Schultz Photography [EP006]

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Making Money From Your Hobby: How Nathan Schultz Gets Paid to Photograph Formula 1 Races

It might sound like a dream, but it isn’t. Nathan Shultz, the brains and lens behind Schultz Photography, is an army veteran and a successful entrepreneur who gets paid to shoot Formula 1 races, Harley Davidson rallies, Le Mans circuits, and more. He recently starred on an episode of the Local Talent: The Entrepreneur’s Handbook podcast with Jason Setzer, where he was kind enough to share his story and to give business insights to help future photographers get started in the industry. 

Passion Is Key

Nathan was taking photos of motorbikes long before anyone paid him to do it. As he explains to Jason, he started taking photos when he was eight years old to commemorate weekend trips, which often involved motorbikes. He was working with film cameras so he had to pay to develop his images, which meant that he quickly learned the value of a photo and how to make the most of each click of the button.

He was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to volunteer to take photos for the Circuit of The Americas race in Austin and he threw himself into it, expecting only to have fun and learn. This experience opened doors for him, but even today when he’s paid to shoot, he’s still driven by his passion to capture an emotion. 

Embracing the Competition

Nathan doesn’t hide the struggles that he faces today, even though he’s well established in his niche. His photography business does have competition from both amateurs and other professionals, and he laughs over memories of being shoved to the side at the racetrack by people trying to grab the same shot that he’s working on. However, as he says, competition is healthy because it helps him to hone his craft. Knowing that other photographers are out there snapping on his heels keeps him sharp. 

You Have to Value Your Time

Knowing how much money to charge for a service is a difficult question for any entrepreneur to answer, and Nathan points out that it’s even harder in the arts.“It’s so easy to talk down to artists,” he tells Jason. Often, he finds that customers expect him to charge less because they believe that he’ll be happy working for “exposure,” or because he’s up against amateur photographers who undercut market rates. 

However, he sticks to his guns on price because he values his own experience, and, more importantly, his time. It takes time to travel to a race, shoot hundreds or even thousands of photos, and then to edit them down to a perfect final gallery, and this time is worth the client’s money. This determination helps him to be a successful business owner. 

Don’t Settle

Nathan’s advice is to not settle with your life, and to keep the drive to push forward. He himself is no stranger to challenges but at every hurdle, he found the strength to pick himself up and keep going. He doesn’t think that he’s any different to anyone else, and he firmly believes that we all have the ability to better ourselves and to achieve our dreams. As he says, you only have one life, so why waste it? 

Subscribe to Local Talent: The Entrepreneur’s Handbook podcast to hear more funny and interesting interviews about local business and entrepreneurship with Jason Setzer and his special guests.

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