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  1. #1
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    profitability of photography

    Hi everyone, I just have a question and I'd like your thoughts and experiences:

    What kinds of profits can be made with photography?

    I'm not interested in private studio work. I'm wondering about the possibilities of sellling your work for publication. Anyone involved in this? Is it profitable? What are the markets?

    I'm especially interested right now in travel photography. I'm just wondering what I might expect if I go down that road. But I'm interested in hearing any thoughts you might have about any aspect of selling your work...

    Thanks,
    Kelly

    ps. Or what about selling your framed prints? Do you do that profitably?

  2. #2
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Editorial = little money

    Kelly,

    For most types of photography, there are generally five ways to market and sell it: editorial, advertising, stock, gallery, and private commissions.

    Editorial is using photos in magazine and newspaper "stories" (this would include covers). The publication hires the shooter and puts together the feature with no third party client. Travel mags would fall under this category.

    Editorial is good exposure for a photographer, but normally pays relatively little.

    Advertising is the Golden Goose for most photogs, because it usually pays much more than editorial. For ad work, the shooter is hired by a third party client, who then decides what publications to use to run the ad and handles all the detail of having the pics published. Obviously, this is also the most competative field.

    Stock photography is selling the limited rights to images you already have. Because you are not being hired to specifically shoot something, a stock shot may or may not pay less than an assignment shot, but you are free to sell the rights to your pics over and over.

    To make a splash in stock photography though (and especially to get repped by a stock agency), you sometimes need to have hundreds if not thousands of strong images. Possible markets for stock images include mag articles, posters, greeting and post cards, corporate reports, and if you get lucky, ads...

    Gallery photography would be considered selling your work in exhibitions or at least as framable pieces. IOW, works of art, and in an open market, you pretty much get what someone else is willing to pay...

    Private commissions would be being hired by individuals, such as wedding, studio work, model shots, portraits, etc..

    Sure, you can make a profit shooting pics for editorial use in magazines, but most commercial photogs use that simply for exposure and then try to get ad work to pay the bills...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
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  3. #3
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellybean
    ps. Or what about selling your framed prints? Do you do that profitably?
    I'm working on this now. I've got some work up in a space on Long Island... I'll let you know if I sell any. In fact, after getting the prints and matting and framing them, I'll be happy if I break even!

    Megan

  4. #4
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    I read somewhere

    That the ability to be successful (financially) as a photographer, is based on like 90% marketing/salesmanship and only like 10% being able to take pics.

    True or not? Somewhat (at least to me). But then again, I'm not trying to make mucho dollars.

    adina
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  5. #5
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    IMO, more like 50-50...

    Quote Originally Posted by adina
    That the ability to be successful (financially) as a photographer, is based on like 90% marketing/salesmanship and only like 10% being able to take pics.
    Yeah, sometimes it does seem thay way, but in reality you need a pretty balanced mix of image making talent and marketing skills...

    Think of it like a pyramid. The lower down you are, the more easily you can "persuade" average people with large doses of either good imagery or good salesmanship. As you climb up higher, you interact with a smaller, more succinct group having a much higher market savy, be it art directors, collectors, gallery managers, or clients.

    These types usually have access to many good photographers, so impressing them simply with the quality of your work will not be enough. That's where the salesmanship comes in.

    Still, the images DO need to be a certain quality, or else you'll never get to that conversation... ;)
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
    www.stevenpaulhlavac.com
    www.photoasylum.com

  6. #6
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    That's where I'm lacking...

    Quote Originally Posted by adina
    That the ability to be successful (financially) as a photographer, is based on like 90% marketing/salesmanship and only like 10% being able to take pics.
    The salesmanship and marketing is certainly where I'm lacking - but I'm working on that! But the most important part for me recently has actually been getting the work on walls... and now that it is, the salemanship has to follow. I'm actually working on that and the marketing. We shall see!

    Quote Originally Posted by adina
    True or not? Somewhat (at least to me). But then again, I'm not trying to make mucho dollars.
    As I watch my department being taken over by a management company that is going to have us do icky WP work that is SO boring and uninteresting, as I watch every good-paying job I've ever had slowly given to to less educated workers making half as much because ultimately it's the bottom line not the quality of the work that matters, as I'm constantly squeezed from F/T employment, again, by big business caring only about their profit margin and not the health and livelihood of the people doing the work for them, more and more I want to make mucho dollars from my work, which is quickly becoming the only satisfying thing in my life. I've always been afraid to take that leap and really try, but more and more, working for The Man is crushing me. I don't actually know what this has to do with your statement but I guess I just had to get it out! I'm trying several different marketing tactics, so I shall certainly exuberantly report on ViewFinder if I get *any* $$ back from any of this, let alone MUCHO $$!!!!!

    Megan

  7. #7
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    I thought once that I had made mucho $$'s. But then all the costs when thru, and I only made pequeno $.

    We have new Spanish/English fridge poetry.

    adina
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  8. #8
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    íSi si!!!

    [QUOTE=adina]I thought once that I had made mucho $$'s. But then all the costs when thru, and I only made pequeno $.QUOTE]

    It looks like mucho in the mano, but quendo you subtract the dineiro it cost you to make, it's not mucho at all, mami!

    [that's just a guess on "sigh" ]

    Margarita Verde

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