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Insights on Photography: Business and Social Media

with Derrick Story

Video: Getting started in the business of photography

Photographer, journalist, and educator Derrick Story shares insights on staying current—with technology, with the changing photographic business climate, and much more.
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Insights on Photography: Business and Social Media
Video duration: 0s 25m 51s Appropriate for all


The photographic landscape is always changing: new gear, shifting business models, and more ways to promote your work and your business. How do you keep up? There's no magic formula that works for everyone, but hearing how one photographer has built a career can help you develop a strategy that works for you. In this course, we visit with Derrick Story, a commercial photographer, educator, journalist, and blogger.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Derrick talks about his lifelong love of photography and how today's successful photographer needs to leverage multiple business opportunities, with each one feeding the others. For example, to keep up with changing gear, you can blog and/or podcast about new gear as you acquire it; to promote your work and your expertise, you can conduct workshops to teach the areas that you specialize in. He also shows how to take advantage of the social media landscape to build your brand.


Getting started in the business of photography

Derek Story: So, I'm Derek Story and at the heart of things I'm a photographer and a writer and a teacher. Those are the basic cornerstones of what I, what I do everyday. And I work here in my studio, but I also work all over the world, too, because that's part of the fun of being a photographer is that you get to travel and go places and see things. And even sometimes I wander down the Carpenteria, and hang out down there a little bit too.

Yeah, I started in photography pretty young, I was in junior high, actually and, I was hanging out with my friend who was rich, we called him rich, and his dad was publisher of the local newspaper. Really hot summer day, and bunch of kids playing in the pool there. And so, I grabbed my camera which was this really old Argus C3, really ugly camera, probably the ugliest camera ever made, and I took some shots of the kids playing in the pool. And afterwards we went, his dad had a dark room there and we developed the film and had it hanging up in the dark room.

And we were doing something, I don't know, having root beer or something and his dad came home. And he comes out into the kitchen area, where we're having our root beer and he's holding this roll of film like this and he's going. Who shot this and of course when you're in junior high you think, oh God I'm in trouble. You know, so I sort of raised my hand like that. As it turned out he said, well I'm thinking about running a story on a heat wave, I love these shots, these are great. Can I use these photos as part of the story? I said, yeah.

He says, well, print up this one, this one, and this one. So we did that, and I actually got, my very first assignment was a cover story for the local newspaper. After that, he hired me as a stringer. And I shot and wrote for him for a couple of years. And this was going into high school. So it's been a long time. Well, you know, it's interesting starting out as a journalist. I think, and I, and I think that was a break because it's storytelling, right. What we used to try to do for the newspaper is, you know, tell a story in a, a few words and with a photograph.

And that was good training early on because basically I think what photography is, all the way up to right now using social media, is telling some sort of story, and I. You know, so I'm thankful for that and, and I think that having that journalistic background. Really helped me even to this day because, what I learned then applies right now. The, the medium is a little different right? A few things have changed, how we do it. But we're still telling stories.

The writing is important, and I think the writing has been important all along. Also, yea, originally I saw myself as a writer first and a photographer second, and even in college I was an English major and a design minor. So, you know, it's always kind of been that way. In the early days the writing helped me a lot in the sense that. People could hire one person. And I could both write the story and shoot the pictures at the same time.

And, you know, so that was very handy. Whereas a newspaper, magazine, or even for corporate work. So that, that turned out quite well. As, that's evolved now, of course, you know, writing is a big part of, of what I do. Because, wven if I'm doing a tweet or something on Facebook for a client, I you know, writing a good story in a few words is harder than taking a lot of words. And you know, that, that skill has really paid off.

And I like writing, that's the other thing about it. And even when I'm doing a course, you know, I'm writing in my head the stories I want to tell before I ever get on camera or step into the booth.

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