Need Help Getting Started

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by Ross Photography, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Ross Photography

    Ross Photography TPF Noob!

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    I aspire for my camera to eventually pay itself off, as I'm sure all of you do. I want to know what the best course of action is for me to start making a little money. I mostly do nature and outdoor photography, you can look at some of my work on Instagram. I have thought about doing a few canvas prints and seeing if I can sell them in local stores, but the lowest price I can find for a decent canvas is around $100 and I'm not sure how I can make a profit out of that. Today I sent a few emails out to local magazines to see if they would accept any of my work, but I am still waiting on a reply. Another idea would be to print a few cheap photobooks and see if anyone will buy them.

    Any response or tips would be greatly appreciated, and thank you for your time.


     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Nature/landscape/outdoor is an image market super saturated with images from 10s of thousands of others that have the same aspirations as you, to try and make a little money.
    All the microstock image houses have millions of very low $ nature/landscape/outdoor images available for publications and web sites to use.

    Consequently you have to promote, advertise and market yourself to stand out from the rest of that huge herd.
    In other words what you mostly need is business/marketing skills more so than photography skills.

    It can be done, but it's highly un-likely it can be done without having a significant bankroll to get a business ramped up and profitable .
     
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  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'll be brutally frank: Based on your Instagram posts, I would file this under "Non-starter" right now. Your images are nice enough, but that's about it. There's nothing there that makes them stand head-and-shoulders about [literally] millions of others of similar ones. As Keith mentioned, this market is so saturated that to get any sort of a foothold, you need to either (1) Be an absolutely outstanding photographer; or (2) develop a previously unthought-of niche and in either case you need to market the <Hades> out of things, which will likely cost you way more than you could make from the images.

    One word of caution: If you do go ahead, DO NOT produce cheap anything. Yes, you can get large canvas prints and photobooks from places like Wal-mart for pennies on the dollar, but there's a reason they are the price they are, and that will be readily apparent to any potential clients. DO spend the money on quality printing. DO use high-quality framing and display. DO use the latest products, and DO print LARGE. DO NOT turn out a few 8x10s at Costco, put them in Dollar Store frames and then become disillusioned when no one buys them.
     
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  4. beagle100

    beagle100 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree ... you're a beginner and a "non-starter"
    keep practicing and don't try to sell those pics !
     
  5. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    The largest problem with outdoor photography sales is that the average consumer can get a 40" photo framed from walmart for $30. Unless you can be at least 10 times the better photographer or have a unique hook, you're not making the price of your camera back. It sucks to hear but it's the truth. Most people put no value in photography.
     
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  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This has gotten more and more true over the course of my career.

    I've been working as a professional photographer for about 40 years. I can count on one hand the number of non-commissioned sales I've made. I do admit I've made no earnest effort to do so for a very long time.

    The few that do value photography (at least the ones I know) are other professionals... those who buy photography necessary for their own endeavors: designers, marketing folks, manufacturers and the like. These people need good photography... better than they can produce on their own. They will pay for it, but it has to be good.

    As for your decor type of images, I have one idea you might try. As stated earlier, make and present you photographs in very professional way, using top-drawer sorts of printing and presentation. Then approach some smaller, artisan type of shops... coffee shops, bakeries, cafes, those sort of places. Offer to provide a selection of prints (at least 16x20 or better) to hang on their walls at no cost to them. They will get free wall art and maybe even some additional traffic if the images depict local people. Each print must have a price and your contact info attached.

    I have no clue if this could work, but if you're REALLY bound to try something, this may be something to consider.

    Good luck to ya!
    -Pete
     
  7. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds as if you are totally focused on the artistic aspects of photography. That area can be very difficult to get started in even if you have artistic talent. There are other areas such as real estate(hard to make much $$), weddings(very hard to do well), events(competitive but doable) and other miscellaneous stuff like insurance.
     

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