Photo blogger Tommy Ton became one of the fashion world’s most influential photographers in a relatively short amount of time, but he told Business of Fashion‘s Imran Amed that he still feels like a bit of an outsider. Albeit an outsider who gets front row seats at some of the world’s best fashion shows, has gigs with Style.com, GQ and The New York Times and who can earn more with a single photograph than some people make in a month.
Ton talked to Amed as part of BOF’s The Business of Blogging series, explaining how he’s built not only a loyal fan base but a lucrative business from his signature photos. Ton has shot photos for everyone from Lane Crawford to Vogue, but his rise to prominence among fashion bloggers and photographers came as much of a shock to him as it did to other people in the industry. Below, a few of our favorite parts from the interview.
On his first show, Balmain (just like Emmanuelle Alt!):
“My first show in Paris was Balmain. I had no idea what Balmain was at the time, or what it was going to be, but all the girls were in that that show, like Daria, Irina, and Anja, and they played the Cure on the soundtrack. As soon as that show was done, it was raining outside…and I was dancing in the rain. I just felt so uplifted. I could not believe what fashion could do for you,” recalls Ton nostalgically. “To have that moment in Paris, at your very first show…it was magical.”
On how well being a blogger pays:
“Before, I was underselling myself, getting about $50-100 per image.” Today, Ton reports that he can earn from as little as $100 up to $2000. “The the thing I’ve learned is that you have to really consider whether it’s a one page image or a ½ page image or ¼ page image. It’s a really big deal when it’s one image over two pages in Grazia for example, whereas if it’s ⅛ of a page in Vogue, it is much less.”
On knowing when he made it big.
Another important shift came the following season (spring/summer 2010) in Milan, when Ton was seated in Dolce & Gabbana’s front row, alongside Garance Dore, Scott Schuman and Bryanboy, an image that was plastered in the fashion media around the world, signalling the arrival of fashion bloggers. “That was a huge moment. It was all due to Anna Dello Russo. She was the one who told Domenico and Stefano: ‘These are the people who are changing things.’”
How long Ton will continue to change things in the industry, we don’t know. But we highly recommend you check out the full profile here.
The Business of Blogging | Tommy Ton [Business of Fashion]