I know this has been asked, but...

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Chris Stegner, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Chris Stegner

    Chris Stegner TPF Noob!

    Dec 27, 2007
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    Ft. Thomas, KY
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    Ok, so I love to shoot. Great hobby! I shoot some for work, but mainly just something I love to do.

    I have made some xtra cash shooting Bluegrass Festivals (many), but I don't even consider that work because I usually get my camping, golf cart, and tickets free. Plus I get to meet all the great Bluegrass artists I love to listen to. So when I get paid for these events it's just a matter of, "That's cool, some xtra cash".

    My wife recently decided to do a craft show (quilts, purses, other "Crafty" stuff) and she talked me into printing some of my stuff to sell. I shoot all sorts of stuff but I've developed quite a collection of old barns (Mail Pouch types), old country buildings, old Churches, and covered bridges. Just the type of things I thought would sell at a craft show. I have had some of these images printed out on canvas and stretched them to hang around the house. Again, kind of a "crafty" looking thing.

    So, I go about selecting some images (17), had them printed on Canvas, stretched them all out. All said and done I have about $400 invested (take note: this is my first mention of money, and it's important to note that).

    Between my wife's first mention of this and the show was 7 days. In that seven days I also decided to do some prints and frame them up. There's another $250 (second mention). I also worked about 60 hours at the office in that time, went to 2 soccer games, out to dinner with the wife, church, a Bengals game, and slept a little. All the while, thinking about wether my stuff would sell and I could make up the $650 I have invested in the upcoming show (there's three times).

    Where am I going with this?

    I have been shooting for 25 years and with the exception of the US Air Force, I have never been paid or looked to get paid for my photographs. Yeah some stuff here and there at my jobs but nothing overly pressing.

    So here I am, attempting to make money by doing something I love very much. And I love it because there's NO STRESS whatsoever. I shoot because I love to shoot!

    So why do it? Well, it would be nice to have a little xtra cash to throw around every now and then. I do have 3 more kids to put through school, and a daughter getting married next summer, so the money would be nice.

    All said and done...

    Am I the only one that has run into this?

    I am smart enough to know that I cannot dedicate myself to a full time photography business, and I think the craft show lesson has taught me that I don't want to. So how can I bring in that little something xtra? Team photos? I've been asked by multiple local schools, but I'd rather shoot myself in the foot. Weddings? Did one for a friend in the Air Force and thought I was going to explode from the pressure (film days, and early in my "career"). Events" Yeah, but not with a full time job. Stock? Hum....

    What about stock? Can anyone fill me in on stock sites? How do they work? Do they generate income of a measurable amount? Are some better than others? Does the type of photography I shoot apply better to one than the other? Should I find a rep to sell to stock houses?

    All good questions that I would love some input on if you guys & girls are up for sharing your knowledge.

    But after writing this VERY LONG post I have also come up with the question asked above. That is, have any of you run into this before? This has turned into a philosophical question as well as an informative one so feel free to answer one, both, or just laugh at me because I just posted the longest question ever!

    BTW... I sold 4 prints and made up $350 of the investment.

    Thanks gang!

    WOW.... he's done!
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Aug 25, 2003
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    Lawrence, KS
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    Here's my advice. When you attach a paycheck to something you find stress free fun, it often turns into stress filled work. :)
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 1, 2008
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    UK - England
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    from what I have heard the stock photo market is pointless if you are after financial gain - you get paid very very little for any use of your shots and you are also not able to sell those shots on to other people after they go for stock (because the people can just buy the stock image for vastly smaller costs). As a result you have ot have a very large number of stock images in order to get back your investment and these stock images also have to be popular enough tobe used regularly.

    I think if your looking to keep things small first thing is to setup a website through which you can take orders - show your work and act as a point of refrence.
    With that also look to stock - you have to decide if your going to print photos yourself or if you want to use an external printing company - many of which have website building and hosting facilities for an annual sum. This has the bonus of taking supply problems away from you though it does mean that you are putting the quality of the final product in the hands of others - something to consider.

    Now you have a website - some ordering system and a supply system - no where from here?
    Well I would make some small business cards - with your website and email on. These you can carry with you and give out at fairs, shops - anywhere you can to get your name out into the population. There are also methods on online advertising (google search results and such) but I have no understandings of that area.

    Now you have some advertising and a working system and have not spent too much on the setup - now from here things get much more indevidual. You could do more craft fairs - ask around some local shops and have a few prints put up for sale (coffee and tea shops often have photos on the wall for sale) you could even look to trying to get into some gallery displays or running your own with some other local photographers.

    Really though how far you go in is dependant on yourself and how far you want to take this.
  4. BackLashe

    BackLashe TPF Noob!

    Mar 13, 2010
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    I have been selling stock photos for several years and you don't make much. The photos generally have to be business or product related even to sale. If you like taking alot of pictures of nuts and bolts, business people shaking hands, etc. you might make alittle bit. Average price range 50 cents to 5 dollars. My best seller is a picture of plumbing parts that sold about 60 times, not exactly creative or enjoyable.

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