Things like listening to other people’s opinions too much, or not having confidence in myself. Also believing that all I had to do was create great work and customers would come…be the best photographer on your block, and then in your neighborhood, and then in your town, and so on. Expand from within because then it’s a lot easier and the people who are going to support you first are those who are closer to you geographically, the people you see on a day to day basis”
I highly recommend this ebook to anyone considering a career in photography, and though it is a cliche, I wish I had read this book years ago when I had started. With a beautiful design and layout, Kelly has done a great job to give you an inside look at how you can accomplish your dreams, as well as provide real world advice from those already achieving their goals in this very competitive and difficult field. Of course no book is a substitute for real experience, but every little bit of preparation helps! If you buy the book, I’d love to get your take on it in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
I have no affiliation to the publisher, and I do not receive any compensation for sales. I just think this is a great book, and Kelly is a great writer and friend, and a local resident of my hometown Beacon, NY!