Video Interview with Zack Arias: If I Had to Start My Photo Business Today

Video Interview with Zack Arias: If I Had to Start My Photo Business Today

Zack Arias feels your pain: he too dislikes the businessman part of running your own business. If he could just photograph all day and not worry about the business, he would. Unfortunately, that’s not reality – and Zack learned the hard way.

After almost losing everything to debt, Zack climbed out of the trenches and became the renowned editorial and commercial photographer he is today. In this video, Zack shares his top tips for photographers who are in the midst of starting their own business.

“The gear is never, ever going to make you a better photographer.”

Get Zack’s firsthand advice on managing your finances (including not falling susceptible to GAS – gear acquisition system), finding your niche, expectations for getting your first client, why you should consider doing headshots, and more.


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There are 35 comments for this article
  1. Stan Foxworthy at 5:25 am

    Well done Zack! I echo Gerry’s comment as well. I do think that these are words to live by, whether starting a business or a seasoned pro. After being a professional photographer (with a few breaks) for 35 years, I am reexamining my own business direction and will be simplifying by streamlining what I do and offer as well.
    All the best to Zack and the gang at Photoshelter, thanks for allowing us to listen!

  2. Robert Catto at 3:52 pm

    Very timely for me, and a great podcast – I’ve just started over in a new country after ten years, and trying to remember how I got started in the first place. Now, time to get off this web forum and hustle, hustle, HUSTLE!

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  5. Melinda at 10:02 am

    Now there’s a successful photographer who truly wants to help other photographers succeed! A lot of speakers have egos so large that aside from getting the audience pumped to purchase something from them (or the company hosting them), they’re of little to no help to budding photography business owners.
    Zack outlines simple, eye-opening truths covering a photographer’s business, finances, direction, even a self-reality-check is thrown in here; “If you can’t get the job done with that, then you can’t get the job done. The gear is never gonna make you a better photographer”. WoW!
    Zack isn’t a flashy, arrogant, self-promoting type, and that is what makes his broken down to the fundamentals approach so beneficial.
    After training the last 3yrs. with the mediocre Canon T1i & collecting lenses, next month I had plans to buy the Mark III & finally open my business in late spring. However, since I have everything except for the Mark 5d I, I’ll get it plus the 24-70 2.8 ii lens.
    This is going to be a great year!!
    THANKS A MILLION (Zack & PS)!!!!

  6. Murray Bolesta at 12:18 pm

    A lot of solid, common sense, down to earth advice for folks starting out but not having much backing.

    However, Zack had little to no background selling art prints, using a bit of sarcasm describing landscape photographers as “gods who walk amongst us.”

    Zack’s focus, rightly so, was on the lion’s share of photographers who, unlike me, sell services rather than products (e.g. fine art photography to hang on walls).

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  10. Kathryn at 6:02 pm

    Common Sense is finally delivered in a Straight forward and ENTERTAINING platform ! Many Many Thanks to Photoshelter and Zack Arias. Sent this to several folks!

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  12. Mike at 1:39 am

    The best hour I’ve spent on anything in the past year! This advice is invaluable. Don’t forget to bookmark this page to listen to it later on again, and again, and again. Thank you Zack!!

  13. Mark at 11:12 am

    Without question the best advice you can get!! The reality check vs the fantasy of being a photographer.
    It is a business. If this is your job you must work at it to make money!! Not feed your ego.
    How many times have you heard: “you know what you should photograph?”. My answer is always: “who is going to pay for it?”
    Taking pretty pictures does not make you successful. If it was easy everyone would do it.
    Great comment on nature photography. Mt ranges don’t buy photos! LOL!!
    Photography is a tough gig. If you are not willing to hustle and eat a lot of humble pie keep it as a hobby.

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