I recently answered several interview questions for a photography student and one of their projects. Thought it might interest some of you readers out there. I’ll post several of these questions/answers in coming weeks. See question #1 here.
2. How long did it take before you were able to fully support yourself through photography? What did you do in the meantime?
I studied PR in college, and worked in PR capacities in the ski industry for about five years after college. During that time, I established my photography business. I obtained a business license and began learning the business side of photography. I worked on my photography business every second I wasn’t working on my PR job. I traveled for my day job to major cities like San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Vancouver and elsewhere. I took my camera with me everywhere—woke up early and stayed out late shooting, while my PR appointments and duties took up the working day hours.
I had my “side business” for about two to three years before finally taking the leap and committing to photography full time for my living. It’s been just under three years, and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I love waking up and knowing there’s no limit to what I might accomplish on any given day. It comes with its pitfalls as well, but there’s nothing better than working for yourself.
3. How much time to you spend on marketing and promotion versus shooting?
This really depends on the week/season, but generally, it’s probably 65/35 (marketing/shooting). I’ve always said the hardest part of running a photography business is, in fact, running a photography business. This requires an understanding of when to shoot, and when to sit in your chair and get on the email, social media, phone calls, self promo and everything else that contributes to a successful business. Some photographers kid themselves into thinking that a skilled trigger finger will be their golden ticket to success. Shooting A+ images might make you a skilled photographer, but it won’t necessarily make you a successful business person.