Getting Work

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by sage, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. sage

    sage Member

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    I'm just interested in what everyone does in regards to being paid for the photography they do. There obviously has to be more to it that soloing at craft show booths, microstock, trying to wedge into small art galleries to get into some fancy artist circles, and so forth. Magazines or newspapers for example, both have large areas where photography is used whether its for some music magazine, to the latest issue of guns and ammo, but how would one get a start to get there, or anywhere else for that matter? I just seem to keep running into dead ends.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Breaking into Professional photography is not easy, most photographers either go to College/University or begin as assistants. Some Degree course (in the UK) allow students some work experience working alongside a professional photographer, this is how one of my friends began, many of his advertising clients are Global companies.

    Freelance work is another way to start but first you need to build up your portfolio, there's a great deal of competition because there are far more students coming out of Photographic education than there are jobs and the percentage that will actually find work in Photography is very low less than 3%.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2010
  3. paulie

    paulie Member

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    do it yourself, get the gear and see if you have what it takes.
     
  4. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    Getting magazine work.

    Magazines or newspapers for example, both have large areas where photography is used whether its for some music magazine, to the latest issue of guns and ammo, but how would one get a start to get there,

    If you think you might want to get into stock photography and selling the use of your work to magazines, go to www.photosource.com and go through their Stockphotography 101. That will help, or buy Rohn Engh's book, Sell and Resell Your Photos. Photosource is his website so you can find out about it there. Rohn also has other materials and books such as sell.com a book about selling stock in this digital age. Hope that helps. Ric.
     
  5. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    There are two things digital did to to photography.
    1. Drastically reduced the demand for film to the point where it is hardly economical to produce it.
    2. Drastically increased the supply of images to the point where it is hardly economical to be a photographer

    Your question is very open ended. How much money do you want to make? What kind of photography do you want to do? For example you mentioned galleries and you mentioned magazines. They require different types of images one fine-art (a beautiful sunset), the other, editorial (simple shots such as a couple walking on a path). There is overlap and some pics from the same shot can be used in multiple places but you will need to understand the needs of those places before the shoot so you know what to shoot.

    I did a long exposure shot of the inside of an airplane in flight at night over the city of Dallas for a friend of mine. Over 90% of the photos in aviation magazines are editorial shots of the gear and the planes or techniques being discussed in the articles. There is very little need for the shot I took, but one of them had a section for artistic flight related pictures and they published it. It was full page and they paid me $50. The pro film and processing cost me nearly $30. My setup time, drive time, flight time, processing time, and time spent getting the image published was probably about 4 hours. So I made about $5 an hour.

    Cheers, Mark
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I used to collaborate with a fellow that wrote for trade journals. I shot all of his photo illustrations, and have been published in magazines including "Fine Homebuilding". There are still a few places that a new fellow can get their foot in the door. Advertise on a local level, make sure you never use the word 'cheap' in any way manner or form. Try not to limit yourself, but it doesn't hurt to state "specializing in" for an area you are best at. Find shops that will allow you to hang some of your best work at(Chambers of Commerce is a great place)show off local landmarks in your shots. Local furniture and antique shops sometimes will sell 'home decor' art from local folks.
    These days, you must think out of the box if you are determined to make a living from your chosen craft. This applies to anything you endeavor at.
    Almost (or)all newspapers want digicrap shots. Offer your services to museums, maybe to sports teams, and schools, prom season is upon us, any where there could be social functions that could use a photographer. After all, WEGE created his own niche market, and did more than what was necessary to capture it.
    If you are determined to be "successful" and be a a recognized name, then put that ahead of everything else in your life, and WORK hard, very hard.

    Rick
     
  7. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    If you are considering going to exhibit in galleries, may I suggest that you do fiber prints?

    I own a gallery and we have found that the sales of either Ilfochrome or Fiber prints are much stronger than RC and certainly better than digital prints
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    find the area of photography you really enjoy and get a very good portfolio of these images together.
    make a mailing list that has names of people in the magazines or publications, architecture firms
    you think your images would be the right "fit" or the etc, get names and titles of the people in
    the firm / agency &C that review portfolios, you can buy lists or make your own.
    make post cards of your best images and include your contact info, and mail them out ... every 10 weeks.
    update your list every few months, people are very fluid in this market, they leave, move on &C especially
    in a bad economy ...

    keep shooting as much as you can, build out your portfolio, and keep at it ... don't be discouraged.


    good luck!
    john
     
  9. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Do you want to be a full time professional or just do it as a side job? If you want to do it professionally full time, I would suggest assisting for a while for someone that's not afraid to discuss money and the business end of photography. Through assisting, you'll learn the daily operations of a photography business.

    There are also professional organizations that encourage standard rates and business practices for photographers. Here are a few:

    American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) www.asmp.org

    Professional Photographers of American (PPA) http://www.ppa.com/

    Advertising Photographers of America (APA) http://www.apanational.com/

    Here's a publication for professional photographers, Photo District: http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/index.jsp

    Don't get discouraged and build your portfolio and keep shooting.
     
  10. sage

    sage Member

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    I suppose I should have given some background, but in my attempt to keep in general to help out more than just myself I suppose that didn't work as well as I was thinking of. ha. Anyway, I do have my associates in photography, can't afford to get my bachelors yet, though I was accepted when I did apply a couple years ago, using film 99% of the time obviously. As far as money goes, more than what I get now, currently working in a retail framing shop that gives me practically no hours of work. Prints are all on fiber due to a nice mistake I made in my photo 101 class of not looking at what I bought, have been ever since unless its a color print/ilfochrome, run all film of whichever process myself, and so forth. I already volunteer at the college photo lab where I graduated from for several years, have assisted at a few weddings and events. I have a portfolio that contains mostly a series, though it needs to be reprinted again, so the old work will match the new since I'm fantastic at picking fiber paper that gets discontinued. Lately I've been enjoying shooting concerts when one of the bands I shoot come within driving range, though for the most part I have no sway one way or the other for any subject in particular, in that its more about the thrill of photography that what it is I'm shooting sort of thing, and not forcing bad photos and doing my 'editing' before the shot when I can. If I hike, I'll take my camera and do nature shots, or goto the city and do street, stuck at home I'll shoot here. I've just been confused as whichever next step to take to get a new job in the field I'm studying since that was never really taught to me, besides trying to get published in one of the b&w photo magazines like Shots.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I make photographs that please me, that come from the heart. Then I try to sell them. I could never make a living off of it unless I got some very wealthy patrons supporting me.
    This year has been miserable in print sales, I have only sold about ten prints so far, and only four of them at full price of $460 a piece.
    Then I print some for others, and I also teach a little bit, which I charge a modest fee for. I also do portraits of people and animals.
    All in all, I can count my income from photography in the thousands of dollars every year, which really isn't much.

    But I usually don't work very hard for it either. I bring business cards wherever I go and hand them out to those that are interested. I have web site and contact info on it, plus the services I offer. Some people call back, others don't.

    - Thomas
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You need to tighten up concentrate on a few areas, hone your skills & build up a good solid strong Portfolio, but you have to be ruthless and keep the quality high.

    Concert photography is fine but most small bands have no money so it's not an easy way to make money. It's an area I've specialised in since the early 1970's and it's about building up a reputation with your images. I was lucky because I still work with a member of one of the bands I first photographed in 1976, as his career changed direction and he became involved in record company management that opened up far more opportunities. While I was paid to shoot the images I also did it because I enjoyed it and I also worked full time. In more recent years I worked full time for a Record label and was shooting an average of 5-6 bands a week, often far more, covering Festivals, sometimes two venues the same night, and often choosing which venues were booked so I knew the lighting would be good. In the end I walked away, I was getting brain dead shooting tens of thousands of images, but life changes I also emigrated & got married.

    OK that sounds long-winded but what I'm saying is produce what the client wants, impress them, and it'll snowball, word of mouth, networking, building an even stronger Portfolio.

    Well put Thomas.

    That's what I emigrated and planned to do, but then your images get seen and the snowball starts again. Now when I shoot personal work I also shoot stock for a book commission.

    Ian
     
  13. theseasideartist

    theseasideartist Member

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    What do your sales average in a good year?

    D
     
  14. theseasideartist

    theseasideartist Member

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    I had to narrow down what I wanted to do - rather than spread myself too thin into too many different areas.
    Once I figured than out- I had to "focus"-focus my brain and research the heck out of it, and build a business plan.

    Marketing is a must.

    Build a brand, build a following- think online following, such as facebook and the other social media available today-

    For me, my photojournalism background taught me to never go out without a camera and business cards.

    Always keep several pens and my reporters notebook in my camera bag.

    Never fails- the one day you go out with only one pen is the day the ink dries up!

    Another words- Be Prepared!
    Both for shooting opportunites and sales opportunites.
    D
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    There was a recent feature about this subject on FotoTV. They reported about a pro-photographer conference, where this is a huge topic. Their conclusions and recommendations (not mine) were:

    1. Making money with analog photography is a tiny niche market.
    2. The budgets and prices are vanishing faster than ice cubes in the sun.
    3. Still photography alone is too small of a photographer's portfolio.
    4. Without 'telling stories' and adding audio and video to still, forget it (see Canon 5D).
    5. If you don't change, you're done as a pro.
    6. Holding on to old technologies is the best way to lose the battle.

    See http://mediastorm.org/ as an example on how photographers make money today.


    I decided, this is not for me, and consequently, stick to what I know and love.
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi sage

    the main thing you want to do, is get a portfolio that spotlights your style, versatility,
    and abilities. your portfolio is what is going to sell you. and as long as there are
    clients that need that sort of photography as ian said, you will be OK.
    photography, like everything else, is all about who you know .. connections.
    and the luck of meeting the right person at the right time.

    good luck !
    john
     
  17. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    Just a few stream of consciousness thoughts......

    I consider myself an entrepreneur with photography as my business.

    Owning a small business is challenging. Most should not do it, especially if you have worked under a corporate umbrella.

    Find your strengths. Work them hard.

    Find your areas that need improvement. Work on getting them better & into your strengths column.

    Have a mentor & coach that can help you along the way.

    Make a priority list. Review it as things change.

    I see photographers who, during down time, will do things they should delegate out. If you are doing jobs that you could hire out at $25.00 per hr. then is that all you are worth? Can't afford it? Then get more business. The top item on a financial statement is sales. Shouldn't you get more and more clients/sales and glue someone else to the computer screen? Some will say, "It's my art!" Art are deposits into your bank account. Train your associates on your vision, what you want accomplished. Can't do it? Maybe think again about owning your own business or be prepared to work long hours and not make much money.

    Remember, beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder. That's if you are running a business.

    Best to Your Success!
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i wish i had advice like this thread when i was starting out ...
     
  19. accozzaglia

    accozzaglia Member

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    If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were talking about Feargal Sharkey. :smile:
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    :D I don't think Feargall Sharkey shared a dressing room as a teenager in the mid 1960-s where the support act on the tour included Hendrix :smile:

    Ralph Lambrecht made a valid point about flexibility and the need to be also able to shoot video etc, I'd add to that some graphic design.

    It's about gaining contacts, working partnerships, regardless of the level or type of photography.

    Photographers work with others, without them you can't progress. So whether it's advertising agents, PR men, small businesses, Gallery curators, book publishers etc it's about the presentation, communication and articulation of the whole creative process.

    In the early 1990's, in the UK, West Midlands Arts realised the need for an organisation to help aspiring photographers and set up Photocall which had a brief to help photographers become more economically viable.

    These days in the UK Rhonda Wilson has an organisation Rhubarb Rhubarb which holds portfolio sessions etc and gives helps give guidance.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010