The 7 Biggest Reasons HONY is Killing it Right Now

Humans of New York (HONY) is a series of simple photographs and captions by photographer Brandon Stanton. Chances are, you already know about it. The Facebook page just reached over 6 million likes. HONY is an inspiration to so many for its pure qualities. It’s also an excellent example of making a business model thrive. These are the 7 biggest lessons we think professional photographers can take from HONY:


1. Tugs on the Heart Strings



2. Generates Overwhelmingly Positive Comments on Each Post

Beautiful and kind comments dominate each photograph on HONY. Each top comment has thousands of likes and are often clever puns, compliments to the subjects, inspirational quotes, or fans of the page showing a little empathy. Of course there are troll comments, but they’re usually buried very deep.

Most importantly, you don’t see those same cookie-cutter reply memes that we’ve all come to loathe.


3. Enabling a Community to Make a Difference

HONY has made several crowdfunding opportunities possible. The Humans of New York Tumblr account raised $85,000 in less than 24 hours for Hurricane Sandy relief. The community has also backed Brandon in helping a man adopt another child from Ethiopia.


4. Constant Content

There is new content being published constantly. It’s easy to be a fan of this page. Even when Brandon is out of town, he still delivers!



5. Excellent Interviewer

Brandon often asks many subjects the same basic questions that all people can identify with such as, “What is your greatest accomplishment?” and “Do you remember the happiest moment of your life?” But much of the time he’s able to ask follow-up questions that solicit the most poetic responses from so many people.



6. It’s a Worldwide Brand



7. Ability to Monetize

Brandon monetizes his brand by compiling each photograph into printed books that he sells through book behemoths like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He’s also invited to speak at huge events to get his brand even more coverage. It’s an excellent reminder that while humans do enjoy digital photographs, tangible products are still highly desired.


Image credit to

H&H Color Lab

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