The success in commercial photography is not an impossible mission it is achievable task! The main question a lot of young photographers ask is – How to get started????

What are the steps to take?? I asked all of these this questions Photography Consultant and author of the book: “How to Succeed in Commercial Photography”, Selina Maitreya:



Tell me a little about your self. How did you get started as a consultant?

Selina Maitreya got hooked on photography when she saw the works of Weegee, Diane Arbus and Annie Leibovitz’s early work for the Rolling Stone Magazine. After taking a photography class and with the encouragement of her teacher, she started a two-year program at the New England School of Photography. She absolutely loved it!


While trying to save money for her next semester, she ran into a photographer, who asked her to be his agent. Starting out with a very small contact list. Selina realized quickly that it would take a lot of determination to start her career in the business of photography. Taking this new challenge seriously she gave it everything. Like she always says in her teaching: “Don’t settle for 100% give 120% or more! – Give every job your full attention and focus!”

Selina’s eager, vision and her thrive to succeed made her not just the first consultant in the photography industry; it made her also a brilliant live coach.


Only 2 years later she went back to NESOP not as a student but to teach her first business lecture! She helped build the Boston Graphic Artist Guild and educated artists in the new copyright law from 1978. In her career she has helped photographers in every discipline from portraiture to advertising. I Personally believe that Selina’s success has its basics in her kind and understanding personality and her devotion and passion towards the field of photography as well as to every aspect in her life.

Her lasted project a free video series on Positive attitude shows exactly how Selina approaches live and changeling tasks: The View From Here Video Challenge

What were your biggest challenges you had to over come? Especially since you started not just your own business, but a business that has been unheard of until then.

As the biggest challenges to overcome Selina names the following problems:
– letting people know that I was there.
– Being 21 and having no money to invest
– having enough information

Looking back on starting her carrier, Selina admits feely that she was scared to death. A feeling a lot of Artist can associate with.

This connection between Selina and Artists helps her to understand the fears, problems and worries a lot of Photographers have when she is working with them as a consultant.

In Maitreya’s own word’s: “Today’s world is not for the faint-hearted or for those who throw themselves into a business with little preparation or planning, and it is certainly no place for those who choose to approach their task with a negative ”I can’t win anyway” attitude.”

Her Motto is BE POSITIVE – THE GLASS IS HALF FULL!

Like one of her favorite quotes from Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. – Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

The View From Here Video Challenge

and her latest lecture: Survive? Think Thrive!

What are your favorite aspects about your work?

1. The People!!! I love the people I have worked with in the past and my current clients.
2. The joy to work in the field of photography, she absolutely loves photography and is active in since the age of 14 teen.
3. Trying and seeing new things all the time
4. Her love of teaching

How do you work with your clients? What are the typical steps?

The main goal of Selinas work as a consultant is to – Help photographers to find their vision!

In order to find this vision in each of her clients, she has developed a work process, that is a combination of her working one on one with them and giving them exercises and homework.

Her first step is to set up a 20 to 30 min appointment. This first conversation is free of charge and helps Selina and her client figure out if they should work together. They then decide what needs to be done . She will advise her new client to look at other photographers or artists work and collect pictures that are appealing to them in order to find their own vision. The next step will be a meeting where she and the photographer will analyze what needs to be done to achieve a full body of work and edit the existing work to their approach.

A main Problem Selina sees a lot of Photographers makes is to go to market without a full product! – www.selinamaitreya.com/photoservices.html

Is doing work for free beneficial?

Selina warns photographers NOT to give work away . Even when the budget is low she suggests to ask either for covering the expenses of the shoot or a large copyright notice and photo credit. Although it seems to be a good way to accumulate portfolio pieces Selina advises to be conscious about it. Her advice is to NOT do it .

If you choose to however, once for a client only if the assignment will provide you a handsome tear sheet. Her concern is that if you work all the time for free you will be stuck there and you devalue yourself and the business as a whole.

What are the biggest mistakes Photographers make?

The biggest mistakes Selina has watched photographers making is not to understand what the buyers want. Understanding your clients is crucial for every business, but especially important for a creative business. Mis-understandings between clients and photographers will let to bad work experiences and not accomplishing your client’s needs. It also will not get you work clients want vision your vision and if it’s not in your body of work you are not giving them from the outset what they need and you wont get the work. Selina points out that photographers these days are not just making visions happen they, they are hired for their vision. Therefore it might be a good idea to verbalize your idea in a meeting with a client, if they don’t like your approach don’t be discouraged you might submit it as a second option, when possible.

The other big mistake Selina is pointing out concerns the business side. For a lot of photographers Marketing is just a website and not an active commitment. Photographers generally do not set enough time aside to do marketing. They also do not give their marketing strategies enough time to manifest. Selina says it will take an average off 3 to 4 years for your efforts to provide a flow of assignments that will sustain you.

Her series of MP3 recordings gives some amazing exercises and tips how to work towards this goal of developing a successful business: The View From Here

For more info check out Selinas’s webpage at www.selinamaitreya.com

Selina’s Books Visit: http://selinamaitreya.com/books.html


How to Succeed in Commercial Photography:
Insights from a Leading Consultant The new book, How To Succeed In Commercial Photography: Insights from a Leading Consultant (that’s a mouthful) is out … so let’s discuss.

Author/Consultant Selina Maitreya has filled the pages of this essay-driven volume with a lifetime of creative/
business insight and experience.

The book is divided into a half dozen vital topics: Vision, Value, Team, Tools, Persistence and Faith and designed to be easily read from cover to cover or from any page that fate points you to (it’s just that good). Each section contains 5-6 enlightening essays from Selina, with support from buyers, photographers, agents and other professionals. The book is about the spiritual and the practical aspects of developing and maintaining a thriving photo business, in addition to a flourishing self.

Portfolios That Sell Selina has been guiding photographers for over 28 years. She is Portfolio Princess/Founder of Port Authority and the author of Portfolios That Sell. Selina Maitreya of Port Authority exposes photographers to smart, effective ways of developing portfolios that work. After building hundreds of portfolios and leading thousands of seminar hours on the subject, Selina Maitreya built her own book on the subject of portfolios – Portfolios That Sell. This useful and enlightening piece is the next best thing to putting Port Authority to work for you. This is the flight manual for portfolios that take off and go. A step-by-step walk-through on building the much better book.

Advertisements