In this interview, learn how you can use your photography business to fund your lifestyle of choice. Paul Hoelen is not living the life of a typical professional photographer, not in the business sense anyway. Instead of being a slave to the numbers, his focus is living an amazing life, experiencing everything and never saying no… then chasing down more adventures. All this while funding his lifestyle with photography.

The way Paul chooses to run his business is not for everyone. It runs against most of the advice, tips and strategies you've heard on the podcast to date, that's the beauty of this conversation. It's a realisation that you don't have to place boundaries on the way you build your income from photography – there are no rules. If you really want to do something and still have photography as a means to an income to fund the lifestyle you want… make it happen!

Paul Hoelen who was born in New Zealand to Dutch and American parents – somehow he ended up with four passports and has done a great job of putting them all to good use. He now bases himself in Tasmania, Australia. He's won a ton of awards for his photography both nationally and internationally and is a regular judge at industry award events.

I do what I love and I love what I do

His photography has been exhibited alongside great photographers including Annie Liebowitz, Helmut Newton and Man Ray. Some of his recent projects include: workshops in remote desert areas, a ‘steam punk’ themed wedding in Northern California, band photography on the rooftops of New York and head photographer for New Zealand’s largest music festival Rhythm & Vines.

He is about to leave the country for 4 months on another photographic trip of a lifetime. Lucky, well planned or smart business? You be the judge.

Here’s some more of what we cover:

  • Why Paul strives to work on a variety of projects and why it's important for him to stay fresh
  • Pauls work philisophies and how he works
  • Making sacrifices for meaningful work
  • Why he shifted from landscape photograper to generalist photographer
  • Getting clever in maximising trips to find other photography jobs
  • Working on fine art photography to fills gaps between commissioned projects
  • Building and cultivating relationships for referrals
  • Staying fluid in the way you operate your photography business
  • The importance of having a collaborative mindset in working in the industry
  • Why Paul hunts down the best photographers in a certain area to shoot with them

Paul Hoelen Photography Podcast Interview

There’s no denying that Paul's way of doing business is not for everyone. There's also no denying that he will look back someday and smile at the incredible life he's lived. The question for you… are you living the life you want to be living? Just because you want to make photography a part of your life, doesn't mean you have to be anchored down and follow the same path that's expected or taught by others.

Paul is proof that no matter what genre of photography excites you, no matter where you want to live, travel or settle, there is nothing stopping you from creating a life around what you love to do. It will be a challenge but that'll be the case no matter the path you choose. The big message from this interview: live the life you want to be living.

Paul Hoelen Photography Podcast Interview

What’s on Offer for Premium Members

If you’re a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this episode where you can hear lots more content from where we dive deeper into some of the earlier topics plus some new ones that I pushed hard for that include:

  • Tips on how to find extra work when travelling
  • The advantages of working in different genres
  • Different ways to earn income from your travel photography
  • Take the time to research what has been done before you shoot
  • How to have your work displayed in a gallery
  • What kind of prints are required when exhibiting in a gallery
  • How the pricing works in galleries
  • Entering photography awards
  • Why and how promoting trust has been the best thing Paul has done for his business

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I’d love to know what your biggest takeaway is – what is the one thing that you’d like to implement or learnt from what was shared? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Paul or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them below.

If you’d like an easy way to show Paul your thanks, and support for the show at the same time, click the link to create a tweet and automatically show you’re listening:

Paul Hoelen Photography Podcast Interview

The Resources Page

Remember the ever expanding resources page that has a listing of products, programs, hardware, books and directories mentioned in each episode of the show. If you’re looking for something that a guest has mentioned on a previous episode but just can’t remember who or what it was – you’ll find it listed in order on the resources page.

Voicemail and Shout-Out

A big thanks to wedding photographer Ahmad Elfarram of Knight Images Photography in Newmarket Ontario Canada.

Ahmad, a premium member of PhotoBizX has been busily implementing a stack of strategies and ideas he's leant from the interviews and shares his top three: SEO, blog super posts and outsourcing in a voicemail message.

Do You Have a Question about Your Business or Marketing?

I’m planning a Q&A episode over the Christmas and New Year period and would love your questions! Feel free to email me or use the voicemail option on this page. You can be as detailed and specific to your business or circumstances as you like. And, you can remain anonymous if you refer.

Alternatively, if you’d like to get in touch, ask a question about or make a suggestion for the show, you can email me, find me on Twitter or on Facebook at – I’d love to hear from you!

Paul Hoelen Photography Podcast Interview

Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:

Paul Hoelen's Website

Paul Hoelen's Other Website

Paul Hoelen's Facebook

Photo Tip of the Week: Take Great Shots at Festivals and Concerts

Nick Brandt

Joshua Holko

Tony Hewitt

McNair Evans

Annie Liebowitz

Helmut Newton

Man Ray

Herb Ritts

Patrick Demarchelier

Lisa Tomasetti

Artsy's page on Helmut Newton

Yoast SEO Book for Non-Wordpress websites

GimmeThatIt – website and branding for my business in 2015

Black Friday Deals for Photographers curated by Zack Prez of Photography Spark


Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard Lens

Paul Hoelen Photography Podcast Interview

Thank you!

Thank you again for listening to the show and thanks to Paul for being an awesome guest!

If you have any suggestions, comments or questions about this episode, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post, and if you liked the episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post!

That’s it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!

Thanks and speak soon