by William Branson III, Texas School Instructor

Imagine this . . . Two photographers from the same town, each one dreaming of owning a thriving photography business.  Both are equally talented, with many beautiful portraits to their names, and both charge similar prices. But despite these similarities, their lives are very different. One of them is very successful and has clients beating her door down for an appointment. Her portraits hang in homes throughout the area and demand for her photography grows every week. As a result, she makes a very desirable living. She and her family have a nice home in a very affluent neighborhood, she drives a nice car, and takes several vacations a year with her family. In short, she is successful!

On the other hand, the other photographer lives a very different life. Photography is his passion but he finds it challenging to make even a half-decent living from his work. As a result, he sells very few photographs each year, his income is low, and he is constantly struggling from one photographic assignment to the next. In fact, things have gotten so bad that he may be forced to go back to his old job… a job he hated. This photographer’s dream of being a successful, full-time photographer has been shattered. So, what makes the difference? How could two photographers, equally talented, live such completely different lifestyles?  The answer is simple… MARKETING.

The first photographer learned how to successfully promote herself and her business in a way that created a desire for her photography. She found the right people to market to in the right way, and her business took off. The other, the struggling photographer, did not. The struggling photographer just hopes and dreams that his photography will sell itself.

The successful photographer knows that merely hoping just does not work!  You need a marketing plan, and you need to execute that marketing plan in a way that generates the desired results.

Think about this… It doesn’t matter how good your photography may be (you could be the next Ansel Adams or John Singer Sargent) but, if no one sees your photography or knows that you exist, you will never be successful.

Years ago, I reached out to the university and medical community in my area to let them know that I was available to create the portraits of their presidents and department heads that hang on the walls of their institutions. What began as one or two portraits a year has now turned into a steady stream of portrait work.  Not only am I creating portraits of current department heads, other departments are now having me create paintings from photographs that were made years ago of deceased chairmen to showcase their earlier leaders along with the ones I am currently creating!  This work has introduced me to others who have become my clients through the years.

There are so many ways to advertise your photography. Every area in the country is different, so spend some time studying your situation for opportunities or needs that you can address. I can assure you that they are there. If you are not out there every day promoting your business, you will end up like that second photographer… with shattered dreams!

William Branson is a portrait artist living in Durham, North Carolina. He holds the Master of Photography and Craftsmen Degrees from Professional Photographers of America and the Fellowship Degree from The American Society of Photography.  He is a member of the prestigious Cameracraftsmen of America and is one of the founding members of the International Society of Portrait Artist.  William also holds Associate Degrees from the British Institute of Professional Photography and the Royal Photographic Society (both in Europe) and he has the Masters of Portrait Photography Degree within the Master Photography International Organization. At Texas School ‘18, William will be teaching students “how to earn the money they deserve.” To learn more about William and his class, go to