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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Ive hit a problem...Hi evryone Ive been doing photography as a hobby for a couple of years now. I love it. Ive also ...
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Old 13-07-2009, 20:31   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Ive hit a problem

Hi evryone

Ive been doing photography as a hobby for a couple of years now. I love it. Ive also done a lot of work for my school as they have used many of my photos in the school magazine...but people who look at some of my photos say i shud think about selling them. Problem is i havnt a clue on how to do this.

I have had a few ideas such as turning out a few examples of my pics onto postacards to get them sold in shops, or putting them on internet sites to be sold, but i just dont know where to start. Any ideas from you guys and any info on where would be good places to do it wud b appreciated.

I realise this wont rake in huge amounts of cash obviously, but people say its always a good thing to have ticking over.

Thanks to you all..Toby
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Old 14-07-2009, 07:43   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

Good thread Toby....
Like many, I have some absolute "Gems" that I would like to know if are any good, and, if I could make some cash outa' "Selling" them....
I have, like you, absolutely NO IDEA where to start.....

I wish you all the best in your efforts, and I will be following this with interest...
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Old 14-07-2009, 12:12   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

You could check out a photo library such as Alamy (there are many others). They will do the hard work of making your images available to a wider market. Of course they take a large chunk of the income but so long as your pictures are up to the mark it's no real effort to upload them and if they sell it's all money after all.

It also has the advantage of making you look really critically at your pictures. I was surprised at how few of mine met the QC criteria for Alamy. I guess I have got lazy shooting primarily for clients who are only interested in small-to-medium sized prints. Time to get that tripod back out!

One thing I would say is try to avoid the microstock libraries that pretty much give your work away. Photography should have an inherrent value and I believe 'fair trade' should apply to us as well as to coffee and cotton.
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Old 14-07-2009, 16:15   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

Right, this is going to sound harsh...

Selling pictures, these days, has nothing to do with technical expertise or aesthetic ability (whatever that might be when it's at home). It has everything to do with salesmanship and self promotion. If you want to make money from this, get a job on the selling side of a media related business and learn everything you can about how the business operates and network, network, network. At the end of this, you'll know who pays how much for what and be able to sell people stuff, including images.

Forget all the rubbish you see on the web or in magazines about how people make thousands selling pictures. If anyone insists that they do, ask to see audited accounts. The average income from photography is probably less than 100 a year, if that. I used to make a good living from photography, in the 'sixties and 'seventies. By the 'eighties, there were a dozen times as many 'professional photographers' as when I started and an awfull lot of them were passing through the bankruptcy courts. I saw the writing on the wall, moved into I.T. and haven't tried to sell a single picture since. I have a lot more fun and a lot less hassle.

If you want to be able to say you've sold some pictures, then do use a micro-stock agency. People are more likely to give you $1 for your pictures than $1,000 and at least you'll have bragging rights.

I shall now await the screams of rage from those on whose toes I have trampled
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Old 14-07-2009, 16:39   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by sejanus View Post
I saw the writing on the wall, moved into I.T.
Out of the frying pan...

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Old 14-07-2009, 17:01   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

You do need to decide whether you would like to sell a couple of photos just to feel good, or to show your photos to the public (sales just a bonus) or do you want to make a living from it.

It seems relatively easy to sell the odd picture if you display at an exhibition or on a web site and I did sell a picture this year in such circumstances. It was easy to make a profit just based on the materials used to print and frame but if you realistically took account of the cost of the equipment and time it would be a big loss.

Setting up a local exhibition can be a good way to show your pictures to the public and with the right publicity, right pictures, good location etc. you might get a few sales but again it is hardly likely to pay for your hobby let alone earn you a living. I know several amateur photographers who sell via a web site and sometimes stalls at summer events who have suggested that sales have all but dried up in the last 6 months.

Finally, to make a living from it, one successful professional photographer told me that he only started making a living once he stopped taking photographs and learnt how to run a photography business. He told me that photographers were easy to find and he did not have to pay them much but running a business was tough.
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Old 14-07-2009, 17:14   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

Photography is a wide field and I don't know all . I have a brother-inlaw and my sister who printed up their pictures, mostly 11X14 inchs and hit the road to the places that sell their style of photo. The national park system. He is a fly fisherman and takes pictures in the back country of alot of parks and they liked them and he now sells them there. He just went in and talked to the people selling the pictures, showed them again and again to everyone. Also related to self promotion is my other sister who actually painted pictures and put them out on her lawn and sold them for $350 a pop,,talent. For me I could have made a little money restoring older photo's as I started to get work form a lot of people by word of mouth,,again networking in away. I finally said enough and thought to my self,,,"self,when I have to make money from photography it won't be any fun". I shut the door and drown in photoshop . You might be surprized what you find if you sell your style of photo's when you find the spot where your style fits in. Just shooting good photo's won't get you a free ride so good luck and don't be afried to ask people. You'll find your way.
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Old 14-07-2009, 17:26   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

Certainly you are not going to make much (if any) money doing print / image sales. My reference to an image library was more to do with if you have images kicking around anyway it doesn't hurt to upload them somewhere that they might get noticed and bring in a little bit of cash. However I totally agree that you are not going to make a living out of it.

From what I have seen those photographers who are surviving are doing so by selling the service - i.e. you pay me to turn up somewhere and take pictures - rather than trying to get repeat business from selling the prints. For myself I charge for a wedding or event and the client gets the final cut of images on a DVD. I don't do any prints unless it is part of the arrangement (sometimes people want 6x4 proofs).

You have to look at what you are selling. Anyone these days can buy a compact camera, shoot their own pictures, and get them printed cheaply through PhotoBox or equivalent. What we as 'togs' are selling is convenience (so the client doesn't have to take the pictures and can join in the event) or skill / experience (making sure the pictures turn out right) or peace or mind (they know they won't get blamed if the pictures get messed up) or ideally a combination of all these.

I would love to make a living out of photography. I am into my second year of doing it 'semi-pro' and so far I struggle just to cover my costs and that doesn't include time spent on speculative shoots. So making a little bit on the side: great. Making 'real' money: good luck.
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Old 20-07-2009, 13:48   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

My only advice on this would be to diversify, be willing to and do take photographs of lots of different things.
I make more than 100.00 a year from my photography in fact I make a healthy living from taking snaps! and would also advise against the micro stock agencies. Try Photographers Direct | professional stock photography images | buy photo stock images they take less than alamy and also send out e-mails with what people are looking for right now! I have made quite a few sales by looking at requests and just going and shooting them.
Local exhibitions are also another good way of getting your work seen by people.
Contact a local paper and send in some samples of your work with a cover story, i did this and got a 2 page spread at no cost.
Just my 2 cents
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Old 20-07-2009, 14:22   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Ive hit a problem

Also if you start selling, you have to register with the Inland Revenue as self employed, even if it is just part time. I work in an office during the day and shoot sports for my website at the weekend so have to complete a self assesment every year.
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