The Queen Photographers

5 Things I Learned as a Derek Blanks Assistant


Photo Cred: Drea Nicole Photography

Hope Ballenger, of Hope Ballenger Photography has worked under the mentorship of one of most well-known photographers and producers, Derek Blanks.  Hope has most recently assisted in shoots with notable celebrities like T.I., Towanda Braxton, and Vanessa Bell Calloway, from Coming to America.  As one might guess, she’s gained a great deal of knowledge and depth when it comes to technical ability and business acumen. As one of Derek Blanks’ assistants, Hope shared with QPSC a few lessons she’s learned along the way:


1. Consistency is vital to your survival in the industry. When you produce good and consistent work,  people will continue to book you.

2. Network. Get out and socialize. You never know who you will meet.

 3. Learn how to properly light your subject (in studio and natural lighting). Being experienced with both will make you a more versatile photographer, which will bring you more clients. Start with 1 light and build from there.

4. Learn the business side of photography. Regarding how to build clientele, marketing yourself properly, and  knowing your worth in reference to pricing.

5. Retouching is important. Learn how to do it properly. As I mentioned before, the more services you have to offer to your clients, the more versatile you will be as a photographer. When people know you can shoot pretty much anything and do it well (PROPERLY AND CONSISTENTLY), it will bring you more clients 🙂

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Check out Hope’s work at:

on Facebook & on Instagram!


  • Tiffany G.

    July 1, 2016

    Love it!!! This is awesome and great photography tips to live by. Thanks for the post.

  • Stephanie

    July 1, 2016

    Great business tips!

  • Anesha

    August 25, 2017

    Super cool.

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