Writing to Pay Life's Bills
Getting established in the world of professional photography never has been straightforward or easy though many do dream of making a living from a hobby that they enjoy. With the explosion of digital photography and the current economic circumstances, it does look a crowded market where having a unique style is crucial. Doing photographic courses at third level institutions can help but it only ever is making a start. Getting from there to earning your keep is when the real hard work begins.
The art of making money from photography seems to involve diversification of one type or another. Covering several subject subject areas at once in one option and I have seen someone engage in the very different worlds of wedding and landscape photography. Having several outlets for selling your work is another with stock libraries and direct sales being two that come to mind. Then, there's teaching photography workshops and that's something that is popping up all over the place. Is the market sufficiently big?
Publishing has been an aspiration for many photographers with books being a particular favourite. While I myself may be partial to beautifully presented tomes replete with pleasing photos that even may inspire me, most purchasers might be acquiring a gift for a relative who otherwise would have no interest in the technicalities of making the images that such volumes contain. Still, wonderful images of the countryside have a wide appeal.
Last on this list is the area that has given this piece its title: articles in magazines. Some may branch out into less specialist titles but I am thinking of photography magazines here. Many do location features and I have encountered many and up and coming in this way but technique articles are well needed too. You might wonder at the wisdom of a professional photographer sharing their knowledge in this way but I suppose that it's another of earning revenue and it dovetails nicely with photography workshops. Maybe if you show that you can explain things clearly in writing, then any workshops would be successful ventures too.
It is from the last activity that I have drawn up this list. We may not be talking about icons here (well, maybe not yet!) but they all are experienced in the field and there should be opportunities for enjoyment and even learning from what they have on the web. Facilities for direct sales have not been omitted and I have to admit temptation once or twice.
This is a man who swears by using a 35 mm slide mount for making compositions and you cannot question the results that he gets so it must work. The occasional technique article in Amateur Photographer is where I remember meeting him in print. His latest work shows a variety of interest too.
His location pieces are how I keep meeting up with his work in Outdoor Photography and he got himself a profile interiew in the same magazine too. From being a university database developer in Southampton, his developing hobby has become a career for him. A move to Devon along the way means that this patch of the southwest of England features a lot in his work and in the books that he has had published to date.
Leading monthly workshops for the On Location feature in Outdoor Photography is what earns their inclusion on here but they now have a book each to their names to go with the workshops that they also lead for Light and Land.
This landscaper came to my notice via regular contributions to feature named Photo Insight in Amateur Photographer and a recent article explaining for that Ireland is the new Scotland and how Scottish landscape photos no longer inspire him. A look through one of the galleries on his website reveals a naming scheme that eschews declarations of location. Given how good the photos are, my innate curiosity is aroused when I don't recognise what is in a picture and there follows a certain yearning for more information. It's certainly an interesting approach for getting you to look at a photo without an attachment of a sense of place, a process that could drive inspiration and development of your own photographic eye. It remains irritating though...
It was location pieces in magazines that first drew my attention to this operator based in the south west of England. The, they seemed to come regularly too though I have not encountered his work with all its delicateness of tone in recent times. Publishing two books might have had something to do with that.
Another magazine contributor with a healthy sideline in books, I met his words most recently in an issue of the recently refreshed Photography Monthly but I seem to remember him starting in Outdoor Photography for some reason. Was it because they published a number of his location pieces?
It must have been an interesting journey that took this American photographer from a commercial studio in Los Angeles to the greener shores of the U.K. Since then, he has earned his keep with sales of beautifully lit images complemented by books and magazine articles along with photography workshops. While I cannot be certain where I first met his work, I was reminded of him by an article in a recent issue of Amateur Photographer.
Anyone that regularly peruses Walking World Ireland will have encountered photography and walking route descriptions from Gareth McCormack but I first happened across his work in the Lonely Planet guide to Walking in Ireland. You can buy a fine art image on here for £55, much less than the sorts of prices that I saw him charging one time. He doesn't limit himself to Irish countryside either and the world's great expanses of mountainous countryside have come within his sway too.
Is it just me or are there not that many women professional landscape photographers out there? Whatever is the answer to that question, I first encountered this lady's work while perusing landscape portfolio titles out of curiosity in a bookshop. Since then, I have encountered an increasing number of magazine articles that she has written with a feature for Outdoor Photography being one of them. All in all, her star seems to be ascending at the moment.
What you'll find aren't just some high quality landscape photos of Wiltshire, the Cotswolds and the Lake District but also of flowers and gardens too. Articles in the likes of Outdoor Photography and perhaps Amateur Photographer have been the cause my finding Stowe's work and it's pleasing to the eye too.