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Making Your Photography Career Fit Your Changing Lifestyle

Featuring Bud Johnson

Bud Johnson has photographed weddings in Europe, Iceland, and all over the US. In the beginning of his career, the Savannah, Georgia-based photographer used to travel constantly for work. But a lot has changed over the last ten years of the photographer’s career. 

Bud now has a wife and four young children at home, so he’s less excited about jet setting these days. When Bud decided he didn’t want to travel as much, he picked up and moved his family to Savannah, a known hub for weddings. 

“We moved there because a lot of people come to us. So instead of me jumping on a plane and being away from my family, brides and grooms come to me, and it’s fantastic.”

Using Technology to Connect with Clients

Bud prides himself on always trying to be the nicest and most professional person he can be in the Wedding Industry and credits technology with helping him connect with his foreign clients. “I get to meet couples from all over the world thanks to Facetime and Google hangouts. They’re from these faraway places and they come to little old Savannah to take their photos.” 

But Bud isn’t relying solely on wedding photography to support his big family. “A friend once told me that if you’re self-employed and your entire business relies on you, and only you, then it’s irresponsible to have only one income stream.” Bud says he’s in a new stage of life where he’s exploring other ways to make money. “Like I said, I have 4 kids and hunger makes you hungry.” 

Branching Out with Social Media

Along with positioning himself in a city with a built-in client base, Bud has used social media to help him branch out within the industry. “Probably 80% of my inquiries come through Instagram at this point. Without social media, not only would I not have clients, but I wouldn’t have sponsors or education opportunities.” 

I met Bud on a photo walk at WPPI—one he says he wouldn’t have happened had he not used social media to his advantage. “The photo walk was sponsored by Leica.  They had no idea who I was until I started stalking them on social media and tagged them on everything.” Bud had no shame admitting that he sucked up to the camera company until they noticed him. “You have to utilize every tool you have while you have it.” 

Like many social media pros, Bud is concerned about things going behind a paywall. But for now, Instagram is free and there’s no better tool for self-promotion. 

Helping Fellow Wedding Photographers Through Education

While Bud continues to diversify by partnering with brands to create products for photographers, his true passion is helping other wedding pros through education. “Photography blossomed out of a hobby into a substantial career and it just came natural to share that passion. I was proud of what I did, I was proud of the equipment I used and I wanted to talk about it.” 

Bud sees his photo walks and teaching opportunities as a way to meet people and find new ways to help others. “I can’t tell you how many people have helped me get as far as I have and it seems only natural, polite, and prudent to help others as well.” 

Bud’s biggest help lately? His wife and business partner. “I tell everybody she’s my boss. She runs the show, she keeps the lights on, bills paid, and handles all of the client communication.” Bud says he’s lucky to get to be the aloof, creative one who takes the fun photos while his wife handles all of the important things, like telling him where to be, when to be there and who to be there with. 

You can find more of Bud’s incredible work on his website or you can check him out on Instagram or Facebook.  And be sure to stay on the lookout for Bud at the next WPPI!


Written by Sabrina Sabbagh

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