Simple and practical tips on your road of becoming a photography entrepreneur:
1. Be camera brand agnostic
Don’t become a sucker and trap yourself within a single camera brand or concept. You will become a prisoner.
Rather, be promiscuous. Allow yourself to use any type of equipment which fits your fancy. Shoot with all digital cameras, film cameras, phone cameras, etc.
Above all, a tip is this:
Don’t get suckered by the notion of getting sponsored.
Sponsorship sounds sexy, but it ends up becoming another prison to your creative freedom. Better to just buy (or borrow/rent your gear), and earn your money independently of any camera brand.
2. Start your own photography blog
If you have an Instagram or upload your photos to a Facebook or any other social media platform, you’re essentially already photography blogging.
Except, you want to own your own photography blog. Signup on bluehost.com and install WordPress.org. By having your own self-hosted blog, your information and website will also be indexed by google. The more blog posts you publish, the higher you will rank in google (google search engine optimization, SEO).
This will be a winning long-term strategy for your photography entrepreneurship.
3. Start a YouTube channel
Videos are just moving pictures. Thus, video is just another extension of photography.
Start your own YouTube channel, and use it as a free way to market and brand yourself. Be yourself.
The purpose of YouTube isn’t to put on advertisements, get a bunch of subscribers, and earn money. I think the point is to use YouTube to build trust with your audience, and to get discovered. Tons of people discovered ERIC KIM just through YouTube. Considering YouTube is owned by Google, you should just consider YouTube as another search engine — and because it is an open platform, you can get discovered from ground zero.
Start making videos on the simple. Use the simplest recording equipment: your phone, selfie video on your phone, your digital camera, webcam, whatever. Don’t worry about fancy editing and effects. If you want a more dedicated vlogging setup, I recommend Lumix G9, Leica 12mm f1.4 lens (24mm full frame equivalent), and a RODE Video microphone.
Make videos you would like to watch. Keep it simple, friendly, and don’t censor yourself.
And the biggest tip:
Never stop making videos.
The point ain’t to make good videos, get a bunch of views, whatever. The point is to keep creating.
Feel free to vlog about photography, or just life in general. Don’t trap yourself in the ghetto of photography; allow yourself to be a personality. Talk about anything and everything which interest you!
4. Open source information
Keep your information open source if you want to succeed long-term. To be honest, better to give away free ebooks as free marketing for yourself than to charge a few bucks for it, and not make that much money.
Generally when you’re producing knowledge and information, seek to fulfill your own curiosity.
For example for my epic “100 Lessons from the Masters of Street Photography” ebook, it was a distillation of everything I was personally curious about photography. And in writing and distilling the book, it gave me a chance to reflect on my own photography, while also benefitting others.
5. Be you.
If you’re reading this, you’re already a photography entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is simply someone willing to take risks for what they believe in, and someone who has the mindset of taking control of their own life and reality.
Entrepreneurship ain’t about earning a billion dollars, nor about becoming famous. To me, it is about putting your skin in the game (Nassim Taleb), voicing your honest opinion, and sharing your personal wisdom which can benefit others.
So have steeled faith in yourself my friend, and never stop the beautiful hustle.