Expert Tips: Meagan Cignoli

Meagan Cignoli is a self employed photographer. She has shot for Elle Paris, Womens Wear Daily, Paper, Fortune, Prestige, Curve, Glossy UK, and many other publications. She shoots editorials, designer lines, lookbooks, portraits, boudoir and headshots.

The business of photography.

1. Know your value. If you don’t find value to what you do, who will? The products you are shooting are going to make your client money, the headshot that is on your clients website is absolutely of value, the looks walking down the runway need to be seen. It can be very tempting to low ball and take low paying jobs, but by taking these low paying jobs you are lowering the worth of your profession and in the long run you are not doing yourself or anyone else any favors. Charge what you know you deserve.

2. Network- with everyone. No matter their profession. Bring business cards and say who you are. You never know who you can help or who can get you work. There are plenty of networking communities built exactly for this reason. If you are a fashion photographer, go to fashion week, go to fashion industry events, throw fashion networking parties, meet and help as many people as you can. You plant the seeds and the business will grow.

3. Mentor- everyone needs someone to look up to. Reach out to someone who is doing what you want to be doing. Find mentors in every aspect of your life and you will become more balanced and well rounded.

4. Learn- constantly learn. Find out about new technologies in your field, read about other photographers who are doing well. Update your knowledge of your career or you will become stagnant. Studies show that very successful people read on average two books a week. Learn more about things outside of your field as well. Take classes on public speaking if you are shy, read books about marketing to help develop your business, take a photoshop class to keep on top of the new functions.

5. Don’t turn down work. As a fashion photographer I looked down on doing headshots and said I would never do it. Then I took one and realized how fun portraits and headshots on the side can be. They are quick and you get a break from big productions. It’s fun to work one on one with someone and I said no to so many in the past. You never know, so don’t turn down work until you know it isn’t for you.

Meagan Cignoli


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