If you’ve been taking pictures for a few years your hard drive is probably over-flowing with images of all types. Whatever subjects you choose to shoot, one thing they all have in common is their potential to put money in your bank account. In our new Shoot Like A Pro series we teamed up with our sister title, the Nikon magazine N-Photo, to explore the many different ways you can sell photos online, in print, and elsewhere in ways you might not have considered before.
Each week we’ll look at a different genre or method to sell photos online and in other markets. To kick things off we’ll look at 16 novel ways you can start making money from your landscape images. And we’ll start by introducing you to a photographer, Jeff Clow, who has been doing it successfully after being discovered by accident on Flickr.
16 ways to make money from landscape photography
01 Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
I made every mistake in the book at first, but I looked at literally thousands of photos and began to ‘see’ what worked visually.
02 Get onto Flickr
The likes and comments I received on Flickr are the reason I pursued pro photography. It’s great for getting feedback. It’s where someone suggested selling stock.
03 Share often
I attempt to put up an original shot every day on my online portfolios and I’ve developed a large following on each of them. That exposure has led to lots of photo sales and photo tour sales and made my name known.
04 Comment on photos you love
Look at others’ photos online and leave insightful comments on them. They will likely reciprocate.
05 Sell stock
Selling to libraries is a great indicator of whether you’ve got skill.
06 Keep updating your stock portfolio
Most stock sales are tiny – we’re talking £1-£10 per shot. But every little helps. I also sold my first ever magazine cover via a library.
07 Try the big and the small
I have large portfolios with several agencies, but if there’s a new agency I’ll give them some photos to see if they take off.
08 Don’t spend on kit at the start
Some of my best-selling photos were taken with an entry-level Nikon D-SLR. Wait until you’re making money before you spend on kit.
09 Don’t neglect other sales opportunities
The vast majority of my non-stock sales have come from my online portfolios on Flickr, Google Plus and 500px. There’s not a week that goes by that one of those sites doesn’t generate a lead for a photo sale.
10 Bring your skill set with you
Draw on your current skills when you’re making it as a photographer. My years working as a corporate executive taught me the value of planning and being thorough.
11 Run a great photo tour
When I run my landscape photography tours in the Grand Teton National Park I pretend I’m a participant and do all the things I’d want done if I were paying the fee.
12 Look after your clients
On a photo tour, some people want a lot of help and some don’t. I listen to my participants and adjust accordingly, and over 60 per cent of my participants have come back on a tour with me again.
13 Be prepared
If you’re leading a tour, you need to be ready for anything. I don’t leave home without a backup camera and a handful of batteries.
14 Publish a book
Got a clutch of beautiful shots? Publish a book, but look for a niche, like my Dirt Cheap Photo Guide to Grand Teton National Park.
15 Do it yourself
I researched the options and found out that publishing a digital book is simple. I wrote it in Word and it was accepted to Amazon.com.
16 Share with your fans
I asked all of my Flickr followers to review my book, and that flood of buyers lead to a publisher giving me a deal.
Jeff Clow Q&A
▪ What is your specialist subject?
Landscapes and photo tours and books.
▪ Best paid shot?
‘Relaxation View’, a shot of my wife in a hammock on the beach in Cozumel with cruise ships in the background. It was the first photo I sold. It’s been bought over 1,500 times in the last five years.
▪ Biggest photo disaster?
My ‘Road to the Clouds’ photo has been shared and posted on Facebook and other online sites over 20,000 times without my permission
▪ First time you knew you’d made it?
When I got my first magazine cover.
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