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THE BUSINESS END OF PHOTOGRAPHY--HOW TO GET PUBLISHED-Part I

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THE BUSINESS END OF PHOTOGRAPHY--HOW TO GET PUBLISHED-Part I

Postby pyewacket » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:52 pm

I've had the honor, you might say, and was asked by one of the moderators here, and I hope she doesn't mind my naming her..."ehoeveler" to do a tutorial about the way things are in the photography world, particularly the nuts and bolts business end of it, especially if one is interested in selling their work out their in the competitive world.

First just a tad about me...I've been involved with all forms of the creative arts...you name it, been there... done it...And perhaps like many of you, you can't imagine living a life without your creative muse to satisfy your bliss....Well that sure is me. Of course, my artistic abilities never went well with my family. Now in a sense I've been involved with photography ever since I can remember...usually borrowing my mother's old Kodak Brownie...it wasn't until around 1977, that I got my first 35mm film camera, a Nikkormat EL-W, and I was hooked. Right away I took classes at The New School, here in New York, and learned darkroom techniques--how to develop black and white film and to develop prints--now I was really lost into it, and not long after considered a career and profession as a professional photographer.

I don't know what it was, perhaps just dumb luck, but after sending letters of inquiry to various magazines, and finding out what their guidelines were, I'd be mailing off a portfolio of my work, usually my 35mm slides, but sometimes my black and white prints as well, and like what all "artists" do---kept my fingers crossed. Well like I said, perhaps it was dumb luck, because here I am, only two years into having gotten my first 35m camera, and I learn that one of my photos is to be to be published on the cover of a magazine {April 1980 issue of Unity Magazine}

From there on, I was quite regularly published, that is until roughly 1996, when several family and personal issues came up and my photography career came to a screeching halt. Well, only a few years ago, even though some of the issues that stopped my work hadn't been resolved, I could no longer put my creative work aside--I think all here, will understand, if you're an artist, no matter what type of artist you are, you just can't keep the muse bottled up forever--So once again, I started to reach out and contact my former "contacts" that had published me in the past, as I figured this would be a great place to start.

Well all I can say is that the ten to eleven years of not being involved with my photographic work has cost me dearly...it's like I have to learn the business of it all over again from squat. Now don't get me wrong. Like all the artistic endeavors, photography was ever bit as competitive when I was actively involved...but back then, it was much more likely that a photographer could deal on a one to one basis, and directly with the photo/artistic editor of a magazine. Yes, there were stock photography agencies back then too...but for the most part, editors seemed to be more willing to work with the photographer. This worked well with me, as I avoided dealing or signing up with a stock photography agency like the plague.....Why? Well, it just made more sense. In dealing with a photo/artistic editor directly, if the magazine published the photo, with a one-time rights clause, one got paid the publication fee one-hundred percent. Not so with being with an agency--oh, sure, the photographer would get "credit" for the photo, but would get paid only about half the amount.

Now everything has changed and of course several factors made that change in the photo world. Number one: the computer...Now just about anyone and everyone has a computer...if not their own, at least one can have access to one...and with a computer is the website. Ten years or more ago, not every business had a website...and that included publications...Now everyone but everyone can build and their own website, even someone's Aunt Tessy in Osh Kosh who wants to have a website to blog her favorite recipes. The greatest change however, is of course digital photography...and the two, the computer and digital camera now go hand and hand, and have created a whole new world and way of doing business for the photographer...as I'm very quickly learning.

First and foremost...as you can guess, we film photographers are getting to be a rare species. Oh, sure, one of these days I do hope to get a digital camera...since believe it or not, I still use that now thirty year old camera of mine--and I'm not the only one who does use a film camera--we still do exist out there. Unfortunately, the film format of photography just doesn't sit too well with the rest of the world, especially those companies who wish to use and utilize photographic images, such as magazine companies.

I was in for a shock for the most part, that when I did send my portfolios out of my 35mm slides to the very same companies that published my work all the time, my work was sent back to me, and it had nothing to do with the quality of what I was sending...I just inwardly knew my work was good enough for publication again. No, it wasn't that my work was bad or unacceptable but the company would send my work back, with a notation with a request, by asking me if I could be so kind to re-submit my work either on Photo-CD discs, send as part of an e-mail attachments, or please provide a website address where we may view your work on-line....and l'm like...duh, uh, sure, right--hey I didn't even have my own computer up until a month ago...and there's only so much one can accomplish at a li
ary computer or at a Net place, which is virtually nothing.

Okay...so here you are, probably wondering what all this has to do with "today's" business of the photography world...well, I did have to do a bit of a retrospect on how the business of photography used to be run before diving right into how it works now...And I'm by no means an expert. I'm learning all the time, I can be considered a real rookie at it. But one has to have a understanding, that if you as a photographer in today's market wants to sell your work...you have to know the terms managed rights vs. royalty free, you have to know about the types of stock agencies are out there now...and as a by the way....it seems very few publications deal with photographers on a one to one basis anymore--unless of course they are part of a staff editorial team of the publication. There are the biggies, like Getty Images...who have in their archives millions and millions and millions of photos...and you as the photographer have to pay them initial fees per photo to have the "honor" of having your photos with them...then there is the "micromarket" a realitively new concept these past few years in marketing one's work, but to my mind the photographer loses bigtime, and I'll explain a bit more of that in my next installment of this post.

So until next time.
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Postby ehoeveler » Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:28 am

Melanie, this is the first time I read #1! Sorry I didn't get to it sooner.
Every Photgrapher in the US (or at least NY) needs to get out in front of Gettys' and throw rotten fruit, or something. Thanks for your contribution
to this forum. Reading your comments gives a newbie a real idea of what it's like out there. ehoeveler
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Postby DLKeur » Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:55 am

Wonderful information...even if I do
eak cameras. Looking forward to more.
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