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Archive 2012 · Best approach for a "casual" professional
  
 
Derek Weston
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p.1 #1 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


Sounds like an oxymoron. Probably a poor choice of words.

I enjoy photography and playing with gear and wouldn't mind selling some of my images in an attempt to at least break even in this 'hobby.' Paying for gas on trips and lenses would be just dandy. More than dandy. Awesome.

I don't do assignments. I shoot for myself. I do have an amassing portfolio of halfway interesting and decent landscape type photography.

All I can come up with: (and this is for someone who has another job and doesn't want a second full time job)

A) Sell images as stock. (they're sitting on my hard-drive, so why not?)
B) Setup a website and sell larger prints of the high quality images I've taken. (figure this wouldn't tend to draw too many customers right away)
C) Sell at art/craft type shows occasionally. (are these things really worth it? Sounds like a bit of work)
D) No idea.

Goes without saying that you're not going to do any better than your work will allow.

How would you approach this? I just want to be able to be noticed... will sell to just about any sort of buyer. Only trying to recover costs. (of course if further success was realized, great, but that's my goal right now)

Thanks for any opinions.



Mar 30, 2012 at 03:09 AM
cwebster
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p.1 #2 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


So, ask yourself this question: "Are any of my photos so compelling that a total stranger would spend hundreds of dollars to hang it on their wall?"

If you can answer yes, you might have a glimmer of a chance to sell your landscape photos online. Otherwise, you're better off trying to peddle them face to face, either to friends and acquaintances, or at art/craft fairs.

I have sold lots of prints of my landscapes and still lives, but I have never sold one to someone that I didn't speak to personally. Mostly I sell to my friends and office acquaintances.

There are literally billions of stock landscape images. If you have coverage from an unusual or exotic location, you might have a market, otherwise I wouldn't count on it. As for the art/craft fairs, people actually sell pictures there. Whether it's possible to sell more than it costs to be there, I have no idea, but I seriously doubt it.

My $0.02 worth, keep your day job.

<Chas>



Mar 30, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #3 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


cwebster wrote:
So, ask yourself this question: "Are any of my photos so compelling that a total stranger would spend hundreds of dollars to hang it on their wall?"

If you can answer yes, you might have a glimmer of a chance to sell your landscape photos online. Otherwise, you're better off trying to peddle them face to face, either to friends and acquaintances, or at art/craft fairs.

I have sold lots of prints of my landscapes and still lives, but I have never sold one to someone that I didn't speak to personally. Mostly I sell to my friends and office acquaintances.

There are
...Show more

Plan definitely is to keep the day job... and to keep shooting for myself. (as mentioned)

Agree that selling prints online to strangers seems like a tough endeavor. Always wondered how many folks that offer prints really do any significant business online.

Hence my interest in stock type photography. Into selling to businesses who might need the photo for whatever reason.

As noted... of course you have to have the quality.

I think I've got a number of items that would at least be useful as stock, I would think.

See:






I wouldn't expect a bunch of print sales from that. But I'd get a kick out of someone using it in a brochure or advertisement or whatever.

If the images I take can help support my hobby, great.



Mar 30, 2012 at 11:45 PM
cwebster
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p.1 #4 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


Since you seem convinced that stock is the path, I suggest you register at a couple of stock sites and browse their landscapes to see what is selling and what is common.

While you're there, check the prices and figure out how many photos you'll have to sell to "break even on my hobby."

Good luck with the stock thing, I do not believe that there is money to be made there unless you have truly unique or absolutely riveting images.

<Chas>



Mar 31, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #5 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


cwebster wrote:
Since you seem convinced that stock is the path, I suggest you register at a couple of stock sites and browse their landscapes to see what is selling and what is common.

While you're there, check the prices and figure out how many photos you'll have to sell to "break even on my hobby."

Good luck with the stock thing, I do not believe that there is money to be made there unless you have truly unique or absolutely riveting images.

<Chas>


I suppose not. Seems people do it with great volume.

Probably why I started the thread. Trying to figure out if there is anything beyond stock, shows, and just selling prints from online galleries.



Mar 31, 2012 at 07:27 PM
 

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cwebster
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p.1 #6 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


Why not try showing your photos in a local coffee house or the like. I had a show in a coffee house that features music (I shoot musical instruments), and netted a nice commission out of it. The commission included a 24 X 36 print in a custom frame, that I also made money arranging for.

There's money to be made, but you have to work to get it. The odds of someone coming to you to buy a photo are slim to nil. You have to go find your market.

In reality, you are part of the problem (no offense intended), because you are one of zillions of amateur photographers who would like to make "a little money out of my hobby." That has increased the number of competitors beyond imagination, and has driven the price and value of good photography down to where full-time pros are having trouble competing, because there's always an amateur willing to do the job for less.

<Chas>



Mar 31, 2012 at 08:46 PM
swoop
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p.1 #7 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


You could do weddings. The wedding forum is filled with people that have other jobs.

You could do pet portraits. I myself once had an encounter at a dog beach where some woman photographed my dog for a bit then handed me her card. Turns out her card led to a website where I could buy the pictures she took. Spent about $20.

Art shows are good. Using the dog example again, the grooming place I go to had prints for sale for charity that were taken by some high school student, they were like $5 each and came pre-mounted. I think being pre-mounted is important because then all they have to buy is a frame and they can hang it up. I've seen this same example at dozens of art shows and flea markets.

Stock photos are ok but it is such a saturated market and I think you literally make pennies per image but I've heard some good luck stories where stock can bring in a few hundred dollars a year and some really far fetched ones where it can bring in a few thousand.



Mar 31, 2012 at 08:47 PM
artd
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p.1 #8 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


moonpeep wrote:
A) Sell images as stock. (they're sitting on my hard-drive, so why not?)

I know one photographer who makes a decent amount of money shooting microstock. But it's all 'lifestyle' type photography. People hanging out, smiling, playing in the park, that kind of thing.


B) Setup a website and sell larger prints of the high quality images I've taken. (figure this wouldn't tend to draw too many customers right away)

A website is never a bad thing to have. Though it does cost money to set up and maintain, at least if you want a nicer one and not one of them cheapo free photo snapshots gallery type of things. And the nicer your website, the more it will probably cost, unless you are experienced in web programming enough to set up a really slick site on your own. (My first two websites I built on my own, but I got so tired of trying to update and maintain them that I eventually decided to pay the money to let someone else worry about all that.)


C) Sell at art/craft type shows occasionally. (are these things really worth it? Sounds like a bit of work)

It is a bit of work to prepare. It's not like selling one-off prints online...you actually need to have physical prints ready to show and sell. I do this occassionaly...but more because I find it fun and enjoyable to get an opportunity to engage and talk to people about my work. Be aware that there are also expenses associated with this as well. At a minimum there is a cost for making the prints to have at the show and having a way to display them. The cheapest way is to display unframed and unmatted prints in a clear poly bag. When I do this I like to add in a backing behind the print (like foam core or thick cardstock) so they don't get all bent when being handled by people. You can also display matted prints in poly bags...a lot nicer but of course the matting materials will cost you extra. And of course, there are framed prints, which are never cheap to do in volume. The nicer your presentation, the more likely you are to sell something...but the nicer your presentation, the more money you are likely spending to make it nice. So unless you are doing huge amounts of volume in travelling fairs, don't expect to make a lot.




Apr 02, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Matt Tilghman
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p.1 #9 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


Sorry to bring this back from the dead. I make money off stock, with a relatively small portfolio. Almost exclusively landscapes, too. I am also selling my work as art, and making some money off that too (Fine Art America, face-to-face, and, strangely, eBay). I hope one day to make enough money off of selling prints as art to remove my photos from stock, but right now I make far more from stock.


Apr 26, 2012 at 05:27 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #10 · Best approach for a "casual" professional


I would second what cwebster said. Friends, family and people in the community is the best way to go I think. Get a Facebook page....advertise your work ... don't be afraid to hawk your page for "Likes". Social media is very powerful these days in getting your work noticed. Also, display your work in your home.... if you regularly entertain guests or have parties, and your work is pretty good, people will take notice.

I have never sold at a craft fair but I have researched it, and from what I understand, they are more work than they are worth, after taking into account set up costs and prep time.

In my experience with stock, I have not made a dime off my images, nor have I been successful in getting them off the various stock sites or the 3rd party sites that link to them. So yeah, a total loss right there.



Apr 26, 2012 at 08:56 PM





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