Sally Brownbill’s concise and easy-to-read new e-book How to Develop Your Career as a Photographer is a great idea, well implemented; anyone with a creative small business, not only budding professional photographers, will benefit from reading it.
The 84-page eBook is also easy on the eyes – well designed and with a plethora of high quality, carefully-selected images. Marcus Thomson is acknowledged for his original photography.
The book starts at the right place – where to look for inspiration – acknowledging up front that photography is not quite like most small businesses, in that creativity is a prerequisite for success.
The first few chapters provide some good commonsense advice and encouragement. (Commonsense isn’t that common!) The chapter addressing ‘the challenge of change’ is particularly timely given the recent past – and immediate future!
Unsurprisingly, Sally is a big promoter of the power of networking: ‘My then boyfriend (now husband of 23 years) Martin, first introduced me to his parents as “Sally Phonebill”.’ In fact, she sees her business, The Brownbill Effect, as a platform for her clients to harness the power of the network she has built over the years: ‘I’ve always seen it as the place for photographers, and other creatives to make use of my ever-growing network and add it to their marketing strategy.’
While she acknowledges that not everyone is a natural networker, and provides some tips for the more introverted among the readership, she pulls no punches about its connection with business success: ‘…not everyone can bounce into a room filled with strangers and make instant connections but it’s a simple fact – if you don’t put yourself out there, the phone ain’t
going to ring.’
– And of course one of the many good reasons to have a solid network is that it enables collaboration. She makes the canny observation that a lot of the time, photographers who have ‘fallen out of love’ with photography do so because of the isolation which can be involved, and that was the case even before the Great Lockdown of 2020/21. On the other hand collaboration leads to inspiration and the courage to explore new approaches, techniques and ‘new ways of seeing’.
The chapter of How to Develop Your Career as a Photographer which is in my reading perhaps the most valuable, is Sally’s ’12 Rules for a Great Folio’. This is expert advice succinctly delivered. Sally has been working with professional photographers and helping them present their work in the best available light (sorry!) for most of her career. She knows of what she speaks. Worth the $20 cover price in itself.
The last chapters get down and dirty into the details of running a photography business (and by extension quite a few other small businesses with a creative bent). You can run but you can’t hide from the drossy administrative aspects of business. It’s the price you pay for being your own boss : ‘Another skill often put too far down the list is understanding how business works. This is not the most creative part of the job (unless you love numbers) but it is essential you have more than a bare bones understanding of what makes a business tick over.’ Things like: developing a business direction; marketing communications; handling the finances and tax issues; setting your rates and sticking to them; working well with clients.
This is a great little handbook. It provides insights won over many years running a small business and encouraging and helping professional photographers and creatives fulfill their capabilities. As Molly Meldrum usedv to say, ‘Do yourself a favour’. The book can be ordered here:
– Keith Shipton
‘Avoiding mistakes’ covers a range of common mistakes from young photographers
12 Rules for a great portfolio – worth the cover price by itself 10Avoid
in your folio.
spending more time
design layout than
Don’t think twice – back yourself don’t second guess yourself
Work on getting work
‘Nuts and Bolts’ – could have been at front – deals with all the business details