Create a Theme for Your Career

by | Dec 2, 2014 | Strictly Business Blog

Most photographers depend on multiple sources of income to succeed. Unfortunately, some look to sources unrelated to photography rather than apply additional skills to their craft. Veering off course can be as easy as a simple opportunity, familiarity or desperation. When looking for new sources of income, it’s best to keep with a theme that blends with your core business – photography.

When I speak, I often ask my audience what is your “and”? What separates you from the competition? Are you a photographer and a designer or writer? Your “and” could be a technology tool, a specific skill or a photographic concept. When you have an “and”, you can develop new business through multiple sources of income while continuing to focus on a single career path.

It is common for photographers to have multiple photographic disciplines. I recommend you start with one and develop complementary skills over time. While you develop your skills, stick to a theme. I have three specialties: corporate portraits, food and interiors. What is the theme?Restaurant photography. I developed my specialties and theme out of regularly photographing restaurants for magazines in the early 2000′s. Today, I photograph for multiple, compatible business sources of income such as architects, food companies and corporations in need of portraits.

I’ve used online media skills to help promote my photography since the mid-1990′s. When social media started to become mainstream, I began supporting photographers with strategy and best practices. This eventually morphed into many opportunities, including helping a client grow his digital marketing company. It was tough because I had two careers at the same time. There were some cross-over opportunities with clients in need of photography, but for the most part my two worlds were separate. I have since spun-off and merged my two specialties into one career by launching my own company – a digital marketing company with a visual edge. It blends photography, digital marketing, social media and PR under one roof.

If you write, try to combine the theme you enjoy writing about with your photography. If you design, match your photographic style to fit the theme of your work. Develop a theme around your photography that will attract work from multiple sources. In today’s climate, no one in the photography industry needs to be ashamed that they earn income from disciplines outside of photography. It’s smart business.