How can you photograph only what appeals to you and still survive economically? Very often, a working photographer will say, “I’ve got to put bread on the table, so I find myself shooting subjects that will pay the bills, and these usually aren’t subjects that are of burning interest to me.”
Making Money by Shooting What You Love IS Possible
Thanks to the Internet, communication has fragmented the world of photobuyers into more accessible targets. Most photo researchers and buyers in the editorial world are specialists. They don’t stray from their specialty because they need to stay with the brand they have established throughout the years.
When looking at implementing a new marketing strategy into your photography business, or even evaluating current marketing strategies, it’s important to know what your goals are with the strategy. I’ve been re-evaluating some of our marketing over the past few weeks, and I’ve found three questions that are important to consider when looking at different strategies.
I turned 70 this year and realized I had been making photographs for 45 years. Of everything I’ve learned during this time, the most important is realizing how little I really know. I consider myself a pretty good photographer, but not a week goes by where I discover some new detail that makes my work, and my vision, just a little bit better.
Some musicians use the Internet to creatively borrow from compositions of others and mix these elements into their own original versions. These new songs are sometimes called a mash-up or bootleg.
Mash-ups are songs that combine parts of different hit songs without adding any original music. This might represent the first significant new musical genre to be lifted out of the underground, developed, and then spread, mostly via the Internet. (Remember sampling in the 90′s — Oribital’s “Halcyon & On & On”?) The songs typically match the rhythm, melody and underlying spirit of the instrumentals of one song, with the a cappella vocals of another.
I recently took a solo photography trip to Germany to shoot architecture and look at art. It ended up being a wonderful experience, but I had some trepidation before I left about traveling in a country where I didn’t speak the language. Hopping on and off trains can be harrowing and challenging if you can’t understand the signs, read the timetables or converse with the conductor. Thankfully, all travel was fairly easy and most all the people I met were very kind.
Let’s talk about photography for a while. Not about how to take pictures or how to sell them, but just about photography. There has been a lot said, and written, about it in the past hundred years, and every attempt to define it in simple terms has failed.
I talk to a lot of wedding professionals. When I ask what it is they need help with it’s always something like ”I want to book more weddings” or “I want to make more money this year.” Sounds simple enough, but the problem is that these aren’t clear, specific goals. Do you know how many more weddings you want to book? Do you know exactly how much money you want to make this year? If you aren’t specific about your goal, you’ll never know when you reach it.
Ever look at the “Photographers” category in the AdWords of a Google Search? A lot of competition, isn’t there? What makes the difference then, between a “successful” photographer and a mediocre photographer? Talent is certainly necessary. So is energy, action, and desire. If we can assume that every photographer listed in an SEO search possesses all these attributes — don’t you question why some go farther than others?
Relevant photography keywords are necessary for healthy search engine rankings, and a key part of how to market your photography business to the right people at the right time, but they can be a real pain to deal with sometimes!
The concept is simple enough: People search online using keywords and phrases, and your website pops up like magic in the results, right?
Think of your favorite photographer. Can you describe his brand in 25 words or less?
If not, he’s got a problem.
Selling directly to photobuyers is becoming the transaction method of choice for freelance stock photographers. This idea was originally pioneered by Napster, the company that created a way for users to download MP3 music files directly onto their hard drives instead of buying a CD. In essence, Napster cut out the middle man.
I organized a panel at the recent PACA ( the Digital Media Licensing Association) conference around mobile photography and image licensing. I invited four companies representative of what is going on in this space to show that the next major disruption in the professional image licensing world will come from your mobile phone.
The companies on the panel were EyeEm, ImageBrief, Foap and Clashot. It is highly recommended you check them out . There are many more, like Snapwi.re , RooM, Scoopshot, Fotolia Instant as well as some still in development. These are the frontrunners of what will be the next major disruption in the professional image licensing world.
Is working with a stock photo agency a good choice for you? The answer might surprise you. The first step to deciding whether to work with a stock photo agency is to weigh the pros and cons.
I love photographing architecture in places I’ve never been. The thrill of capturing new and distinctive buildings in unfamiliar surroundings is like no other feeling for me. Somehow seeing these marvels through the lens intensifies the sensation of discovery and delight in the beauty, ingenuity, materials and ornamentation that humans have used for building throughout time.
If cameras had never been invented, history, events, and remembrances would probably have been relegated to ancient and unreliable methods of recording and disseminating information: drawings, statuary, tapestry and hearsay.
There is a big difference between actually being busy and being needlessly busy. I did an experiment when I was employed to see if I could go an entire day looking really busy but doing absolutely nothing, because weird things like that interest me. In case you’re wondering, I was successful.
- “You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”
- “You give us permission to use your name, and profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related that content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us, subject to the limits you place. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you.”
When I first became interested in photography, I was young, inexperienced and naïve. I thought that all I had to do was see something unique, make sure my camera was properly set up and focused and snap the shutter. That was all there was to it.
Publishers want to get as much out of you as they legally can in today’s contract negotiations. You’re going to find they want to make their contract as broad as possible. It’s up to you, the photographer, to whittle the contract down to workable (for you) reality. Here are some answers for you.
Magazine publication has returned! There are 25 to 50 new publications born each month in the English-speaking world.
No, they’re not general magazines; those are gone. Internet newspapers and blogs have taken care of them. In their place have emerged specialized print magazines and single issue ‘topic’ magazines ranging from hunting and fishing to quilting and guns to city, regional and state magazines.
If you were selling apples, which of the following scenarios would you enjoy most?
A. You start your morning with a leisurely breakfast at 9:00 a.m., load three dozen apples into your cart and deliver them to one customer at 11:00 a.m. before spending the rest of the day at the beach.
A lot of wedding professionals, and business owners in general are very uncomfortable when it comes to dealing with their competitors. This discomfort can often make us cagey and closed off, which might not seem like such a bad thing, but it can cloud our judgment and cause us to write off a potential partner as a competitor.
Taking photographs, any photographs, is my passion and the best way that I can spend my day. I love the chance to snap the shutter on an image that appeals to my visual senses. Artistically there are, I discovered, multiple visual senses: design, composition, color and/or monochrome, tension and perspective, among others. However, the most engaging shots I take often connect with some personal history or individual aesthetic.
Are you just starting out (or starting over) in editorial stock photography? What should you focus on? Where do you start? That answer is easy. Start with your heart.
Start by photographing subjects that you’re highly interested in. Call it passion, love, desire; call it compulsion. If you love doing something, you’ll put 100 percent of yourself into it.
Interested in lucrative commercial assignments? You can drum up your own profitable gigs if you learn “the right way” to do it.
Tom Carroll long ago figured out that success in the stock photography business is not just a case of being able to produce a quality photograph. Rather, it’s about being able to creatively market your talent so that you spend as little time as possible on the nitty-gritty of promoting and administration and as much time as possible on the adventure of taking photographs, enjoying travel and sharing your knowledge with promising photographers who are either starting out or starting over.