How NOT To Be A Starving Photographer

Only a few photographers ever become world-famous. While some manage to make a full-time living from it without fame, most photographers have to support their love for this art.

While a common interpretation is that these differences are due to gradients in talent, the issue is far more complicated. Since photographic art is often subjective, what is good is always open to debate. Sometimes it has to do with being at the right place at the right time. Sometimes it has to do with riding the wave of a popular trend. And sometimes it has to do with how the art is marketed or where it’s exhibited.

However, if you’re not where you would like to be as a photographer, then the worst thing you can do is quit. If you decide to make a living from something else and then come back to your art, you will have lost your creative edge. Time and entropy will have diminished your skills and you’ll be out of the art work long enough to have lost touch with it. Even if you do manage to reestablish yourself as a reputable photographer, it may be difficult to recapture your momentum again. You won’t be able to charge as much as if you had stayed at it and you won’t have the same clout with magazines and collectors.

Here are 6 ways to persevere through the difficult times when you’re not inspired or you’re facing difficult life circumstances:

1. Improve the quality of your printed images.

Although it’s subtle, the type of materials you create your art with can influence buyer’s perception. Get your photographs printed on high-quality material, especially if you are looking to make a living off your profession. Use a business like Fine Art Prints to preserve the image quality—because you don’t want the quality of the print to detract from your creation.

2. Take a lot of pictures.

One little-known reason for many photographer’s fame was the sheer volume of art they have created. These photographs attract attention because they appear to be everywhere. So get into the habit of creating your art on a regular basis, rather than relying on inspiration to determine the pace of how much you produce.

3. Circulate your photographs widely.

Think of your art as a type of business card. Whenever it’s exhibited in a public place, whether it’s a coffee house or gallery, it advertises for you. Don’t let your art stack up in your portfolio; get it out there. The more locations you can put your art in, the more people will see it. Over time, you will excite curiosity and admiration. This is how the word can spread. You never know what influence might stumble upon your art and fall in love with it.

Think of Coca-Cola for a minute. You’d think that by now everybody in the world would know about it, but they keep advertising with the same enthusiasm as if the brand was completely new because the more people get reminded about this soft drink, the more likely they are to buy a bottle.

Art may be a completely different type of product, appealing to our sense of aesthetics not our lust for sugar or comfort foods, but the principles are the same. The more people see your product, the more likely are to appreciate it. Many will even assume that your art is in so many places because you’re a well-known photographer. The result is that you will sell more art.

Besides public places, try to get your photographs published online and through magazines.

4. Make it easy to find out more about you.

Your sales as an artistic photographer will depend on how easy it is for people to know more about you. Create a website where you can display images of all your works. Make contact information and prices available wherever you exhibit.

5. Find out the best places to display your photographs.

Display your photographs where your clients might hang out and where your asking price is within their price range. While you might aspire for your work to be shown in corporate lobbies, museums, and art galleries, start by making your pictures available at local art fairs, small business lobbies, and open studios. By starting with less competitive places, you will be able to get enough recognition to be able to get invitations to be seen in the more exclusive places.

6. Don’t always focus on sales.

There are many places where you can display your photographs that will not sell. It’s hard to sell art at bookstores, coffee shops, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts lobbies, but you will attract plenty of attention. Moreover, these places are often eager to brighten up their décor so it’s not hard to get enough places to show your art. You won’t get many sales because people who go to these places aren’t looking for art. Still, these are excellent places for you to build name recognition because they’re highly trafficked.


While you may not want to market your photographs, you actually have no choice if you want to make your living as an artist. Unless you are willing to go to shows and exhibits, talk to business owners who need to enhance their décor, pitch magazines or website, or get out and mingle with the art community, you can’t make money at it. Fame is not always about merit. Yes, take your photographs to the next level, but don’t let that stop you from marketing what you have now.



Mariana Zaragoza

Mariana Zaragoza Star in Vogue Mexico January 2017 Cover Story

W Magazine

Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman + More for W Magazine Movie Issue