How to move forward

I am looking to take my photography to the next level this year. Looking for help on how to move forward. I love nature, wildlife, landscaping and macro photography. How does one get noticed and move forward with this without having “clients”. What is needed to build a business and sell your images? Being a newbie here what should I utilize here to help me do this? I hope this makes sense in what I am trying to do. Here is a link to my website that I have setup but will be changing it a bit to reflect more of the areas I want to work in. …

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Welcome to NPN, Lynette. I am not sure I can address the question about what is needed to build a business. However, about the other question you posed about what you should utilize here, I would offer the suggestions to post your photos for critique and also offer your own feedback on the photos posted here. NPN is a very friendly community. I have learned a lot in my short time here and cannot find enough words to praise the feedback I have been given. This is a community where you get just as much as you put in.

If you are unsure about where to start posting or are a bit shy, we recently created a Beginners Feedback group specifically to assist beginners in navigating the site and simply getting feedback on photos they post. You have a lot of tools here and the expertise of several photographers, professional and amateur. Your website has a lot of beautiful nature photos. We are looking forward to seeing some of your work here.

Hi Lynette and welcome to NPN! As Egídio said, NPN is a great place to get feedback on your work, and to learn by giving others feedback. Your work is very professional (and lovely), so you’re off to a good start.

As far as advice, others can give photo-business specific advice, but there are a lot of commonalities with running any kind of small business (I’ve been doing it for the last 30+ years). Here’s some questions which anyone contemplating starting a business should ask:

  • How much net income (total income less expenses) do you need to make from this business? Do you intend the net income from this business to be your sole source of income or do you have other income and this will be supplemental?

  • What will be your expenses? Printing, equipment maintenance, travel, etc. should all be estimated as best you can.

  • Add the net income you want to make to expenses to get the total income you’d need to bring in. Can you sell enough photos to get that total income?

Of course, what is “enough” is hard to define, because that will depend on how you price your work and where you sell it (fixed gallery, art fairs, online, etc.). As far as pricing, as an “unknown” (which most of us are :slight_smile:) your work won’t command top dollar. There are very few photographers (or artists in general, really) who can name their price, so to speak. Most of us who sell our work have to assess what the market will bear (as would any small business person selling anything). Just because you “need” to make x dollars doesn’t mean buyers would be willing to pay that.

One resource to learn more about selling your work and the level of effort involved in running a photography business is on the F-Stop Collaborate and Listen podcast, hosted by @Matt_Payne, a member here. He’s had some very informative guests recently, talking about the economics of the photography business. I’d recommend the following episodes:

Good luck in your quest. Do post some photos here! Your work is lovely, and we’d love to see more of it.

Thank you for the plug - that was mighty kind.
As you mention, there’s a billion aspects to running any business, but photography is even more tricky/niche due to the fact that it’s quite ubiquitous and it’s not exactly super “in demand” as compared to say, groceries. :slight_smile:

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Hi Lynette,

First of all, welcome to NPN! Great to have you here. Hope we can be of some help.

Next, your “capturingmemories” is very close to my domain - I snagged that nearly 30 years ago when trying to come up with a name.

Which leads me to my comments. As Bonnie mentions, there is much to be learned from all those who have paved the way before you. And you should learn from those folks. But perhaps some can be learned from those who have failed as well. That would be me. Ok, I don’t consider myself a failure, but I spent many years dabbling in so many avenues to promote and sell my work. I’ve dipped my toes and sometimes up to my chins in almost every possible avenue: Selling prints, online, gallery showings and at an art fair. I’ve submitted for stock photography, and been in a stock catalogue. Had images published in magazines, (online and print), calendars and even sold a book cover. I’ve helped lead a workshop and I’ve also been paid to do a “photo shoot” for University magazine. I started a blog and of course had a website since 1995 - wrote my own code… What else is there? Oh, I’ve never done a podcast… where does that leave me? Well, I never quit my day job.

Where I failed was having the DRIVE and determination to be successful at it. Never had a goal and never had the courage to take that leap. And that’s OK! I don’t feel bad about it, no regrets. In the end though, I know why I didn’t succeed.

So while I can’t help with the logistics of where to turn next, I will just offer up that you must identify what you want to do and determine where you want to be?

From your site and what has been said, it looks like you’ve done very well in the portrait business - at least I’m assuming you’re making money at that, as you mentioned “clients”. So it sounds like you want to go beyond the “client” family portrait business? You mention nauture, wildlife and landscapes (which aren’t people… ) So you’re wanting to expand your exposure in other photography avenues?

“Selling” means a lot of things. Selling prints? rights for image use? or selling services? workshops, youtube videos, etc. etc. And the big question Bonnie asked, are you looking to have an income to support yourself, or just for money on the side, or to help pay for your photography (outings, equipment, etc)

Maybe some of the pros here (those making a living) can agree or disagree, but I’ve heard from some over the years that they spend less than half the year actually doing photography, traveling and capturing images… but the most of the year is spent marketing yourself, promoting the business, getting yourself all over social media, promoting, doing the marketing, legwork, all those things - expanding your “client” list… all those things. That’s a big part that gets lost when folks start dreaming about “selling their work.”

If you want to make it happen, you can make it happen. Good luck!