How To Make Money from Photography – Tough Love From Heisler

Ever wanted to know what exactly it takes to get hired as a professional photographer? 

Here is some tough love from one of the best in the biz, Gregory Heisler:

The business is about relationships…People aren’t hiring a photographer, they’re hiring a person…What it really comes down to is some guy saying try Schmeisler, he’s really good.

If you do nothing else today for your photography business, watch this video!

UPDATE: Sorry everyone – it looks like the privacy settings on the original video were changed and it is no longer available.  I’ll give you a rough synopsis after the break.

Synopsis of the Video

In the video, Heisler basically explains how he learned well into his career that photographers are hired because of who they are and not for their work.  He goes on to make the point that in general, photographers put all this effort into their protfolio and their career, but in the end it just comes down to a guy who knows a guy (with a pretty funny NYC accent thrown in).

Right now, you can still watch the rest of the videos in the series here.

Advice We Don’t Want To Hear

I have no idea why as a group (myself included) we photographers have such a hard time with the concept of building and maintaining real world relationships as a tool for making money.

I suspect that it might have to do with the quiet, introverted artistic nature of many photographers. 

But at the same time, we (again, myself included) spend an enormous amount of time speculating over the next piece of must have gear, nit-picking each others work online and raging about the latest photography “scandal” (see: Adobe Creative CloudJasmine Star and Doug GordonBad Olympic Portraits…Nikon vs. Canon…iPhones…the list goes on.)

How Has A Personal Relationship Helped Your Business?

Leave a comment below and let us know how a real world personal relationship has helped your photography business.

Oh – and there are four videos in this series with Heisler.  You can watch the rest here.

About the Author

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP
can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water,
or use a camel as a light stand.

To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube.

JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.

  • http://martybugs.net/blog Martin Pot

    Can’t see the video – it shows up as “Sorry. Because of its privacy settings, this video cannot be played here.”

  • http://lenslord.com/ ijak

    Ditto! “Sorry. Because of its privacy settings, this video cannot be played here.”

  • http://www.focalmatter.com/ mike ricca

    The video is private on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/77555936
    Someone needs to change that before it’ll show up.

  • Rick

    It was here earlier. Y’all just missed out.

  • Paganator

    “I have no idea why as a group (myself included) we photographers have
    such a hard time with the concept of building and maintaining real world
    relationships as a tool for making money.”

    I think it’s because it’s rather frustrating when you spend years to hone your skills and work very hard to do high quality work, then see the money go to somebody who’s really good looking and outgoing, but does mediocre work. On one hand we have a society that claims to be a meritocracy, rewarding people for skills and hard work, but on the other hand in the real world it’s in large parts a popularity contest.

    I also find amusing that this blog has, on the same page, this article claiming that success comes from how people perceive you rather than your photography skills, and another article claiming how it’s unfair that some people claim a woman got her success because she’s perceived as attractive rather than because of her skills. Which is it? Is skill and hard work the differentiator, or is it other people’s personal opinion of you? Or is it all just luck? ;)

  • Michael Turcotte

    “It isn’t what you know, it isn’t who you know, it is who knows you” – Dean Collins (the photographer)

  • http://www.shaadistudio.in/ Shaadi Studio India

    thanks