Selfie with RICOH GR II. Saigon, 2017

How to Become a Successful Photographer

Practical ideas:

1. How to augment your fame

Become the #1 expert in a small niche of photography. For me I became #1 in street photography, which helped augment my fame.

This means:

  1. Make your own website/blog on the topic
  2. Write at least 5,000 blog posts on the topic (be very focused, dig deep, and become #1 on Google). This is Google “SEO” (search engine optimization) in a nutshell.
  3. Start a YouTube Channel and make at least 100 videos on the topic and link back to your blog.
  4. Make a strong portfolio of photographs (see my portfolio on

2. Never lose inspiration to make new photos and innovate

The goal isn’t to “perfect” yourself as a photographer. It’s always to stretch for more, to strive for more, and to desire to become more!

This means strive to master ALL fields and genres of photography which interest you. For myself I’ve been able to stay motivated because I can still witness progress and growth in myself in my photography:

  1. Street photography
  2. Portrait photography
  3. Philosophy and photography
  4. Entrepreneurship and photography
  5. Personal photography
  6. Soul photography

The goal: never stop being foolish, brazen, hungry, and to desire more.

3. Indefinite growth and gains

Like a good powerlifter, the goal isn’t to hit a certain number; the goal is to indefinitely grow (slow, steady, progression).

  • Dark Skies Over Tokyo, 2017

Generally this means never stop challenging yourself. The more difficult your tasks in photography, the better!

  • Hanoi, 2019 hoan kiem lake
  • Hanoi, 2019 #streettogs hoan kiem
  • Rolls Royce outside hotel. Hanoi, 2018

4. Cross pollination

Don’t constrain yourself to only photography. Allow yourself free license to approach all fields of knowledge and art:

  • Automotive design
  • Visual arts
  • Sculpture
  • Physiology
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Literature
  • Drama
  • Cinema
  • Poetry
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Weight lifting

To grow deeper in any field, you must also grow sideways. For example imagine a tree digging its roots deeper into the ground, yet growing wider and taller at the same time.

5. Own yourself and your own platform

Until you own yourself you can’t be free. Until you own yourself you can’t be me.

Jay z
  1. Own your own website and domain (register on or
  2. Think decades. How can you pursue photography to stay inspired and relevant in the field of photography for 50+ years?
  3. In terms of technology and distribution, what will stay and become increasingly relevant, and what won’t remain as relevant? My prediction: websites will last. Email will last. Social media won’t last. Thus focus on your website and blog, and keep building your email newsletter and mailing list.
Don’t become a digital share cropper.

6. Success is perpetual movement (onto the next one)

To succeed: always to move onto the next thing.

Latin ‘succedo‘ meaning:

  1. To climb
  2. To ascend
  3. To advance

Therefore success is an action, and about continual growth, evolution and progression.

Therefore to be ‘successful’ isn’t a final state. Success isn’t a binary:

One day you’re not successful, then one day you flip the switch then become ‘successful’.

Success then must be a continual activity. When you are doing something which is progressing you upwards, you are ‘successful’ or ‘successing‘ (my new word to describe the active verb/action of ‘succeeding’).

Therefore from a very practical perspective, simply ask yourself everyone:

Did I progress today?

As long as you find even a 1% progression today (compared to yesterday), you’re succeeding!