Board index Photography Technical Questions How to break into Photography ?

Technical Questions

How to break into Photography ?

Discuss technical aspects of photography
Posts: 6

How to break into Photography ?

Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:07 pm

I've been told this is a great place to ask this question,so here goes. As many have, I have been laid off now since January.this has left me searching for manufacturing work,which I am afraid there isn't a whole lot of northeast of Boston. Thats not the real point. I find myself with time,something I never had before.My passion is photogarphy,and I have been in and out of it ever since I had my first Pentax K1000.
I have been practicing Photoshop and am actually getting good with layers and masks.Also working quite a bit with HDR as well.
But heres the question: whats the best way to actually make a little money in Photogarphy? I have offered my services free of charge for editing and retouching,with little results. I thought maybe I could take the overflow for pro's who have better things to do than color balance or get rid of artifacts or blemishes on images. I also thought of getting a Nikon Coolscan V scanner and doing slides and neg scans, but ahven't found one yet for a good price.
I am willing to put in the time and already have especially with post processing, but I'm sure I will learn a lot more with a little guidance.
I have also been told to show my images to locak resterraunts and place s where they might sell,but I'm still not sure what would sell,and I'm not much of a promotor either.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 333

Re: How to break into Photography ?

Post Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:01 pm

My advice is: 1. don't bother with restaurants (banks, etc) for 2 reasons - patrons go in for the purpose of eating, (or banking, etc.) not buying artwork and secondly, even if you sell one or two prints, you will have spent way more with the mounting and framing then you will get as sales. Restaurants are often eager to get someone to put their artwork on the walls, since that means they don't have to pay for putting anything on the walls.

2. Join or start a photo club in your area. You will get lots of tips and info about the photo scene in your area.
You can also join with some of these photographers and put on a group show, inviting gallery owners to stop by as well
as everyone that all of you know in town, including the art critic of the local newspaper who you hope will write a review.
Believe it or not, it doesn't matter whether the review of your photos is positive or negative, just getting your name out there
to people who buy artwork is critical. Just because one person doesn't like it, as we know, there are always people who will. Think
of movie reviews........ When you have this group show, be sure to have a way that those who come in can choose to put their email down
to receive notice when your new work is available. Of course, you will have a simple, user-friendly website where customers can always
go to see your newest items. Perhaps you have a way of doing portraits that stands out from the crowd - your gallery showing will have
portraits - it's not that you want others to buy these portraits, what you want is for them to say, "I love the way you did these portraits -
will you do mine (or my family's)?

3. Some fine art photographers do really well at art fairs around their state and the country and become very well known. But, you have to have the
time for that to work.

4. You could become a volunteer photographer for a local non-profit. That's a way to get your name out there, and may or may not
lead to other work, but at least you know your photos are doing some good.

Just my thoughts, hope they are helpful. Mary

Posts: 914

Re: How to break into Photography ?

Post Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:26 pm

I agree with Mary. It takes a while to break in to anything in the field of art. Then if you "lay off" for a while, people forget you immediately :D Art fairs can be good, but a lot of work (I don't sell photos at art fairs, but know some who do) Some photographers I've known have done very well at them, but customers are fickle and trendy... To do art fairs you've got to have a tremendous selection to choose from, a transport vehicle (probably a van) a display, and a thick skin. The better ones are juried, and hard to get into...and sales are down at art fairs because of the economic downturn/disaster. The average entry fees for outdoor ones usually are 100-200 in the US. and more for winter/fall indoor shows. You'll need 4 slides of your work probably, and one of your display. It's not easy getting up at 5AM to set up in the rain... :wink: The other idea of volunteer sounds good, it lets people know you are a photographer. Sometimes internet car sellers, home sellers, are looking for photographers in your area. I've got a friend who is selling a few here and there, more all the time. He just lets people, everybody !!! know that he's a photographer. When you sell something like a photo, people who buy it are often proud of it, and show someone else who may want one from you. Word of mouth is always good. I also agree about banks and restaurants as not so hot. As I've said, never have tried selling photographs there, but have had a exhibits of other media, and never did well, at them. I don't even know if it helps with name recognition honestly. So pretty much 'second' what Mary said. Get people knowing you take photos, and that you give good value for the money and perhaps something unique. Think right now, sort of networking for any job/business is where it's at. A lot of people I know who are 'making it' right now, have their eggs in a lot of baskets if you know what I mean ? A little from here, a little from there. Oh yeah, check out

Posts: 662

Re: How to break into Photography ?

Post Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:50 pm

I agree with all that has been said. I will contribute this idea. Someone who wants to be a photographer, needs to develop the on site skills to make images that really count with out a bunch of post process. It has been said in numerous places, that if you didn't get it on camera, no amount of post will make the image a winner. One needs to be able to visualize all of the elements that are going to make a specific image. Sometimes very quickly. I blew a good part of Aug 1st because I wasn't looking at where shadows were falling as I shot a bike race. Subject with out faces just don't sell, and the shot was right here right now. I still try to approach photography as though I were still shooting film (with the benefit of being able to bracket everything in sight...). I try hard to minimize the time I spend in front of my computer because any time I have to spend in post I can't be out improving my camera skills. That and I just don't want to become a software nerd. I will be the first to say that my skill is always in need of something. All that being said, I've never sold anything, most of my work goes online, for friends and family. Like you I'm just not much into self promotion, and I think after one's skill with the camera, salesmanship is going to rank highly if one want's to succeed in any business where you are trying to convince another individual of the value of your work.

I guess also judging from your post, you are undecided as to whether you want to pursue the artistic side of photography, or the technical. I don't wish to impart any sort of judgement with this statement, it's just how I read the OP.

Best of luck in you endeavors.

Posts: 6

Re: How to break into Photography ?

Post Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:34 pm

Oh I would say right now there's hundreds ,if even thousands of photographers out there no one has ever heard of. As far as art or technical goes, What i was saying is I just don't think of myself as an artist at all. I've seen photographers at art shows here and the fee for getting in is often $100 - $200, which most raely even get back or break even. Please look at my images If you can and let me know what you think. Maybe I'm just barking up the wrong tree,maybe Photography should just be a hobby for me and nothing else. I just thought it might be possible to make a few odd dollars here and there.
I think that I know what one of my main issues is, and that is sometimes I just don't know i have a good image. I might even delete it. Sure you can think yep that was a keeper i just took, can't wait to get a look at it when i get back to my PC. But thats another thing, when I take an image with my 20D I can only really tell generally how it will be. It's only got a 1.8 LCD and my eyes aren't what they use to be, so often its a good guess that it will be good.
BTW I have "notify me when a reply is posted" checked but I'm not getting notified by mail. What might be the reason for that?

Posts: 662

Re: How to break into Photography ?

Post Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:34 pm

I think that I know what one of my main issues is, and that is sometimes I just don't know i have a good image.

This is the heart of what I was aiming to say. I think the only way to gain this ability is to shoot a lot. If you like the end result that's what really counts. The next step is to convince a potential buyer why it's a good image. Critique everything later, never throw anything away in the field. The LCD is just too small to make real judgments from. The best use for it is to read the exposure curves. Once you are more comfortable reading histograms, then you will have a better idea of when the image is properly exposed.

You have a private comment on one of your images. Hope this is helpful.

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