Dear Creative, Don’t die poor!!! Understanding photography as a business!

It was almost our last class, our photography course at Versatile School of Photography was ending but not before we learnt about photography,  not just an art but as a business.

I remember one time when Macharia David entered the class and asked randomly, ‘’who would like to make money in  photography?’’,  I did not see any hand down… and this is perhaps why I saw my classmates enthusiastic about this class. It was a major reason why were in class.

Perhaps you may understand why this was so, many are the times we have heard about the cliché that ‘’most creatives die poor?’’ Is that so?

And with all the talent  creatives have, why would one live a terrible life with no financial freedom throughout their career?

Yes, I agree we do it for inspiration but no creative would hate making a living from their art.

One morning, at Oltepesi, in Magadi, I remember a point in time when David Macharia took some seconds of a photo shoot Versatile was doing for Tata Chemicals… and he hinted how important it was for a creative to understand how to make a living from their art and not end up poor and miserable.

After a long outstanding career as renown creatives in Kenya, some seem to just die, unable to raise funds for even hospital bills. Yet, such heros do not deserve to go down like that, but what is the mistake that most of the creatives make?

I was among those excited for this class at versatile about understanding photography as a business…. and all ears we were as he began..

1)MASTER your skills and shoot until you are satisfied that yourself and others a good emotional impact. In a world of many photographers, what is going to set you apart is your creativity, how different are you from the rest?

Practical Lesson at Versatile School of Photography

  1. Have a professional portfolio with your best work

In a world of social media where majority of folks around the globe are on social media. It is recommended that your portfolio be online as it markets you faster but as you do that, it’s great to categorize your work and have the very best of your work featured on your portfolio

  1. Find a social media voice. Post regularly

Still on social media, it does not pay to have a social media platform alone but to also be posting regularly. People are likely to post where they see daily online activity.


  1. Having a business sense is critical

Your work may be great but remember,  Photography is not a basic need, show people the need to consider your photography services and do not be quick to delegate the marketing of your work to anyone yet.

  1. Be bold

This is necessary, do not be afraid to stand out and engage people on what you have to offer. Be the one to stand up and go take a photo from a crowd

  1. Persist

Disappointments are going to be there, you can be sure about that, for instance your camera can malfunction, a client may disappoint you but keep pressing on. Better days are ahead. Nobody who made it did it easily.

Now that you have been told, how do you therefore know that you are ready to make money?

  1. Do you have the basic photography equipment?

Most people complicate photography starting thinking you need a very expensive camera, to them, that shows the equipment is professional. No! All you need is a camera and a lens, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Start small and grow to where you want to be

  1. How much skilled are you?

You gain skills by practicing. At the beginning, almost every photographer will tell you that they started doing free photoshoots. This gives your client a taste of what you have to offer. That’s for the beginner, with time you start charging

  1. Are you too picky?

As much as specialization is key, don’t be too choosy about what kind of photography you do.

The photography market is ripe with opportunities and it continues to ripen with more, applying the above tips will indeed help you be on your way to making a living from your photography and not end up poor like most creatives who do not notice or realize the fortunes hidden in their art.

At the end of this class, I felt I understood a lot in terms of what I had experienced in the few months I had ventured into photography and where I wanted to go with my photography because stagnation is indeed your worst enemy in photography. Keep growing, and best of luck….

Article by
Peetstar Poet

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