HOW TO MAKE IT IN PHOTOGRAPHY

by Staff June 27, 2016 at 6:45 am

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29 Comments

  1. Great video Ted.. If I can chip in a few thoughts.

    I shoot/work 'commercially' as a photographer, which I do love but isnt my main 'goal', however doing that allows me do/fund the 'art' side. Last year I set about persuing the art market more and push in that direction, I got accepted into a huge Art Fair and sold nothing. I applied again this year and having leant from last years mistakes have, thankfully sold a nice consistant amount of prints (Limited and non limited). The process has taken several years, a big leap of faith, alot of cash with often no reward… I am terrible at my own PR but good at the Social Media side which has helped. Figuring out a good balance is really key, finding someone who is great at marketing/believes in your work-the Art Fair in my case are superb at promo'ing and support is an enormous help. Passion always shines through, people will love your work if you show it, believe in it and have a passion for it… Austin Kleon has been a huge influence on me: Show Your Work….. I think Photography is an extremely hard sell these days, but I do believe it is possible. Faith, Luck, hard work and the understanding that you might (will) have to suppliment it with something else is a great starting block. You will fail, it will be frustrating but there will be moments of success.. It might not make you a millionaire or "famous" but there is nothing like sending out/handing over a print to someone to enjoy.

  2. Thank you for the great video! 🙂 Humans are unity of the spiritual and material. Artists are no exception. We are not solely spiritual beings. We have to equally care on both parts of our nature. Harmony and joy in creative and personal life comes when we accept and care for that balance. Studying some accounting and marketing strategies is not like studying surgery… It's more like knowledge of preparing food, eating food and taking care of our health… We can't avoid that. We're not that unique and special. Each human being is special. So why not embrace that and enjoy each minute of our lives? 🙂 If it's too hard – let's get a consultant!

  3. This seems to extend to all artists, not just photographers. Artists who are successful in their own time have masterful PR, whether through themselves or an agent. Picasso, Pollock, and Warhol were rock stars of the art world, and they all had a persona which was nearly as famous as their works themselves.

  4. I've been a professional  photographer since 1982. Times have changed, it's not like in the good old days when photography on a commercial level was considered a profession. I still shoot film and really enjoy the craftsmanship of photographing and processing my own film. I really enjoy your "The Art of Photography" episodes, they are enlightening!

  5. I feel like the art world still has to catch up to new technologies and social media as ways to distribute their work, make a name for themselves and break with old structures. Sure there is a lot of "photography" going on on Instagram and people can get attention but there should still be away to more easily transport a message towards a greater audience and maybe establish a distributional channel

  6. Great video, as usual.
    One thing though: I couldn't quite hear the name of the publicist who helped Ansel Adams become well known. It sounded like 'Bill Turridge.' Did anyone hear the name clearly?

  7. Great thoughts. Clearly having been on, "The other side" of the gallery/museum world gives you more insight into how it works that the lonely photographer trying to break in to that scene.

  8. A (semi) tongue in cheek list of ways to sell photos through a gallery:

    1. Know a gallery owner
    2. Know a photographer or other artist who knows a gallery owner
    3. Be, or know, someone famous, preferablly one who knows a gallery owner
    4. Be related to a gallery owner
    5. Have a quirky personal look/story/background/hairstyle
    6. Pander to political/world-view leanings of art crowd
    7. Be so popular on your own and market yourself so well that despite all personal feelings a gallery owner will decide to carry your work for the $.

  9. I agree what all you say Ted.

    Unfortunately, you need to put some effort on PR, and be business aware. These require much different skills than just being in your comfort zone which is ‘fine art’ photography. And the word ‘Fine Art’ might also mean that you don’t care for other types of photography and that you have not establish yourself as a photographer who lives (or partly lives) on that sole revenue — Which is why you’re spending all your time on your passion while staying relatively unknown.

    Knowing someone might help but I don’t think it will make wonders nowadays. Getting help with one who can promote your work might be your best bet, but for that you need a revenue (and are willing to cut on that revenue).

    So we’re back where we started which means you will have to roll up your sleeves and do what’s really needed to be done, even though you don’t like it and it will cut the amount of time doing your art.
    You cannot hide in a niche if you want to make it unless you hope being discovered once your deceased. And even if that happens, your work might not be displayed as you would have wanted it.

    Vivian Maier is an exceptional case, and I think that if she were alive she would probably not have wanted to share her images, her secrets. She was an evasive person and her images were her way of being part of that world, wondering in a secret way what might her life be (what could it be)? Which is also why some of her images contains all that ‘mystique’.

    Thanks for sharing so real to earth topics Ted!

  10. The situation of the photography is very difficult, but not discouraged. It’s one of last ones to make her digital revolution. With the advantage to see what does not work by taking example on the music, the press, the cinema … And the inconvenience to be bogged down for more than 30 years in a not viable economic slump for all the profession exept for the fashion industry.

    I am from Paris, I learnt with one of the founders of the agency Gamma, I met to the bar of the corner some photographers of the agency Magnum. The both are going to die. Of their arrogance, their lack of visions, their fears. It’s necessary to tell to Martin Parr that he is not any more a photographer and that it became an excellent publisher / collector, D’Agata is great but what he is doing at Magnum ? The profession has to define viable international price lists. You should not supply Corbis and Getty, it’s necessary to re-educate people so that they understand that the images have a life cycle which exceeds them. A photo of gull will stay a photo of gull. If we have a little of vision, there is more interest in certain wedding photos as at certain Japanese photographers who photographs pedestrian crossing saturated.

    Today it misses that a little of franchise in this profession which looks for the truth (except McCurry, since he became "an artist" LOL)

    Today, to choose of the photography, it’s to choose of the solitude, what is a height for an art which shows all the beauties of the world.

    Today is not needed photographer's new generation, the shooting did not change a lot. But one needs that a revival of the people who want to share her and to make her live. But that, it will be the subject of a next video … Thanks for your work, and as any artist, continue to believe in it. It’s the only important thing.

    And sorry for my english.

  11. Fine art photography is more about the art than the photography, if the work has payload, the audience surrenders to it, they're probably not criticizing the skill of the photographer that much.

    The payload comes from expressing stuff snatched from your "shadow" self, as Jung calls it.

    That's kinda hard to locate if you're not used to it or if your ego's deliberately hiding it, but it really is the easiest thing in the world, and besides it makes you and everybody else better people.

  12. Go Pro probably wasn't the best example to compare to since they're really struggling right now. But anyway, love the advice, we have all heard the same thing before, but it just needs to be reiterated time to time.

  13. That's some really cold bath water you just pored over my head, friend. But, you're right when you describe photography as an obsession. I can't get it out of my head, and I want to share my work. I, also, need to finance it, so I can do even more. I want to print my 17"x4' panoramas in platinum palladium. I'll find a way, or I'll go mad!

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