A couple of posts ago we talked about some interesting ideas to get your independent photo business up and running. While some of the ideas in this tutorial might have offended some, I’ve heard feedback from more than a few of you that at least two of the ideas worked. Great! Never stop looking for alternative and unique ways to get your artistry out to the masses.
One thing I’ve been trying a lot of lately is submitting my site to the various clearing houses for photographers. This is the most popular such directory in the UK - http://www.photographers.co.uk/, they have led a couple of clients to find my business, however I’m not overly impressed with the admin area and the options for premium listings. They seem slightly overpriced, compared to adwords or other re-marketing services online, and the conversation rate from their referral traffic is hovering around 1% over the last two months. Not bad but not great.
Unfortunately the market for photographers directories in Great Britain is far from saturated. Or maybe fortunately? What’s this you say, a new way to broaden ones horizons and create business modalities outside the box. Indeed, that is what my next venture will be. The big problem is that I don’t know a lick of coding or database management. Luckily there are tons and tons and loads of do-it-yourself directory software applications on the market that escort newbies like me through every step of the process without having to spend a fortune hiring software developers. My good friend over at Moist Pixels used the aforementioned directory script to build a very lucrative resource for finding independent contractors in London.
I’ll detail every step of the process in this blog so if anyone else wants to build their own site they can learn from my mistakes. Which I’m sure will be numerous, but hey, that’s the only way to learn right?
Fotbol fever anyone! Jiminy Jesus H. Christ, I’ve got a terminal case of it over the last two weeks and though I’m gutted the US lost yesterday (thanks wondo) I can’t wait for the quarters, semis and everything. It’s so compelling and, from a photographers perspective, full of potential to capture some of the most breathtaking images you’ve every seen. I’d love to be there – maybe in four years I’ll be a good enough photo journalist to get to Russian – but I’ve been keeping an eye on the images coming out of Brazil and they just make you want to weep with joy for what an amazing experience this is.
Good ol’ side show Luiz after scoring (or did he score it?) against Chile in the Round of 16.
I’ve really been struck by what a huge, diverse nation Brazil is. From the towering metropolises of Rio and Sau Paolo, to the verdant greenery of Manuas and Forteleza. This is the country I think I’d most like to take a camera to right now. Hope everyone else is enjoying the spectacle as much as me. If you were lucky enough to have been there please share your photos in the comments!
So you’ve decided, like me, to change your life and pursue your passion by becoming a full time photographer. The initial thrill of cutting the shackles can be exhilarating, but take my word, it’s only going to take a few days (or minutes) for the cold reality to sin in that making a successful living in the picture taking biz is a lot more complicated than renting some studio space and opening your doors for business. You have to have connections, clients and reputation. Not to mention the ability to network and find new opportunities. The first few months can be tough, I’m not going to lie. But stick with it! And don’t give up! You may have to go back to some of your university habits and eat mac and cheese more than once a month, but if you are truly passionate about the pictures you take I have no doubt you’ll thrive.
And, as this post will show you, there are some simple tricks you can do while you’re getting started to supplement your cash flow before the clients start queueing up at your door.
There you have it. If you are creative and keep a positive attitude there are plenty of way to make a living taking pictures instead of the traditional studio/commission route. Keep up the good work and let me know of any alternative income streams I might have missed.
Being in the artistic community – whether you’re a photographer like me, craftsperson, music producer, or anything really that involves creativity – means that at some point or another you’re going to need to build your own website. It’s not something you can get around. Some people may think that it’s okay just to have a twitter profile and facebook page, but to really thrive and get your name, and products, in front of the world you simply must have your own domain name. This fact can cause more than a little consternation for some – they think of coding, finding hosting or just don’w know where to start. It doesn’t have to be that way though, there are literally hundreds of easy to use, out of the box website building tools out there that are easy, inexpensive and terrible effective. In fact, the variety is so broad that your real problem will most likely be choosing the right platform for your needs. Here are a couple of the services I’ve used in the past:
Those are the three I’m most familiar with and this very site was build using wordpress, but like I said there are thousands of options. Think about what kind of site you want: portfolio primarily, or will you be doing a fair amount of writing? Please post examples of your artistic sites and the platform you used to build them in the comments section. Thanks!
Though relatively new, in terms of an art form, photography has generated a vast pantheon of legendary names in its brief history. We all need to stand on the shoulders of giants and I could have gotten to where I am today without the guiding lessons of picture takers past. These are some of my favorites.
That’s only two, but what a pair they are. I have many more heros among the ranks of iconic photographers but these two – their vision, passion and imagination – have influenced my own work more than all others combined.
Which Photographers have inspired you the Most?
Answer in the comments below.
What makes a one person with a camera an artist and another merely a hobbyist? It’s hard to say, the later can create beautiful images, but usually it’s just a matter of chance. While the former is ever on the hunt for capturing the light of the world in a way that inspires thought, enlivens passion and stirs emotions. I got into photography later in life – I’d never used anything but my phone to take pictures until I was forty two! If you can believe it. However, after a tumultuous divorce, some problems with substance abuse and just generally heading in the wrong direction I found my true calling: to take photographs of the world around me and help others attain their artistic dreams.
It’s been a challenging road, I had a great job in cheese processing (in the marketing department mind you, I’m lactose intolerant) and was on course for a healthy pension, stable income and… a nagging sense that I just wasn’t living life to the fullest. It actually all started when my cheese firm in Wisconsin wanted to start a new advertising campaign. We hired a photographer who was obviously not that interested in corporate gigs, but was just taking the job to make a few quid on the side. He was your stereotypical artist type: sullen, moody, cocky and very passionate. Even though wheels of cheddar were not his forte, when he took off the lens cap something changed in him and he became a conductor of light. The pictures he came up with, though mundane, were actually quite spectactular and showed me just how much beauty is hiding in the world if we only know where to look.
The Road to Becoming a Pro
You can bet there where some naysayers in my life when I made it be known that I was packing it in at the factory and embarking on a very risky career, but I had to do it. This blog is meant to detail my journey and all the things I’ve learned – and still need to learn – along the way.