March 10, 2022
Sally Brownbill’s new concise and easy-to-read e-book How to develop your career as a photographer is a great idea, well implemented; anyone with a small creative business, not just budding professional photographers, will benefit from reading this.
The 84-page e-book is also pleasing to the eye – well-designed and with a plethora of carefully selected high-quality images. Marcus Thomson is recognized for his original photographs.
The book starts in the right place – where to look for inspiration – by acknowledging up front that photography is not quite like most small businesses, in that creativity is a prerequisite for success.
The early chapters provide some common sense advice and encouragement. (Common sense is not so common!) The chapter dealing with the “challenge of change” is particularly timely given the recent past – and the immediate future!
Not surprisingly, Sally is a big proponent of the power of networking: “My then-boyfriend (now husband of 23 years) Martin, first introduced me to his parents as ‘Sally Phonebill’. In fact, she sees her business, The Brownbill Effect, as a platform for her clients to harness the power of the network she’s built over the years: “I’ve always seen it as the place where photographers and other creatives can make use of my ever-growing network and add it to their marketing strategy.
While she acknowledges that not everyone is a natural networker and offers some advice for more introverted readers, she ignores her connection to business success: “…everyone can’t jump into a room full of strangers and make instant connections, but it’s a simple fact – if you don’t put yourself in there, the phone isn’t
– And of course, one of the many good reasons for having a strong network is that it enables collaboration. She makes the insightful observation that most of the time photographers who have “fallen in love” with photography do so because of the isolation that can be involved, and this was the case even before the Great Lockdown of 2020/ 21. On the other hand, collaboration leads to inspiration and courage to explore new approaches, techniques and “new ways of seeing”.
The chapter of How to develop your career as a photographer which I think is perhaps the most valuable is Sally’s “12 Rules for a Great Folio.” It’s expert advice delivered succinctly. Sally has worked with professional photographers and helped them present their work in the best light available (Sorry!) for most of his career. She knows what she’s talking about. Worth the $20 cover price on its own.
The final chapters delve into the ins and outs of running a photography business (and by extension many other small businesses with a creative bent). You can run but you can’t hide from the filthy administrative aspects of business. It’s the price of being your own boss: “Another skill often placed too far down the list is understanding how business works. It’s not the most creative part of the job (unless you like numbers), but it’s essential that you have more than just an understanding of what makes a business work. Things like: developing a business direction; marketing communication; management of finances and tax matters; set your rates and respect them; work well with customers.
This is an excellent little manual. It provides insight gained over many years of running a small business and encourages and helps professional photographers and creatives develop their abilities. As Molly Meldrum used to say, “Do yourself a favor.” The book can be ordered here:
“Avoid the Mistakes” covers a range of common mistakes among young photographers
12 rules for a great portfolio – worth the cover price alone
in your sheet.
spend more time
design layout that
Do not think twice – look back on yourself, do not guess yourself
Work to find work
‘Nuts and Bolts’ – could have been up front – deals with all the business details