A number of months ago I had the opportunity to interview Author and Photographer Dan Heller from his bay area home.
Dan has been instrumental in championing copyright laws and education the public on how to run a profitable photography business. His books have been instrumental in helping those who may be accomplished amateurs to improve their travel photography though his book, “Digital Travel Photography”.
Here is an excerpt from our conversation:
“For someone that is just starting out, who really wants to be a pro and focus on doing what you do as far as making money representing themselves. Would the best approach be going all web or sending out Zed or comp cards to agents? Whats the best approach for someone that wants to get started? “
“What happened to me was just a hobby and I just did it for fun and I just participated in the internet, writing and I started taking more pictures. I understood the web and just three or four years of doing that, is the germination period at which point I started getting enough traffic and purchases that I could say “hey, this really is an income”.
So I don’t think anybody can just say “OK, I want to be a Photographer” and you just start with some expectation that in six months or a year that you will be making a living. It just doesn’t work that way. I think photography in today’s cultural environment and what I mean by cultural, is not the photographer culture. Just the culture of the internet and where content is acquired and prices and so forth, how you get seen, what makes visibility. You, to make money in photography, you have to go for local traffic. That is, you are a local service photographer. You shoot weddings, portraits, stuff in your local community or you do an international thing. And that’s the web, where you build a website that sells your product. Whatever your focus, whatever your bent, whatever your orientation, you have to approach the web very very seriously.
I think in each of those cases wherever you are starting from, depending on how much photography skills and knowledge you have and other kinds of skills and interests that you have … marketing, business, pricing, economics. Depending on where you are starting from, you are going to take two to four or five years before you are making any serious money at it. ……….”
The audio portion of this is available in two parts:
Part one is over 30 minutes, but has some great info and is worth listening to.