Friday, July 11, 2008

Some Random Thoughts on Where I Want To Go With Photography

I have been doing a lot of thinking about where I want to go with my photography…and let me tell you, my mind goes in so many different directions. I guess the sad part is that out of so many possibilities, could end up doing nothing at all due to the vast amount of choices and my general lack of time to think through my options. So, I’m trying to really think through things and research some of my options now that I have a little more time than usual (with Brandon being gone).

A few options I’ve been toying with include:

Taking pictures of people – advertising individuals, groups, couples, families, etc. – selling them either a disc of their pics (so they can get them printed elsewhere) or figuring out how to get them printed myself for people – do I use a service like Walmart?? Do I get a lab that does it remotely? How do I do this???? How do I find a website (that doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg) for people to look at the photos I’ve taken to decide which ones they want? Do I want to get into selling them the actual photos too or do I just want to take the pics, edit them and burn them a disc??

Magazine/photojournalist – thought of contacting local newspapers and magazines and sending them samples of my work and seeing if they would hire me (maybe on a contract or individual assignment basis) to take pictures for a story they are running or cover a specific event, etc. Or maybe even just be a periodic contributor of a pretty picture to spice up their magazine or newspaper…(I’m thinking with this they usually want someone who can write AND take the pictures. I think I can spit out a decent sentence, but I don’t really consider myself a writer at all. To be honest, I do think I can write a good article or piece, but I have no formal training in it and I think I am such a perfectionist, that the amount of time I spend to write something would just be too great to make it worth it!

Selling my photographs – at art shows or festivals – setting up a booth selling individuals pictures I’ve matted or framed…with this I would have to guess what pictures people might like and then spend some money to get an inventory of those pictures for them to look through and a few to sell (I could always take orders, but lets face it, most people want to carry it with them right then and there) Then there would be the issues of purchasing set up stuff – like display racks, tables, and all that kind of stuff.

Selling my photographs – online. I’ve been looking at this option most closely. I’m really toying with setting up an Etsy shop. That seems like a great place to start. I am still looking at the ins and outs of that – how much would it cost me to put a few photos out there and how would I ship them, how much would I charge, what would I name my shop, etc. Again, all these decisions that have to be made. And I don’t want to put out a bunch of money to do one thing or the other until I’m certain that is the direction I want to go. I don’t really HAVE that much money to spare. Read, I virtually have no money to put towards the start of a business… that is one reason the Etsy shop seems like a good start. I believe it only costs 20 cents per item to list an item. Of course, I would probably want to list 100 or more items..or maybe I start with just 10? Or a few?? I guess I could do that and then add as I go along….

I just wonder too – will people actually BUY my photographs? I think some of them are definitely good enough to sell, but will people actually BUY them? I guess the only way to find out is to put them out there…and see…

Stock photography (photo sales)
– I think some of my pictures are good enough to do this with..but the rules and process I’ve looked at at a couple of these places are quite rigid. You have to spend quite a bit of time for each image, making sure it is perfect and then thinking up key words people would use to search for it….I have yet to submit any of my pictures to any of these websites, but I’m considering it. Like everything else, it takes time to research how it works, the ins and outs of it, etc.

Photography in conjunction with chartable efforts – this could include a bunch of different things. I really would like to use my talents to do good for others also. I’ve thought of things like going on mission trips with my church to document the work and the trip…..making powerpoints of the trip afterwards….also maybe some type of a ministry with my photography – I’ve thought of volunteering to take photographs of children of people at our local crisis center…people who have nothing….how much would they treasure being able to have a nice photograph of their family or their children? Stuff like that.

So this is my problem. Getting started. I feel like I have some ideas and some of them may work, but it is actually getting out there and putting them into practice – getting started. Is that the hardest part? I’m not sure. I also am a perfectionist. Um, you may not be able to tell that looking at my blog, but I am. I like to have it all planned out – start to finish – everything in order and all figured out BEFORE I START. (which often hinders me in both my personal and work life!) OK, I realize that is probably not realistic, but that is how I am. And I think that is one thing that prevents me from functioning normally. (ha) I would like to have the whole thing figured out – what I’m going to do – where I’m going to market to, what I’m going to sell (which photographs) – which direction I’m going to go – before I start…and basically, I think I’m discovering if I wait until I figure it all out, I’ll never get started! I compare it to the advice my ex husband and I got when thinking if I we were going to have a child: “If you wait until you have enough money to have a child, you’ll never have one.” I think that is very true!

So, I’m just putting my thoughts out here for cathartic purposes more than anything and to sort of put pencil to paper with my thoughts. Also, some of you may have been where I am and if you could give me any direction or advice, those thoughts would also be greatly appreciated.

Do any of you have an Etsy shop and do you find it is worth it? Are you making any money doing it (cause lets be honest, I do want to make some extra dollars!) or are you just covering your costs? Any advice?

I believe what I’m really looking at right now is selling my photographs on line – probably by setting up an Etsy shop. That way I can see if there is even any interest for them…and I can brainstorm ways to market my website….free photo giveaways perhaps, stuff like that. AT the same time, I am going to try to get some photos submitted to some stock photo places….to see if that is a feasible option for me. (meaning, if they reject everything I’m sending them, then it may not be an option for me!)

I think my heart is more with nature photography and spontaneous pictures rather than posed, portrait photography. If someone asks me to take their families picture and they are going to pay me to do it..great, I’ll most likely agree. But, I think I get the most satisfaction from traveling and shooting nature, etc. I like being creative and being able to use my talents to get a really good shot that people ooh and aah over. Also, I’m thinking with the Etsy shop, I won’t have to have a big inventory of pictures. If someone orders a print, I just print it or get it printed without having to actually have any “on hand” – I have all of them on my computer ready to be printed. Then, as I get great shots, I can add them to my inventory.


Rebekah said...

Wow- so many choices. I think I like the selling of your nature photographs. You do such an awesome job taking shots of the great and wonderous outdoor.

Well, thats my opinion

Dee said...

I'm glad you resent me your blog , I had lost the email you sent me with it.
all those ideas sound great! I hope one of them can make you some money and challenge you as a photographer!


Robyn said...

I've heard good things about Etsy, although I've not tried it myself.
I keep forgetting that you have a different blog...I've got this one on my google reader now though so I won't miss you! :)

Kailani said...

I have a friend who takes photos of Hawaiian landscapes and we were just talking about the best way to sell his photos. Thank you for all these ideas!

An Island Life