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Photo Marketing #005

"Market Your Images" Part 5

The Photographer as Artist and Entrepreneur

by Byron Jorjorian
3/7/2006
 
 
 


I am asked to speak often on the topic of Image Marketing. As a result some people have the mistaken impression that I am a cold blooded business person and not too concerned about the esthetics of image creation. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When I am behind the camera I am in a world of creative expression that is indescribable. I feel truly alive when, as a nature photographer I am in the field seeking, discovering, composing, creating. Time stops. Images flow. In these moments, I know that I am doing what I was meant to do.

I truly love what I do. But does that mean I should do it for free? I don't think so. In fact that is why you should charge for it, so you can afford to do more of what you love to do.

Should I feel guilty because I am paid to do something I enjoy? Grateful yes, guilty no. In fact, I rather think that people who are getting paid to do something that they don't enjoy should feel guilty. Guilty that they are wasting their time and probably their employer's time as well.

So now I have produced an image. How can I turn that into profits? To be able to earn a good income from something I enjoy so much is truly a blessing. To turn those images into dollars, however, I need to change hats when I am back at the office. In the office, I need to put on my businessman-entrepreneur hat. It is kind of like using different parts of your brain. The artist side of you does not need to be embarrassed that a business person exists within you. The world is full of broke "artist /photographers" waiting for the phone to ring because they are too proud or too embarrassed to promote themselves and their photographs as a business.

The image many photographers have of the "starving artist" is only true if you let it be.

The truth is there are thousands of photographers making decent money out there. They usually don't talk about it much. The bottom line is that they are good marketers as well as photographer/artists. So let that business person inside you take over the marketing of your images. You may find that the business side of your brain has a creative side too. And you will soon be finding new and innovative ways to fill customers needs with your images and new ways of marketing the artist within you.

While I have my entrepreneur hat on I need to look at my images as a product, just like any company that produces goods or services does. This product fills a need, as an illustration in a magazine, book , brochure or on a website, or even hanging on the wall in someone's home. Just like a tank of gas, a gallon of milk, or a television fill a need and have monetary value, images by filling a customers' need have monetary value. Since, an image is something that you hold the copyright on, a photograph can generate an ongoing stream of revenue for you and your family. Photographs are a valuable product and it is imperative that you market and manage them as the income producing resource that they are.

The illustration I like to use is that of an oil well. Some images will generate large amounts of income.
They will become the proverbial gusher. Others will produce a steady stream of money that will last your entire life and even be passed on to future generations.Other images (wells) will come up dry. You will never know which is which if you are waiting for someone else to discover your work! You have to declare yourself discovered and promote/market your photography busi-ness. (See parts one through four of this series).

What is the difference between a professional artist and an amateur artist? You guessed it, money!
Surprisingly, often the difference is not skill. Many amateurs produce images of exceedingly high quality, but they are either unwilling or unable to turn them into dollars.Contrary to popular belief, the artist and the business sides of you don't have to be in conflict. In fact you can enjoy the creative experience of the artist and the profits of the entrepreneur together. Simply learn to wear both hats. For information on Byron's Marketing Your Images Course and Seminars visit www.naturephotocentral.com. Or see the special offer on this website for our digital course.

 

 

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