Friday, 22 April 2016

Insight into Working Practice.

I personally believe that you have a lot of responsibility as a photographer, but I want to talk in particular about landscape photography. It is very much a double sided coin. On one hand you are increasing awareness about the place you are photographing, but if the area is protected, are you hurting the environment by bringing more people to it? It is the same for wildlife photography. Viewers see the photographs and then want to go to that place. You see this a lot with national parks, but does the increase in population in parks do the animals and land any good?  You have to question how you preserve what we have left, and does photographing that area increase awareness for the better? Does it help the park, animals, landscape you are shooting in? Does your presence do the land more harm than good?

(Advice from a blog on how to start local and branch out your landscape photography)

1. Keep your market local.
2. Start stock and go onto commissions. 

 (Article discussing landscape photography, money and jobs with Colin Prior.)

Colin, where is the money in landscape photography these days?
It’s very difficult to make money from landscape photography, full stop. I’ve behaved as a publisher for the last 15 years and I’ve never really made my living as a landscape photographer, more as a publisher who published my own work. There will always be a demand for paper products, people will always buy books and calendars, but the demand is probably falling.
In terms of stock I think we’ve reached a point where it’s largely worthless. People are expecting not to pay for photographs, and if they do pay they don’t expect to have to sign a licensing agreement for a limited time. Magazine editors increasingly tell me they don’t have a budget for photographs. So, if photographers can’t make money from images, what can they do?
What do you think you’ve done right?
There’s no doubt that if I hadn’t published my own work I wouldn’t have had so much visibility, but when I started out  in 1995 the economy was buoyant, there were lots of independent retailers and art shops, which have largely gone.
Any photographer can print their own work these days but not of as good a quality as the lithographic prints I’ve been doing, which is probably why they’ve been such a hit. But that model is no longer valid because the independent retailers have gone and images are now an online product.
What would you advise aspiring photographers to do?
I would keep landscape photography as a hobby and concentrate on general stock photography. Shoot a lot every day, take pictures of household appliances, car keys, coffee mugs, wellies, because people will use it and you’ll get a little bit of money very often.
And sometimes you get contacted for something more; I’ve just been contacted by a company that wanted to buy the world rights to an image I’d taken of northern lights to use with some computer software.
Websites now want cheap photography. When I worked at The Times three years ago there was a guy who came to me and wanted to be a newspaper photographer, and I advised him to shoot stock instead. He contacted me recently and said he was now earning as much as I earned when I was picture editor of The Times, and thanked me a lot for telling him to go down that route.

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