Share? Isn’t that the ultimate goal for any photographer? Whether it’s exhibiting your work in a gallery to selling your prints to customers to even posting on Instagram. There are not many photographers that want to keep their work to themselves. Surely we all want some sort of validation of our work?
There are many ways to share your work and I’m still learning to find the best ways to share mine. It is still a learning curve for me and whilst I’ve tapped into the ‘common’ ways to share my work I have only touched the surface with plenty of learning and experimenting to do!
The Truth Behind Social Media
Whether you love it or hate it – you have to grasp the throttle and just go with it. It doesn’t mean you have to conform to what you believe it to be, a play area for likes and dislikes, but to use it as a tool for networking. I believe that building relationships within the various social media portals is key to making it work for you.
Is It Working For Me?
It’s too early to tell. My journey so far has been a frustrating one. At times, I’ve succumbed to being part of the ‘likes’ brigade leaving me no time to focus on my own work. It is relatively easy to fall into the trap when you are just starting out. Spending a lot of time ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ on other peoples working hoping they’d return the favour.
It Can Feel Like a Fake World
There are people who just choose to follow to then un-follow to ‘bump’ their follower count. This makes the whole process feel fake and can slow down your creativity chasing followers. What I have learnt so far is to do what YOU want to do. There are plenty of genuine people on these platforms so don’t let the ‘fakers’ stop you from reaching out and developing the much needed networking opportunities that await you.
The Importance Of A Website
Looking Professional Is Key
In any profession it is key to ‘look’ professional. When I say ‘look’ it doesn’t mean you have to wander around the beaches in a three piece suit for people to take you seriously. But, if you want people to take ‘you’ or your ‘business’ seriously then you need to be professional.
There are many ‘professional’ bodies for photographers, amateur and professional, to join. Deciding which one can be a challenge with varying membership options and prices to match. But, if you are just starting out this can be quite daunting and costly if your photography is just a hobby.
Presenting Your Work
Having an online presence, aside from the social media route, is a must. I started with Etsy first which is a challenge in it’s own. But, it was free to set-up an account with no up-front costs. A great start for someone ‘testing’ the waters. However, it is not a ‘get rich’ quick option. To be fair, I don’t think any part of photography has a ‘quick option’. Nonetheless, Etsy got me tarted on my journey with a few sales trickling in over the last year.
I then used some of those sales to put towards setting up my own website. That in itself has/is a mine field. I’m learning every day various elements that make it work. I’ll be honest though. It’s not easy and I’ve certainly had my challenges putting it together. However, slowly it’s starting to look like a website I’m proud of. It allows me to showcase my work and portrays that I am serious about my photography and more importantly, looking professional.
What About Other Sites?
There are many sites out there that will present your work very well. The names ‘SquareSpace’, ‘Flickr’ etc spring to mind. I have a Flickr account (which I must update), I have a ‘Vero’ account which I have yet to use purposefully. But, I choose to go down the road of creating my own site as oppose to a ‘Wix’ version.
I had an idea of how I’d like the site to look and most templates just didn’t match my ideas. You may think creating your own has to be expensive. Well, it can be as cheap or as pricey as you wish. I went down the ‘Fiverr’ route and managed to get a ‘WordPress’ site designed along with logo and animated intro logo’s for the site for less than £200.
Be Prepared To Do Some Work
Whichever option you choose there will be a considerable amount of work to do. Don’t think a free ‘Wix’ template is going to be any easier than managing your own site.
I think it helps if you do a story board. Draft out a few ideas on paper so you can get a rough idea of how you want your site to look. Then, look at other photographers websites and template providers to gather ideas. My site is far from perfect and is the amalgamation of at least four to five websites I perused for ideas. I’m not suggesting copying other people’s ideas but, find a way to make it your own. Then, when you’re happy with the layout you just need to add content!
How About Displaying Your Work?
I believe there are many ways to display your work outside of the digital world. One area I’ve tried is at a local Craft & Art Fair.
Choosing The Right Craft & Art Fair
This can be tricky and take some process of elimination. I decided to try a local one to make things a little easier from a travel perspective. I certainly didn’t realise how much work I’d need to put in to it.
From decided on which frame supports to hang my pictures on to the actual pictures I was going to sell, and in what format. I spent the best part of three weeks preparing for this one day. Getting my images printed, framing some and packaging others for display and printing labels took the bulk of this time.
How Did It Go?
For a few reasons out of my control it wasn’t as financially successful as I’d hoped. However, the feedback I received was over-whelming and certainty was worth more to me on that day than money. Yes, don’t get me wrong, it would have been great to break even with my costs. A lot of these costs were ‘one-off’ as in I won’t need to keep buying the frame supports as I already have the set-up. I also have stock to do another one without any fees other than the table hire for the next event.
What Would I Do Differently Next Time?
The few prints I sold were ‘local’ to the area. This is something I’ve noticed from visiting other local fairs prior to this one. Everyone is selling very similar prints. I wanted to be a bit different but I can see that these other artists had clearly been doing it for sometime and had ‘learned’ the market.
Pricing is also really tricky. You try to get the balance of your ‘worth’ vs ‘costs’ with what buyers are prepared to pay. Having framed or unframed options was a good choice as it helps to showcase how your work ‘could’ look framed in their house. I’d also conisder having some smaller priced items. Whether it is lens cloths or coasters with your images on I do think it will draw people to your stand – and when people see your stand is busy their natural curiosity is to see what’s going on!