Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Different Kind of Post Today

Today's post doesn't feature a specific sight to see in D.C. or pretty pictures of flowers and critters. In fact, the pictures posted today have been featured here previously. Today's post is a call for advice.

In the last two weeks, I've been approached by four different people or agencies regarding my photography and have had a variety of requests to use my work in an equal variety of media. Here's a rundown:

About 10 days ago, an acquaintance contacted me regarding a picture I took of a religious landmark. She offered to buy an 8 x 10 print for herself and the same photo in a larger dimension for one of her children.

On Tuesday, a friend of mine who happens to be a kick *ss artist, asked if she could have permission to use a photo I took at the National Gallery of Art. Turns out, it really struck a chord with her and she wants to reproduce it as a painting.

Then, yesterday, a federal agency here in Washington contacted me and asked for permission to use a photo I took of a water fountain at L'Enfant Plaza in their annual planning report.

And, during all of this, I've had several people who've said I should start offering some or all of my photographs for sale.

Finally, this week, I've been working on putting together three prints for a photo competition in Kensington, Maryland, at the end of the month. In assembling my final choices, I've found a vendor that will print, matte, and frame my work in a 16 x 20 for less than $75 + shipping and handling.

Here are my queries:

If I were to market my photography, how should I price it?

I'm not 100% sure I want to put my photography on Flickr, PhotoBucket, or Mac's iWeb. I also am not confident my stuff is good enough for StockPhoto or other stock services. Should I create a separate blog with pictures I want to make available and a link to PayPal? Should I use a service like Image Kind or Wink Flash or Snapfish?

Fenix, Rob, Debi, Ramsey, Jim, Maya, others... what do you do? What do you think?

Seeking information and education! You can either leave a comment here or email me here.


Arlene said...

Okay - duh - Janet, your pictures are TOTALLY good enough for StockPhoto or other stock services! I have a subscription to Shutterstock & I'd download all your images just so you could get paid (although I don't think they pay the photographer much for each download). I also have Jupiter unlimited & I think your images stack up! I don't have much advice, but congrats on all your opportunities as of late & follow your heart/gut!

Arlene said...

Darn it - did I just blow the confidential part in "DC Confidential" by calling you Janet? You can delete that if you want!

Lara said...

oh, well... this is a tough question! I have no clue, but I am glad to see your work is really appreciated by the people. For sure, you deserve so!

USelaine said...

Chuck in Seattle is another pro. There must be online forums with discussions of this somewhere.

You are entirely worthy of the attention.

Anonymous said...

Stock photos? Been there done that. I wonder if that is what you really want to do?

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention that when you sell to places like this, or in my case at least, that they will want stuff shot at and submitted at 100% on specific sizes and the slightest fuzz or the slightest noise or whatever else happens that can happen at 100% gets a rejection and then a time period to cool off before you are allowed to submit more photos. The camera has to be a good one and the details have to be incredible and the list of what they want and what you get paid is as unbalanced as a can of gasoline in a picnic basket.

NG said...

What about trying a shop at first? It's pretty easy to open a store and you could start by only offering a few things.

For royalty free photos at work I use I don't know the specifics of contributing photos to the site (they may not pay you much or att all) but it might be worth looking into.

Lucy said...

You Go, Girl!

Will said...

I'm always impressed with how you consistently produce good quality photos. Go for it!

D.C. Confidential said...

Arlene: You crack me up! Since you're family, I'll just give you a whole CD for free! I've never heard of Jupiter, so I'll check it out. Oh, and it's okay that you used my name. I think most people around these parts know me as Janet, so no harm, no foul!

Lara: I'm clueless, too, so hopefully we'll learn together.

USElaine: Good idea! I've dropped Chuck an email based on your suggestion. Thanks!

Abraham Lincoln: Thanks for the tips on stock services. I hadn't thought about "exacting quality and detail" type requirements, but it makes sense. Having worked in graphic design some years ago, it makes sense.

NG: I've never heard of Etsy, but I'll check it out. And, of course, iStockPhoto is always a great source.

Lucy: Well, let's just say, You started it! ;-)

Will: Thank you. That's the best compliment ever! Thanks.

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

Janet, I don't use any of those services and what works for me may not work for you. However, here's a few useful links:

Dave Taylor on stock photo sites.

Advice on pricing photos -

Lot's of info/advice on photo pricing -


D.C. Confidential said...

Fénix: Thanks! I think this will help a lot and is excellent information. I notice on your blog that you charge licensing fees. Can you give me an idea what you charge?

marley said...

I don't know anything about these sites and services, as its all very new to me. My view, for what its worth, is - if people want to buy your photos then they must be good enough to sell. You've already got an interested market. I should go for it if I were you. If it doesn't work out you can always stop. What have you got to lose?!

D.C. Confidential said...

Marley: Good point! I do have a propensity to over-think and over-engineer things. I should find a simple solution, put it in the left column on my blog, and let it sort itself out!

Maya said...

Oh, I wish I knew! I've blown several opportunities when folks wanted to buy my photos because I didn't know what to do!

I noticed that On Focus has her blog set up so people can buy her work. Maybe you could ask her for advice!

Maya said...

BTW, I'm interested to see how you end up handling all this so keep me in the loop when you figure something out! And, Congrats!! :-)

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

Price depends on use/type of client, it varies greatly. Read up on right-managed licenses, but most importantly, find out how much photographers from your area charge. Find them online and if they don't have a pricing schedule on their website, email them.

I'm going away for a few weeks. See you again in August. Have a dry and sunny month ahead. :)


D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: The site for On Focus Photo is fabulous! What I like is, the prices aren't high and the quality is. It appears there's no mark-up because the photographer is eliminating the middle person. That said, it would appear she's also printing her own stuff. Until I'm set up to that in a high-quality manner, I'll probably need to have a middle person.... Lots to think about. Thank you for passing along good information. I'll be sure to do the same as I learn more.

Fénix: Thank you! As I told Chuck Pefley in an email, I don't know what I don't know. I just know I don't know! I appreciate your help. Have a great vacation! See you in a few weeks.

Holly said...

I work in another profession where I sell stuff I produce (writing), but I know there's a big difference between someone wanting to buy something I've written, meaning they publish it once, and someone wanting to buy the rights to something I've written, meaning they can do whatever they want with it, and I can't. If someone wants to buy a single copy of one photograph, that should be pretty easy to arrange, I would imagine. But if someone wants to buy the rights to the photo, meaning that they control if, when and how it gets reproduced, and you don't, then that's a different matter. And yeah, you should get advice for that.

ananda.tashie said...

I don't have any additional advice, but I wanted to say: congratulations and best of luck! Your photography is beautiful and catchy - I think it's wonderful that you're pursuing it at a deeper level. :)

D.C. Confidential said...

Holly: You make an excellent point! The idea of someone wanting to hang something of mine in their home or office is one thing. Using it exclusively and surrendering my rights to it is another. I wonder if there are shared-rights arrangements? So much to think about....

Ananda: As you can tell, I'm learning as I go along. Thank you for your compliments on my photos!