We’ve seen a major uptick in photography logo design contests by professional photographers here at 99designs, which got us thinking: what practical advice would they share with peers just starting out or seeking inspiration as they expand their photography businesses? We quizzed nine of our favorite photographer-customers to get tips on everything from launching a business to skill-boosting, marketing, and staying fulfilled. (They were also happy to share their diverse array of logo designs – what do you think?) Read on for some great advice applicable not only to photography but any business venture. And then go shoot for the stars!

#1 – Amanda Campy of Visual Impressions in Portland, Oregon:

“Start by gaining a mentor, someone you can shadow and learn from. Put in the time to learn the skills you need to be a productive and positive addition to our industry. It takes time, investment, and passion to live what you love.”


Winning design by RotRed; check out the contest here.

#2 – Kjell Leknes operates his own photography business in Amsterdam and also finds time to run the Amsterdam Photo Club, where he teaches photography workshops to beginners:

“I would advise beginner photographers to first of all learn to operate their camera manually. Getting away from the auto settings. Once they are comfortable operating the camera’s ISO, aperture and shutter speed, it is time to visually shape and express yourself as a photographer. A nicely designed website and logo will help exhibit their photos and define them as a creative photographer. Well designed business cards are also a very important tool, to give a good impression when meeting people that might want to hire you.

The photographs will of course speak for themselves. But your visual profile as a photographer will help grab people’s attention, stand out from the crowd and magnify your expression as a creative artist.”


Winning design by pecas; check out the contest here.

#3 – Sam Petherbridge of Sam Peterbridge Photography shoots beautiful scenic photos in Brisbane, Australia:

“You have to be everywhere your customer is. You have to be on every social network you can find, you want you customer thinking about you all the time. Don’t worry if at first you do not get many hits on your Web site or likes on your Facebook page, these take time. The most important thing is do not give up.”


Winning design by muse3d; check out the contest here.

#4 – Daniel Treadwell aims to solve common photographer pain points with his company Fotostat, a resource for photographers that helps track and collate online metrics of a specific photo across multiple media outlets:

“Photography is an art form, and as creatives, photographers often put their heart and soul into their work. Whether you are selling a service to photographers or simply viewing their photos, it is important to respect all that goes into creating the final product…

It is very important to eat your own dog food. Both my cofounder and I are only hobbyist photographers, yet find a need in our product. The best way to understand your own users is to be one of them yourself, it helps to guide the direction of product development as well as keeping us motivated to reach the end goal of providing something that our users really find valuable.”


Winning design by MA.A™; check out the contest here.

#5 – Danah Zoulek of Richfield, Wisconsin, specializes in high school senior photos and family portraits:

“Have your logo professionally designed from the beginning! It’s an awesome way to discover your brand and ‘vibe,’ especially for those photographers who haven’t identified their market. I went through 3 logos trying to ‘save’ money and in the end I used 99designs and got EXACTLY what I wanted and my brand looks amazing! I love my logo!

Be who YOU are, not anyone else! It takes time to build your business, I’m still building building mine and it’s a journey! It can be tough but it’s so rewarding! Stay true to yourself and it’ll save you from having to re-invent the wheel.”


Winning design by Lisssa; check out the contest here.

#6 – Athena Kalindi, a wedding and portrait photographer in Nevada City, California:

“Stay true to who you are. Create work that fulfills you, and the clients will come.”


Winning design by rosena; check out the contest here.

#7 – Christopher Blake of WyldGinger Photography in Singapore specializes in portraits and also has a passion for extreme sports photography:

“Focus upon differentiation to rise above the rest.”


Winning design by Samay9; check out the contest here.

#8 – Kevin Galbreath of Flaming Star Photography in Arlington, Texas, shoots studio portraits, products, landscapes and more:

“You can never be too prepared. There are so many things that will be thrown at you as a start up that unless you’ve run a business before you won’t be expecting half of it…dig deep for the details folks. Find out what you can and what you can’t do first. We wasted a lot of time because I didn’t know enough at the beginning. Make informed decisions.

But the best advice I had I got from William Shatner (yes, that William Shatner). He said the secret to his long and varied career is that he simply says, ‘Yes.’

So when the client wants to do a shot in a field of photography you hadn’t considered, just say ‘yes.’

When you see that vista in front of you and ask should you reach for your camera and capture it, just say ‘yes.'”


Winning design by 28ed00; check out the contest here.

#9 – Nicholas Critelli, a wedding and portrait photographer in New Orleans, Louisiana, has been snapping photos since he was a kid:

“Be fearless and relentless. You will fail, both creatively and financially – many times. Starting fresh every day is part of the path to success in this business; weak and insecure people don’t tend to survive long. The gear doesn’t matter, the noise of the masses doesn’t matter, other photographers don’t matter. Find your own vision and be rigorously honest to it. You will find your audience and they will love you for being your weird self.”


Winning design by RotRed; check out the contest here

Got any tips of your own? Share in the comments! Or start your own logo design contest!