Dan Kennedy’s photography tips

You can’t always shoot what you want

“I might be paid a pittance to photograph an A-lister and then be paid fairly handsomely to photograph three versions of a lady’s black suit on a model. The black suit on a model on a white background in the studio isn’t going to make my portfolio. The amazing A-listers and ten minutes in a hotel room, that’s portfolio stuff and the creative end of it, but then there is some stuff that will be on a white background in the studio. That’s kind of mortgage-paying territory.”

If you give celebrities the impression that you don’t really give that much of monkey’s about them, that disarms them and nine times out of ten you’ll get better results.

You don’t have to be totally original

“Don’t be afraid of emulating other people’s styles because you will end up crafting a style of your own. That’s what I was told and I think hopefully that’s what happened to me. I constantly research the web and look at other photographers for inspiration. I take elements from all different areas of photography and I would urge anyone else to do the same.”

Sell yourself well

“Presenting yourself well, being honest and direct, as well as trying to see people face to face is a great thing if you possibly can. It’s not easy, but just try to get your own meetings and be your own marketer if you’re starting off and you want to have a bash at this – be your own PR manager. Get out there and put the amazingly creative test shoots, that you’ve hopefully done, into a portfolio and get out there.”

Follow up on potential clients

“Don’t worry about potentially annoying them – follow them up a week later, send people an email and say ‘It was great to meet you.’ Just try to keep on their radar and persistence will pay off.”

Believe that it’s possible

“If you work hard, you will do it. It’s very doable. I would hate to discourage anyone from this career. I was discouraged at various times… I would never discourage anyone from doing what I do, I think if I can do it, then anyone can do it. Just work hard and keep trying to be as creative as possible, while being as nice and friendly to people as you possibly can.”


Often it’s the people surrounding the talent that can be tricky, rather than the actual talent.

More about Dan Kennedy.