The One Ultimate Secret for Starting a Photography Business Is Not in This Video

Are you looking for a video from a successful photographer willing to share their one secret to having a successful photography business? Then don’t watch this video. But if you want some straight and honest advice, then this video is well worth 15 minutes of your time.

Daniel Norton has once again produced a video that is honest and to the point. Norton’s video provides the viewer with a frank discussion on what it takes to start a photography business or more accurately any company for that matter. As an owner of two businesses myself, one a photography business and one not, I wholeheartedly agree with Norton’s advice. Right up front in the video, Norton makes a very valid statement that all photographers do things differently to launch and grow their business. Again from my own experiences, I support Norton’s assertion that there is no one way to start and grow your business. In fact, I would recommend that you don’t try to copy anyone else’s business model. By providing a business that is at least slightly different helps you to stand out from the crowd.

The other bit of advice that Norton provides that potential business owners need to hear and understand is that putting one’s self in situations where failure is not an option is a terrific motivator. Of course, the degree of failure should never be too extreme, but it should be painful enough that it motivates one to keep trying. If there is never a consequence to failing, the first time a difficult situation arises, there is no motivation to push through the stressful situation. I’ve seen other photographers fail in their business because they had an easy way out when times were difficult.

Remember there is never a perfect time to launch a business, and we never know what is about to happen in the future. My first business, which is a nonessential service-based business, was started two months before the stock market crash of 2008. Eleven years later it is thriving.

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Tony Clark's picture

Daniel always posts great videos. I started assisting in the early 90's, worked with very good photographers and it's amazing how the Industry has changed. Shoot what you love, treat it like a business and clients will find you.

Studio 403's picture

Inspired me, great post FStoppers.My age is 72, late to the game, But slowly building part time. Mostly free but free lance some. Due do my health, I dan take on certain projects. I like his ethic and drive. Well sir

olivier borgognon's picture

72 is the entry point to working the game with your style. You are not defined by age, and your clients will be looking into what you do, who you are in your own style ! Get out there, you Rock ! :)

Daniel is right - there is lots of business out there. He quickly hit on the most important competitive differentiator in business: Reliability. In other words, it’s a lot easier to compete based on reliability, flexibility, responsiveness, and friendliness than it is to compete merely on image quality. Too many unprofessional people can shoot a stunning photograph. It’s easy for anyone to create a gorgeous Web site. Kids are YouTube stars. Everyone’s shouting on social media and everyone’s trying to outfox Google. But very few people know how to serve a prospect or customer. Develop a reputation for professionalism and you’ll be surprised at how much “easier” it is to earn and keep good, profitable customers. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does set a solid foundation for long-term profitability.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Great video, spot on.

Darren Loveland's picture

Great video, genuine. I love that he didn't have some wacky intro and a ton of fluff promoting something that will eventually trickle in to sales. Just good wholesome advice.

Love the video great insight that rings true in every way. I've been a photographer since...1987? Since then...I cant count how any times Ive gone back and forth between full-time shooter vs part time...assisting along the way. I just recently finished a multi-year staff photographer gig...first time In my life as a shooter I actually had a paycheck like a "real" job. It was great. But thinking back to my early years...I also went several years as a part time night janitor...while shooting during the day. Brainless job at night that kept the rent paid regardless....and photoshoots of beautiful women during the day. Of course I never told the models! But to my friends who was a laugh. I was a...Janitographer. But it worked!

Douglas Turney's picture


I thought Daniel's comments were right on and not simply "if you have the passion you will succeed" or "you have to believe". Daniel Norton keeps giving out straight forward advice.