Hawking your wares…(selling your pictures)


It sounds painful to be in the business of selling your photos, and in the current climate, it can be.  The current market is both competitive and there are other challenges as well, especially when you consider that there are many more active photographers trying to sell their photos than there were a mere 10 years ago.  That, combined with the fact that buyers are paying less for them than before due to shrinking budgets – does not mean that no one is buying photos.  It just means you have to look in more places.  One such resource is the publication “The Photographer’s Market”.


Published annually, the 2015 edition is now available through your own favorite reseller whether it be Amazon, Wal-Mart, Borders, Barnes a& Noble or where ever you prefer (I got mine for $19 from Wal-Mart, just sayin’…)

The important question that everyone always asks is “Are there really significant changes made from one year to the next?”  I can tell you whole-heartedly, the answer is yes! I’ve had pages dog-eared from 2009-2014, and annually some of the buyers have changed addresses, changed their pricing, their submission guidelines, and others have gone  completely gone belly-up.  We all know what can happen if you don’t follow submission guidelines 😉  and getting lower prices than anticipated isn’t much fun either.

So, go out and get your 2014 edition soon…because we are nearing the halfway point and (as you all know) submissions should be put out about 3 months head of when you can really expect any kind of response/payment.  So, what does this mean?  It means right now, here, today…in May and June – you should be shooting pictures with autumn in mind.  Think colors, places of interest, subject matter, etc.  It also means that in August and September, your winter and holiday submissions should be hitting the email deliveries post haste.

Other things to consider when submitting images to buyers?  Lots!

  1. Look for buyers in your own demographic – response times can be quicker
  2. Look for buyers that are interested in the subject matter you have lots of pictures in – if they want more, the last position you want to be in is one where you don’t have anything else to give…(kind of like the Boy Scounts: Be prepared!)
  3. Follow buyers recommendations and submission guidelines.  Not following these can get your images rejected for no other reason other than “too big” or “too small”, or “wrong file type”.  It’d be a shame to lose out on possible financial opportunities simply because you didn’t read the directions! 🙂
  4. Look for buyers that are receptive to submissions.  Ones that take 8-10 images per year are much less likely to consider your portfolio of 20 images.  Others that take 20-50 per month (think magazines that need lots of new content regularly) are more likely.
  5. Don’t forget your query letter.  This is an important element of the submission process, and you need to come off with the right impression.  Spelling errors, grammar errors, and other faux paux items await, so get up to speed on this as well!
  6. Finally, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!  I know of one very successful photographer who puts out 30 query letters a month (that’s one a day!), and on average, he sells about 1/3rd of them.  (And this is a really good return rate!)  Normally, the response on query letters is about 1 in 10, and buyers happen about half of that time, especially for new submissions…(they tend to like repeat submitters – it shows they are serious, they are familiar with the body of work the editors are looking for, and they are regularly shooting new content).

The thing is – this is just the tip of the iceberg!  There are so many more factors to consider about submitting your work to potential buyers, and this is all part of the larger business of selling photography.  Most important in all of this is to remember that running a photography business is more about the business than the photography…you need to be diligent, dedicated, and always keep at it, no matter how many times you may here those hateful words, “No thanks.”

With that in mind, what other techniques do readers use to increase positive response rates to query letters?  Any other tidbits, pearls of wisdom, food for thought, suggestions, or ideas that you’d like to share?  Sound off in the comments!  Happy shooting!

It’s Time to Choose…


Yesterday I shared some thoughts on the quagmire of problems we face as photographers – copyright and small business issues run the gamut, and it’s not an easy decision.  I’ve made my decision though and am heading to the voting booth today to cast my ballot.  Neither candidate really represents me, but I do have to make a decision on who I think is better suited to address the myriad of issues we face in the coming years.

Regardless of your thoughts about politics in general (my wife can’t stand politics period), or if you lean to the left or the right, getting out and voting is the only way we can make sure that the officials know we still care, and that they’d better be respectful of that.  We are the ones that put them in office, and we have the power to remove them from office if they don’t respect our goals as a society.

Make sure you vote today – now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure those who are elected know that they must represent us!  If anything, it helps to know that after today, the ads, campaigns, and such can stop for at least a little bit.  It’ll be back to the usual rhetoric! 🙂

Photographer Gets Sued – Watch out!


For those of you that may not have been hearing the rumblings in the photo community for the past several days (going on near a week now) – there is quite an uproar going on about a photographer that is getting sued for $300,000!  That’s right, three hundred thousand dollars!  it’s a litigious society we live in for sure, but this borders on ridiculous…a photographer shot a wedding, shared the images with the clients, and after sharing literally hundreds of them on Facebook and friends/family singing praises – the attorney father decided to sue the photographer.  It’s a crazy scenario, and instead of regaling you with all the details (which you can read and watch here, here,  here, and here), I’m just going to chime in with a brief heads up – this could all have been avoided with a simple contract!

It’s no big secret that I have had a DIY Legal kit out for a while and this kit has just that – a contract!  The photographer could have avoided a lot of headaches by using one of these.  Think about it – does $30 for a simple kit make sense to avoid a $300,000 lawsuit?  It does to me!  And the best part is that I’ve also done an update to address a great point that Gary Fong brings up about what constitutes an “acceptable” photograph.  Short and simple enough of an explanation, but is it in your contract?  It’s in this one!  It’s a very small update, but does add the terms of an acceptable photograph.  If you already have the kit – it’s a simple set of text to add, and I include the full text in the YouTube video below, so make sure you check it out!

Are you protected?  Do you have an event contract?  If not, there’s no better time than the present to cover yourself and your assets!  Follow the link here to grab my own DIY Kit or find your own assembly of Legal forms on the interwebs to protect yourself and your assets – if you don’t no one else will!