It Takes More Than Talent to Be a Successful Photographer

The sad and often frustrating truth is that many times, there are very talented photographers who do not find success as professionals, no matter how good they are with a camera and how many interesting creative ideas they have. So, what, if not only talent, does it take to find success as a photographer? This important video essay discusses the traits of successful photographers.

Coming to you from Tony & Chelsea Northrup, this awesome video essay discusses the traits of successful photographers. Of course, in discussing these things, we are not discounting talent; no doubt, it takes skills with a camera and creative ideas to form a good foundation. That being said, the most successful photographers are often not the best out there (though certainly, they are quite solid). Rather, they are top-notch business-people. They understand the importance of networking, sales, marketing, growth, etc. I have often noticed that these people are often less so photographers making money with their camera and more so business-people for whom photography is the product. Check out the video above for the full rundown from the Northrups. 

If you would really like to learn about the business of photography, check out "Making Real Money: The Business of Commercial Photography With Monte Isom!"

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12 Comments

Jan Holler's picture

First thing comes to mind: Too much Botox?

Adam T's picture

yeah, that's wild

Tanzeel Ur Rehman's picture

It's all utter rubbish.they think they are teaching very valuable subject but this sort of garbage is every where on internet.if you want business in photography chances of making profit or very low it's dying business in next 5 to 6 years no one will ever need a photographer or photography related service.

Stuart C's picture

"no one will ever need a photographer or photography related service'

Oh really, so no photos for Weddings, Events, Fashion, Products, Advertising campaigns, Sports, travel guides, Real Estate etc?

zave smith's picture

The sad truth is the market for these services has been shrinking. When I started out, my work was bought to be used on double page magazine spreads. For an image to work in such a form, it has to be both artistically and technically excellent. That took craftsmanship and talent. Now my work appears as a social media bug measuring an inch or two. It basically needs to be somewhat interesting and somewhat in focus. You don't need a 5k a day photographer to achieve that.

A few years ago, I heard a songwriter say, back in the day, I would write a hit song and go buy myself a new house. Now, I write a hit song and go to Starbucks.

The internet is a wonderful tool but it has greatly lower to revenue of all creative talent.

Stuart C's picture

I’m not going to disagree with your comment but I was merely addressing the ridiculous notion that photographers won’t be required in 5/6 years.

Tanzeel Ur Rehman's picture

Last couple of months there was strict lockdown in uk .no gathering parties or weddings since lockdown opened there are huge numbers of weddings parties are happening I been to around to 6 of them no photographer 1 had a guy camera on gimbal and that's it I was shocked 😲 to see

Stuart C's picture

I’ve been to 2 last weekend, the first one hired a pair of photographers, the 2nd one ‘hired’ me… it was my partners sister and their wedding was informal 45 people affair, so I can see why they wouldn’t want to pay for one.

I do think there is still a market though.

Marc F's picture

The sad and often frustrating truth is that many times, there are very talented musicians who do not find success as professionals, no matter how good they play their instrument and how many interesting and creative their compositions and recordings are. And unfortunately often the bad ones are the most successful

This is true for all kinds of artists.

J.d. Davis's picture

Rule #1).

To be successful in ANY business, you have to know how to RUN A BUSINESS.

Delixir Sorbano's picture

This right here.

Brian Cover's picture

If you want to know the secret of how to run a successful photography business, look at the ones who are bad photographers and yet are still in business. What are they doing to attract new customers? There are thousands, if not millions of talented photographers out there that know nothing about running the business side. Find the guy who takes bad pictures and copy his business model (other than the bad image part of course).