Three Dozen Upcycled Hanger Projects

Three Dozen Upcycled Hanger Projects

Sometimes you have too many hangers.

Sometimes your hangers are ugly.

Sometimes you have the wrong kind of hangers–plastic instead of wooden. Wire instead of plastic.

Regardless of whatever you hate about the hangers you have, the answer is rarely to throw them away. Trust me–you’ll hate knowing that they’re wasting away in a landfill for all of eternity even more than you hate owning them.

Instead, upcycle those unwanted hangers. Make them cute and keep hanging your clothes on them, or repurpose them into something entirely new. Either way, you’ll be a lot happier, and knowing that you’re keeping more items out of the waste stream will make it even better.

Check out this list of my favorite upcycled hanger projects, and get inspired!

1. DIY ribbon hangerIf you hate the look of your plastic hangers, hide that ugly plastic by covering them in ribbon scraps.

DIY Ribbon Hangers
2. Back scratcher. Now you never need to ask somebody else to scratch your back for you!

3. Coat hanger coat rackIt’s a coat rack made from coat hangers. It’s brilliant.

4. Fabric-covered hangersThis is a nice way to use up some fabric stash. If you have any scraps left after sewing a special garment, you could use them to make a matching hanger!

5. Painted wooden hangerSometimes all an ugly wooden hanger needs is a fresh coat of paint.

6. Jewelry holderA couple of extra knobs turns a wooden hanger into a useful wall-mounted jewelry holder.

7. Monogram ornamentWire hangers are stiff, but you can bend them with some effort, and it means that the ornament you create will resist warping.

8. Hanging reel for cord storageWhile I don’t think a wire hanger could support our super-long garden hose, I think it would be just the thing for our over-abundant extension cord collection.

9. Wood hanger dish drying rackMost store-bought dish drying racks are cheaply made, and it shows. This homemade one, constructed from wood hangers, is sturdier–and nicer looking, too!

10. Wire hanger plant markersUse found objects, jewelry wire, and wire hangers to give your plants an innovative and moveable plant marker.

Wire Hanger and Found Object Plant Markers

11. Belt organizerIf you don’t like your hanger, maybe you’re just using it to hang the wrong thing. Try belts instead!

12. Faux iron scroll decorYou can camouflage wire hangers to look like much fancier, more expensive materials. Nobody will know that this isn’t real iron scrollwork!

13. Padded hangerMartha Stewart shows you how to give a whole new, way classier look to your typical hanger.

14. Picture frameHere’s an easy way to get some of your favorite photos up on the wall. For a burst of color, spray paint the hanger before mounting it.

15. Scented padded hangerWant your padded hangers to be even more luxurious? Add dried herbs!

16. Recipe holderA child-sized or doll clothes hanger can be upcycled into a hanging recipe holder. No more getting spaghetti sauce all over your favorite handwritten recipe card!

17. Wall-mounted hangerThis hanger is mounted upside-down onto a wall. Twist the hook towards you, and now you’ve got a whole new way to hold your house keys or dog’s leash.

18. WreathProbably the easiest way to upcycle a wire hanger is to bend it into a wreath form.

19. Hoop skirt formYou can’t just order a hoop skirt from the Sears catalog anymore. Alas, you’ll have to DIY your own–good thing wire hangers make such good material!

20. Cat tentThe cutest kitty in the world needs the coziest cat tent that it’s possible to make. This is it!

21. Clothespin bagIf you’re like me and often hang your clothes outside to dry, you know how handy this DIY clothespin bag can be.

22. Decorative orbNobody is ever going to believe that this woven metal orb is made from old wire hangers.

23. Wall hooks rackUpcycle the hooks from broken metal hangers into a nice-looking and super-useful rack of wall hooks.

24. EaselA tabletop display couldn’t be easier!

25. Garden edgingStore-bought garden edging solutions can look so cheap and tacky. Well, this wire hanger garden edging is cheap, too, but at least it’s not tacky.

26. flip-flop holderYou might think that you don’t want any more wire hangers in your life, but that’s before you saw this way to turn a wire hanger into a hanging flip-flop holder. I think you need this!

27. Yarn-wrapped non-slip hangersCover wire hangers in scrap yarn and not only will they hold your tank tops and silk shirts without slipping, but they’ll also look a lot prettier.

28. Wire hanger and upcycled sweater butterfly wingsUse the wire from a wire hanger to mold just the right wing shape, then cover it with fabric from an old sweater. It’s a dress-up obsessed kid’s delight!

29. Christmas countdown calendar. This project is deceptively simple, and an unobtrusive way to have a countdown calendar without filling your living room with the typical paper chain that most people use.

30. DIY roasting sticksUse uncoated wire hangers for this project, along with thick dowel scraps.

31. Sunburst mirrorSunburst mirrors have been popular for several years now, but most DIY versions are made from plastic spoons, which is a shame. This upcycled wire hanger one is much more eco-friendly.

32. Scarf hanger. Add some shower curtain rings to a hanger to turn it into a useful storage spot for scarves.

33. T-shirt covered hangers. These hangers couldn’t be cuter, covered in fringed T-shirt scraps. And they’re non-slip!

34. Tin can lanternWire hangers make the handles on these tin can lanterns, upcycled from old tin cans.

35. TopiaryDon’t you want to train your Boston ivy to grow in a lovely topiary? The trick is to train the ivy to grow up a base that you’ve sculpted from a wire coat hanger.

36.Wall-mounted book holderYou always need more book storage! This quick and easy method turns a wire hanger into a book holder that hangs easily from a nail in the wall.

Do YOU have a favorite way to upcycle hangers? Tell me about it in the Comments below!


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7 Easy Photography Tips to Enhance Your Lighting

7 Easy Photography Tips to Enhance Your Lighting

Even though I’ve been a full-time photographer for nearly eight years, it took me a good two or three to fully realize how important lighting was to the craft. It’s not about how many photography tips you know or what camera you use. What’s important to photography is one thing: light. Lighting is just as complex as it is important, but there are some simple tricks you can use to get started with seeing and shaping light to take your images to the next level. Here are a few lighting photography tips to get you started.

Use a kicker

Simply putting a single speed light on a stand and aiming it from directly behind (or 45 degrees behind) can add a ‘pop’ to the subject that you can’t achieve otherwise. This light will separate them from the background in a way that’s difficult to replicate in Photoshop, and is one of the easiest photography tips to make your images appear more professional.

The portraits I shoot on location are done using two light setups; one main light on the subject, and one background or kicker light. Two lights are easy to carry, versatile and quick to setup.

The 5-in-1 reflector is your friend

Most people have a 5-in-1 reflector sitting with their camera gear, and if not, it’s an easy and inexpensive piece of equipment to get your hands on. These reflectors are great because they have so many uses and can fold down to be much smaller. Besides the reflecting and light blocking capabilities of this tool, there’s one that people often overlook.

If you take off the reflector sleeve entirely, most of these reflectors have a semi-translucent disk you can use as a scrim. This is especially useful on bright, sunny days. When the scrim is held up overhead it softens the sunlight and creates usable diffused light source. This can also be used if you want to have another light source to light the subject, but don’t want to block out the sun entirely.  This tactic is perfect for taking portraits outdoors when you don’t want the sun to shine too brightly on your subject.


A lot of people wear glasses. A lot of these people also don’t have non-glare coating on their glasses. This can makes things more difficult for photographers.

Oftentimes, when I tell my subjects I’m getting glare from their glasses, they’ll begin to remove their glasses. Although this would be easier, it takes away from the authentic look of that person.

The easiest way to remove glare from glasses is simple: raise your light. By raising the light source, it reduces the angle of light hitting the glasses, and removes the glare. This will affect the original mood of the lighting, so you will have to make some readjustments. A reflector will be helpful to fill in the light from the bottom so the shadows aren’t as pronounced. This effect can also be achieved by moving the light more to the side, if you don’t mind a side-lighting effect. If shooting outdoors, the same effect can be achieved by tilting the subject’s face down.

Another trick is to keep a small eyeglass screwdriver handy to remove the lenses all together.

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 Match the mood

Oftentimes on location, you might find yourself in an area where the color temperature of the lighting inside a building is very different from your main light source. There are two photography tips to deal with this.

The first is to use correction gels on lights to adjust for the temperature difference. Under warm/orange/tungsten lighting, use “correct to orange” (CTO) gels on your lights to balance out the difference. The gels correct for fluorescent and cooler lighting, and are worth playing around with.

The other is to overpower the existing ambient light. If you forget to bring gels and you’re shooting in a small enough room, try firing a second light in the background, up towards the ceiling, to add light that matches the main light source. Nine times out of ten, it will work.

Use gels to help tell the story

You can also use colored gels to help tell the story of the image. Oftentimes, gels are used for special effect, or just because they give a unique look. But gels can also be used to mimic real-world scenarios. In the image below, I shot portraits of firefighters. I used a red gel on my kicker speed light to mimic a light from a fire truck. It was a great way to add to the story of the image and gave the image a little more depth. 

Sandbags, sandbags, sandbags

This one isn’t as much about lighting as it is about protecting your lighting equipment. A bag of play sand costs about four dollars. An empty sandbag costs just a few dollars more. Together, they can save you from replacing costly lighting equipment after windy days. If you’re using heavy modifiers or lightweight stands and don’t have an assistant to hold the light in place, do yourself a favor and get some sandbags. And in a pinch, wrangle your camera bag to hang from the light stand to act as a weight.

Look for light

This is perhaps the most  important and the most difficult. You can know all the lighting photography tricks in the book, but if you don’t learn how to look for light, you’ll always be limited in what you can do. But once you figure out that all you need to do is look at where the light is coming from, and what it leaves behind (shadows), you can start to really step into the light/dark dance that is photography. This is one you’ll have to learn on your own.

Want more lighting photography tips? Tune into Dan Brouillette to learn more.

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5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals in Life

5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals in Life

5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals in Life

As enthusiastic and consistent as we are in setting goals, we are often just as consistent in not following through on actually achieving those goals.

I’ve always heard the advice that you’d better hurry up and make it happen because, “it’s now or never.”

This may be true in some cases, but it’s not easy, because “now” always feels like a very slippery point in time. “Now” is a single moment that must somehow accommodate an entire ocean of tasks simultaneously.

Reach the goals your holding yourself back from with Mel Robbins 5 second rule.  

Your brain may think that you want to achieve a very specific goal that you’ve had in mind for years. Your heart may feel and believe that you want to make it happen.

But, if you aren’t actually doing something to make progress (every single day), or if you aren’t taking action, all your thoughts and beliefs about your goals are nothing but that. Dust in the wind.

“If you’re not taking action to make progress on your goals, those goals are just dust in the wind.”
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1. Think About the Why.

Why are you doing this?

Why do you want to achieve this goal? Especially when it’s something you’ve desired for years, and you still haven’t done it–well, it might be time to reevaluate that goal and decide if you still really want it, or even need it for the path your work and your life has taken you down. You don’t necessarily need to delete that goal from your life, but you can modify it to fit better with your current situation.

“You don’t need to give up on unattainable goals, you just need to modify them.”
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Also consider if you are pursuing this goal for yourself, or because your peers or competitors have done this same thing.

Do you just need to get this over with or do you truly want it to happen? When you envision yourself in the future where you’ve completed this goal, do you feel excited and happy, or do you just feel neutral? Follow this guiding feeling and reassess the why behind the work you’re doing.

2. Ask Where the Love Is.

Related to the reasoning behind your goals, is the fact that you won’t be motivated to do anything unless you feel genuine passion for not only the end result, but for the process as well.

You can get a motivational coach to yell at you, or an accountability buddy to support you—but if your heart’s not in it to begin with, the best coach in the world won’t be able to help you reach your goals.

Now that you’ve zeroed in on the real reasons and passion behind your goals, you can move on to the herculean task of actually achieving them.

Anyone can create a goal, but you need a realistic plan to carry it out to a successful end.

“Anyone can create a goal, but you need a realistic plan in order to achieve it.”
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And that’s where most people fail. If you’ve never run a marathon before, how do you expect to run it without weeks of training and building up your stamina? There’s nothing different about your business-oriented goals.

3. Break It Down.

Break it down into baby steps.

“All I have to do is take one step at a time, and I can do anything!” realizes Bill Murray’s character in the classic comedy hit, ‘What About Bob.’ Simple, right? Part of breaking down your project is getting specific.

5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals in Life Two

Vague goals like “earn more money with my business” will get you nowhere.

“Want to actually achieve your goals? Vague goals like earn more money will get you nowhere.”
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You’re going to need details. How much can you increase revenue per month, how much increase do you want for the year, with which income streams, how many more hours of work does this involve, and more. The deeper you can get into the minutiae of the goals you want to achieve, the easier you’ll be able to draw linear connections to them – and devise a plan to actually get there.

If you are working on a large creative project, you need to set small deadlines for different stages, figure out the time and even the actual place where you will work on the project, and what tools you’ll need to obtain. All of this can help you transform the vagueness of your goals into something more concrete and feasible.

“Transform vague goals into something concrete and feasible.”
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You might find that the process of breaking down your project into more manageable pieces can also be hard work. Take your time on this—it will largely determine how you feel about following through with this goal.

4. Persist.

This is entwined with how much passion you feel for your project.

The stronger your desire to see this project completed, the more you will persist regardless of the obstacles that get in the way. And there will be obstacles.

“The stronger your interest in a project, the more you’ll be able to persist beyond challenges and obstacles.
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You’ll feel lazy, you’ll get tied up with other work or family situations, you’ll start wondering if this is all worth it, you’ll run out of inspiration.

But this is also where technology and your support network can come in handy. Try productivity apps like or LifeTick, or consider partnering up with a friend or fellow artist to keep each other motivated and accountable with your deadlines.

5. Adjust.

Just remember that you can always correct your course along the way—no matter what.

Priorities change, and maybe this is no longer the right project for you at this time. Or if something isn’t turning out the way you expected, stop and search for an alternative way forward. Take a break, do some research, seek out advice.

Every day is the day when you can take action and follow your true passions, and today could very well change your life.

“Every day is the day when you can take action that could change your life.”
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How To Make Stamped Clay Seed Bombs

How To Make Stamped Clay Seed Bombs

I used to think that seed bombs do not work, full stop.

And to be fair, I had a good reason for my opinion, because most of the seed bomb tutorials that you see online just do NOT work! Here’s why:

  • If the seed bomb is too big, it’s not going to be able to dissolve in good time and release the seeds.
  • If the seed bomb recipe calls for too much liquid, the seeds will germinate prematurely and then die.
  • If the seed bomb recipe calls for too many seeds, they’ll crowd each other out before they can grow.
  • If the seed bomb gets tossed out at anything other than JUST the right time, it won’t get the proper amount of rainfall required to dissolve the bomb and nurture the seeds.

When there are so many things wrong with so many of the seed bomb tutorials that you see, it’s easy to think that the whole concept is a bad one.

But done properly, and distributed carefully, seed bombs CAN work.

Here’s what you’ll need to do it right.

Ingredients & Supplies

  • Air dry clay. I’d suggest something non-pigmented and natural-looking, not something like Model Magic, which is super fun and my kids play with it but I have NO idea what it’s made of. If you don’t know what it’s made of, you certainly don’t want it in your garden!
  • Seed starting mix or other potting soil. Your favorite seed starting mix will work well here, but any kind of nutritious potting soil will do.  And again, avoid potting soils with “moisture retention beads” or “water crystals” included; those are just fun names for the same kind of polymer that’s used in disposable diapers. You don’t want that in your garden, either!
  • Native seed mix. Not all greenhouses are ethical providers of native seeds, so check with your local native plant society before you buy a packet. Better yet, save your own seeds from your favorite native plants and use those.
  • Small stamp. A regular scrapbooking stamp is exactly what you need. Scrapbooking used to be big business, so you should be able to find any stamp design you can dream of.


1. Get your hands dirty

Pinch off an amount of clay the size of a large marble–remember that the best seed bomb is a SMALL seed bomb, so don’t overdo it.

2. Roll the clay into a ball between the palms of your hands

Might as well go ahead and get a little dirtier! Use the tip of a finger to make an indentation in the clay ball, and fill the indentation with as much potting soil or seed starting mix as will fit.

3. Add the seeds

Be very stingy with the number of seeds that you put in your seed bomb because you don’t want them to crowd each other out of existence. Three to four seeds is plenty!

4. Seal the potting soil and seeds inside the bomb

Pull the sides of the seed bomb over the top to seal in the potting soil and seeds, then roll it around your palms again to make it back into a nice, smooth sphere.

5. Stamp the top of the seed bomb

Press hard with the stamp; you’ll slightly flatten the seed bomb, but will make your stamped impression stand out nicely.

6. Let air dry

Let the seed bombs air dry for at least as long as the package of air-dry clay instructs. Thanks to the potting soil center, the seed bomb might take even longer to dry.

When the seed bombs are dry, you can store them in the same cool, dry, dark spot where you store the rest of your garden seeds. To use them, toss them onto the ground whenever the growing conditions outside match the seed packet’s specifications AND there’s a lot of rain in the forecast for the next week or so.

Another option is to simply press a seed bomb down into the dirt in your garden or a flowerpot and water regularly. I planted a seed bomb in a pot in my windowsill just for fun (I don’t think the native plants will last inside all winter, but it’s worth the experiment), and look how cute my little seedling babies are, growing out from under the safety net of their seed bomb!

My watering can didn’t exactly mimic the right rainfall conditions to properly dissolve the clay exterior of the seed bomb, but even so, it was enough to get a couple of sturdy little seeds germinated and growing happily.

Imagine how happy they’ll be when I toss them around the garden in the actual springtime!


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30 Motivational Quotes That Will Inspire You to Keep Hustling

30 Motivational Quotes That Will Inspire You to Keep Hustling

quotes about hustling

It can be hard to keep up your own pace when you work in a creative field.

A drought of motivation can feel like the end of the world, so it’s important to keep inspiration on hand.

I keep a folder of quotes on my phone at all times to remind me to maintain my hustle no matter what.


These pearls of wisdom have saved me on many a lackluster day, and today I’m sharing them with you.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
-Arthur Ashe

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
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“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
-Estee Lauder

“Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
-Andy Warhol

“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.”
-Audre Lorde

“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” – Audre Lorde
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“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
– Roald Dahl, “My Uncle Oswald”

“We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.”
-Herb Kelleher, Co-founder of Southwest Airlines

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
– Maya Angelou

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” @DrMayaAngelou
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quotes about hustling

“Sometimes, you’ve got to work a little, so you can ball a lot.”
-Tom Haverford

“Go to your desire and don’t hang around here.”
-Jack Kerouac, “Big Sur”

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined!”

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined!” – Thoreau
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“Now tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
-Mary Oliver

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
-Dolly Parton

“Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
-Michael Jordan

“Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
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“To be contented—that’s for the cows.”
-Diana Vreeland

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
-Vince Lombardi

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
-Steve Jobs

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” – Steve Jobs
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If you’re ready to start a freelance business, or get serious about growing your existing client base, download our free eBook, The Freelancer’s Roadmap.Download_Freelancer_Roadmap

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of, ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
-Marissa Mayer

“Make it work.”
-Tim Gunn

“Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.”
-Patti Smith

“Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.” – Patti Smith
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“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”
– Tracy Jordan

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”
-Oprah Winfrey

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” @Oprah
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“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
-Sheryl Sandberg

quotes about hustling

“Don’t think about your errors or failures; otherwise, you’ll never do a thing.”
-Bill Murray

“Life is short. Don’t be lazy.”
-Sophia Amoruso

“Life is short. Don’t be lazy.” @sophiaamoruso
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“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old. They grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
– Gabriel García Márquez

“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
-Stephen Hawking

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
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“Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.”
-Virginia Woolf

“F*ck you. Pay me.”
Mike Monteiro.

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What Happened When I Took My Photography Business In an RV and On The Road

What Happened When I Took My Photography Business In an RV and On The Road

RV life with Kathy Holcombe and family

It all started with a simple question on the way home from a three-day photoshoot.

“What if instead of racing home between assignments to mow the lawn and do the laundry, we spent that time together as a family in the wilderness that we so desperately craved?”

Over the next few months, as we scrambled from meetings to school events and did our best to cope with the frantic pace of normal life, that question began to resonate more deeply until we could no longer shove it aside. Needing to slow things down and simplify everything, we began to plan, in earnest, the greatest adventure of our lives.

When we told our daughter, Abby (then age 9), that we were moving, she expressed the typical concerns of any kid facing change …what about my friends? Where will I go to school? What about all of my toys?  But when we added that we were moving into a Winnebago RV for a year-long road trip, she was — for the first time ever — speechless.

With the encouragement of our friends (who secretly thought we were crazy), and the reluctant support of our family (who knew we were crazy), we sold most of our things, packed up the rest and moved into a 24-foot Winnebago RV. At best we were destined for the biggest adventure of our lives, at worst we would return with our careers in shambles, our family in financial ruin, and permanent emotional damage from life within the confines of 150 square feet.  We did our best to anticipate what the future would bring and minimized our risk: We eliminated all debt and monthly expenses (except the cell phone) and booked as many photography jobs as we could in advance, but ultimately the entire endeavor was a monumental leap of faith.

Kathy Holcombe and family in a cave

In the beginning, there was success.

First, life on the road was just like any of our other countless road trips over the years (except that life in the RV was way more comfortable than in our old pickup truck).  We spent the majority of our days kayaking and climbing and managed to tic one extraordinary adventure after another off of our bucket list.  But as the weeks and months passed, we realized that not only were we spending more time together doing what we loved in places where we wanted to be, but also that our business was growing exponentially, making this once-in-a-lifetime adventure a viable long-term lifestyle. So instead of returning home after a year, as we originally planned, the journey continues (for over two years now) with no end in sight.

Set And Achieve Your Goals For A Successful Photography Business with Kathy Holcombe

Life on the road has a way of changing a person.

For me, the moment we decided to embark on this journey, was the first time in my life that I allowed myself the luxury of slowing down.  It was finally ok for me to step back and say I don’t have to volunteer for every worthwhile cause, and I don’t have to charge, full-speed-ahead, down the career path that seems set on a steady, relentless incline. Abby and I would both be fine if neither of us took part in school bake sales and PTO meetings.

That mental shift  had a positive impact almost immediately. The stress that had for so long been by permanent companion simply vanished and my sleep patterns changed.  Regardless of where we were and how much noise was around us, I was finally able to sleep, night after blessed night, for the first time in over a decade.  And being well rested allowed me to accomplish more during my waking hours, leading to a healthier and more successful me.  Looking back, I could have just as easily stepped out of my self-imposed rat race while I was at home. The need to be more, to have more, to do more was my own internal struggle, that I was completely unaware of until I hit the road and let it all go.

Kathy Holcombe's family

Peter’s transformation was much more gradual. His sense of responsibility to pay the bills and provide for our family made it easy for him to put aside his dream of becoming a National Geographic photographer, of creating images of adventures across the globe and share those experiences with the masses. Instead of pursuing that dream, he opted to channel his talent and love of photography into a more traditional career path and created fine art portraits of families exploring incredible environments as personal art for the home (a rewarding and respectable career).

It wasn’t until we literally had nothing to lose (i.e. no debt, no bills, no house) that his dream of photographing adventures resurfaced. This time he directed his lens inward and focused it on our family and the extraordinary journey we were on — simply as a personal outlet for his creative energy. He posted those images through our social media channels and before long, we found ourselves overwhelmed with requests from outdoor brands asking us to partner with their marketing teams to create images, videos and stories of our adventures to share with their customers.

What started out as a creative project to document and share our personal adventures with our family and friends has since become a full time job. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that we could make a living by photographing, filming and writing about our days in the wild doing what we love the most.

A whole new Abby.

Kathy Holcombe's daughter

The most obvious change for our daughter has involved her whitewater paddling skills.  She started out as a timid kayaker, uneasy on class II stretches of river.  But after two years and countless new rivers, she is now taking the lead and charging ahead into thundering rapids.  The confidence that comes from independently and successfully navigating potentially dangerous terrain is a skill that she will carry with her and fall back on for the rest of her life.

More importantly, Abby has broken free of her shell.  Every person we have met along the way, who has taken the time to ask Abby about her unusual lifestyle and shown excitement and interest in who she is and what she has done, has helped her morph from a shy little girl who rarely spoke up in a group to an outgoing young woman, comfortable in almost any social situation.

This became evident when we were working on a photo-documentary presentation of our recent adventures for a large audience in at the Winnebao Grand National Rally in Forrest City, IA.  Abby insisted that she do an equal third of the presentation and spent the next week rehearsing her part.  During the show, I stood on the sidelines and watched my 12-year old daughter take the stage.  Her commanding presence filled the entire theater and captivated every person in the standing-room-only crowd.  It was at that moment that I realized the profound impact this entire journey has had on her.

When we set out, we were simply trying to maintain some semblance of normal and avoid any permanent damage while we chased a crazy dream. This incredible experience has simply been the catalyst that ignited the spark and gave us permission to become our best selves, the ones who have been there lying dormant for so long.  We hope that our new sparkle shines brightly through our images and stories and inspires others to get outside, go on adventures, and live the best life possible.  I have no idea what the future holds for us, but can’t wait to fire up the RV and discover what lies just over the horizon.

Learn how to price your photography for a sustainable lifestyle with Kathy Holcombe

“If you’re struggling to figure out the business process of photography, this class is one of the clearest and most concise I’ve ever seen. If you’re experienced but the business side and pricing are eluding you, you will find clarity here. I own at least twenty CreativeLive courses and hands down, this one explains pricing and strategy better than any others I’ve purchased or watched live.”

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How To Change Directions Without Starting Over

How To Change Directions Without Starting Over

how to change directions

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Remember back when Groupon was a fundraising sight for social change? Or when Pinterest, then called “Tote,” was all about retailers? Of course you don’t, because those brands successfully changed directions and became way more popular because of those business pivots.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, your business feels like it’s headed in the wrong direction. Maybe you’ve realized the thing you’re trying to market just doesn’t have a market, or that you really don’t like the freelance services you’ve been offering. Maybe you started when you were pretty young and you’ve decided it’s time for a mature image change.

Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking about guiding your small business or freelance outfit into a new direction, it’s important to understand that you don’t need to blow up everything you’ve worked for just to make the change. It’s also important to be really clear about why you want to change, and how you’re going to go about it.

Be realistic about your reasons. What are you changing — and more importantly, why are you changing? If it’s because that you feel unfulfilled or unhappy with the current direction of your business, it’s a good idea to look into why that is. What currently isn’t working? What will the new direction help to correct?

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Or maybe you want to change directions because you feel suffocated in your market. Say you’re a newborn photographer, and you feel that there are just too many newborn photographers to compete with. This is not the best reason to change, especially if newborn photography is what you really love.

In that case, consider branching out your services — but also consider why it is that you feel so crowded. Do some market research to find out if the market is really that competitive, or if maybe there are smaller changes, like a beefed up marketing plan, that can help you stand out more.

Remember that you don’t need to change everything. If you’re going to make some changes to your business — like alter your services, or readjust your focus — you might be inclined to swap out all of your branding and other materials to match your new direction. That could be a good idea down the line, but rolling out too many changes at once is a quick way to confuse clients. Instead, stick with just what needs to change, then tackle the other mismatches later.

Remember, too, that brand loyalty is strong. Consider all of the times companies have tried to “freshen up,” only to be met with disastrous results. Sometimes, a facelift should be passed over for something more subtle.

You can’t do it alone. “Change works best when it’s a collaborative, interactive process,” says Harvey Mackay in Inc. “Keep everyone in the loop: your leadership team, line employees, customers, vendors, funders and other stakeholders. Provide them with updates on your progress. Ask them how it’s going in their view and what could speed things along.”

This is good advice even if you’re a sole proprietor. Your changes are going to impact your tribe, so make sure you fill them in.

Change is addictive. Have you ever noticed how some companies seem to rebrand every other week? That’s usually because the people within the company believe that eventually, if they make the right change, everything about their business will improve. But truthfully, that’s almost never the case.

Change takes time to reflect in numbers and other significant business indicators. Give yourself time to really see the ROI — or maybe the lack of ROI — of previous changes before making more. A new logo, a new business direction, or a new menu of services isn’t going to transform your business overnight. You need to let things take shape before trying something new (again).

Keep your eye on the prize. Before you make any change, decide what the end goal is. More money? A larger client base? A job title that you like better? Whatever it is, make sure all of new plans are leading in that direction.

Changing directions can often feel like a cure-all, but remember that it’s unlikely that any business pivot is going to alleviate all of your pain points. Be realistic about why you’re making changes, then commit to them.

Get Out Of Your Head And Into Your Life with Gary John Bishop

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5 Ways Modern Photographers Can Find Inspiration in Classic Art

5 Ways Modern Photographers Can Find Inspiration in Classic Art

Photography’s 200 year history is brief compared to the vast and varied past of other mediums such as painting and sculpture. Yet many of the techniques photographers use now came from before the first camera was invented, from Rembrandt lighting to compositional “rules.” The ties to the past are only increasing — Adobe Stock lists History and Memory among the 2018 photography trends as an increasing number of photographers pay tribute to classic work even while using modern cameras. The trend joins others like Creative Reality and Multilocalism.

So what does this trend look like, and how can photographers find inspiration in it while also making it their own? Here are five ways photographers can find inspiration in classic art.


Painters understood light long before photographers were able to capture it with a camera. Rembrandt lighting, for example, is a commonly used photography lighting pattern named after the 17th century painter that often created the light pattern with a paintbrush.

While painters understood light before photography was even a word, the light in classic art isn’t as broad as the number of different lighting patterns used today. The light in classic art can easily become inspiration for modern photography. Look at your favorite classic art pieces and identify the shadows and highlights. Can you determine where the light is coming from? How is the subject, whether that’s a person or a still life fruit basket, placed within that light?

After re-creating the lighting pattern in the shot, fine-tune in post, lightening or darkening shadows and highlights to finish that classical inspiration. Using a classic lighting pattern is an excellent way to use historic inspiration for a modern subject.


Sure, choosing a color palette for a photograph isn’t quite as easy as opening a specific shade of paint — but that doesn’t mean photographers can’t find inspiration in the colors of classic artwork. Maybe it’s the range of blues in Van Gogh’s Starry Night, or the contrasting orange-blue on Edvard Munch’s The Scream, or the warm earth tones in the Mona Lisa.

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Once that classical inspiration hits, choose a subject and props that falls into that color palette. Then perfect the classical colors in post. Inside Lightroom, adjust the colors in the photo to more closely resemble the tones from from a classic oil painting — this can be largely done with the HSL panel. Hue will change the shade of that color, while saturation will change the intensity of the color. Luminance alters how light or dark the color appears and can be used to mimic the darker tones found in some classic paintings. Split toning can add hints of color to the shadows and highlights — this tool is best for recreating the look of an old photograph by mimicking the colors created in the darkroom, such as with cyanotypes and sepia images.

And if you want the flexibility painters had to dip into any color, open Photoshop to change the color of objects to match that classical inspiration.


A camera may not be able to capture a face the way Pablo Picasso painted people, but classical inspiration doesn’t stop at composition. Even the classic artists used the Rule of Thirds. Look in the background of The Last Supper, where parallel lines receding into the distance add depth to the popular painting.

While painters can place objects wherever they want with a few brush strokes, photographers still have several compositional tools with historic roots. Look for leading lines that can give that two-dimensional art depth in a landscape, or find inspiration in the lines of a pose from a classic painting for portraits. Choose your lens carefully — a wide angle will exaggerate distance and angles in your composition, while a zoom lens will make everything appear closer together.


Art classes around the world from different cultures look at an image and often feel the same emotion, even across language barriers. Generations later, classic artwork still has a way of connecting emotionally. That same emotional connection with the viewer isn’t lost in photography.

In a portrait, often the emotional connection comes from the expression on the subject’s face. Don’t automatically aim for that big dimpled smile — find inspiration in a more subtle smile like in the Mona Lisa or slightly parted lips like in Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring. The placid expression of individuals in the earliest forms of photography is another source of inspiration.

In any category, including landscapes and even abstract art, the emotion from the piece stems from colors, shapes, light and narrative. Once you’ve found a classic art piece that inspires you, ask yourself what emotions that work brings out, and how you can use the tools available to photographers to recreate them.

Posing and Props

While some photographers simply capture what they find, others are more like stage masters, starting from scratch and creating a scene to capture on camera. If your work falls in the latter category, why not take that classical inspiration further and use props and posing inspired by artwork? Hit up flea markets and antique stores for vintage props and clothing. Find inspiration for the pose in paintings and sculptures, whether that’s paintings of angelic cherubs or carefully posed portraits. Complete the pose and props with light, colors, composition and emotion inspired by classic art. Or, juxtapose classic and modern to better convey what you are trying to say.

Photography, like all art, draws inspiration from a number of different sources. But despite changes in technology and methods, photographers are increasingly paying homage to classic art — and for good reason. Take a look at the history and memory collection from Adobe Stock, or learn how to submit your own work to Adobe Stock.

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Three Dozen Eco-Friendly Tissue Paper Crafts

Three Dozen Eco-Friendly Tissue Paper Crafts

If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly supply for paper crafting, tissue paper is a reasonable choice.

Buy a brand of tissue paper that’s made from recycled paper pulp, compost the scraps when you’re finished, and if you do both, you’ll find that tissue paper is a craft supply that doesn’t contribute to deforestation or add anything to the waste stream.

Curious about what kinds of crafts you can actually DO with tissue paper?

Check out my list of favorite tissue paper crafts below and get inspired!

1. Tissue paper decoupaged glass bottleThis is a really nice way to make over any glass jar, particularly a plain jar that could make a lovely vase, if only it wasn’t so plain!

Tissue Paper Decoupaged Glass Bottles
2. BowTissue paper is fun for kid crafts, but this bow turns tissue paper into something that even adults will love to receive on top of their presents.

3. Decoupaged pencilsYou’ll find a lot of decoupage projects in this tissue paper crafts round-up, and that’s because tissue paper is AMAZING for decoupage! Here, it’s just about the only thing you’ll find that’s thin enough to decoupage onto a pencil without increasing its bulk enough to make it impossible to sharpen.

4. Edible Olympic torchAn ice cream cone, fun snacks, and some tissue paper make for an Olympic torch that’s fun to carry–and even more, fun to eat!

5. Flower braceletIt wouldn’t be hard to add this tissue paper flower to any existing bracelet, or even to wire it onto a garland or wreath.

6. Stained glass starsThese stained glass stars are SO beautiful, but the best thing about them is that unlike pretty much every other tissue paper stained glass craft on the internet, these stars do NOT utilize contact paper. They’re so much more eco-friendly!

7. Stained glass treesThese trees look harder to make than they are–the secret is that you embellish with tissue paper BEFORE you cut out the tree shapes.

8. Upcycled cardboard and tissue paper treeTissue paper is an extremely kid-friendly craft supply, as you can tell from all of the kid crafts in this round-up. This particular craft is a good way to use up that extra corrugated cardboard in the recycling bin, as well as your green tissue paper scraps.

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🌳T is for TREES LETTER CRAFT🌳 Last week during our seed theme I shared a bit about how we use our weekly themes as inspiratoin for a letter craft. It’s a great way to help kids connect the background knowledge they’ve learned throughout the week with a letter. I personally like to compile our letter crafts into a memory book, but there are a ton of other ways to use them too. Another favorite is to post them around the room as an alphabet chart for kids to refer back to. We also share a TON more ideas for creating letter crafts in our Alphabet Letter Craft and Process Art Ideas Set (link in profile). As you might have guessed we created trees for the letter T. We used a piece of cardboard for the trunk and added a bit of texture by scraping it with a fork. Then we attached green tissue paper bits for the leaves. You could also have kids crumple the tissue paper for added fine motor practice. Since our memory books already get SUPER thick, I skipped that part for ours. 😎

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9. WreathThis tutorial is my favorite of all the ones I’ve seen because this one doesn’t call for a paper plate as the wreath form. I know paper plates are quick and easy, but that’s not an eco-friendly way to craft. Instead, cut your form from some recycled food packaging or shipping box. It’s just the same but repurposed instead of unnecessarily wasting new materials.

10. Sew knit fabric with tissue paperDid you know that tissue paper makes an easy fabric stabilizer? It’s quicker than spray starch and more eco-friendly than store-bought polyester interfacing, and if there’s been a holiday in your recent past, you probably even have some tissue paper hanging out in the house still!

11. Decoupaged votive candle holderYou can upcycle any small glass container into a votive candle holder, and when you decoupage it with tissue paper, nobody will be able to tell that it used to be a salsa jar.

12. Mini koinobori wind sockIf you don’t have a traditional carp wind sock to fly, don’t worry–you can make your own miniature version out of a toilet paper tube and tissue paper scraps.

13. Miniature tissue paper flowersThese flowers are made simpler than you might think, thanks to the wide variety of lovely hole punches that you can use to easily pop out your basic flower template.

14. Pom pomYou’d be surprised at how handy this basic pom pom tutorial is. Now you will ALWAYS  have a way to decorate for parties!

15. Pineapple pom pomsTissue paper is perfect for making paper pom poms. But don’t stop at spheres, because there’s a whole world of novelty pom pom tutorials out there! This pineapple pom pom, for instance, is just the thing for decorating your late summer barbecue.

16. SparklersMake sparklers or cheerleader pom poms with this easy tute. To make it even more eco-friendly, upcycle a chopstick or find a smooth stick from the yard to use as the handle.

17. Tissue paper and pipe cleaner butterfliesThese little butterflies are an easy kid craft, but they come out so nicely that they’re also suitable for a party decoration.

18. Tissue paper decoupaged Easter eggsI HATE plastic Easter eggs, and so I’m always on the lookout for fun, colorful, non-plastic Easter eggs. Tissue paper decoupaged on a wooden or cardboard egg form makes for a project that’s just as colorful as any plastic egg could be.

19.  Upcycled glass jar and tissue paper luminariesTissue paper is so thin that it’s perfect for crafting luminaries. Even little kids can make tissue paper Jack-o-lantern luminaries, and the more artistic of us can make amazing, layered, translucent creations.

20. Decoupaged glass platesThe next time you see a boring clear glass plate at the thrift shop, snag it and then remake it with tissue paper and Mod Podge.

21. Painted tissue paper leavesNOBODY is going to know that these leaves are made from tissue paper. They look WAY too fancy!

22. Snowy day bleeding tissue paper artI’ve found that most tissue paper bleeds when damp. It makes it a pain if you’re not super careful while doing decoupage, but it’s perfect for this kid-friendly art project!

23. Tassel garlandMimic those high-priced home decor pieces by DIYing your own tissue paper tassel garland.

24. Fringe garlandHere’s another type of garland that you can make with tissue paper. This one is fringed!

25. Tissue paper ladybugThis sweet little project is a terrific fine motor activity for preschoolers– they’ll enjoy the sensory experience of crumpling tissue paper, and you’ll enjoy knowing that they’re strengthening their handwriting muscles.

26. Tissue paper dinosaurIs your kid not into insects? A tissue paper dinosaur is just as fun to make!

27. Toilet paper tube dragonI don’t know what it is about toilet paper tubes plus tissue paper, but there are loads of projects combining the two here in this round-up–including this tutorial, which lets you make a fire-breathing dragon.

28. Toilet paper tube valentineIt’s the toilet paper tubes that star in this treat-filled valentine project, but they wouldn’t be cute at all if they weren’t wrapped in tissue paper!

Recycled Valentine's Day Crafts

29. Christmas treeYou won’t be ashamed to compost this particular holiday kid craft after Christmas, not when it’s already made of a toilet paper tube and tissue paper that’s itself made from recycled paper.

30. Gel print with tissue paperI wasn’t expecting that tissue paper was so versatile, but check out this quite sophisticated artistic technique that works perfectly with it.

31. Paper leiI’ve seen plenty of paper leis, but I had NO idea how to make them–until I read this tutorial!

32. Print onto tissue paperIf you have an inkjet printer, you can print right onto tissue paper.

33. Ruffled tissue paper garlandThe technique for this is similar to the one for the paper lei, but this one results in a long garland that’s perfect for party decorations.

34. Temporary faux stained glassHere is such a fun project to keep kids busy on a blustery day. The tissue paper falls right off later and can be re-used for the same project on another blustery day.

35. Tissue paper flowersThese are not the dusty, faded tissue paper flowers sitting on your grandma’s dresser! Check out how vivid and beautiful the flowers in this tutorial are–gorgeous enough for a wedding centerpiece!

36. Tissue paper printing onto a candleYou’re going to LOVE this tutorial. Start with a store-bought or homemade pillar candle, then use tissue paper to transfer your original artwork or text right to the candle’s surface.

Do YOU have a favorite tissue paper craft? Tell me about it in the Comments below!


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How to Start a Photography Business

How to Start a Photography Business

You’ve decided to do it. You’re going to purchase a ticket to the crazy roller coaster of starting your own photography business. Maybe you’re tired of working for “the man” or maybe you’re straight out of school and just aren’t ready for a traditional nine-to-five career. Whatever the reason, you’re about to do the scariest and most wonderful thing you’ve ever done. You’re going to start a photography business and become a professional photographer.

For the purpose of this article, I’m assuming you have the gear and know how to use it. I’m also assuming you have a good camera and can create a series of high-quality photographs under pressure. If not, this should be your first port of call. Professionals are expected to respond and solve problems under pressure while keeping their cool — the same goes for professional photographers (no matter if you want to get into wedding photography or portrait photography). This is a prerequisite of getting into any new business. You’ll want to have a wide variety of experience (not necessarily in different fields, but in different situations) before you start getting to your business plan. So, get started on building your portfolio — this will be your marketing material and help you start a successful business of new clients.

Starting your photography business

Build Your Portfolio to Create Marketing Materials for your New Business

As with any new business, you’ll need something to sell. As professional photographers, we are selling our future work and so we need to have past work to show. If a coffee shop simply promised you they could grow coffee, would you put your hard earned cash on the counter in the hope they were telling the truth?

You have to show what you want to be hired for, and that means you need to create that work. Reach out to friends and family, in the beginning, to see if anyone can help you with procuring subjects for your photography. If a family member needs editorial portraits of his workers for a promotional series, offer to make them. Maybe your best friend’s latest home-brew has reached the levels where he’s selling it to local bars, see if you can shoot some promo posters. Do whatever it takes to create the work you want to be hired to do. This is also a good way to start networking and meeting potential clients.

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The majority of my clientele are visitors to Korea. They are here for a short time and are looking to make pictures during their stay. It’s not lost on me that it takes a huge leap-of-faith to make a bank account deposit to a person you’ve never actually met or spoken with. I need to show the right work, and have the right attitude to gain people’s trust. Any business owner needs to do this well.

Starting your photography business


Build Your Network to Meet Potential Clients

Before I went full time with photography, I built a network of new people I could potentially reach out to through the work I was doing. I was shooting for book vouchers and free meals and handing out business cards with my contact information clearly spelled out to anyone who could become a new client. Not only was I getting relatively stress free access to places and new people I wouldn’t normally get to, I was getting to know them and get a feel for the business world outside of my current job.

I let everyone know I was a professional photographer. If it came up in conversation, I made sure to let them know about my photography business. Even a few years into this, there are people around me who don’t know exactly what I do. So, when the topic comes up, I make sure I’m concise and let people know with confidence the services I provide. Word of mouth is a strong marketing tool. If people know what you do, they will call you when the time comes.

The key here is to decide who you’d like your potential clients to be and then figure out where they gather. If you can, attend their meetings with the intent of getting to know them. Once you have established trust, you’ll no longer be that guy who turns up with a sales pitch. This could be the local PTA if you’re a family photographer, the local chamber of commerce if you’re looking to work more with professionals, or even the journalists’ club in your local city. Sharpen your people skills, find the right people and get to know them. This is particularly important for new photographers.

Starting your photography business

Ready to start a successful photography business? Tune into Pye Jirsa’s class to help launch a photography business in 12 weeks. Learn more.

Cooperate with Other Professional Photographers

I cannot stress this enough. Professional photography is a small business. Most of us are one-man-shows trying to find a slice of the pie to nibble on. There will come a time when you’ll need some advice, a shoulder to cry on, a lens to borrow for the weekend, or someone to run a promotion with. That will be the other photographers in your community. Don’t make them your competition, make them your allies. A successful photography business will depend on other professional photographers at one point or another.

I’m not talking about the online social media community, I’m talking about getting out there and meeting with humans. If you’re a part of a strong community in your local area, you’ll have a support network that will keep you away from the trolls on internet message boards. You’ll be able to help each other navigate this wild profession.

My best friends and biggest advocates have become the other professional photographers I meet. We respect each other and work together whenever we can. Not only that, but we hang out on our days off and share knowledge whenever we can. Without the others, we’d all be wandering in the dark.

Starting your photography business

Don’t be Afraid to Ask

This one final piece of advice is something I wish I had the confidence to do right from the get-go. I’ve found that the biggest gains in my time as a professional photographer have been when I asked. Even people who know you don’t know everything you need, so reach out and see if they can help you out.

Asking is what ties the previous points together. May I come along to the gathering tonight? I really need some advice, could I get you a cup of coffee and ask you a couple of questions? I’m looking to go in a new direction with my portrait photography, would you mind being a model for me so I can do some tests? All of these are situations you can get yourself into by simply asking for the things you need. Asking is what has got me to every photograph in this article, and most of the highlights of my career thus far.

Honestly, what is the worst that could happen? You might get your feelings hurt. That’s the absolute worst that could happen.

Of course, there are hundreds, if not more, of considerations that go into starting your photography business, and these four small points just scratch the surface. For more information on how to start your photography business — from attaining a business license to selecting a business name and building your business structure — check out Pye Jirsa’s Photography Business class!

Ready to start a successful photography business? Tune into Pye Jirsa’s class to help launch a photography business in 12 weeks. Learn more.

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