How to Monetize Your Passion

We all start out in photography because we love creating images. Unfortunately, as professional photographers, one of the smallest portions of our job is behind a camera. The bulk of our time is spent branding, marketing, editing, and selling.  These aspects, if handled correctly, can allow us more time behind the camera doing what we love.



Photography may be our passion, but when you run a business you do not want to be spending every waking hour trying to survive and make a comfortable living. We’ve all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder”- well it definitely holds true for the business side of photography. Selling prints and wall art is the quickest way to begin to impact your business in positive way, both in overall marketing and client sales, without dramatically increasing your workload.

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Attraction By Projection 

As photographers we want to photograph what excites us. Our passion for the subject is directly reflected in our work.  If you desire to fill you schedule with weddings do not feature family sessions on your website or samples. We attract what we project into the world. You may be able to photograph everything, but do you want to? Always display the type of work you that you most want to be photographing. Don’t follow trends, be true to your style and the clients that are drawn to it will find you.


Think Big

Always show the wow-sized sample, they may not buy it, but they will likely want it. Your responsibility is to communicate the value in what you produce and the experience you provide. Never assume your client’s budget or ability to pay, that is not your responsibility. They determine their financial priority, you explain why what you offer is worth the spend.

The Digital Hook 

We live in a digital age, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat make it convenient to share images, so most clients want digital files. Use this desire to your advantage to hook them into larger print sales. Make digitals only available as part of your larger print packages so they are a natural upsell hook to higher packages. You can still offer the digitals as an a la carte option, but price it accordingly to maximize profits.

Get Personal

If you aren’t doing in person sales, you should be. Having your client in front of you allows the opportunity to show them the value of their investment by letting them handle the different options versus a menu on a screen. You’ll have the opportunity to guide your client to the best products for them and for studio profitability.

Put It On Others Walls

One of the best sources of new clients I’ve found is through cross promotion with other businesses.  As photographers we have the unique ability to both market a partner’s business as well as our own at the same time. This can be accomplished by creating amazing display pieces for their store. Each display features their product or service while showcasing your photography and beautiful wall art at the same time.


Integrating just a couple of these concepts will help attract the type of clients you want to be photographing. Clients who appreciate your unique style and value the investment in their memories as more than just pixels on a screen. One final though is something that I say to all my clients, “When I started out I delivered image files on a CDs, then USBs, now via digital download, in five years who knows what it will be. Guess what in a hundred years you’ll still be able to pick up a print and look at. Digitals are great, but your memories deserve to last a life time.”




About Shawn Black

Shawn Black is an award-winning internationally published wedding and boudoir photographer based in Boston, MA.  Shawn established Shawn Black Photography in 2010 in relative anonymity. Every day since, he has pushed himself to develop his signature style and create unique, captivating images for his clients. 

Couture Black, his boudoir brand, grew out of his established wedding business in 2013. What began as a service that was mostly for his own wedding photography clients, quickly became a mission. It became more than just creating pretty pictures for clients and focused on body positivity, female empowerment, and creating an experience that pampers women, helping all women see themselves as beautiful and confident. Hence the tagline #BeBoldBeSexyBeYou! Out of this new philosophy grew the Couture Black Body Confidence Campaign, where Black has donated his time and talent to help change the narrative on what modern society defines as beautiful, one woman at a time.

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Shawn Black