10 Different Ways to Set Yourself Apart as a Photographer

It’s good to be different (sometimes) but I wouldn’t recommend taking on all of these ideas at once!

  1. Michael Shilling with DogHave a ‘thing’ that your wear that’ll (positively) remind people of you. Green socks, a feather in your hat or blue hair…. just make sure it matches your personality.
  2. Use interesting props. The best props are ones which can be inflated (I’m talking about beach balls by the way)!
  3. Climb. Trees, buildings, whatever you’re comfortable with. Even better invest in some stilts.
  4. Throw you’re camera in the air like you just don’t care (or if you’re Mark Larson or Kevin Swan).
  5. BE LOUD! In fact get a louder hailer (unless you’re a newborn photographer).
  6. Don’t mess around too much in Photoshop. Find a style and stick to it for a while.
  7. Paint that white background. It’s not 2005 anymore.
  8. Shoot some green screen sessions. It’s coming back trust me…. just don’t dress people in wild west outfits.
  9. Don’t sell canvases. It’s not 2005 anymore. Anything that can be ordered at Wallmart/Asda for £30 ($45) shouldn’t be on a studio wall.
  10. Give your clients strange and wonderful gifts. If someone spends thousands with you then why not surprise them with a personalized goldfish bowl?

I’d love to know if you have any weird and wonderful ways to promote yourself…… share them in the comments people!

*The Current Photographer website contains links to our affiliate partners. Purchasing products and services through these links helps support our efforts to bring you the quality information you love and there’s no additional cost to you.


  1. Interesting as my clients have always described me as the big guy with locks who wears either cargo pants or shorts during the sessions & is forever pulling something out of those many pockets. Whether it be a light meter, my X-Rite Passport etc. Good article though.

  2. Something to think about: I am a photographer (emerging – I am just starting my business so I’m part time and working on building everything up), but I also work in a 1 hour photo lab (Walgreens) to pay the bills. I noticed the other day a coworker filled out a copyright declaration form and marked it as personal use and said something along the lines of customer was wanting it for personal use to make a holiday ornament.

    I don’t want to get into the legal issues on this, as it’s off topic, but if clients are wanting to go to a drug store or even a place like Walmart to get photo gifts cause the photographer does not offer a particular gift, wouldn’t it be in the best interest to also sell these same items? It’s more business from you, plus they wouldn’t be dealing with the whole copyright issue. I think we, as photographers, also need to stress to our clients that if they need any photo gift, etc., they should come to us first and see if we can even offer the product to them, though it may not be something we publicize in our product lists or showroom.

    • Hi Kira, thanks for the comment.

      I think your suggestion is great. As photographers we don’t have to publicly offer the same products that Walmart does, nor would we want to put those on our studio walls or in displays. Many of the labs we already use offer other gift options, so why not offer them to our clients if they really want them? Some may say it’s a matter of image, cheap products make you look cheap, but if you’re not promoting them publicly or displaying them, who’s going to know? The end result is you’ll have a happy customer who got the products they wanted and the photographer will have made a few extra dollars all without copyright violations.

  3. Here’s the problem I have with offering the same products as Walmart….. I’m not going to sell it at the same price as them….. in fact I’m going to sell it for about 4 or 5 times more (keeping my costs to 20%).

    I think clients struggle to find the value in a product (especially if it’s something like a mug) at that price if they’ve already seen it in Walmart for $XXX.

    Gifts and add-ons are great but try and offer things that are a little more unique. If you are going to offer something like mugs then make it ‘your thing’ and buy a press and do them yourself.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes that photographers make when starting out is offering to many products.
    What generally happens is the clients go for the cheapest options anyway.

  4. Hi Michael,

    Agree on finding “your thing” and keeping away from Asda / Walmart type of products. What you can do though is think about how you price individual downloads so you can still make a margin.

    If you charge enough at a wedding to cover all your costs etc then anything else is a bonus so selling full res downloads at silly prices isn’t going to sell any. If however you sell downloads at a variety of resolutions at different prices the chances are that person that wants to get a mug will purchase the file.

    I offer my clients several different sizes:

    Full Size, 300 dpi
    10″8″ size at 300 dpi
    6″x4″ size at 300 dpi
    800 pixels for PC / Mobile use at 72 DPI
    400 pixels for PC / Mobile use at 72 DPI

    I gave up trying to sell canvas / acrylic as its cheaper in the high street – so I sell the images instead and advise my clients where to get the best quality at the best price.

    Andrew Miller

  5. Missed this post the first time round – Shilling magic as usual. I’m going to find a way of bottling or canning it and will sell it at photographic trade shows and wedding fairs and get richer than a big box of rich things – ok maybe not, but this stuff (like most of Michael’s blogs and podcasts) are gold plated. Keep em coming – Tim (the bloke with the big pirate earring and loud trousers).