jetblast
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Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:46 am

Hello all-

I've finally decided to cave and I realise that I need to start searching for a second source of income, so I am going to start trying to sell some of my photography. Most of it is non-aviation related so I'm looking for any assistance anyone here can provide that has experience with it (lots of it is architectural and urban sort of stuff). Has anyone had any experience with selling photos anywhere and is it really all that profitable?

Some samples I shot just so I can be clear on the kind of stuff I usually do...



Looking forward to any help, and thanks...

Brian
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zckls04
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:10 am

Quoting jetblast (Thread starter):
and is it really all that profitable?

99.9% of the time no. Photography is a massively saturated market so it's hard to differentiate yourself from the crowd. You have to figure out what format people will be buying your work in and what they will do with it. What are you going to print on? Paper can be very expensive. Who is going to be printing your work? In large sizes especially, printing is expensive because of the very high cost of large printing equipment. Do you plan to frame your work or not? Who will you sell this sort of work to? How much would you expect them to pay?

The approach varies depending on the answers to all the above.
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Flighty
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:29 am

I am not a photog but my friend makes money from small foundations and orgs that need beautiful, pro quality photos of what _they_ do. It is a case by case basis. Yes, it is a living. No, it is not high volume circulation or millions of dollars. Your photos look great, by the way. I also like architecture and urban shots.
 
jetblast
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:46 am

I guess I should mention that it's more of a hobby I am hoping to get some money out of - certainly not thinking of quitting my day job to become a photographer  Just something to supplement my current income.

The problem I have been running into is trying to find somewhere to get some exposure for my work - unfortunately architectural / urban and landscape sorts of things seem to be very specialised.
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cws818
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:36 am

Quoting jetblast (Thread starter):
Some samples I shot just so I can be clear on the kind of stuff I usually do...

I have no advice to offer you (as I know nothing about the photography market), but I just wanted to chime in to say that your photos are very, very impressive.

Good luck!!
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zckls04
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:40 am

Quoting jetblast (Reply 3):
The problem I have been running into is trying to find somewhere to get some exposure for my work - unfortunately architectural / urban and landscape sorts of things seem to be very specialised.

Find a gallery. Better still- start one! A few people I know have got together with like minded photographers (either by posting a classified ad or asking around at printing shops) and hosted exhibitions in rented space for virtually no cost. You can host a photo exhibition very cheaply- you just need to promote it effectively. Remember you can exhibit anywhere- all you need is a wall for one afternoon. Other people I know have shown their work in bars and had it exhibited. Admittedly that has been more painting than photography, but the principle still stands.

It's not easy, but that's probably the easiest way to start out. Also, if you want to earn money, you need to really, really concentrate on presentation. Far too many people I know take a few snapshots and think they're Ansel Adams because a few of them accidentally come out well. Presentation is absolutely key to making the public interested in your work, and great photographers know how to display their photography to make it stand out from the crowd.

One more thing- don't have too much pride in your work. I sold a giclee of a photo I had worked incredibly hard to get, and was immensely proud of, only to find out later that the buyer had cropped the picture when he framed it by about 50% because he thought it "looked better". That really made me angry....!
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Silver1SWA
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:54 am

Quoting jetblast (Reply 3):
I guess I should mention that it's more of a hobby I am hoping to get some money out of - certainly not thinking of quitting my day job to become a photographer Just something to supplement my current income.

Well unfortunately, it's much harder to sell your work than it is to get hired to shoot. And establishing yourself as someone in a position to be hired in photography is difficult.

I have sold prints here and there, I have had a few sales to publications etc., but those have all been by request from people who found my work online. It's nice to get extra cash every now and then but lately I have shifted gears and instead of relying solely on someone seeing my work and wanting a copy, I have become interested in gaining experience and learning the proper skills to shoot for hire. I have done a few events and made a few extra bucks that way. One thing is certain though, if you go that route there is definitely a lot more pressure because when someone hires you, you need to deliver.

One major step in my photography is that I have found a niche and joined forces with a couple friends/fellow photographers within the same circle and we have set up a website/blog, joined forces with an app developer and produce apps. We also create and sell eBooks from time to time and I now do a weekly podcast. I don't make a ton of money off of this stuff, but I do make some and it is rather steady. It's nice to get an extra chunk of change every month.

So my advice is to set up a website, join social media networks and use them to promote yourself and work on improving as a photographer to the level that you can charge good amounts of money for your time and your work. Gain experience and confidence. And if you happen to have an interest that can go along with photography, exploit that.

You also might consider stock photography.
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Kiwirob
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:31 am

I make a couple of thousand USD per year selling photos on a few microstock sites, istock, shutterstock & dreamstime, this pretty much pays for my hobby. I could make a lot more if I uploaded more photos but I don't have the time, motivation or images which are commercially saleable. I do know a couple of people who sell thousands of images per month and make a pretty good living at it. I know people don't like microstock but getting accepted into a big agency like Getty is damn near impossible and your images could sit on there site for decades without a single sale.
 
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kngkyle
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:23 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 7):
I make a couple of thousand USD per year selling photos on a few microstock sites, istock, shutterstock & dreamstime, this pretty much pays for my hobby. I could make a lot more if I uploaded more photos but I don't have the time, motivation or images which are commercially saleable. I do know a couple of people who sell thousands of images per month and make a pretty good living at it. I know people don't like microstock but getting accepted into a big agency like Getty is damn near impossible and your images could sit on there site for decades without a single sale.

I do this as well. The money probably isn't worth the trouble for most people, but back when I started in 2007 it was fairly decent. The size of their collections has just grown so massively now that supply is way higher than demand.

The nice part is though, once you upload, keyword, and get the images approved, then the royalties will keep trickling in even if you stop actively uploading. (sales will drop as you become a smaller % of the pie but still) That's pretty much what I've been doing for the past 2 years, just collecting $100 payouts every couple weeks.

Not sure I would recommend it as a way to make serious money, but it can be fun nonetheless. And unlike doing galleries, Microstock doesn't cost you anything out of pocket.

[Edited 2012-10-19 06:24:49]

[Edited 2012-10-19 06:25:13]
 
jetblast
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:02 pm

Thanks to all so far for the help. I've decided to start with iStockPhoto so hopefully my samples make their cut. I'll look into the sites mentioned above as well.
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Kiwirob
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RE: Selling Photos For Profit (non-aviation)

Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:19 pm

Don't even bother attempting to go exclusive with iStock, the basic premise with microstock is volume, so the more sites you belong to the more exposure your portfolio has, the more money you will make. That said the only sites imo that are worth applying to are iStock, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Fotila and 123rf, all the rest are a waste of time. A good forum is www.microstockgroup.com

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