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How To Make Money As A Photographer

Lesson 5 from: The Business of Photography

Chris Burkard

How To Make Money As A Photographer

Lesson 5 from: The Business of Photography

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

5. How To Make Money As A Photographer

Diversifying your revenue streams can support recession proofing your business. Chris provides an in-depth look into 6 different streams of revenue.

Lesson Info

How To Make Money As A Photographer

Revenue streams, right? Such a fun topic. Okay, to be honest, this is one of those things where this is totally contrive. I'm just sharing the revenue streams that I work with and that I operate under. And granted there's always some random side project that comes about that doesn't really fit into these six streams of revenue, but in order for ease of the workshop, for ease of explanation, for ease of teaching, I wanted to break down these six streams of revenue that I really try to, I guess, filter everything into, why? Because it helps me for a couple reasons, it helps me to understand where to put my time, where to invest my energy, it helps me to kind of create, I guess you could say, a database of sort of which years I'm pouring more energy into certain things, and which year I'm pouring more energy into other things, also it helps me, my bookkeeper, my office manager, my agent, understand where are we making the most money, and where should I be pouring my time into? Because, ag...

ain, this all comes back to time. Now, I might say a couple terms here that might not make total sense, so I'm gonna do my best to kind of break these down, but I have about six active streams of revenue, and the first three are what I like to call active revenue. That's a world, according to Chris Burkard, word, just so you know, that's not real a real word at all, nobody really calls revenue, active revenue. But the reason I call it active is because this is revenue that I have to be proactive about seeking out, okay? These streams of revenue are commercial photography, editorial photography, and image licensing. I'll start with commercial photography. Commercial photography is basically when a brand is hiring you to go out and create work for them, a Sony, an Apple, a Toyota, whomever, right? They're hiring you to shoot a campaign, to direct a campaign, to do something along those lines, right? Now, commercial photography, for me, the reason it's first, it's 'cause it pays the most money, right? This is the highest stream of revenue that we have. But this stream of revenue, one of the byproducts of being at the top is it's extremely volatile, based upon budgets, based upon things like a unforeseen force (indistinct), pandemic, right? Act of God, so to say, these are things that are volatile, depending on if travel's available, if this and that, so you cannot always rely upon it, it's not always there, okay? Now, you also just might not be on people's radar, so in order for it to be an active stream of revenue, you have to be active in seeking that work out, you have to be active in going out and showing your book, and working with your rep or your agent, or working with yourself to go to agencies and reaching out to these people online, and emailing people, and cold calling people, and putting together decks or what have you. This is an active source of revenue. Now, commercial photography, moving on to editorial photography, editorial photography basically means anything that you're doing for a magazine, you're getting an assignment from Outside Magazine, or SURFER Magazine, or Surfer's Journal, whoever, this is an assignment that either they're giving to you or you are pitching to them, right? And in my career path I've realized that, obviously, editorial is highly based upon the relationships you have with these magazines, much like commercial, but oftentimes commercial photography can come outta nowhere, somebody sees your work online and they wanna hire you. Now, the editorial photography is something where oftentimes you are being very proactive, you're in contact with these people, you have a relationship, it's based upon work you've shot in the past, or you're shooting in the future, and you're kind of, a lot of times, pitching these projects. Now, editorial photography pay is usually a lot less, and not to get out of the nuances of this, 'cause this is kind of starting to touch on marketing and whatnot, and I wanna avoid that for this time, but editorial photography is something that you might still pursue because it will actually help build your name and get your name out there, and commercial clients will see your work because of the work you did in X magazine or X editorial, or what have you. So that is editorial photography, and again, that is an active stream of revenue. The third active stream of revenue, this is image licensing. Now, what do you have to do? Well, there's a couple things, you can take a different route here, for me, most of the images that I get licensed, and licensed means that you went on this family trip to Yosemite 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, or five years ago, and you shot a photograph, and all of a sudden you put it on social media, or you put it on some stock site, or you put it with a rep who's repping your images and somebody needs to buy it because, guess what? That brand needed a photo of Glacier Point at sunset, and you just so happen to have it, great. So what does that mean? Usually you're getting paid a commercial rate for that image, if it's being sold commercially, or if a magazine needs a photograph, Backpacker Magazine needs a photograph of Shenandoah Park, and this is the photograph you have, they will pay an editorial rate for it. It's basically work that wasn't created on their behalf, it's work that was created personally or as a part of another project that you did, and then you're able to sell it to them. So that is image licensing, and image licensing can at times be a very, very valuable source of income. I've been lucky enough to have image licenses that were used and paid way more than I ever thought. (cash register rings) This year, specifically 2020, when a lot of people cannot go out and do shoots, there's going to be a lot more licensing happening. So certain years, like this year, is one where you might look at that and be like, "That's a stream of revenue I wanna put more time into." Now, those three, those are the active revenue streams. Now, the other revenue streams that I'm gonna talk about, I've kind of just bunched a lot of things together, but you'll understand why, and I call them passive revenue, and to be totally transparent, they're not really passive, you still have to work for them, but the goal here, and when I say passive, is that you can put in the time, you can put in the energy, like this workshop, and then over the years it might be able to create a revenue stream for you. So there's usually an initial investment upfront, there's an initial time that you've invested into it, and then after that, you're usually kind of sitting back and letting it collect money for you. Those revenue streams, starting with books, prints, films, right? That's a lot to put into one category, I get it, but the reality is, unless you are a filmmaker, okay? Where I would say a filmmaker or somebody who makes money from films, oftentimes when I'm making a film, it's something I'm putting out that's a personal project, it might make me a little bit of income, so it kind of goes into this passive revenue stream. That being said, I made the film, I put it out there, people might buy it on iTunes and I might make little bits of money down the road, for maybe the next 10, 20 years. Books are the same way, right? I'm investing in making a book, I'm not seeing some massive reward, it's not a job like a commercial photography assignment that's paying me hundreds of thousands of dollars to the studio right away, it's trickle effect, right? You might make a little money upfront and then slowly over the years it's trickling in. So books, prints, this is something where I cannot urge you enough. Every photographer out there that is taking pictures should, hopefully, be selling their work, why? It's extremely validating, right? It's extremely validating to have your work on someone's wall, it's extremely powerful to feel that connection to a consumer that wants to look at your images, but also it's a great source of revenue during times when there's nothing else coming in, and I can say very honestly that, during the COVID crisis, this was one of the things that really carried me through was books and print sales, right? Was being able to promote that and being able to have the community come in and support that. The one of the beauties of these components too, is that they're great fundraising tools. I've been lucky enough to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through print sales for nonprofits and other things happening out in the world that I could just donate that too, and that's been really awesome. It's great to have a tool you can use for that. Now, I would say the books, and the prints, and the films, that's the number one stream of passive revenue, it's this initial investment, and then you basically kind of sit back and you can promote it every once in a while, but that's really all you have to do. So the second stream of passive revenue is what I like to look at as speaking, teaching, educating, right? So this is really what we're doing here, right? This is an investment of time, putting forth my knowledge and hoping that in some way it can benefit others, but also in the long term, I'd be able to make a little extra money on the side. Now, that's really where I see going out, talking to colleges, going out, doing workshops, being proactive about planning your workshops, and then teaching your workshops, whether in person or if this is something that you're doing online, like this, it's a pretty straightforward way of creating passive revenue for the years to come. In the past I've had two other online workshops and those have been able to, again, carry me through and have trickle-down effects of money for the long term. Now, the very last stream of revenue that I would consider to be kind of passive revenue is social media influencer work, as well as appearance and on-camera work. Now, could this be flip flopped where this is where I'm making the most money? Probably, but I don't really wanna be the person hawking fit teas all day online. It's really a matter of where you put your energy and your time. First and foremost, I'm a commercial photographer and I run a commercial photography studio. The very last stream of revenue that I put my energy into is accepting ideas or thoughts from brands where they want me to promote a product, or they want me to be the name, and face, and likeness of their brand. Now, if times get challenging and I wanna flip flop that, heck yeah, I'll be that person utilizing social media as a means of making money as best as I can, but for right now, I wanna be able to look at these streams of revenue and how much time I'm putting into each one based upon the reward that I get from each one, meaning how much money I make from each one. Now, with these streams of revenue, I think one of the key things is that you look at the first three as being really volatile, right? These are the things that soon as the economy goes or something like that, or we're in a crisis, (snaps fingers) they're gone, right? For a period of time. These last three streams, the more energy, and the quality, and the effort you put into that, these are things that can last you a really long time. These are things that, what I've found, need to be given your attention when times are good. Now, this is the most challenging thing I might ask of you during this whole workshop, is that it's not when times are stressful, it's not when things are chaotic, it's not when the world is coming to an end that you need to be like, "Hmm, I should do a workshop," right? (chuckles) It's when things are actually going pretty good, and you have, first of all, the creative intelligence and energy to put forth something like this, but secondly, you have the ability, financially, to take a step away from the busyness of work and think, "You know what? Things might not always be this way, and I wanna invest in something like making prints, like making a film, that will last forever, or that will potentially take me through the long haul," and that has been one of the most challenging things is taking a step away from this busy commercial schedule and saying, well, learning to say no to that one job or those two jobs, because I'm gonna invest in something that I know will benefit me, and this is really where I think the concept of investing into your future comes about, right? I wanna just have a little side story here and talk to you about the realities of making books and creating prints for yourself, and what that actually looks like in terms of an investment of time. So I wanna give a little insight into, I guess, a realistic look at what it means to make a book, to publish a book, and also to create prints and what that experience has been for me, because this is an area where I notice a lot of photographers kind of have a little fear, apprehension, feels like a big kinda overwhelming process, and I just wanna dispel any rumors and really paint a realistic picture of what my experience has been 'cause I've been lucky enough to publish six or seven books over the last couple years, and it's been an amazing source of revenue, but it's also been a really fulfilling experience. And my first book I ever did was "The California Surf Project," and this book, this was published in 2009. I think that I was right around 22, something like that, and I literally had no idea what I was doing. I had won this photography grant and I spent basically 50 days traveling up and down the California coast in hopes of making a sort of testament to my love of California and the surf culture in the community, and I came back with 80,000 images from 50 days, and I wheeled my way into a meeting with a publisher, Chronicle Books, through a friend who introduced me and we presented the images, and Sarah Malarkey was her name, she was like, "This is incredible, we love the work, but where are the words?" And we're like, "Words, (scoffs) what do you mean?" Like, "Where's the story?" And I was like, "Eh, give us a second," so we went back and we collected all these journal entries and all these thoughts, and we kind of presented this package, and I realized, and I learned so, so much here, and I'm gonna talk about this more, specifically this project, because if there's one sort of catalyst for my career, I would say it was this book, and it wasn't so much the book itself, but it was what the process of making the book taught me. Now, I'm gonna talk about that more when I share a bit more on personal projects and the importance of that. But when we made this book, I realized, and I learned a couple things, and again, over the years I've been lucky enough to work with large publishers, work with tiny, small, independent publishers when I made my children's book, to also my newest book, which was completely self-published, by myself, and this is "At Glacier's End." t's a book about Iceland's glacial river systems. Now, I'm giving you these examples because, not only have these projects been incredibly fulfilling, they've been an incredible tool to share with people I care about my, I guess, a gallery of my work, a living, breathing textural gallery of my work, but also it's a great gift, it's a great thing to give to other creatives, other people who you wanna get to know about who you are and what you care about. And these projects, overall, have really helped to spur and create other work. I'm not gonna get too deep into it 'cause I'm gonna touch on it later, but my book "At Glacier's End" was seven years of aerial photography in Iceland. Through that seven years I invested in this career path, that then allowed me to do other jobs, other aerial photography shoots for larger, bigger brands that, before, I would've never had a chance to do. So it was that investment into these, I guess you could say, portfolios, that really helped to bring on more work, and it's through these books that other work has happened. So yes, we do books because we wanna create this passive revenue, but we also do it because it will spur and create more interest in other work. Now, back to the point. Books, they are scary, they are overwhelming, and there's really two roads to go down, self-publish or work with a publisher. Now, I wanna just kind of break down a bit of this process, what does it mean to work with a publisher? Well, a publisher, I think sometimes people think that this person is buying your work, and then publishing and selling your work, when really, when you work with a publisher, it's more of an agreement. You're going into a partnership with them, oftentimes this is how it is if you're a first, second, third, fourth-time author, until you have sold hundreds of thousands of books and you're on the bestsellers list, whatever, but even then it's the same process, they're giving you an advance on the amount of books they think they're gonna sell. They're the ones putting up the money, the capital, to get the books made. They're the ones marketing the book, they're the ones selling and distributing the book to their connection of distributors, and, overall, they're taking on the risk. Now, what's the difference there? They're taking most of the profit, right? And they're also having a large say in the creative control. So again, like everything that I do, I want you to think about working backwards, 'cause that's the way I operate, and I think it's important to operate from that perspective. You wanna make a book, you feel like it's the right time, you have this beautiful body of work. One piece of advice that I got from my very first book meeting was, "We don't want some generalized piece of work that's just like, 'Yosemite: the best of the best from your whole career.'" This is why a lot of times, when you look at Ansel Adam's books or you look at a lot of my books, they're focused categories, they're focused subjects, and this is why even, really some of the most talented photographers, it's a selection of work from a certain time, or a certain place, or a certain thing. I realize that the more sort of, I guess, direct and selective you can be about what's in your book, the easier it's gonna be to put it together, and secondly, the easier the clientele or the audience will be able to digest that. Now, as I said before about the publisher, it's really just the difference of them putting up the capital, taking the risk, and connecting you with all those things. When does it make sense? Well, it makes sense to go with the publisher when your focused priority on making a book is probably to make as many copies as you can, get it out to as many people as you can, but not make that much money. And again, this varies depending on your deal and how many books you've made and whatnot, but if you wanna go the other route of self-publishing, how would you do that? Okay, well, you're gonna have to put up the capital and what I mean by that is you're gonna have to pay the money to get the books made. Let me just give you a little secret here, there's no red phone that goes directly to Asia to say, "Print our books really, really cheap," because everybody thinks that they get their books printed overseas and they're really inexpensive. Anybody can get that done, okay? If you have the time and the money, you can get your books as cheap as the publisher can, and what that takes is, usually if you're making a book like this, something, you might be selling it for 30, 40, 50 bucks a copy, but pending on how many you get printed, 10, 20, 30,000 or whatever, they will be less and less and less. In fact, if you were to make 100,000 copies, the books might be a dollar a copy, I could never afford that, but I was able to afford an amount when I made that book that made it profitable. Now, if you self-publish, that's the key component, profitability. Beyond profitability you have to accept other certain things that come with that. You have to ship those books yourself, okay? You have to find a place to store them, you're gonna have to find somebody to package them, ship them out, you're going to have to market them, which means you're gonna have to be promoting it, you're gonna have to maybe pay for a PR person, you might be using social media, you might be using other forms of editorial, or going on the news, or going in newspaper. You're in charge of marketing the book. You're also in charge of potentially distributing the book and distributing basically means that, who are you selling those to? Are you selling it through bookstores? Are you selling it through yourself? I have made way more money selling this book than I have selling this book, but this book went out to hundreds of thousands of more people. Now, who knows which book actually benefited me more long term, I don't know, and I don't really care because, again, I worked backwards in the process. I made "The California Surf Project" in the hopes of getting as many copies published as I could, and getting it into the hands of as many people as possible. I made this book as an environmental initiative, support Iceland's glacial rivers, and yes, I was able to cover my expenses, and costs, and raise awareness, but the goal, again, wasn't necessarily to make an income from it. But if you wanna focus on making an income from books, the best way, without a doubt, is usually to self-publish. Again, requires putting up that capital, it requires finding a way to distribute the books, it requires finding a way to market the books, and ultimately I think it requires the foresight and the vision into making a book that will be interesting. Typically my process, if I wanna go out and make a book, really whether I'm giving it to a publisher or whether I'm doing it myself, is I first of all I work with an editor and a designer. An editor is somebody who I can say, "Hey, I have this idea, I want your vision to help me really make the hard decisions, what do I need to keep in there, what do I not?" It really starts first with a story, what is the story? What are you trying to tell, right? For this children's book, "The Boy Who Spoke to The Earth," I took my images, I gave them to this small independent publisher, it's kind of the in between of a large publisher and an independent publisher and their, or, sorry, a self-publisher, they're an independent small group, just a couple guys, actually college grads who wanted to start a book, and I gave them the story, I gave them my images, we worked with a designer who illustrated the images, I worked them on the text, we worked with an illustrator, and we put it together, we put together this package. Now, any other photograph book or photography book would work in the same way. You're basically putting together a design document, and in design or what have you, you're putting together the words, the illustration, you're collecting all this, and you're handing it off to somebody who can probably design it for you. That would be an investment of time or money. Once that document is all done, that's usually when you would either, in my opinion, take it to a publisher, why? Because if you can give them a slight vision of what the book could look like, maybe a mocked-up cover, maybe some mocked-up pages, there's a better chance of them saying, "Yeah, okay, I catch the vision," but understand that they're gonna wanna put their creative spin on it, and sometimes the reason that these book deals don't work is that there is some creative headbutting going on because they have a way they want it to look and you have a way you want it to look. So again, if your choice comes down to, "I need it to look exactly how I want, and I won't accept anything else," self-publishing is the way to go. If you are open to collaborating, working with the publisher is the way to go. But again, working through this process and really doing it either way is going to start with you, hopefully, having a vision for the book, starting something with the design process, and then hopefully delivering that. When I'm doing my own self-published works, I'm really taking this book from point A to point B, and that's exactly how we did- (books thud) (air whooshes) Ooh, "At Glaciers End," right? So we designed the cover, we designed every single page, and then what we did is we took it to a book printer, basically, in Los Angeles, ICLA, and we got a quote, and they said, "Okay, it's gonna cost this much, with this type of cover, and this type of paper," and we said, "Oh, that's a little steep, what if we take the paper quality down and we take this down?" "Oh, it'll be this cost." So we're working through these price quotes and then finally I got to a place where I'm like, "Okay, that's manageable, I'm gonna buy 5,000 copies, I'm gonna pay this much per book and I'm gonna sell it for this much 'cause that's what I'm gonna need," right? And the beauty is you start to do the math and you realize, "All I need to do is sell 1,000 copies to make my money back," okay? And at that point it starts to become more manageable. Then you really gotta start to set up, how am I marketing this? Am I relying upon friends? Am I paying for media? Am I relying on my own social media to do it? Who's shipping it for me? I know I'm reiterating these things, but I wanna make sure they're crystal clear because those are really the processes you have to go through to see if this is a viable option for you. Now, again, I would suggest that every photographer, at some point in your life, makes a book, why? You learn so much through the process of laying out a book, you really learn what you missed, what you didn't capture. If you're trying to tell this complete story from beginning to end, did you just capture the big highlight reel, the sort of, no pun intended, but the 30,000 foot view of this place, or did you capture some of the details? Did you capture some of the kind of the intimate moments, you know? Did you look for things that are slightly outside of your normal perspective? Because in a book it's important to show the big picture, right? And kind of all the little nuanced details in there. So I've found that in doing books, it's taught me so much about that, and that's really one of the reasons I hope every photographer gets a chance to do that. Now, I also wanna just spend this moment here and talk about making prints and a couple things that I've learned along the way. Now, I'm gonna be transparent, over the years prints have made my business hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it's been an incredibly valuable tool, and again, there are certain photographers where the absolute goal of their work is to sell fine-art prints. There are certain photographers like myself, where I aim to have prints be something that's working in the background for me, meaning that I'm pricing them at a certain price so they're more accessible. I'm not giving it all of my attention all day long, okay? Because it's one of the many revenue streams that I work in. So again, let's think through both of these thoughts processes, say you're really focusing your work on fine-art photography. I actually trained for a short summer under one of the, at the time, highest-paid landscape photographers in America, and his name was Michael Fatali, and he would sell his prints for crazy amounts of money. They were were these huge, beautiful cibachrome prints through his galleries in the Southwest. 30, 40, 50, $60,000 a print because they were limited edition, signed, everything top-to-bottom was perfect and beautiful, and people knew that, right? Now, that's awesome, but that was his business model, really, and that's why he did it so perfectly. For me, it's one of the things I want to do, it's not the only thing that I want to do. So I haven't been able to give the attention to that, and that's totally fine, and what I realized along the way was that, you know what? In the beginning I thought, "I wanna have the best customer service, every single person that comes to me I wanna walk them through the process and make this super personal," but I realized that a lot of people, when they wanna buy a print for their dad, or their brother, or their sister, they just wanna go online, have a little bit of info, click the button, buy it, be done. And so I realized that when I brought on one of those employees to help me with this and they were going through the prints, I was actually losing money, because they were so much back and forth with emails from the customer, and the print liaison in my office that I was like, "Well, this is painful, I've made a mistake here," and this is where taking a step back to take a step forward is crucial. So what I decided to do was I decided to look at what options were out there. "How can I make an easy print website that allows people to browse my selection of work? That also allows people to buy something very quickly and will give me that background revenue stream that I want and need?" And what I decided to do is I went with an online merchant called SmugMug, and what they do is basically it's an extension of your website, or it can be your website, basically, and when people go on there, they can look at the prints, they can click on the print, you can select the price, you can select the finish from a bunch of different finishes that they offer, and you can really curate exactly what you wanna offer your clients. If you wanna have your photos on t-shirts, and mugs, and whatever, great. Or if you wanna really, really limit it down to just fine-art paper. Now, one of the questions people always ask is, "But how do you control the quality there," and how do you?" Well, the reality is they give you a selection of labs, print labs, to choose from, I choose Bay Photo, they're based up in the Bay area, and they do beautiful fine-art prints, they do every kind of print you can imagine, from acrylic to metal, to aluminum, what have you, and I've tested a lot of these prints. I've tested almost every print that's in my shop I've had some print made of that to see the quality. Now, that's allowed me to keep the quality control high and know that what I'm giving my client or the customer is really the best I can offer. Now, (clicks tongue) one of the considerations here is why would you go down that, what are the advantages of going down that process? Well, again, ease of use, customer service, and one of the biggest things is if something happens, or something gets damaged, or something tends to fall short in the process of getting that print from the lab to your client, it's not on you, it's not your responsibility, because they're shipping it and they will handle it, and their customer service is amazing, and that's one of the reasons that I've decided to go that route. Now, when I still wanna do, say a gallery show, how do you then separate, say a fine-art print that's in a gallery from something that you might have online? Well, you can do limited editions of certain sizes, you can do limited editions of certain materials. I could print on acrylic and only do 10 of those, and that still becomes a limited edition. I can also have a limited edition signature and little insignia on the back as well. That type of process of making something limited is really just the documentation of what makes it such: material, numbering, substrate, things of that nature, and really where it's shown and what the subject is. Oftentimes an image that might be deep in my archive, that I'm only gonna print five or six or seven of, I can price much, much higher because there's only gonna be that limited amount. I think a big key to this, again, before I kind of wrap up, is just figuring out how to work backwards, what is your end goal with making prints? What is the sort of the hope and the dream? Is it just to make a little background money? Is it to provide prints to the entire world at a reasonable cost? Is it to sort of build, put your work in this middle realm where they're still very valuable, yet at the same time you feel like they're accessible to most people? And I think one of these last final thoughts is where do you price your work? And what I would say is that the first thing is you wanna obviously make your money back and then some, so whatever the cost is to make the print, double it, and then add a little more on top of that. And at that point, that's where the real kind of back and forth becomes. Over the years my prints have raised in price, I would say about every two to three years, I've raised the value of them by 10 to 20%. At a certain point I was selling so many prints that I stopped and said, "Is this a value to me, or am I making these slightly too accessible?" Because the worst thing you wanna do is to water down the value of your work. And again, it's a complicated scenario because I would love for everybody to have a piece of my work on their wall, but at the same time I need to make the pieces that are on those people's wall worth something. So I made some other lower quality prints, like small paper prints, and poster prints, and things that are priced for the college dorm room, and the young kid who wants something on their wall, and then I separated the price for my fine artwork or what I like to call my fine artwork, much, much higher, and that's one of the best ways in which you can sort of create a separation there. Now, my dream here is not to discourage anybody from taking the time to set up these things, but I do know that for those of us who are willing to invest in our future, to take a step back from maybe the busy travel schedule and really just the dream of going out and doing these high-dollar, high-value jobs, this is where I think your business truly becomes rooted in a strong foundation, and whether you're selling alpaca pins to the masses, or you're making hats and beanies, or books, or films, or whatever, a big part of this is understanding that sometimes these smaller revenue stream projects, these projects that are in the passive realm, they're the funnest to work on. And when I dive into this idea of the passion project and why we do it, and the reason behind it, I think you'll understand that just because these are some of these passive revenue streams, and they might not make you a ton of money right away, they can actually be some of your greatest, most powerful marketing tools you will ever create. And that is really the purpose, for me at least, behind doing them. Again, I've always said that I'm not a filmmaker, because a filmmaker would probably put the filmmaking on the very, very first revenue stream. I've never really made great money off of films. I make films for a different reason, so I make books for a different reason. I make it because I wanna have something in someone's home, and if I have something in someone's home, and I know that they're looking at that every day on their wall, or they're reading that book with their family, or they're reading my children's book with their kids, I know that that's helping me to assimilate into basically becoming, in some way, a household name and/or becoming, in some way, an asset for maybe a different type of work, which a lot of my awesome commercial work has come because someone's been inspired by something else I've made. And when I touch on this next topic, which is going to be the importance of the personal project and the ebb and flow of someone's career path, I think you're really gonna understand why.

Ratings and Reviews

Anabella Borges
 

An experience This was absolutely amazing. I have followed Chris for more than 10 years, he has been an inspiration to me in many ways; his way of seeing the world and the devotion behind his passion for storytelling has always called my eye. After watching and studying with this course I realized it all comes down to following whats true to you and doing it with all the love in the world. Thank you Chris for being an open book about your business and sharing with us all the stories in between, the anecdotes, the whys and the hows behind your experience as a photographer. This was an adventure for me and I am grateful for all that you shared. Now I am ready to take my business of photography to the next level.

Tyler White
 

Insightful and Motivating it was truly great to hear some real life experiences from someone you look up to. I feel like I have an understanding of the industry I previously thought I knew but now know was way off. if you are looking to take your photographic journey seriously this is a fantastic look into the world of the working, travelling, successful creative.

jake Burchmore
 

From the Heart Wow!! Thank you so much for this valuable insight explained from truth and transparency. I appreciated every bit of information and storytelling aspects of this workshop. Very unique and lively! This workshop has left a positive imprint on me, while also forcing me to think critically on the business aspect of my own photography/filmmaking projects. I am so glad I took notes and I will continue referring back to them as I continue to grow and face inevitable challenges into the future.

Student Work

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