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
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
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.