Luke Stackpoole on the building blocks to a career in photography

The wind sweeps across the rugged Icelandic terrain, spraying onlookers with a mist from the roaring Skógafoss waterfall.

A bird darts out from its nest, diving across the face of the cliff.


Luke Stackpoole makes it look easy:

Luke Stackpoole

.  Meet Luke

Luke is a London-based lifestyle and travel photographer, who spends a majority of his time abroad working for some of the world’s leading brands.

A few of his clients include Adobe, American Express, Discovery Channel, Lexar, North Face, Tamron, Visit Iceland and Visit Greenland.

Luke dropped in to share a few tips that he’s picked up while building his photography career.

Here’s Luke…

 getting it right

Jose Cuervo: Lessons learned from working with world-class brands

The Jose Cuervo gig was definitely a great moment in my career path as it was the first big name brand I’d worked with.

I took a couple of their bottles with me during my road trip down the West Coast USA, through Oregon and the Californian Redwoods. It was great to create with an iconic brand in such a stunning natural environment.

Luke Stackpoole

. Chasing light

My biggest lesson I learned would have to do more with the technical side of things – in that shooting product outdoors is always variable due to the everchanging lighting, and it’s often difficult getting the shot you first envisioned, without using a form of artificial light.

Fortunately we had a couple of stunning sunsets towards the end of the trip and that golden light worked perfectly with the bottles!

.  Your Playbook: When things don’t go right, go left.

Learning to adapt to the conditions around you is key to a creative career. Sometimes your best images are the ones you never anticipated.

Luke Stackpoole

 behind the lens

The most important investment a photographer can make: community

You never know when these relationships are going to be useful to you in the future, and the potential that they may provide to you in later years.

I’ve undertaken a fair amount of my bigger brand client work through word of mouth, which is something I had never really envisioned would happen when I first started.

. More than just followers

I put a lot of time and effort into my community. I respond to pretty much every message or email query, providing insights where I can.

I feel this has the knock-on effect of building up my brand image, and an engaged audience that is more likely to A) recommend me and B) continue to engage with my work.

The close community is also incredibly useful as you can lean upon them for guidance or support. Some of these people are often specialists in their fields of creativity, and this advice can always be useful!

.  Your Playbook: Make an investment.

As your community grows, invest time into nurturing those relationships. You never know when they might yield massive returns.

Luke Stackpoole

 business 101

The one skill that will give you an advantage over other photographers

A lot of creatives are incredibly talented in their respective field, but I find that some people are not confident in their business skills. They don’t have a keen awareness to capitalize on their talents to turn their passion into a career.

. Getting down to business

Fortunately I worked in the city for a number of years before switching career paths into creative. Without this, I would not have built important business fundamentals that have helped me grow both my audience and my interpersonal skills to land some of the creative jobs I’ve worked on in recent months.

Overall, taking a step back from the creativity and building up some business fundamentals to propel your career is a must.

.  Your Playbook: Big careers need a strong launchpad.

Turning your passion into more than just a hobby means investing time into the fundamentals of business: marketing, networking, negotiation and more.

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