Resources & Recommendations For Creative Business Owners
Q: What do I need to run a successful & organized Photography business?
A: …a lot.
It’s overwhelming, you guys. Starting a Photography business from scratch & growing it all by yourself is unbelievably time-consuming, exhausting, & confusing. What’s even more frustrating is the painstaking process of research, trial & error, & learning by doing that we all have to go through in order to get a good handle on how it all works & to find a formula that will achieve us a comfortable income & a decent work/life balance. How much should I charge? What’s the best portrait lens? What presets should I buy? It’s so easy to get caught up in the details & forget that first & foremost, you are a creator & it actually doesn’t matter what presets you use because no one really cares (shocking, I know) & secondly, if you don’t have a solid business structure, you’ll struggle & struggle to find clients that will pay you what you’re worth, you’ll have no long-term direction, & will eventually fail. It’s the hard but honest truth.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of educators & self-employment gurus out there in the wild wild web that profess to have the best workshop or the easiest way to find clients, run your business, make money, & gain 20K followers on Instagram. If you’re anything like me, after a while you just want someone to be straight with you - to sit you down & say “Hey, no smoke & mirrors - this is what you should work on. Here’s a list of what helped me when I first started & what helps me keep all my balls in the air now. Here you go - knock yourself out.”
The fact of the matter is…
Running a business, especially a creative one, takes a huge amount of time, dedication, & hard work.
There’s no easy way to instantly make money & make a name for yourself without putting in the hours & letting yourself fail now & then. That said, here’s my straight-up, no nonsense gift to you - this isn’t an advice post, a "what gear should you use” post, or a promise to give you a magical key that will unlock the secrets of social media algorithms…after all, I definitely don’t have it all figured out & none of us ever really will.
It’s a simple list. Just a list of all the educators i’ve actually learned from & the programs I use on a daily basis to help my photography business stay afloat, to make money, keep learning, & to keep me from going completely insane in the process. I’ll be coming back to this list & adding to it now & then with anything new & helpful I come across. I hope it helps you - best of luck!
DISCLAIMER/FTC: Please keep in mind that neither I nor my work are officially affiliated, sponsored, paid, or endorsed in any way by the products, companies, organizations, or people listed below. These are simply recommendations from me to you - an honest list of the programs I use & the educational resources that have truly helped me.
last updated April 7th, 2019
Phlearn: Aaron Nace - Photoshop & Lightroom Tutorials
Sue Bryce - Photography & Business Growth Tutorials
Felix Kunze - Lighting & Photography Tutorials
Irene Rudynuck - Photography & Creative Development Tutorials
Ken Rockwell - Gear Review
The Art of Photography: Ted Forbes - Photography History & Gear Reviews
Amy Landino - Business Management, Productivity Hacks, etc.
Imagine: How Creativity Works: Jonah Lehrer - Book
The Secret Language Of Color: Eckstut & Eckstut - Book
A few more thoughts…
Take advantage of Facebook Groups - both local groups relevant to your field & community groups connected to the programs you use! Not only is it helpful for networking purposes, but I have found so many answers & gotten quick & easy help by being part of Facebook groups. For example: Say I’ve got a question about how to set up something in my Shootproof account - a quick search in the official Shootproof Facebook group & I instantly find a multitude of solutions by other users for whatever issue i’m experiencing. It’s also fun to chat with other users & help each other out with any problems you’re trying to solve!
Local Business Networks - These can be a great way to socialize professionally & market your services, meet other business owners, & to learn how to present yourself & be confident with public speaking & selling yourself & your product or service.
And last but not least… Automate! Delegate! Schedule! Network! Any way to save yourself a spare moment &/or find a way to be more productive & effective - take it. You’ll thank yourself sooner rather than later for doing this.