- To find out how they got to where they are
- To figure out if you can emulate their journey to success in some way
I’ll try and answer those two questions for you, but first let’s get the essentials out the way:
Name: Daniel Waters (Yes, Getprophoto is a one man operation at the moment)
Age: Born 1975. I’ll let you work it out!
Location: I was born and raised in Cambridge in the UK and I now live in Peterborough, just north of Cambridge.
Can I take a decent photo? I’ll let you decide by visiting my website at www.danwaterscreative.com
OK, those are my basic stats, now let’s get back to those two questions I mentioned earlier…
I chose business studies for my university degree because I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. I figured that if I found a passion later in life then an understanding of business would still be helpful.
As I went through the course I was drawn to the marketing subjects because I enjoyed the psychology of it. I chose all the marketing subjects I could.
I took up marketing jobs at Philips, SIG PLC and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. While I was at SIG I decided on two things:
- I wanted to get really good at something
- I wanted it to be something I enjoyed
I didn’t know what I’d choose, I just knew that if I could tick those two boxes I’d be a lot happier. After a few sleepless nights I decided that photography had all the right ingredients: creativity, I’d be my own boss, I could take the career in various directions, I could teach myself and ultimately I could slide into a new career in a few years time.
I chose photography in 2005. I learned slowly and wasted far too much time wandering around aimlessly with my camera while being outwitted by the local wildlife. After a couple of years of berating badgers and cursing kestrels I realised wildlife photography didn’t fit my skill set, although I did take some lovely photos at times.
I started focusing on portrait, wedding and commercial photography because they were ideal for gelling my marketing skills along with my burgeoning photography prowess. I took photos for SIG PLC and then The Royal National Institute for Deaf People because in my marketing roles I always needed new photography.
I set up www.danwaterscreative.com in 2007 and within a year I was on the front page of Google for many of the important ‘key phrases’ like ‘Peterborough photographer’. I got there largely because I created a blog that people found useful and it increased the traffic to my website. It also meant my website grew quite large and was laden with relevant words like ‘photography’. If you don’t have a blog for your photography website then you need to get one.
I also started combining my copywriting skills with my photography by pitching travel article ideas to people like CNN’s travel website www.cnngo.com. My wife is Malaysian so I could position myself as the Malaysian expert who has the knowledge of a local and the enthusiasm of a tourist. I wrote a couple of articles for the kudos, but the pay isn’t great (£100 per article) so I moved on.
Now I was confident in my photography skills I wanted to focus more on my photography marketing. I spent hundreds of hours scouring the internet for the best ideas, as well as applying my own marketing knowledge. I spent a lot of time on photography forums too and noticed how much professional photographers were struggling to compete with beginners who were undercutting them.
I realised that my marketing knowledge would be helpful to other photographers and so I started writing about photography marketing. Initially I did it on my photography website, but frankly it’s rather half-witted to write about marketing on the website that promotes what you’re marketing, so www.getprophoto.com was born.
This blog fuses my love of photography, marketing and writing and pushes me to continue learning and stretching myself.
I focus mostly on family portrait and wedding photography as it’s best to specialise, but I share the best knowledge I acquire regarding all aspects of photography.
I want to help others
I get an enormous amount of satisfaction in helping people. The mission of this website is to create a huge vault of the very best photography ideas and secrets to help you build a successful photography career. I only want to share the very best stuff. I want to be as helpful as possible and in return I hope you’ll spread the word about Get Pro Photo. I believe that if you help others then they’ll help you in return.
I’m nothing special
The second point I raised at the beginning was: can you emulate my journey? Without wanting to sound like a cheap tarot card reader, everyone should find their own path. The best advice I can offer is to work to your strengths. But if you want to make a good living from photography all of you need to understand sales and marketing. No matter what other skills you bring to your photography, you must learn to promote your business. In fact, whatever business you’re in you still need these skills. Sales and marketing are the subjects of success.
Don’t worry, on the face of it marketing is pretty simple…
“Get more people to buy more stuff ,more often, at higher prices” Sergio Zyman, Coca Cola
This is exactly what you’re going to learn on this website. It’s my mission. I promise to be open and candid about my successes and failures. Everything will be based on testing the best ideas I can find. The stuff that works will be yours to steal.
If you have a question about anything then please feel free to email me or leave a comment on one of my blogs. There are too many good photographers out there who should be able to earn a good living doing what they love and if I can help in any way then I’m only too happy to do so.