Member of the Month July 2014: Ben Sasso

by Hillary Becker

July 11, 2014 — California-based photographer Ben Sasso is definitely a name you’re likely to hear thrown around a lot this year. He was one of Rangefinder’s 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography 2013, and a recent Grand-Prize winner for PDN’s Top Knots contest. Sasso’s ability to foster the photographic community and create a strong brand are attributes any photographer should strive to learn. 

All images ©Ben Sasso

As a kid, Sasso knew he was destined to be an artist. “In high school, I thought I would be an interior designer or a graphic designer,” he says, “but it wasn't until my senior year when I even thought about being a photographer.” Sasso began experimenting with an old film camera given by his high school yearbook teacher. Having assumed he would begin producing the beautiful images right off the bat, he remembers, “I [was pretty] discouraged and my hobby stayed on the back burner for a while.” But with the help of the photography community, Sasso found photographers who enjoyed sharing what they did and how they do it, turning his hobby into a full-time profession. “That sentiment has become the driving force behind what I do in hopes of opening up those doors for new photographers in the industry,” Sasso says. 

His story reminds us that every wedding is an opportunity to grow. After a 12-hour day (plus an extra 3 hours of travel time) on his first wedding, Sasso wound up only making $300 but he learned a lesson that he still carries today: “[Becoming] the type of photographer that I hoped to be had a lot more to do with being a people-person than I had originally thought,” he says. “It meant making sure that people were having a great time in front of my camera and translating that into the final image.”

For Sasso, learning to create images that accurately portray his natural, quirky style was about finding his target couple. “I have spent a lot of time narrowing down my portfolio and solidifying my brand to bring in the type of client that I want.” Sasso discusses in his online self-paced class called Style and Brand the three things that make up any photographic brand: style, communication and design. “[All] three things should work together to bring in the right clients for you,” he asserts.

“Experimentation fosters progress, and progress fosters a healthy photographic style.”

Sasso’s word of advice for emerging wedding photographers: “Think about the big picture…where you want to be next year, or in five years. Once you know, you have something to aim for and you can make business decisions based on that end goal. Think about how you can make your customer service even better so you get better word-of-mouth referrals. Think about how you can be more efficient in your post-processing so you have more time to devote to shooting and submitting work. Think about the things that will create progression in your business and your work.”

Interested in learning more from Sasso? Visit his upcoming workshop FOSTER this November in Los Angeles, where he and Katch Silva will cover topics such as editing and workflow, posing and directing, style and brand, getting published and plenty more. Learn more about FOSTER at

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