Photography Business Tips from 8 Super Talented Photographers

Ian Ruhter is a photographer whose passion is infused in everything he creates. Aside from owning and operating the world’s largest camera which is built into a van, he has captivated millions of people by delivering this simple message:

For me, I think when you put all of your heart into your work, the work will speak for itself. This passion allows you the ability to be unrealistic and dream of things that were once said to be impossible. Dare to dream of the impossible, follow your heart, and your work will speak for itself.”  - Ian Ruhter, http://www.ianruhter.com/

Jamie Delanie’s inspiring story includes starting her photography business 6 years ago, at the age of just 16 years old. In that short time, she has photographed over 100 weddings and engagement sessions. Not only is she a talented photographer, she is a natural entrepreneur as well. Her business advice is:

“The most valuable thing to define in your photography business is "why." Why do you do what you do? What is it that sets you apart and makes you different? Once you've determined your "why" make that message consistent through every facet of your business. Focus on being remarkable on your website, blog, through your images, packaging, marketing materials.  Don't strive to give clients what they want. Instead focus on staying true to your "why" and the right customers will find you.” - Jamie Delanie, http://www.jamiedelaine.com/

Melissa Kilner has a personality that creates instant connection with others. Recently a featured photographer on the show Restart with Jasmine Star, the photography world watched as she completely restarted her photography business from top to bottom. In doing so, she captured the hearts of thousands of fellow photographers. She produces photos that are full of style and emotion while providing her clients with a professional yet personal experience. Her business advice:

“Embrace you.. Stop comparing. Stop trying to be like everyone else. Spend a lot of time self-reflecting, looking at who you are, your strengths, and your passion. Not only embrace them, but build your business around them. Once I stopped trying to be the photographer that I thought people would want, and focused on the things that I am extremely passionate about, not only did I find joy, but I found more business! Don't be afraid to be you. Because in the end of it all, anyone can copy what you do, but no one can copy who you are." - Melissa Kilner, http://melissakilner.com/

Andrea Tate creates the type of photographs that suck you into a vivid, romantic world. She is also a designer, post processing expert and runs a mentoring program for other photographers. Her advice is critical for any new photographer:

“If you learn to properly meter your light, you can capture outstanding photographs without the use of a fill flash or a reflector!” - Andrea Tate, http://www.cravemyphotography.com/

In addition to being a fantastic photographer, Tamara Lackey is a teacher (with several appearances on CreativeLive), author (published in seven languages), speaker, a web series host (the show redefined). I am not even sure where to begin in describing her. Everywhere I look she is there and doing something absolutely inspirational and/or plain smart. Her invaluable insight:

“Get everything in writing.  This can feel weird and restrictive, to ensure that you get all agreements in writing - and that means not just client contracts, but vendor agreements and any business you agree to do with anything - but, sometimes it has nothing to do with someone breaking their word.  Quite often, a written agreement is simply just a great way to ensure that all parties are, in fact, agreeing to the same thing.  Two different interpretations of a verbal agreement is more common than one might expect.  If you get everything in writing upfront, there will be more clarity about what business you are doing together.  (And clarity is a wonderful thing).” - Tamara Lackey, http://tamaralackey.com/

Gabe Mcclintock produces the type of photographs that make me want to travel all the way to Calgary just to stand in front of his lens. His images tug at the deepest place in my heart and I melt a little each time I see his work. His business insight:

“Be consistent in your work, your branding and your editing. Consistency fosters trust from your clients and if they trust you and have no doubts as to what it is you offer and will deliver in the end they will allow you the creative freedom you need to create the work you'll be proud of and passionate about, which in turn will attract the new clients you want”. - Gabe Mcclinttock, http://www.gabemcclintock.com/

Lexi Vornberg is a portrait photographer located in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a wonderful ability to capture beautiful light in her images and her clients always look so comfortable in front of her camera. In addition to being a talented photographer, she founded a high quality magazine for photographers called Lemonade and Lenses, which is full of creativity and inspiration.

“Be the photographer you would want to hire. It's almost like treat others the way you would want to be treated and that's how you should run your business. Go above and beyond your clients expectations because running something boutique means you are more personal and more about the experience then a normal business. Do everything you can to make that apparent.”- Lexi Vornberg, http://lexivornberg.com/ and http://www.lemonadeandlenses.com/issues/

DeAnna McCasland is a talented photographer and master of lifestyle portraits. She has the ability to capture the emotion in life’s everyday moments. Since she has been shooting for only 3 years, this is a testament to her natural talent in photography. In this short time, she has built a huge following and captured the interest of many fans and photographers. Her advice is a great way to end this book:

“Believe in your work & work with those who have the same beliefs.  Be yourself as an artist, take chances, don’t be afraid to fail.  Be open and let go.  Believe in yourself.  Don't be motivated to create art for the paycheck.  Be motivated by the right thing and why you are creating the art in the first place and let the rest fall into place.  The photographs we create will outlive us so remember that each moment matters and has the right to be documented.  Being a photographer is a beautiful thing.  We have the chance to show others that their life is beautiful and that it has meaning.  Don’t take that for granted.  Its a beautiful gift.” – DeAnna McCasland, http://www.deannamccasland.com/