Many photographers prefer not to work with animate objects and thus, prefer to take pictures of scenes. However, some do not realise that they can earn from these photographs. There is always a market for interesting, quirky, nostalgic landscape photography…you just have to find it and market it right. You can incorporate something you love doing with earning a wage.
Create a Portfolio
Before you embark on any kind of money-making scheme, you need to have the stock to sell. Create a portfolio, with all your shots, on your PC. As you investigate the different ways you can make money, you will be able to upload these nice and quickly or email them to interested parties.
At this point it might be an idea to have a watermark on them for copyright purposes.
Sell Stock Shots
There are many companies who use images daily for things we don’t normally think about. For example, a company intranet site might want to use landscape images for each department, which change on an ongoing rota.
This would involve you giving copyright to the person/company/organisation. However, you would receive no photographic credit. If you are not bothered about this then this is one option for you to look at.
By selling this way, you would have no overheads in that you don’t need to print the pictures, but you will also earn less and would probably need to sell quite a few this way to see a decent profit.
The easiest way to sell online is to come to an agreement with an existing website which allows you to upload your portfolio for people to see. You would probably have to pay a premium for the use of the established site but, hopefully, will capture an audience that you wouldn’t otherwise have done.
When negotiating a fee with an existing website, remember to look at any add-ons that they will benefit from. For example, do they offer a framing service? If so, you are assisting them with their business by advertising there (surely, that’s worth a little discount?).
Once again, this option is an easier option as there are no overheads. The client buys the print from the website and the website organises postage and package etc.
Alternatively, you could create your own website which will give you 100% of any profit made. However, this is going to entail some decent marketing – after all what use is a 100% of nothing?!
There are many software choices that make it easy to set up a website by taking you through step-by-step guides but, if you just don’t get it or have the time to invest, freelance web designers are always available by using a simple search on the internet.
Establish a relationship with Magazines and Publishers
There are thousands of magazines requiring particular landscape shots. Try and get an appointment with them or email them your portfolio. This is a tough market to conquer as it is one of the best paid but, if you are persistent it only takes one landscape to be chosen by them for you to make it onto their list.
Make it clear to any contacts you establish that you are keen to help them with any specific shots they need and that you don’t mind travelling to get them (if you actually don’t mind travelling). This can often lead to shoots abroad.
In fact, if you like to travel internationally, try and break into the holiday market. They need pictures for brochures which are going to entice buyers.
Arts and Crafts Shops and Fairs
Contact the arts and crafts shops in your area and ask if they would be happy to let you show some of your landscapes in the shop (there will be a commission associated with this of course).
You will be able to catch the attention of browsers, those that didn’t know they were looking for your print until they saw it.
Look into local fairs too. The only drawback with these is that you will have to take all your stock with you, and make sure that you have multiples of each print. However, this can be rewarding too as you will meet customers and find out what sorts of things they like and are looking for, as well as networking with other sellers.
For many photographers this is their main source of business, especially wedding photographers. But people still want specific landscapes too.
The best way to get commissioned work is by word of mouth if you want to work close to home. However, if you like to travel about there are other ways to ensure everyone knows your work.
You could simply knock on doors with some local shots and see if anyone is interested. If they are not interested, you could ask if there is a scene they would particularly like and would they consider commissioning you to take it for them.
You could advertise locally, or nationally, including some of your best work and have a by-line that you would gladly take any commissioned photos.
Once you have got into a community, word spreads fast and you could end up with much more work than you expected.
Hold an Exhibition
Look for venues that are easy to get to for all concerned. To start off, you might choose a smaller village whereby you could use the Village Hall to hold an exhibition. Make sure all of the photo’s are from that area and they are not just samey snaps.
If customers see a scene they recognise they are much more likely to buy to capture the moment for the future.
You could then repeat this in different areas across the country…giving you different subject matter so that you don’t get bored and giving customers a different look of their town or village.
Should you make this your main source of income?
Honestly, no. Selling landscape photography works better if it is a paying hobby, rather than your livelihood UNLESS you get guaranteed work from some or all of the above referenced.
In short, don’t give up your day job, but reap the rewards of your hobby. Buying a landscape is not a necessity and therefore is affected by the economy and this fluctuation could impact your ability to be able to pay the rent.