In my conversations with people just starting out in stock photography, I’ve seen over the years that most entry-level photographers make the same mistake in their marketing strategy. They take bundles and bundles of photos. After some time, when they think they are ready to tackle the stock photo industry, they attempt to find markets for their pictures. This is exactly the wrong way to go about it.
The secret is to reverse the process. Before you take a picture, ask yourself if it can be on a specific photo editor’s desk tomorrow.
That’s right; thanks to today’s electronic delivery capabilities, transmission of images can be immediate. Now, it’s just a matter of identifying one of your prime photographic interest areas, and then finding the magazines, periodicals, and possibly book publishers committed to your choice of subject matter.
Because you are focusing on a special area of interest, you shouldn’t mind the research too much. Just Google it. For example, if you specialize in photographing dachshunds, don’t type “dogs,” but instead type “dachshund magazine.” Up come your customers. They are waiting for you to bring your photographic expertise about dachshunds to them.
Out of the scores of potential markets you’ll find, you’re going to find at least some that like your work. Out of those, you may get along especially well with one publisher. Everything will click. They like your work, you like their company and the way they work. You might earn as much as $1,000 from them over a year’s time. And since statistics show that a photographer will stay with a publisher on average 10 years, you’ve gained a $10,000 client.
You can learn the ropes with this client, in effect as your own stock photo agency with one dependable client. Then, of course, you can expand this success to include a gradually increasing number of other clients.
And now, you know that the picture you take today will be on a certain photo buyer’s desk tomorrow. And because (at first) you have only one client, you speak their language, and they know the picture you send them is going to be on target. Even if it’s not something they need immediately, they will add it to their database and probably use it within the year — and send you a check.
[tags]stock photography, photography marketing, photography business[/tags]