How to go about selling surf photography & making a website to sell them?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by zland, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. zland

    zland TPF Noob!

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    I am considering trying to sell photographs of surfing by going from beach to beach, shooting photos & leaving business cards for people to go to a website to view & purchase photos. Questions:

    1. Do I need a business license for each city I shoot at or can I do it without?

    2. Do you know of a way I can post photographs on a website for people to view & purchase these photos that is good & cost effective?

    I know these are pretty broad questions so any help is appreciated. I am sure once people give me feedback more questions will arise.

    Thanks,
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Unless you have a nice long lens (500 or 600mm) and can isolate individual surfers, I don't think you'll have a viable situation.

    There are online places like Zenfolio you can post the images and sell them with little or no work by you other than setting it up and uploading images. A pro account is less than $10 a month. Zenfolio will get the prints made or handle digital files and collect the money for you. They get a small cut to do that for you.

    Laws for business vary by town, county, and state.
     
  3. zland

    zland TPF Noob!

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    I appreciate the concern over equipment but I have a 400mm prime & 1.4X + 2.0 extenders (2X is not a good idea I know). To be blunt, the 400mm is enough & add to it the 1.4X & it is more than enough. I recently shot the Trestles ASP Pro contest & compared my photos to those posted on line by the ASP & mine were of equal quality. If I happen to shoot overseas in places like Bali, the 500mm or 600mm become essential from the beach but even then not needed if from a boat which is better anyways.

    I spent some time discussing equipment with pro photographers in Bali & here in California (I have a friend that shoots for a professional surfing magazine & is their chief editor of photography as well) & my set up is equal to their set ups & they sell a lot of photographs.

    My concern is more about the business aspect of shooting legally & being able to market the product on line effectively. Thanks for the Zenfolio lead....
     
  4. damonb

    damonb TPF Noob!

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    You could also look at something like Smugmug, Imagekind or Redbubble. You will, of course, have to market yourself regardless of which site you utilize. You could also consider creating a photoblog (Wordpress, Blogger) to show your images.

    "My concern is more about the business aspect of shooting legally & being able to market the product on line effectively."

    While not a pro at all (I did work in an area of the photography industry) , I don't think the question is if you can shoot pictures at all (it is highly unlikely that you would need a business license for each city you operate out of); I think you might have some concerns about model releases if you're selling images where the person is clearly recognizable.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Images are considered art and a model release is not needed to sell images of recognisable people to individuals.

    If a photographer wants to sell those same images to a business wanting to use them to promote a product is another matter. In that situation a business usually makes having a properly executed model release a requirement.
     
  6. damonb

    damonb TPF Noob!

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    "If a photographer wants to sell those same images to a business wanting to use them to promote a product is another matter. In that situation a business usually makes having a properly executed model release a requirement."

    Hi KMH,

    Excellent info to know. Thanks for the clarification!
     
  7. zland

    zland TPF Noob!

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    Darn good info guys. I plan to call the city of Oceanside to get their angle on shooting in the city & needing a business lic. My bet is they will say yes knowing how strict they tend to be & always looking to make a buck.

    After that, I got to decide how to post the photos on line & the leads you guys have suggested so far should be helpful.
     

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