Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Digital Photography

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book


When I returned to photography and made the decision to pursue it as a vocation, I began to actively seek sponsors. Those sponsored relationships have become tremendously important to me and have become a significant part of my business and marketing plan. Before I discuss how these relationships work, you should know why I consider these so important.

When I first joined the fray, I had two problems for which I saw a possible solution in sponsorship. The first was simple: either nobody had ever heard of me, or those who had known me as a comedian were hung up on that (“The guy was a comedian for the last 12 years; what does he know about photography?”).

Associating myself with companies like Lowepro or Lexar, my first two sponsors, had a legitimizing effect. If a company you respect and see as a leader in the industry endorses or collaborates with someone, then generally speaking, some of that reputation will rub off onto those whom they endorse. Sponsors allowed me to place their logo on my website, thus adding further legitimacy. It was no smoke-and-mirrors show; they liked my work and were pleased to associate themselves with it. It simply gave me more exposure and legitimacy than I’d have had straight out of the gate. They placed my name, bio, and images on their sites along with links to my own website, raising my online visibility for nothing—and faster than I could have done alone. In the case of Lexar, they asked me to write content for their website—for a photographer who loves teaching and writing, I could hardly believe I was getting all this for free. No, wait, not even for free—they were giving me product I would otherwise pay for. From a marketing perspective, being connected in the right kind of relationship to the right kind of sponsor is golden.

The other problem I had was a financial one. I have not chosen the easiest market in which to follow the call as a photographer. My primary clients are organizations that work for the protection and development of orphans and vulnerable children. These organizations don’t have deep pockets with fat wallets, and I have neither the means nor the desire to get rich from this work. But I do need to make a living. I need to stay current with gear, and I need to remain financially accessible to organizations that can afford barely more than expenses to gain the advantages my photographs can bring them in their fundraising and advocacy work. Sponsorships keep my overhead lower—for every thousand dollars of product I am given as part of a sponsored relationship, it’s a thousand dollars less income I need to make, and I remain more accessible to clients I want to serve. My sponsors know this, and it’s one of the reasons they work with me. So that’s why I do it. Over the last couple of years, I’ve fielded literally hundreds of questions about sponsorship, so let’s take a closer look at the other details.

A number of variables go into a successful sponsored relationship. No matter what the nature of that sponsorship, there have to be good reasons for them to get into bed with you, among them the following:

  • The quality of your work. Companies want to associate themselves with quality. In fact, it’s the same reason I want to be sponsored by some companies and not others. Association is a powerful thing, and companies want to—need to—associate themselves with work they perceive to be of the same, or higher, caliber as their own branding.
  • Humanitarian or other charitable focus in your work. Companies like being connected to something bigger than themselves. They like being a contributor to the photographic community and the world at large.
  • The size and credibility of your platform. Do you have a blog with an audience of other photographers? Is your readership and influence growing? Is your audience comprised of people within your sponsor’s demographic? This is a marketing investment on the part of most sponsors. They give you cash or product in exchange for honest representation and endorsement of their product. The more pull you have within their market and with their consumers, the more appealing you are to them.
  • The return on investment. What will you give them in return? Every sponsor finds something different of value. Some will want logo placement and product evangelism. Some will want photographs of product in action, articles, or a tutorial video of some sort. They’ll leverage this, and if you do it well, you can, too.

There is a downside, a danger that you become merely a shill. My sponsored relationships are open and honest, and they have no contractual strings attached. I work with them because I like them, believe their products make my job easier, and am happy to tell others. Without exception, I choose my sponsors—not the other way around. The moment a sponsor began to create junk and was no longer the leader it once was, I’d bow out. My value to the people who read my blog or come to my workshops is in my honesty and my integrity. If they doubt my motives for recommending a product, then my value—not only to them but to my sponsors—would also drop. Keep it in perspective. They’re exchanging photography gear you already use and trust for some marketing push; they aren’t buying your soul or your credibility.

If finding and developing sponsored relationships makes sense to you, here are a few more thoughts:

  • Assuming you have a blog, start tracking your blog traffic. Knowing how fast you are growing and the status of your traffic is one of the first things a potential sponsor will be wooed by.
  • Make your blog the most professional, unique, easy-to-read, content-rich blog you can possibly make it.
  • Find an angle. What are you uniquely about? The more clearly you can identify this, the more easily you’ll be able to identify potential sponsors and sell them on the benefits of being a part of the team.
  • Start teaching or in some other way reaching out to the photography industry. Sponsors want to be part of the larger community, and a photographer who’s doing so and can help them extend their reach is more appealing than one who isn’t.
  • Consider approaching manufacturers, not retailers. You might very well enter into some mutually beneficial agreement with a retailer, but remember that their costs are higher than the manufacturer’s costs. When a manufacturer gives you product that has a $100 price tag, that might only cost them $20, and there’s a marketing budget for freebies and comp items. A vendor has to pay $50 for the same item before he gives it to you, and likely has no similar marketing budget from which to draw the funds.
  • Look for ways to make these relationships strongly mutually beneficial and look at them as that—relationships. Check in with sponsors about new products, and find out how you can help spread the word.
  • Remember that timing is everything. Asking a potential sponsor to team up with you at one point in the year might have budget ramifications they aren’t ready for. Try again in six months.
  • Be creative in seeking potential win-win scenarios. Cooperation is a powerful force in marketing.

So how do you make the connection? Find the right person and initiate a conversation. I’ve sent e-mails, made phone calls, and sent letters. I’ve been referred to some by friends and colleagues, and others I’ve had to really dig for to find a name and a number.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020