Category Archives: Tybee Island Photographer

Photography Business – comments for College Students

In response to queries from College level photography students I have compiled some comments for frequent questions.

Some General Comments about the Business of Photography

  1. Unless you have a studio name then your name is your ‘brand’ – use it in all of your business communications and on all of your web images; you need a web site that is optimized for search; the content should target your market(s)…

  2. An anonymous email address is ok on a functional level but on a Business level you need ‘branded communications’; i.e. a gmail/yahoo/msn email address is ok but it is also generic and does not promote you – for business communications consider something like: YOU@your_name.com (let your brand be simple to remember); business communications should always include name/address/email/web/phone – always…

  3. Consider joining EP (student rate) and research the industry as well as other professional photography organizations – lots of real-world info: http://www.editorialphoto.com/ Note that there are alternative views to ‘the business’ than what EP promotes – in the end you need to know when you are being taken advantage of as well as what is good for business.

  4. Always register your images with the US Copyright Office before publication

  5. Don’t give your work away! It’s fine to barter but there are no freebies in business. (lots more on the EP web site.)

  6. When communicating for business always follow-up (i.e. It’s distressing when students initiate a contact, I respond and then they don’t follow-up – Do you follow up???)

  7. People networking is very important – stay in touch with your peers as well as those folks that you encounter along the way; you never know who will wind up being the photo editor who is going to call people from their network before going elsewhere…

  8. For an alternative view on Editorial work check out http://www.danheller.com/ – he has a number of interesting ideas about all of the above and more (his blog contains a number of interesting ideas/comments.)

Note that while connected, there is quite a bit of business difference between “Fine Art Photography” and ‘editorial’. There are a number of books out – you may want to review “Selling Art Without Galleries” as a starter.

Some common questions from students (and my answers):

  • In what format do most magazines ask that you shoot (35mm, digital etc.)?
    I am all digital so I won’t get calls for anything else.

  • Does the magazine embargo your work for syndication or do you get the work back immediately?
    N/A in an all digital scenario – I only send out copies of images files; licensing may limit things on my end.

  • Does photographing editorially allow you the time you would like for your personal work?
    For me there is no/little difference; everything that I shoot is potential for editorial delivery.

  • What advice do you have for an up and coming photographer looking to get work in the editorial field?
    You need thick skin – ‘no’ is more likely than any other response – don’t take it personally – it is usually less about your work than it is about meeting a very specific need/timeframe/etc. Unless you live where there is significant demand and little competition, don’t rely on editorial work as a main income source of income; better to mix things up with advertising, commercial, studio or other work…

  • Do you use interns in your studio?
    No.  I do, however, maintain a list of local resources and I do need assistants for some photo sessions. Express your interest in a professional manner and I may contact you.  After meeting you and reviewing your work I may add you to my resource list.

  • How did you get business in the beginning?
    I am ‘non-traditional’ – Hmmm, fate? destiny? still working on it? I don’t have a straight answer – photography is a part of what I do (along with music and computing…)

  • Do you think I should plan to assist first?
    I don’t have any experience with this; based on what I have read it could be a great move in the right location (i.e. major city with lots of opportunities to both learn and build your network (BrAND!); if I were younger I would probably give it a whirl.   🙂

  • What specific subjects and/or styles should be represented in my portfolio?
    Again, non-traditional experience – what matters is will folks be moved to do something when they see your images (i.e. make a purchase, shed a tear, think! send you an email?) IMO – the images should be those that you feel are important as well as varied in content, size, materials.

  • Any information or advice you could give is greatly appreciated and helpful.
    It’s all about BRAND/marketing and people-networking! Craft is good; talent is good; without branding/networking no one will see your work or know who you are… I.E. – when you search on the Internet the results *usually* reflect the branding work of the sites that show up. When photo editor gets a call are you on their list of new talent?

Tybee Island – beach photography

Tybee Island (Ga, USA) located on the Atlantic Ocean about 15 miles from down town Savannah (Ga, USA); from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) the trip is 45-60 minutes.  In addition to the beach and ocean there are several attractions including the Tybee Island fishing pier and the Tybee Island Lighthouse and museum.

If you are visiting the Savannah area then Tybee offers a number of hotels and motels as well as condos for rent.  While you are staying on Tybee (sometimes called Tibby or even Savannah Beach) consider having some memorable vacation family beach photographs taken.  I meet with families or other groups at beach locations to capture a sense of your visit.  I am happy to work with you to create the types of photographs that you are interested in (in addition to bringing my own style into the process.)  Please use the Photo Request form for more information.

Note that our summers can be quite warm and humid; the beach usually is a bit cooler than the inland areas of Savannah.  Sun screen and lots of drinking water are encouraged as are hats and sun glasses.  Enjoy your visit!



Map: Tybee Island and Savannah, Ga

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