From Passion to Paycheck – A Photographer’s Journey

September 14, 2012

In this four part series, learn how London photographer Greg Dillon went from amateur photographer to startup founder.

Guest blog by Greg Dillon, marketing strategist and founder of Phopus.

My name is Greg Dillon and I’m a photographer.

That’s not strictly true.

I’m part of the fabled Slash/Slash generation whereby I do not believe I can be pigeonholed into one particular societal use or role as previous generations may have been. I define myself by what I do, not who I do it for as ultimately my sole goal is to run a successful business of my own – not sit in front of a laptop doing my day job to line someone else’s pocket.

My mother has been snapping away for her whole life, it is a passion of hers to capture and record her adult life and the stories of myself and my two sisters growing up – all on a mixture of disposable or point and shoot cameras. She never fancied graduating to using DSLR cameras or taking the time to learn about composition and advanced photography techniques.

She did, however, instill the creative thinking approach into my psyche from an early age – I’ve had cameras since I was about five years old and since becoming an adult I have actively pursued my passion all over the world and have gone through no less than 25 cameras as I progress, learn and grow as a photographer.

That’s all well and good but until a year ago all these images – at last count I have captured over 48,000 images since 2006 – resided in the Aperture 3 library of my laptop out of sight of my friends, family or future customers - bit of a waste really.

Through talking to lots of photogs over the last year and various friends it became apparent that this was the case for many high quality amateur photographers, such a shame.

An item that had been on my bucket list for nearly half a decade was ‘hold my own photography exhibition’ and after a well-timed lay off from a job I loved I thought ‘screw it, let’s do it’ (to quote Richard Branson) and contacted a store that I knew did exhibitions, secured a month’s worth of space and got to work on putting together a compelling set of my best work to tell a story on their walls.

The launch event went really well, we had loads of viewers, a few sales and I can safely say that the first sale of my work was a HUGE relief and buzz – someone was actually willing to pay for my art, for my photography, for my creation.

The next task was working out how to increase sales and get my work out there more to see how far I could push this newfound confidence in what I was doing.

In part 2 of this series, I will discuss how I went about building my offline business and how it moved me to think about creating my own photography startup. Greg is the founder of http://www.phopus.com/ - a photography community launching soon that will give amateur photographers a platform to get their work seen by the wider photography community and to get their name known. Away from startup life he is a Twitter addict @Greg_Dillon and works as a strategist for some of the biggest brands on the planet, helping them to identify their consumers and how to leverage their competencies to best target the people who matter.

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