It seems like marketing can easily end up being the very last thing on your mind when you are running a business, but it needs to be right up there on the top. Any photographer needs to know the ins and outs of marketing their photography business, and canvas prints can be a great way to do this. Don’t know how to use canvas prints to help market your business? Here are 6 great tips to help you out:
Tip #1: Product placement – there are thousands of photographers out there that aren’t sure how to get their products in front of thousands of people for little to no cost. But, this is where being a great photographer can come in extremely handy. Transfer your favorite photos to canvas prints and then offer them to certain places that see hundreds or thousands of visitors a day – such as hospitals, banks, malls, gyms, or even popular coffee shops or local hang outs around the city. You will find that there are many places that will take you up on your offer as it gives them beautiful, free canvas prints to hang and you some much needed free marketing. Just make sure that you can put your name and information on the bottoms of these prints so you will reap the benefits.
Tip #2: Find your niche – this one can be a bit harder if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Canvas prints offer you a superb way to instantly gain a niche as many photographers don’t do these yet. So, choose a specific or unique way to provide your prints to clients, such as in the form of pop art, folk art, 3D design, or even caricatures so that your work is different and will stand out from others out there.
Tip #3: Get yourself into the “in-crowd” – networking is vital to the success of your photography and your business. You can network in so many ways, and they can all be a great fun way to ensure that you get your name and business out there. Plus, once you start to get into the “good” gatherings where the in-crowd is in your local business area, you will find that the orders will steadily go up as you continue to network and show off your canvas prints to those that want to purchase them.
Tip #4: Demographics are not to be ignored – now, you don’t need specific, in-depth studies on the demographics of your city or state, but you want to make sure that you are able to create a buzz around your canvas prints to those that will want to purchase them. This means that you need to start becoming members of different organizations that revolve around art, photography, weddings, children, birthdays, and other special occasions that will allow you to get in fronmt of their faces so they can see your work and see why they need you.
Tip #5: Be an expert – think of all the times that people and clients have asked you what type of camera you use, what type of film you prefer, what are your favorite locations to take pictures in, and so on. They ask because they assume that you are an expert – after all, you take pictures for a living, right? Become the expert that they all expect you to be on canvas prints so that you can easily take the reigns in that field and offer the best that there is. When clients around town hear and see that you are an expert at special photography, they will come to you when they need you.
Tip #6: Offer specials – while you don’t have to give everything away, you do want to make sure that you offer some type of bonus for your clients, especially those that purchase canvas prints. Offer a free large portrait, a discount on canvas prints, special technique or coating for the canvas, or something else that will give that extra special, free value to your packages over others out there.
Basically, these 6 tips can easily help you break into the market that purchases canvas prints with their photographs. By following these tips, you’ll easily find yourself in a great niche that will give you A-List clients with very little effort and marketing money.
Every Editorial Photographer dreams of going ‘on assignment’ and traveling around the world for some esteemed magazine they admire and respect. It is a big feather in the cap and a welcome change to what most of us do to earn a living. It is fun and exciting with daily challenges that allow you to grow as a person as well as a photographer.
I will be the first to admit that I am lucky: I get paid to do what I love. My official title is the North American Correspondent for Land Rover World magazine but in brief, I travel around the continent in an old Range Rover going on expeditions with fascinating people. Each expedition is an adventure and every person, a story unto their own right.
When I first started writing for LRW, I submitted each story idea in the form of a query letter or email, just like I still do for other magazines. The best way to get the plum jobs with magazines is to treat the editors with respect, follow the established rules and always turn in on time clean copy with good-quality, posted images in the format they request. After a few small assignments are behind you, they will start to hand you work or ask you to supply a list of story/assignment ideas you would be interested in doing for them. This is when the fun begins!
In August 2008, I jumped at the opportunity to complete the Alexander McKenzie Heritage Trail with the Rover-Landers of British Columbia – a trail known for its challenges in the Chilcotin Plateau in the heart of the coastal mountains. Canada is different then much of the continental United States; it is more akin to Alaska with its huge tracts of land, limited population and abundant wildlife.
As a photographer, especially a digital photographer, packing for an expedition of this kind has its challenges. My camera bag consists of:
• Canon 5D with grip
• Canon 10D with grip as a back up body
• Canon EF 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM
• Canon EF 24-105mm 4L IS USM
• Canon EF 50mm 1.8 II (great back up lens for not a lot of money!)
• 6 Canon batteries as well as 32 double AAs and cartridge for the 5D
• 580EX TTL Speedlite
• Custom exposure and white balance disc
• 48” folding bounce board
• 77mm Polarizing filter and extra UV filters for all lenses
• 6 x 4 gb CF cards – mostly SanDisk Extreme IV
• Epson P-3000 viewer
• 15.4” MacBook Pro with various bells and whistles including Lightroom and Photoshop in case I need to post images on the trail to meet deadlines
• Manfrotto 190PROB Tripod with 322RC2 Head
• Manfrotto 682 Self Standing Monopod with 234 Monopod Tilt Head
• Two inverters to charge batteries as needed (nice that the old Rangie comes stock with two 12V cigarette lighters)
• Lot’s of lens cleaner
• Model and property releases
• Sony Digital Recorder
• Two or three protein bars, a bottle of water, sunscreen and a few extra strength Tylenol
• Lowepro Nature Trekker Bag with silly accessories hanging all over it such as a giant bear bell that has nearly the volume of a fog horn
Before I leave civilization, I always double and triple check that all my equipment is working properly, lenses and bodies are clean and that any cables or reader I may need are packed.
All trails offer unique challenges and the McKenzie Trail did not disappoint. The horseflies were attracted by both heat and anything white which included me, my Range Rover and my big white Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM lens. You would not believe how hard it is to concentrate on a shot while getting dive-bombed by the flies the size of your fist. The mosquitoes where something else again and seemed entirely immune to DEET.
The mud had to be the best part however; it had a life unto itself. When covering events or on assignment, invariably where you need to be to get the best photographs happens to be in the deepest, darkest, grossest place to stand, or worse, sit. I always pack waterproof hiking boots but in the case of this trip, the hip waders normally worn by fishermen would have been more like it.
As always though, the human element is the most difficult part of being a photographer. When you are in the studio or photographing someone’s wedding, they expect to have their picture taken but when traveling, both the group and the people you come across in your wanderings may or may not want to have their photograph taken. It is a mistake to assume that everyone wants to be featured in a magazine or that they will want every moment recorded. On this trip, the leader of group put a chainsaw into his hand. Thankfully, it was not a bad enough accident to warrant us breaking out the satellite phone and calling in the EVAC chopper (which was too bad since they would have made some incredible pictures). However, his reaction to me with my camera was explosive – he did not want any ‘bloody pictures’ in the magazine.
But like of all the trips and expeditions I am lucky enough to cover, there are rare gems – photographs, stories or both that few people would ever have the chance to experience. No one had driven on this trail in three years and it sees only the odd backpacker. Unforgettable is the quiet beauty of the Chilcotin Plateau on a misty morning, the reclusive couple who let me photograph the section of land they had ranched for forty-one years and the fly-in fishing camp owned by the eccentric man from southern California who decided that we could spend the night as long as we helped build a bridge.
Moments to cherish for later when the work really begins you are stuck sorting three thousand images and trying to figure out how to keep the story within the word count.
Author Ann lockley
Copyright ©2008 picturephotosoncanvas.com
Photography is appealing for many because it’s a way to get paid capturing life on pictures. As such we show people what we see and, sometimes, things they didn’t see due to our perspective of a situation. However, the business side of things is important to pay attention to. Without giving it fair time you won’t have a business for long. Remember, you are in the wedding photography business.
There are several key factors. While it is creative and it takes being a people person to a large degree, as a small business owner you are everything. You’re the PR person, the marketing department, the accounting department, the advertising department, billing and accounts and everything else that larger businesses have departments for! With most small businesses it all falls to you. As primary role of owner/manager it pays to look honestly at your strengths and weaknesses. We all have them!
If you excel with people and promoting your business but not so much at accounting you have a decision to make. Do you muddle along making do and hoping everything is properly recorded – or do you designate by hiring someone who offers such services to small businesses? There can be advantages and disadvantages to both – look at which column is bigger. This person is in charge of taxes as well as your day to day financial picture. You might think that you would do photography for free but if you had to it might be a different story! A basic computer program can handle basic billing with minimal input, but it can pay to have someone tend to your account a few times per year.
Perhaps you need more promotion but you don’t have an advertising budget for an ad in bridal magazines. Look at a booth at a bridal fair and offer specials to get people to book their weddings. A couple free 8X10 canvas prints to get a wedding booked is well worth the effort.
Look at getting more bang for the buck. Consider vehicle magnets, or lettering on your vehicle windows. You’re driving anyway – but now your vehicle is a rolling billboard.
Anymore much business is done online – a website is important. A professional looking website makes the difference in many cases between working regular and not – it showcases your best photos. It gives people a chance to see what you can do. There are some decent “plug and play” sites but most suggest getting a personal domain name. A domain name that reflects a free site gives the impression that you’re not very good or you’re not very professional and serious about the work. When you’re doing wedding photography and asking a couple to trust you to capture their big day that is not the message you want to give! Domain names need not be expensive.
Along with your website you need an awesome portfolio. Put together some shots that highlight what you can do. If there were 20 shots to remember you by or to show what you can do what 20 shots would they be? Highlight these on your website. Copyright protect anything that is online – this limits others from taking and using your work without permission.
Marketing and promotion take some effort and once you get some investments in place make maximum use of it. Especially with wedding photography your best advertising is word of mouth – this can work for you but if you aren’t careful it can just as easily work against you.
How much credit will you extend? Another way to ask this is – how much can you afford to lose if people don’t pay? Chasing people down for credit payments you allowed is part of being a business owner. For wedding photography this often means getting the money up front.
One professional suggested “buy business cards by the thousands. Try to get rid of them all in six months.” There are many places to order business cards – places like printplace.com have custom business cards, printed front and back if you wish, for very reasonable fees and you can design the card yourself, initial to ok the proof and get them in the mail as you ordered them. Having cards means you have something to leave with everyone who asks a question about having a wedding done.
Remember to account for wear and tear of the equipment and – eventually – replacements and upgrades. Along with photography equipment a good laptop with a good photo program can be a great help and is an investment that can save you greatly!
From a business standpoint get a good logo and marketing materials. If your creativity doesn’t extend to designing logos go to an online outsourcing site such as Elance and find a professional to outsource to. Be sure when working online you are crystal clear in your descriptions of what you want and be picky about who you choose. Don’t choose just on price – that extra $30 might bring a much better result. Remember this logo will be on all of your marketing materials. It identifies YOU. Don’t skimp on it. This is also a good place to have writing done for your brochures, some marketing jobs and other tasks that fall within the description of online outsourcing companies.
Outsourcing those things you either don’t want to deal with or can’t do well makes sense. It lets them do what they do best and frees you up to do what you do best – shoot photos! While you need to tend to business there is nothing saying you can’t designate or hire it done – it’s what smart managers do when someone else can do it better!
Author Ann lockley
Copyright ©2008 picturephotosoncanvas.com
Photos, Photographers & Copyrights
When I talk about ‘selling your photographs’, in reality I am talking about selling the rights to that image. Your photographs are the most valuable items you own as the long-term, residual income possible is unlimited (although somewhat dependent on your ability to sell your work, click here to learn about Selling & Reselling your Photographs).
The digital age has made copyright laws and enforcement much more difficult. How many of us, after a particularly successful shoot, rush home to immediately upload the photos to our galleries so that we can share our work with family, friends, clients and pretty much the rest of the world? That is what I thought – all of us! Do you ever stop to think about protecting those images considering it is almost impossible to stop the theft if someone really wants that photograph? Have you ever seen your pictures featured on someone else’s site? Even if they do not lay claim to the photo, it is enough to make you want to pull your hair out – how dare they steal your creative work and take money out of your pocket!
Once you have downloaded your images and before you do anything else, add your name and copyright into the metadata and watermark the image. This data is encoded into the file and cannot be removed. Without permission, no one will print the image and no editor will touch it.
The next step is to physically put a copyright on any printed images as well as any images posted on your site. Most photographers sign an image before giving it to a client and a label with your business name on the back is another surefire way of protecting your work. Many photographers also put a signature of sorts on the image before posting it on their site – that is personal choice in my books.
Now for negotiating your rights with publishers or anyone who wants to use your image. There are many types of copyrights that can be leased so you do not give up all ability to use an image when you sell it to a magazine or business.
• One-time rights – you are giving the buyer the right to use or ‘lease’ that image once and a single fee is charged
• First rights – this is similar to one-time rights but as the photographer, you are saying the image was never used anywhere before. These rights can be more specific as in ‘first North American rights’ or ‘first world rights’. Usually the fee is marginally higher then with one-time rights.
• Serial rights – this is what magazines like when they lease photos. It gives them the right to run the image without fear that it is in any competitive markets. This too can be broken down to ‘first North American serial rights’ etc
• Exclusive rights – just like it sounds, it is offering the exclusive use of an image for whatever time is specified in the contract. Calendar companies who want to own an image for the duration of the year often use this ‘right’.
• Electronic rights – this is new with the internet. Electronic rights are the use of an image in an electronic medium – on a website for example. Make sure when you sell an image to a periodical that if they plan on using it on their website that they not only specify that on the contract but they pay you for the extra usage as well.
• Promotion rights – allow a magazine, for example, to use the image to promote the publication that the image will be published in. This too should garner a larger fee and that the length of time the company wants to use the image is written into the contract.
• Work for hire – this is sometimes how initial editorial jobs are garnered but it makes the photographer sign away all rights to the image because you are being hired to do the shoot. Working for a newspaper is work for hire – they always own the images although the periodical may allow you to use an image in your portfolio as long as credit is given.
• All rights – selling all rights to an image is a bad way to protect your interests. Never do this unless you are either paid very well or it is a job that you do not want to be associated with ever.
These rules are over-simplified and all photographers should take a course in copyright law for the artist early on in their career. Remember that your images are not only valuable to you, but they are also a financial legacy to your heirs for seventy years past your death. With the proper instruction, they could be making thousands of dollars every year from the sale of those images so protect them well – you and your family will be happy you took the time to learn your rights.
Author Ann lockley
Copyright ©2008 picturephotosoncanvas.com
No matter what kind of photography you do, to make it in this business, you must sell your work. That sounds simple and, in theory, it should be. Photography is all around us and every editor, agent, art director, business and individuals are looking for good quality images to enhance their product. However, how do you get your work out there and sell your photography? Much of it depends on what type of photography you want to do and what other side avenues you can develop for your work.
For the sake of this article, we are going to assume you already have a budding career as some sort of freelance photographer – what type does not really matter as long as you are not working for a newspaper, etc. You own your photos and the copyright is yours to do with as you see fit.
In assuming you are a photographer, we can also assume that you already have a fair amount of good quality images stored up and gathering dust. It is time to go through that pile and see what you can do about making them earn you some extra income.
Stock agencies abound and although digital cameras have brought out a horde of wannabe photographers, along with the headaches, it has also helped bring huge growth in the industry. Unfortunately, it has also dropped the overall value of stock images so although top producers will always earn a sizeable chunk of money per image, the sales may be less frequent. Always keep your best photos for these agencies but what about the rest
Microstock agencies have sprouted up all over the internet and although they have knocked down the value of stock images considerably, they have opened up a new avenue as well. Many of these images sell for $1 or $2 for a web quality image (72 dpi and under 500 kb) or up to $7 to $30 for a print quality image (300 dpi and 16 mb or more). Commission at Microstock agencies ranges from 25 to 50% depending on what rights you agree to sell (click here to read Photos, Photographers & Copyrights) – the more you give up, the greater the commission.
Microstock agencies are a wonderful place to make residual income from your images that would otherwise be taking up drive space. The sites are easy to use and you can check on the stats of your sales with a bit of browsing.
Like all stock sites, there are requirements that must be met – you must have model and property releases signed, you must remove any logos or name brands from the image and they only accept good quality images that are marketable.
There are two ways of selling your images as an editorial photographer. The first is what we normally think of which is the glamorous ‘on assignment’ photojournalist image of photography but it takes a while to develop a relationship with the art director to nab these plum assignments. What most photographers begin with is similar to being your own stock agency but you earn a 100% commission instead of 25 to 40%!
We all have types of photography we enjoy and therefore have a copious amount laying around in our external hard drives. Mine happens to be boats. Big, small, old, new, wood, fiberglass – I have thousands of them sitting around taking up space. Contacting appropriate yachting magazines, wooden boat images to Wooden Boat magazine for example means those images are no longer gathering dust.
Fine Art and Galleries
There is big money in fine art photography. For many photographers, their first ‘showing’ may be hanging their work in a friend’s office or restaurant. Do you know someone that owns or manages an appropriate business? Ask them if you can hold a showing there and offer to give them a commission on anything that sells. This is a great marketing ploy for portrait or studio photographers – people see your work as something special when it is hanging in a business and the chance of residual sales is far greater.
Fine art photography is also a calling, much like being any type of artist and to see real success, it helps to have an agent. Photography agents know how to take your work and market it to the most likely buyers whether it is galleries, magazines, calendars, etc.
Calendar, Postcard and Greeting Card Sales
Although these can be tough industries to crack, they tend to be lucrative and art directors enjoy building relationships with a stable of regular photographers versus taking work in piecemeal.
Many artists also have their own postcards and/or greeting cards printed and then take them around to local businesses to sell. Much like stock photography, this means someone else is handling the individual sales, allowing you more time to actually shoot but with the drawback that what you shoot is dependent on what the market will tolerate.
Art and T-shirt Sites
This is a fun way to see your work on something other then a wall or in a magazine. Many photographers have their own ‘storefronts’ through inexpensive online markets such as Café Press. These sites allow you to upload your photography and then put it onto items to sell, meanwhile the site does all the hard work. These sites allow for customization of your store and complete control over what your images will look like. How much money you make from these sites depends heavily on how much effort you put into the site.
There are many ways as a photographer to augment your regular income. The more you allow other people to handle the sales, the more time you will have to shoot. Residual income from any of these sources will help you through the slow times or put the money into a special account for buying new equipment – whatever it takes to stay in the business and be a success!
Author Ann lockley
Copyright ©2008 picturephotosoncanvas.com
Selling is an art that some of us have and others of us fail at rather miserably. It is almost an art form and one many photographers do not grasp until well into their career. Learn to do it right from the beginning and save yourself the frustration and heartache of missed opportunities!
A good cover letter presented properly will get you assignments guaranteed. The best photographer in the world will not sell a photo if first, he does not try but waits for the business to come to him and secondly, by not adhering to the rules when contacting magazine editor and art directors.
The first step is the cover letter (called a query letter in non-fiction writing but essentially the same format). A few general rules are that it cannot be over one page – ever! Any longer and it will be tossed on the ‘reject’ pile. It should be printed cleanly on bright white paper in black ink without embellishments or ‘cutesy’. The cover letter is not the place you want to flex your creative energies or try something that breaks tradition. Traditional also means using standard business letter format and a Times New Roman or similar font.
The first paragraph should be a brief introduction that adequately demonstrates you have read the magazine i.e. the feature on the Kodiak bear was amazing. Do not be too gushing or again, it will end up in the reject pile.
The second paragraph should be a quick synopsis of your photography and how it pertains to their magazine. For example, if it was a nature magazine you were contacting, stating that you travel extensively and spend much of your time backpacking would be perfect. If it is a regional nature magazine, you want to demonstrate your familiarity with the area by listing a name of something special you have photographed in that area. You then want to introduce the images you provided and, ideally, they should be the ones of that special spot you already mentioned. Point out any special features such as a vertical shot that would be ideal as a cover shot for example. Mention the tear sheets (examples of previously published work) that are included in the package and the SASE so they are able to return the photographs (you want them to keep the tear sheets for their files!).
The final paragraph should be a summation and that you have a portfolio available for viewing. Thank them for their time and close the letter professionally.
How you package the cover letter with the images is up to you to a point. Again, the packaging should be clean on bright white paper or envelope and the all pieces must be labeled with your name. Printed photographs should have your business label on the backside and be large enough to demonstrate the work properly but not too large to be difficult to manage – 8” x10” is large enough. This introduction should be completely professional with nothing that is going to take away from the photography. There is no need to direct them to your website but make sure you include the address along with your email and physical address at the top of the letter.
Once the introduction is made, marketing tools such as postcards can be sent several times a year to your name stays in front of them.
Steps to remember:
• The SASE – never forget your self-addressed stamped envelope. Even if you do not want the materials back, always include it as often that is how the editor or art director will contact you about your work. International shipping coupons are available at your local post office.
• Do not send originals – never send originals you want back just in case they get lost
• Do not send over-sized envelopes or over package – too much tape looks unprofessional but it also can be a pain in the butt and you never want an editor to think of you that way!
• Label, label, label – everything in the package should be labeled
• Do your research! When addressing the envelope, make sure it is going to the right person. If the photographer’s guidelines say no email solicitations, no not email the person. Read the magazine, look at the galleries, ads and website and be familiar with the tone of the magazine or company.
• Make sure your cover letter is enticing and good at selling your work. Only include ideas that are slanted towards that magazine
• Follow up with submissions with an email or postcard several times a year
• If you get the opportunity for a face to face meeting to show your portfolio, have something to leave behind like a oversized postcard or package with your contact info
This first introduction is vital but in many ways, the strict format that must be followed takes away much of the difficulty in putting together a proper package.
Author Anne lockly
Copyright ©2008 picturephotosoncanvas.com
Historically, editorial photography is the catch name for photography that accompanies articles within the magazine or, in the case of fashion or photojournalism pieces, is the article.
Magazine sales are in the toilet with newsstand sales down 6.3% in the first half of 2008 compared to the precious year. Because the income from the newsstands is higher per issue then with subscription sales, publishers use this data to establish their bell curve and to decide future changes within the magazine. It will be interesting to see what marketing ploys and lay-offs there are in the next year if this trend continues.
As an Editorial photographer or wannabe Editorial photographer, this does not bode well. With the numbers of photographers increasing, steady work is becoming harder and harder to find. Often amateurs try to muscle in on the work and substantially undercut bids from professional photographers, adversely affecting the availability of magazine work. Digital photography has become almost too easy and too available to the consumer and many of the people hired by magazines do not have the background or knowledge to pull off the job meanwhile the magazine is left with subpar images. This lowers the overall impact of the magazine and sales decline farther. Ansel Adams said it best many years before digital photography was even a consideration:
‘I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term — meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching — there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.’
1902 – 1984
So how do you earn a living wage from editorial photography? You must be an exceptional photographer but with one other key element – you also must be a knowledgeable and intelligent businessperson.
Let me backtrack a bit and so everyone understands the value of professional photographer’s images. How you perceive your work is as equally important as how you capture each image.
Photography is an art form before it is anything else. It communicates much like a painting or sculpture and it is has the same kind of value to the artist. It also has a value much like a story, a song or a book for the writer. In our digital world, each photograph has a value that is hard to understand but these are all creative works that have a worth greater then what most people understand. Think of the old joke with art and that it is worth more once the artist is dead? Photography is the same. The images a photographer stores whether in film or digital are more valuable then anything else they own and not only should be treated as such including bequeathing them in a will so that family and friends continue to benefit financially after the photographer’s death (for more on The Photographer’s Will, click here). A photographer’s collection of images has more potential value then anything else they bequeath their family.
Are we in the right mindset about photography now? Rarely are images time-sensitive since photographers stop time with each click of the shutter. But what does this have to do with earning a living as an editorial photographer? Absolutely everything.
What I did was put a value to your work. Every time you step out your front door with your camera, consider how you are going to earn a living from the images you are about to take.
Say a yachting magazine hires you to shoot a series of images to accompany an article on a particular new sailboat out on the water for a lovely day of sailing. They will pay you per image as well as pay your expenses for the shoot. This is an ideal opportunity to earn a ton of money. Not only do you have the money from the initial shoot, you have the opportunity to sell images of the boat to the manufacturer for future use and you can shoot the crew sailing the boat for other magazines. Now look around you, there are products all over the boat that some company manufactured and that company would love to have some images of their item in use on a gorgeous sunny day by a crew of professional sailors and on a brand new sailboat. Look at the clothes the sailors are wearing – any of those name brand? Have the sailors sign a modeling waiver and you can sell their images over and over again (click here for information on Selling & Reselling your Photographs). Look around you at the other boats out of the water – give you any ideas? What about the landscape? Or when you are at the marina waiting for the crew to get the boat underway?
As long as you do not sign your rights away (click here for more information on Photos, Photographers & Copyrights), these are all your images that you own and can sell to as places as you like. Want to earn a living wage from your editorial photography? Think outside the box and make each shoot count financially. Top Editorial photographers do not do work-for-hire or sell the rights to their images – they know and protect the value of their work as well as the future income from each image. They shoot for the client first but always shoot for future projects, stock, or books.
And when most of us think ‘magazine’, we think consumer magazine but editorial photography also covers trade magazines, annual reports, web sites, marketing and business identity items, etc. Do not limit yourself to working with only what you see on the newsstands or you will be very hungry indeed.
Now you are beginning to think like a pro.
Next, stand back and look at your business. Do you have an accountant? If you don’t, get one and make sure they are capable of working with income from a variety of countries, understand how to work with a freelance individual and the how to accurately account for your equipment. Have them explain to you what is a business right off and what is not and the value of collecting receipts. What about leasing equipment or a vehicle, hiring staff and subcontractors? All of this is vital in business and many good accountants will save you money and headache in the end.
Editorial Photography and magazine work wanes with the seasons. Normally December is a quiet month for editorial photographers so use that time to fill in other forms of work. Or, think ahead a year and spend your first December photographing images to sell to magazines for the following calendar year. Most magazines work four to six months in advance so start contacting art editors in the July and August – the other notoriously difficult time to drum up sufficient work. Keep post-production work for slow times and volunteer to assist wedding photographers – it is a great learning experience and you are helping them out at the same time.
Income varies from month to month for self-employed people, especially when you are still establishing your business. Make up a monthly budget so you know what you need to make and then establish a means by which to earn at least that amount. When money comes in, take ten percent right off the top and invest it wisely for your retirement.
Take another ten percent and put it away for the times when money is lean. I prefer an investment fund such as a money market account as they may earn a lower percentage per month but you can draw on it at any time without penalty.
Lastly, take five percent of what you earn and put it in a separate fund for purchasing new equipment and continuing education. Photography is an ever-evolving technology these days and having the funds with which to upgrade is critical to stay competitive. And take my word for it, buying new glass or a new Mac system is an expensive proposition if you have not put some pennies away every month.
The most important part of being any type of professional photographer is practice. And I don’t mean just shooting for the sake of shooting but getting out there and shooting events, objects, landscapes, people, dogs – anything but do it regularly but also pick difficult working conditions or parameters. Once a week, grab a photo from a magazine that is a particularly challenging image either because of the complexity of the image itself or the conditions the photographer was working under to capture the image and try to replicate it.
If you want to make money as a photographer, you have to be a serious photographer – this is the big leagues folks. Competition has never been higher for the plum jobs and guaranteed there is always somebody ready to jump in if you drop the ball. To develop a relationship with a photo editor or art director, you need to be consistently excellent. Never be lazy, always come to a shoot prepared for every eventuality and always meet deadlines – you will get called back if you give everything you got each and every time you shoot for that magazine!
Author Anne lockly
Copyright ©2008 picturephotosoncanvas.com
Styling of the ‘Book’
Personal preference does enter into what you want your portfolio to look like. A portfolio is your physical representative and you want it to speak for you and your work when you are not able. Portfolios are personal in many ways although you must be prepared to have your personal taste picked apart. No two agents or editors want the same thing in a portfolio so what one may rave about, the other may hate.
In general, the book should be in keeping with the style of the photography. If you specialize in ultra modern architectural photography, an ultra modern look to your book makes sense. Of course the style goes beyond the cover – pages, colors, even the folder or bag it slides into should continue the imagery.
Keep in mind, however, that by the time the agent or editor sits down with you and your book, they probably have met with hundreds of photographers and thumbed through thousands of books. Agents are not impressed by over done, over worked or overly cutesy ideas. They prefer simple books based on intelligent and creative ideas.
Size of the ‘Book’
Books come in all shapes and sizes but what is going to convince an agent or editor that you are the one for them? Again, it depends on the work you do. Previously published editorial work i.e. a page from a magazine, should be in the size it was originally published. Wedding portfolios should be in 8×10″ because that is usually the maximum size people have their wedding photos enlarged to when hanging them on the wall. Most other portfolios are 11×14″ or larger. ‘Big’ better shows off the images and lends a ‘larger then life’ feel to the book.
If, like many new photographers, you must travel or mail your book to agents, 11×14″ may seem too big and too expensive to mail. But think about this – the agent will have already seen your work either as a few 8×10″ images you sent with a letter of introduction and/or your website. They are interested in your work and they have asked to see your book – they know exactly what they are asking and would not do it if they were not keenly interested in taking you on as a client. Is this the point where you want to pull back and not present your photography to the best of your ability?
Most companies that produce portfolios for artists and photographers also sell shipping boxes custom fit for their covers. It is well worth buying the box as well. When you send the book, do not send it the slowest, cheapest way possible. Agents are fickle and easily distracted and if they are hot on your work today, they may not want to wait three weeks while your portfolio wanders from one end of the country to the other. Insure the heck out of it and send it as fast as you can realistically afford. First impressions are everything and make sure you are always presenting your work in its best light and yourself as a professional.
How Many Words are Too Many?
As beginners, we all want to explain our work. It is human nature to be nervous, to want to speak for our images and to attempt to explain how or why we took that shot. Don’t. Your portfolio is not a place for words; it is a place to let your images speak for themselves. Nothing says more then your picture standing alone and leave captions for your Facebook page.
Final Thought on ‘Books’
Last year I met a prominent Dallas based photographer at a wine and cheese party hosted by an agency for new fine art photographers or photographers interested in breaking into the fine art market. This prominent Dallas based photographer had done almost entirely editorial work for magazines at this point in her career and proudly displayed her book for an equally prominent agent. The agent thumbed through three pages and declared ‘the images are wonderful but the book just won’t do!’, much to the embarrassment of the photographer. She had designed the book to impress magazine editors – there were words under the images and a magazine style design to the pages! Even under her personal work, she had explained the images because in her experience, that is what magazine editors preferred.
Thankfully, the agent gave her a second chance – bring me a new book sans words and plain pages, then we can talk.
Moral of the story? Always be prepared with a backup plan, know your subjects and do not be discouraged when your first attempt fails to impress, there is always a second chance.
Published By PicturePhotosonCanvas.com
Author Anne lockly
Copyright ©2008 picturephotosoncanvas.com
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