1. Engage with others
"The more you engage, the more random doors open. Maroon 5 found my pictures when I was 19, and asked me to shoot a self-portrait for their album cover, Hands All Over. I consider this the start of my professional career, though of course the years between then and now have involved a lot of hard work.
"In my last year at secondary school, I became fascinated with art websites like DeviantArt and Flickr. MySpace was booming, and I felt a real connection to the art I saw. I started taking 'artsy' profile pictures and the more I delved into the depths of the internet, the more I felt like I was accepted and surrounded by people who had similar minds to me.
I decided that I wanted to be taken more seriously by my peers, so I joined Flickr and took up a 365 day project [sharing a picture for each day of the year], which was a big thing at the time – I was one of thousands of people attempting it globally. I wrote a little paragraph about my day with each picture and since nobody at my school knew about my profile, I was quite open and honest about how I felt. This kind of visual blogging was very new and people were interested. I didn't mean to start a brand at all, but before I knew it, my 365s were getting hundreds of thousands of views and hundreds of comments. I tried to see the people online as my friends; I gave back to the community and spoke to an awful lot of people."