New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash


The Business of Photography: Start Doing More of What You Love

By David Valentine on March 26th 2014

"My Camera" by Paul Reynolds (Flickr Creative Commons)

“My Camera” by Paul Reynolds (Flickr Creative Commons)

The Bread and Butter

The ‘bread and butter’ is an essential part of any business and, in this case, more directly, a photographers business. When I say, “bread and butter,”  I am speaking of the sales facet of a business, which of course, is often the most daunting part. In this series, we’ll primarily be looking at selling and business processes as pertaining to photography.

I want to show you that we (as humans) are always selling. We may not realize that we are selling, and it’s ok to put on the “sales professional” hat, and to get that gear of the business moving efficiently, and effectively. Doing so will leave you more time to do what you love – taking photos and exercising your creativity.

The truth is, physically shooting, the real aspect of our business we love, makes up a small percentage of the time spent running our business. The majority is spent on the back end, post processing and ensuring the business is producing and running smoothly. We will break this system down from an elementary level, and fine tune it for efficiency, so you can do more of what you love. This article will be an overview of the “The Business of Photography” series and the basic idea of selling. Through the next few articles, we will dive into the business fully and discover ways to maximize your business in sales, marketing, and client retention.

Selling is Selling

Seems idiotic to say, however, we are always selling something.  Have you ever had a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or relative suggest a restaurant to you and you went and tried the restaurant? If so, you were sold an idea. You trusted this person enough to take them up on their word and try something you have never tried before.

Being sold isn’t the end of the world, and selling isn’t the end of the world either. Once we change our paradigm and realize this, the process becomes smooth and easier. Ideas, goods, and services are all sold, everyday and everywhere,  person to person, business to business, and business to person.

We are in an industry that sells a service. It’s essential to understand that the business process starts with the sales process. Without a client, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. And hobbies are great, but they don’t pay the bills.


Spend More Time Doing What You Love

How can you spend more time doing what you love? As eluded to above, the answer is actually straight forward; Become more efficient with your business process so you may have more time to spend shooting, developing your skills, or whatever you choose.



Things to Think About

As with any process, you must begin by evaluating yourself and where you are at now, so that you can know where exactly you’re going.

  • Rate yourself personally (being honest, of course) on where you are at as a sales person on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being terrible 10 being terrific.
  • Ask yourself: where are your clients coming from (sales and marketing are directly related) and write them down. It will come in handy in a later post.
  • Dissect your time. Where are you spending it? Are you spending it on where your strengths and passions are? If not, then stay tuned, we will discover ways for you to spend time with those passions!
  • Is your business exactly where YOU want it to be? Are you energized and excited daily to get to work on it?

Feel free to jot these answers down in a notebook that you can look back to. It is important to see growth and victories as they will continually push us forward.  You can even answer these in the comments section and let’s start a discussion. Let’s help each other grow and learn. We can inspire one another as a collective unit.  I look forward to working and growing with you.

In the next article, we will dig into the beginning of the business process: finding more potential clients.  Thanks for taking the journey with me.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

David is a business and sales expert who resides close to the beach in Southern California. With a knack for sales and marketing, he has consulted with many organizations ranging from car dealerships, door to door sales, and fitness gyms. When not selling or a running a business, he can be spotted on the beach with his dog, Goliath, any restaurant that will take him far from his trainer approved diet regiments, or Las Vegas.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Rafael Steffen

    I love these business related articles to make us focus more on how to improve our business skills and how to focus more on paying the bills.

    | |
  2. Jacob Jexmark

    Solid 1 on that scale ;) Trying to get better! Great article :)

    | |
  3. Fellipe

    Hey David. I’m the founder of Albumdraft. One of the most important things photographers must understand is that they run a business. As a wedding photographer myself I cannot agree more with your article, especially this part “The truth is, physically shooting, the real aspect of our business we love, makes up a small percentage of the time spent running our business.”

    | |
    • David Valentine

      Thanks for reading Fellipe. It’s amazing how much creativity there is with photography, that is the beauty of the industry. We often overlook the fact that it is a business. Like any business, it requires a majority of our time to ensure its growth and success.

      | |
  4. Daniel Walldorf

    Sounds like a non-brainer but it’s easy to loose focus on important things when running a business..

    | |
  5. Thanom Saiprimuk

    Good start.

    | |
  6. Jesse

    Great article, thanks! I was wondering though, how do I follow along to the next articles in the series? Do I have to subscribe to a feed or just keep my eyes peeled here on SLR Lounge…


    | |
    • Hanssie

      If you have a RSS reader, feel free to add us so you won’t miss our posts. We also post all of our content on FB. You can always do a search on the author or look at our business section as well.

      Short answer is, yes, you’ll have to keep a look out for these :)

      | |