Your source for making money as a part time photographer

by Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor on July 6, 2009

in PartTimePhoto.com News,This is Life

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So who am I to give you advice on how to make money as a part time photographer?

My name is James Taylor.

I own Outlaw Photography of Bandera, Texas.

I shoot almost entirely portraits; seniors, children, brides, couples, families. My wife shoots maternity and baby photos.

I fell bass ackwards into professional photography over 12 years ago. I landed a job as a photojournalist with my hometown newspaper, and as people saw my photos in the paper, they began asking if I also did family portraits. One good paid photo shoot led to the next, and I continued to do off-and-on professional work until I launched Outlaw Photography ‘officially’ in 2005. Since then, I’ve worked hard to improve my art and my business acumen while learning to balance a full time day job, part time photography job, and life.

Life for me includes my better half Jacklen and three young kiddos, McCayla (7), Canon (4), and the newest addition, Athena Corinna (celebrating one year in November 2011). Yes, Canon, as in my son is named after my preferred camera manufacturer. But that’s a story for another day.

I have been blessed with a great deal of success as a part time professional photographer over the years, and after a decade, I’ve hit a stride which now allows me the chance to share this success with others. Success to me is happy clients, happy family, happy self. A big part of the latter for me is giving back, which is what I hope to do here at PartTimePhoto.com.

After years and years of studying the art, business, and industry of photography online and here in the real world, I’ve learned that the people making the transition from unpaid amateurs to part time professionals is a massive, confused, underserved, underappreciated community.

That’s about to change. Drastically.

You generally have three levels of photographers:

  • Amateurs and enthusiasts who shoot for fun and don’t care about making money off their work (Hi Uncle Joe!)
  • Amateurs interested in making money with their photography (that’s you!)
  • Professionals actively earning good pay for their time

Certainly there are, as the supermodels of ModelMayhem call them, “GWC’s” or “Guys With Cameras”; you have insanely talented amateurs and students all over Flickr; and you have a wide range of professionals from starvings artists to the Vincent Laforets and Anne Geddeses of the world.

This entire web site is targeted squarely at that Middle Category: amateurs, enthusiasts, students, part-timers, stay at home dads, unfulfilled day job moms, teenagers looking for summer work, etc.

I’m living that dream right now, and have been for many years. It is fun, it is stress-free, it is a perfect creative outlet, it’s a great way to meet interesting people, and it pays well. It took a lot of trial and a lot of error to learn how to achieve that sweet-spot balance between art, business, and life.

I hope that through sharing here on PartTimePhoto.com the whole of my experience in this journey, I will help others achieve the same success I have as a part time professional photographer.

Here’s some boring background bio info for you, just to show you how small-town I am and that it’s possible to be successful anywhere:

James Taylor’s “If I can do it…” Profile:

Me: Outlaw Photographer James Taylor.

Born in Tarpley, Texas, population: 30.

Graduated from, got a job in, and started part time photography business in Bandera, Texas, population: 957.

Still working for the same newspaper over a decade down the road.

Still a happy part time photographer.

Won gobs of big fish, small pond journalism awards, for sports photography, feature photography, news writing, page layout and design, etc. Voted “Best Photographer in Bandera County (population < 20,000) in 2007, 2008." Most recently picked up my biggest contest win yet, a first-place sports photography award from the Texas Press Association.

Everything I know about being a successful part time photographer, I look forward to sharing here on PartTimePhoto.com. It will take time and plenty of writing, but I truly believe you have the capability to better your life and the lives of those around you through the art and business of part time photography.

It’s benefited my life, and if you so desire, it can benefit yours.

Next Steps

  • Surf over to Flickr and find three photographers whose portraiture work inspires you. Bookmark their photo streams. Contact each one: say by phone, e-mail, or picture comment, “I am an aspiring professional photographer and your work on Flickr is really inspirational. May I contact you once in a while to talk about photography?” You’ll learn that the most successful photographers are often the most open to helping you.
  • Brainstorm session: make a list of all the people – famous, celebrity, or otherwise – with whom you would love to do a portrait session. From the President to a favorite comedian to Grandma. Save in your Brainstorms folder.
  • If you’re down with the clown until you’re dead in the ground and would like to continue benefiting from the articles posted to this blog, please feel free to click the “Subscribe” button at the top of any page of this site.
  • Who inspired you to take up photography, and then take it to the next level by doing paid work? Leave a comment below, e-mail me, or call or text me at 830-688-1564.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

DeWaun Simmons October 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Called your phone number, left a message β€” would sure love to talk about the business with you. I’ve really enjoyed your posts, thus far. I can tell you have lots of practical information/advice to offer.

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor October 30, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Thanks so much for the visit on the phone tonight DeWaun! You’ve certainly got the photography chops to do great business, now the trick is just translating that into a portrait photography service. I have no doubt you’ve got the drive and hustle to make it happen with aplomb. We’ll talk again soon!

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Jeremy Madore February 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm

I’m following your “next steps” as best as I can. It’s already pushing me out of my comfort zones – I’m not really a “hey, here’s who I am… mind if we chat?” type of person. But when YOU ask these open ended questions, it makes perfect sense to respond…

The person who inspired me to take up photography as a source of income? My first wedding client, Michelle. At first, it was a favor for a friend. But after I shot the wedding, it gave me a sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t felt in quite some time. It was sort of a natural adrenaline rush… and I liked it.

-J

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor February 6, 2011 at 4:49 am

Taking action is always hard – it’s what separates the dreamers from the doers, the one-day’s from the right-now’s. You are not alone in facing these challenges – but as always, recognize these challenges as the gifts that they are – they create a ‘barrier of entry’ that gives you the opportunity to rise above and separate yourself from would-be competition. The man or woman who breaks through the most barriers and strives through the greatest challenges to survive and thrive on the other side, they are the ones who reach the highest stratospheric levels of success. They’ve done what so many others were unwilling to do.

Read Seth Godin’s “The Dip,” or better yet, pick up the audiobook and let the author read it to you. The lessons in that book will ingrain upon you a newfound ability to not just overcome but embrace every challenge you face as a small business owner.

Thank you again for your readership!

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Tammy Smith August 23, 2011 at 2:09 am

I’m so excited to have found your site! My sister, Amy Earle ( http://www.simplybphotos.com) sent me your link. She is also the person who encouraged and inspired me to take up photography.

I’m looking forward to reading through all you have to offer! Thanks so much for sharing such helpful, specific advice. It certainly helps a lot to hear from someone who has done what I’m trying to do. It’s especially nice to hear from someone that “gets it” about this not being my full-time job but I still want to be successful.

Thanks again!

Tammy

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor August 28, 2011 at 12:37 am

Thank you so much Tammy! Your sister’s photography is just lovely! Beautiful web site as well, I’m sure her clients are very, very happy working with her.

The grognards love to hate on us part time photographers, many going so far as to say we “can’t” call ourselves professionals if we don’t derive the majority of our income from our photography. Absolutely absurd.

Part time professionals have every bit the same ability to provide professional experiences and art for our clients as full-timers. The latter may enjoy an accelerated growth curve because they can dedicate 40+ hours a week to their business, but that doesn’t devalue the work that we part-timers are capable of producing.

Rock on! Please do keep me posted on your adventures in professional photography, I’d love to hear how your business develops! If there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

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Lindsay November 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I really can’t thank you enough. Your website is wonderful! I have had a couple people ask me to take some photos after seeing some that I had taken of my family but I had no idea how to start. This website answered so many questions and made the whole process so much less overwhelmimg. I found the info informative and enjoyable to read. Can’t wait to dig around some more. Thank you.

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor November 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Well thank you so much for your kind words Lindsay! I’m very blessed to get to work on a project like PTP. Best of luck with your upcoming photo shoots! Have confidence, take deep breaths, and have fun with it. These early shoots are a wonderful mix of excitement and education, soak it all up and you’ll be amazed at how fast you learn things you never knew you needed to know! If there’s any way I can help, please don’t hesitate to let me know. And please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures!

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Heather November 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

I just stumbled onto your site and I love it! Thanks so much for the helpful posts. I’m definitely bookmarking your site. I’ll look for you on Facebook too!

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor November 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words Heather! I visited your blog tonight, and truly enjoyed getting to spend some time there with your art. Your writing and your photos there are just perfect, a great mix of client, personal and family work. Your art is lovely and your clients are blessed to get to work with you!

I only have a personal Facebook at the moment, but do feel free to add me there and say hello! I hope to pop up a PTP-specific Facebook page in the near future. πŸ™‚

Thank you again, and please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures in professional photography! I’d love to hear your stories. πŸ™‚

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Trish December 10, 2011 at 12:14 am

I just got my DBA done last week! I am finishing up Photography 2 this semester. I had a piece chosen for the college show last semester in dark room photography and another piece picked for show at Temple College this semester. I have shot for friends for free, nothing paid just yet. I know I have a great eye for composition and I get compliments on my work all of the time. My trouble is fear of failure. I am SLOWLY overcoming it, but I am still unsure of when the right time to start charging is and how much. I hear these ridiculous #’s being thrown around and can’t fathom how they come up with those #’s. (ie. $1000 for pet photography session and you only get 6 of the photos.) Anyhow, I has set up to follow your RSS feed and appreciate you putting this info. out there. I am hoping it will help me get up the gumption to get out there are start making money doing what I LOVE to do.

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor December 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Congratulations Trish, that’s awesome! Take those first steps – set your prices and policies (what you sell and for how much) and just let your art be seen! People will be impressed, they will ask how much, you can tell them and then breathe a great sigh of relief when they say, “Oh wow! You’re worth so much more than that! What dates do you have open?”

I agree entirely, photographers especially seem to have a talent for coming up with outrageous and convoluted prices and anti-customer policies. But that just shows you the breadth of opportunity in this market – people will pay those prices, and suffer that treatment, under the right circumstances. Maybe I’m just a softie, but I’m really fond of providing a great product at a great price and treating my clients like great people, and I think this is where new-to-the-profession photographers are best able to work their way into the paying market.

Start slowly, earn one client at a time, let your art speak for itself, charge a more-than-fair price to start with as you build your portfolio and your business. You never have to lie, cheat, steal, pretend, or try to game anyone – show off what you can do, then allow folks the blessing of being able to hire you to do it for them and their families. As you gain experience and confidence in your business, you can raise and adjust prices, change your policies if you feel the need, etc. You will grow with your art, with your business, and with your client base.

Don’t fear failure, welcome it when it comes as the required stepping stones you must traverse to earn experience, practice your art, and reach your own definition of success. Failure will come, but failure is neither fatal nor particularly painful if you maintain focus and purpose. A spark of inspiration, of artistic and career passion has lit within you for a reason – trust that if you do the work and invest the heart and time, that you will earn your place in your market as both an artist and businesswoman.

Thank you for your readership! Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures. πŸ™‚

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Lisa April 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Wow. Thank you so much for this website. I have worked very hard as an amateur to improve my photography and get to a place where I am proud of my work and where others appreciate it. However, as I have joined groups and artistic communities that include professional photographers, I have felt minimized, excluded and discouraged by one too many of them who suggest that the only path to professional (paid) photography is through some convoluted formula that does not sit right by me – or rather, seems incomplete for someone trying to go from “I’m ready now” to actually landing that first gig .. and then the second. I feel like I’ve been standing right outside the door, unsure how to turn the key and step inside. The information on your website and, more importantly, your encouraging and positive attitude is such a breath of fresh air, and comes from a place of true understanding of what it’s like to be at The Beginning. Truly … thank you!

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor April 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Thank you for your kind words Lisa! I’m sorry you’ve had to suffer the wrath of the grognards online – they are a scared, angry bunch, indeed. I hope to serve as a counterweight to the drag they put on everyone they discourage.

The best time to start your part time photography business was yesterday – the second best is today. Go for it, and enjoy the ride it takes you on. It is nowhere near as scary, risky, convoluted, frustrating, or gargantuan a feat as others make it out to be. Let me be clear: this business is fun, profitable, and a blessing to both photographer and clientele. I love it, and I hope this web site helps others enjoy the same experience I’ve had.

Please do keep in touch and keep me posted on your successes and adventures this year!

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Zeus Unwalla July 9, 2012 at 7:28 am

Hi James,
I stumbled upon your website while I was searching for possible names for a photography co. of sorts. and I think I am going to go with the simpler, use your own name thought after reading some of what you have written.
Although I am an audio designer and audio has been my entire life the past 2 decades, photography has always been right there by my side; taking pictures of nearly every single live show I ever did from the day I bought a small digi cam back in india in 2001. It has been just a little over a year now that I stumbled onto my first digital SLR (on hand anytime) thanx to Karishma; my girlfriend who thinks I take great pictures & keeps telling me to take more and encourages me to think about taking this forward seriously.
I recently had the opportunity funnily enough through the architects I work with to take some pictures of the houses that we complete together. I jumped at the opportunity instantly and said yes. I was nervous to be honest but now there was no going back I guess.

To cut a long story short, I did the job a week later after planning it all, took 400 pictures of a 3 bedroom house, edited a set of 50 and sent them in only to get an instant reply to shoot 2 more houses and an office and get paid for all the work and time I have put in.

Your website has just hit home, its giving me knowledge and insight and encouragement to know that I am going down the correct path with the correct information.

I love to photograph interiors and also do a lot of nature and people as a hobby, your notes are really going to come in handy. I am going to read all of it.
Thanx for sharing your experience, experiences & knowledge, it is truly invaluable.

btw. I love the name Canon for your little fellow.
Warmest regards…

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor August 12, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thank you so much for your comment and readership! I am so very glad to hear of all the benefits you are enjoying from the site, and all of the success you are having in your business!

It sounds like you are in just the right position, that so many other photographers find themselves in, as they make the transition to paid professionals: you’re handy with a camera, you show a real talent with the art, and you have encouragement from those who’ve seen your work to make the move to get paid for that talent. It’s the perfect place to be in – now, if you’re wanting to, is a great time to move forward.

And you’re vetted by the market – you’ve done professional work, and you have clients thrusting money at you to do more. Rock on!

Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures! If there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

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Derek July 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

James,
I was looking for poses and a shot list online and found your site. Your website is full of useful advice. I will recommend this website for my high school photography students. A lot of them shoot family and senior photos. Thanks for providing this awesome resource!

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor August 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm

You are most welcome Derek, thank you for your kind words! I’m so glad you’ll be sharing my site with your students; I mentor many high school and college photography students in my area, besides here on the site. If there’s anything I can do to be of assistance in your teaching efforts, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

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Kat Aviles August 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Hi James,
I never leave comments on blogs but I just had to take a minute to let you know your work is greatly appreciated. I am literally at the very beginning of my journey. Just purchased my first DSLR and my excitement has my head spinning. This webpage is a breath of fresh air and it puts so many things into perspective. I have a one year old son who is the inspiration behind my photography dreams, but he also keeps me plenty busy. I am slowly but surely soaking everything up before seeking my first client. I am looking forward to continue learning from your site. Thank you so much for this gift you’re sharing.

P.S. Would you be willing to offer feedback on images?

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor October 8, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Thank you for your comment and kind words, Kat! And congratulations on your big steps into professional photography!

Congratulations also on your 1-year-old! They are indeed a handful, but what inspiration as well – especially to strive for more freedom in life, so you can show them the best of this world.

I am more than happy to offer feedback on your photos! E-mail them my way at James@banderaoutlaw.com – I look forward to hearing your stories!

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Muyiwa September 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Great job you are doing sir.
be blessed
M

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Stephanie November 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

Thank you for giving back of your time and talent. Photography has been my dream and passion for as long as I can remember. My step mom was the biggest supporter and encouragement. Just before she passed away, she reminded me that the only thing I was missing was the courage/ belief in myself. She also made me promise that I would, when the time was right, pursue my dream. The time has come, I just dont know where to start, so thank you for showing me how and where to begin. I look forward to learning much from you.

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor December 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Thank you for your kind words Stephanie!

Becoming a part time professional photographer is a life-changing step – small steps, small stepping stones on a long path, but life-changing nonetheless. It’s like the first cigarette you don’t smoke, the first drink you don’t take, the first slice of pizza you push away – all great choices are made manifest with the very first step.

I love dearly a quote I saw on Facebook one day that said, “A year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.”

The best time to start was yesterday. The second best is today. If you want it, you will achieve it – allow yourself the confidence and faith to grow and be the photographer you want to be. Your step-mom saw the potential in you that you may be fearful to explore – don’t let anything stop you.

Kaizen – daily improvements will lead to amazing changes over time. Your growth in photography will prove as much a blessing to you as to your clients and community. Keep me posted as you take on this new adventure – I’m sure you will have great stories to tell.

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John D in San Antonio December 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I just found your website while looking for ideas on photo projects, I live in San Antonio and seeing you are in Bandera made me slow down and read a little closer and really like the content. My daughter is getting married next year and the photographer scheduled to shot the save the date announcment photos had a conflict so I took the picture and did a great job “I think”. I took photography in High School and University as an art elective and I was also on the anual staff, I have always carried a camera around with me and after taking the pictures for my daughter I have sparked a new interest and reading your postings my just make the jump and start my own “Part Time Photography” business. And with your advice will name the business using my name. Thanks for all of the great information and advise, look forward to reading more.

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor December 31, 2012 at 12:11 am

Thank you for your comment, neighbor! If you’d ever like to get together to shoot and talk shop, I’d love to do so – I’m in San Antonio all the time.

It sounds like you’ve got the right motivations and talents to make something of your business! Whatever level you’re at, so long as you have that passion, you can get better and better. Kaizen – small daily improvements lead to amazing changes over time. If you focus, you’ll be thrilled and surprised at how far you’ll have come in just a few months, even more so in a year.

Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures in 2013!

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Sunday Doebbler January 3, 2013 at 1:05 am

I was searching the web for info about selling some of my framed photos and copyright issues etc. What caught my attention was Bandera. Since my husband and I are from Bandera I had to take a look, so glad I did! I take the picture and my husband makes the frames, mostly for gifts. I have always had family and my husband pushing me towards direction of doing this..but as far as making the jump..well I can say I am a little closer! You have lots of great information posted and I look forward to reading more!

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor January 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Thank you for your comment neighbor! Are you related to Doris? She writes the Silver Sage Corral column for the Bulletin (my day job!).

Thank you for your kind words! Making the transition to a paid professional is only as complicated or scary as it seems. What you do is valuable, and there’s no shame in accepting compensation for the value you bring to your clients’ lives. There’s no shame in not accepting compensation, too – you can still be a professional and take nothing more for payment than a smile. It’s all about your approach, your perspective, your goals.

I would love to get together to shoot and talk shop any time! Just drop me an e-mail to James@banderaoutlaw.com and we’ll set it up! Thank you for your readership!

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Mark Donnellan March 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Hi James I am relatively new to this industry..although I don’t doubt my potential and I would love to send you a couple of pics, not the reason I’m writing though, I have a dancing performance that I will be covering at the end of April in Melbourne (Australia) just wondering if you or any of your followers have any tips and tricks, and or do you know what type of course I should look into? Also I want to get into the paid side of photography as well, how do you approach this and how do you know what prices to set? Is it normally by photos or the hour? Cheers Mark

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Outlaw Photographer James Taylor April 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Thank you for your comment Mark! Feel free to send any photos you’d like to James@banderaoutlaw.com.

You can read my views on pricing here: http://bit.ly/cyw9jw

For portraits, I charge by the image or print – for events, I charge by the hour and provide a CD with processed, hi-res photos. I have never had a passion for milking event photo sales one sale at a time, so I only take on such projects when I can do the work, process, and hand over a CD.

For what to charge, it’s different for every photographer – I always recommend folks in the start-up phase charge humbly, but fairly, for their work. What that means to you may be completely different from James Taylor in Bandera, Texas, or a photographer with better art but less marketing skill in New York, or a photographer with less artistic talent but great marketing ideas in Brisbane. Even after 14 years as a professional, I charge just enough to walk away from almost every photo shoot sale with a canary-eating grin on my face.

For making great art at a dance performance, I would of course start with a Google search for that exact thing. Then do an image search on Google or Flickr for great dance photography. Find some photos that inspire you, and e-mail or call those photographers and ask them what tips they may have. Grow faster as a photographer by skipping the learning curve and engaging folks who’re already where you want to be as an artist.

On the technical side, your hardest challenge will be stopping the action while keeping a good exposure – high ISO, fast shutter speed, wide aperture, good panning skills. If you’re going for a more artistic look, a longer exposure may give you the look you want. I shoot theater for the local high schools, and it’s killer trying to balance exposure versus shutter speed well, especially with shifting intensity, color, and sources of light. With dancers, almost constantly in motion, it’s going to be a worthy challenge!

If you want extra homework, see if you can find a book or biography on the life and career experiences of a dancer who does or did the same type of performance you plan to photograph. As they say of sports photography, if you want to be a better dance photographer, study dance – not just the photography of dance. If no books present themselves, seek a related magazine. If no magazine exists, seek a blog. If no blog exists, talk with the dancers you’ll be shooting – learn what you can about what motivates them, where their mind goes during their performances, the physical challenges, how long the road has been to get them to this performance, what their favorite parts of their performance will be, the most challenging moves or poses, and so forth. The more you understand, the better seasoned your art will turn out.

I hope this helps! Let me know how the dance shoot turns out, and please do drop me an e-mail with photos. Keep me posted on your successes and adventures!

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Samantha Bartlett September 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Hi James,

I really love your blog, thanks for sharing such great information! I just recently started a fan page on facebook, started my blog, and my portfolio. Please check it out and leave me a feedback.

I will be doing 7 family shoots in a couple of months. I was wondering, would you charge a fee for letting your clients use photos on facebook or do you let them use it for free with your watermarks on it? What if they want a digital copy? Thanks.

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Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor May 26, 2014 at 8:19 am

Samantha, thank you so much for your readership and kind words!

I greatly enjoyed visiting your web site tonight, you have an amazing portfolio of work! Your photos of your clients are rich and varied and fun – they’re truly blessed by your art.

For my clients, I sell almost exclusively digital, and they’re welcome to share them anywhere and any way they like. I don’t watermark the photos they buy, but it’s as simple as asking them to tag me when they do post the photos to social media – which beats a watermark any day. Often they’ll say nice things, as well! It’s the kind of advertising you can’t buy.

Many photographers get breathlessly caught up in trying to ‘protect’ their art, protect their name, protect their image – it’s a wildly defensive position to take with people who are in love with your art and willing to trade you their money for it.

If you’re doing your job – creating art your clients love and creating a remark-able experience they are thrilled by – you will never have to worry about protecting your art or copyright or watermark. Your clients will become your biggest fans and best advocates.

With hustle and effort and focus, you do eventually reach a great place in business where your clients do most of the selling for you. Part of that relationship is that you never stop getting better, you never stop giving more value, you never stop hustling – but you get past that initial herculean effort of moving the boulder of momentum, and you’re far more so able to focus on defining and refining your art, your client experience, and yourself as a business owner.

Again, if you’re thrilling your clients, all you have to do is ask them to do something for you, and they’ll do it. Do you want referrals? Ask. Do you want them to tag you on Facebook? Ask. Want them to write an honest testimonial and rate your Fan page on FB? Ask. Want them to book their next session before leaving today’s sales session? Ask.

When you show clients a level of attention, caring, love, enthusiasm, and passion they’re wholly unused to, they’ll walk through fire for you.

Thank you again for your readership! Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures!

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Brittney Ortiz January 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Hi James!

I think that a blog like this is amazing for aspiring photographers like me and I’m so happy I found it as I have been wanting to figure out if I really want to start a business.

I think for me…I’ve always loved photography and always wanted to take them be it either for scrapbooks or albums. I have been using my camera to take pictures of my daughter as she’s been growing. But the most recent experience was my brother in laws wedding. I was happy that I had taken such good pictures and it really pushed me to want to do others: weddings, babies, families. I don’t really have too much experience…I just hold and click but people say I have a good eye. So, I’m really interested in learning more about this business of part time photography!

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Yeny December 4, 2015 at 9:11 am

Hello James,

Just wanted to say thank you for all the resources you offer here. I have been reading a few of your posts and so far they have been very helpful and will definitely continue to read. I really liked what you said about giving back. The free e-book is a sign of that because most people would not give anything like that for free. I have started reading it and can’t wait to finish. Congratulations on all of your success and continue moving forward.

Once again, thank you!

Yen

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Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor December 4, 2015 at 9:29 am

Yen, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the site!

Absolutely – I know how blessed I am to know my calling, what I do to serve whom, and why. I know first-hand how discouraging so much the Internet and industry can be for startup photographers. And I know what blessings those photographers have to share with their clients and community through the art and experience they craft. What a blessing it is to get paid to do the work! I want to help startup photographers any way I can to get to that win-win dream of success in art, business, and life.

Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures, Yen!

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George Martin March 8, 2016 at 6:58 am

Hi James

Just stumbled on your website by chance Today. Im based in the UK, not far from Scotland. I, like much of what you write in your website started like you in photography. Read lots, viewed lots but never actually did anything about it!

Did a family Wedding years ago shooting Nikon gear but after that did nothing.

My biggest inspiration back into photography was the birth of my beautiful Daughter Evie. I began taking an insane number of photos of her on my camera phone, yes nothing more than a camera phone. I learned a great deal about lighting & composition this way. Much of my post processing was done via a free app called Snapseed, i still use this Today & can get some great results! Never let anyone tell you its about the gear, that’s a myth! Photography comes from the person behind the lens not a $5000 full frame camera. If you think an expensive set up will make you into a good photographer, think again! I eventually decided to sell all my Nikon gear & move over to Olympus micro 4/3 system, a lot smaller & lighter! I’ve also build a state of the art PC with a beautiful 4k monitor for post processing my images in lightroom but I still like editing on nothing more than a tablet & Snapspeed!

Then I got the chance of another Wedding, a friend, the most nerve racking experience of my life but I got through it! Since then I have now started to get some paid shoots mainly through word of mouth.

My biggest obstacle is motivation though! I hate my current job so know it is a good opportunity to move to part time & pad the rest of my time & income in photography which I enjoy very much!!!

I’m now finally in the process of building a website & designing my own business cards ready to take things to the next level hopefully!

I agree with you James entirely regarding other pro photographers, some will encourage you but many won’t. Think about it, these high end pro’s like you had to start at the begging also and learn their trade! What’s stopping anyone achieving the same goals if they so wish! Especially nowadays with the wealth of information freely and readily available to the masses! Digital photography is way more accessible than film. If u make a mistake erase it & try again & keep at it until you get it right. There are no hard and fast rules in photography! You could take a look at 10 pro photographers and they all do things differently! Don’t let anyone fool you. Go out and shoot, experiment and find your own style! It just might inspire you to greater things and become a professional photographer yourself!

I would be very happy to join your community of photographer’s James and let you know how I get on in the coming months. I can then send you a link to my website, who knows I might beable to encourage myself more as well as others!

Best regards
George

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Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor March 8, 2016 at 9:43 am

George, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m super excited for the work you’re doing and soon to do!

I’m obviously a big fan of digital, both for what it means for the photographer and for the market. A hustler can now really drill down and accelerate the growth of their artistic talents. But sometimes at the cost of the slow pacing, study, and consideration that film enforced. The smart photographer who is savvy to this will blow through that plateau when they reach it.

Amen to the gear talk: “my gear isn’t good enough” is a limiting belief planted by the endless marketing the manufacturers and vendors infest the industry with. The barriers of entry have never been lower, and someone who would be successful with a dSLR could also be successful with their iPhone. But our egos trying to protect us from risk and vulnerability scream, “Wait until you have the right gear! Wait until the price drops! Wait until next year’s model! You’ll be made a fool if you shoot with what you have today! Your photos aren’t as good as you want them to be because of your gear, not because you don’t practice…you should read another Photoshop tutorial! And buy more Actions!” We only believe it because it keeps us in our comfort zone. Success for startup photographers lies just on the other side of bravery, and commitment to the dream – not in the warehouse at B&H.

Honored to have you as a reader George! E-mail me anytime. Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures!

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