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Author Topic: A Landscape Photography Business  (Read 10336 times)

Hywel

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A Landscape Photography Business
« on: May 08, 2015, 07:55:36 am »

So here's the thing. In the UK we just had an election. The party which got in has expressed its intention to censor fetish material on the internet. For the last 13 years, I've made my living photographing and filming elegant fetish fashion and bondage. There is a possibility that significant sections of my work may be censored, and that my severely impact my profit margin and my ability to pay the bills.

I recently moved from the hectic South East to a much lovelier but much poorer part of the country. If my fetish photography business collapses, I'm not going to be able to walk into any sort of high-tech or high-paid job. I need to diversify, and my second love has always been landscape photography. (My first love of all is landscape PLUS fetish photography, which is why poor models have been shivering in satin ballgowns and silver handcuffs above the Arctic Circle on my shoots).

I believe I have identified a gap in the market. There's not much landscape photography around of my local area, despite its beauty and moderate but definite tourist foot-fall. You can't buy prints or postcards of local landmarks. I couldn't buy my mother a jigsaw with a pretty picture from the local area for her birthday.

So in my copious(!!!) free time, I've been hiking out to the hills and desperately trying to get my eye back in for landscape photography, get fitter, and carry a camera with me everywhere I go. I'm trying to be out at sunset somewhere beautiful every day I can, even after a full day at the fetish photography day job.

I've got some ideas for kit- I've just invested in a 5-series Gitzo and an Arca Swiss head to replace my heavy, wobbly, crappy 25 year old Manfrotto (I don't use tripods for the day job, I have to move because the model is tied up).

I've got a GH4, a Canon 7D, a RED Scarlet, a Hasselblad H3D-ii and a sack of lenses suitable for people photography and a few which will certainly do to get some practice. The GH4 is great in every single respect except ultimate image quality. I've never really loved anything I've shot with the 7D. The Hassy is a great studio camera but too heavy, not waterproof (it rains here. Often. A lot.) and investing in Hasseblad wide-angle and telephoto lenses would be a big commitment with no guarantee of sales as yet, just a hope that if I shoot some good stuff I'll manage to sell some of it somehow.

I really need to start building up a portfolio of actual saleable work. I need some stock before I start trying to get stuff printed or mounted or take samples around to local shops, etc.. I have Alain Briot's excellent book of essays which I'm using as the jumping off point for my business case. I suck as a salesman but I have a mate who has just retired who I might be able to get involved at some level.

All of which is a long lead up to the question... does anyone have any advice for me? Especially anyone who actually makes money from their landscape photography?

Am I wasting my time shooting stuff on anything other than the Hassy, for example?

What do you make money from? What's the determining factor in what sells best? How important is ultimate technical quality and resolution? Reading the forums and magazines one is tempted to believe that technical quality is of almost total importance for selling landscape work, is that your experience? Or are your best sellers all shot on a 5D Mark II or similar?

Do you sell direct to the public? To companies which then produce products (books, calendars, postcards, etc.)? To magazines, or stock libraries?

Any words of wisdom gratefully received!

Cheers, Hywel

« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 08:22:00 am by Hywel »
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Colorado David

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2015, 10:11:41 am »

You should study those people who are doing well at what you want to do.  Look at this site; http://imagesofrmnp.com

I've been to Erik's gallery and really respect his work.  He lives and sells his work in an area of high tourist traffic and has very, very high quality work.  When I first discovered his gallery, I'd been in a gallery across the street that did not impress me in the least.  I was not prepared for the quality experience when I walked into Erik's gallery.  He is very personable and runs a first rate operation.  Another photographer to study is Bret Edge.  I have not been to his gallery, but have followed his posts here on Lula.  Good luck.

jjj

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2015, 07:35:16 am »

Where have you moved to Hywel? As it's odd that a nice area has no photographers already doing landscape work. Maybe you've found an unexploited niche, which would be good for you if things do get tricky with your other work.
I hadn't heard about this particular issue in amongst all the other doom and gloom predictions of the forthcoming zombie apocalypse, sorry Tory Government.  ;)


Perhaps, if you value what it is you do, your time would be better spent fighting censorship?   
Long term that would the best thing as who knows what else will be targeted next...
« Last Edit: May 10, 2015, 07:36:48 am by jjj »
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Hywel

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2015, 11:43:13 am »

We are of course trying to fight the censorship as much as we can, with fund-raising for Backlash, viral videos, in discussions with two production companies about TV shows, organising via the small fetish film festival we ran this year to get campaigning groups of producers together etc.. We already helped organise a sponsored caning which raised several thousand pounds for the campaigning groups, and much more is in the works.

I believe it is prudent to attempt to diversify anyway. I'd rather have SOME revenue stream even if only a few hundred quid a month which could possibly be expanded upon if the axe really does fall. Fighting the censorship is a lot easier if you can simultaneously pay the mortgage. Plus it is stimulating to work on new projects. Doing new kinky projects seems a bit fool-hardy given the circumstances, hence the non-kinky ones.

When I tried to find nice landscape work of the local area for sale here for simple stuff like my Xmas cards and presents, I couldn't. Hence the belief that some diversification in that direction is worth considering, as I said there seems to be a gap in the market.

It is not the only diversification I am working on- I've already been the cinematographer on some mainstream indie films, so commercial video production is also something I will be looking into, as will more general stock photography, as will several other more speculative but more intensely personal projects taking away the bondage elements of my fetish work but leaving some of the others- like the mythological elements. I'm shooting a short film next month to explore that (which won't make any money directly but which is at least a non-fetish-related personal project I can show to potential commercial clients. Ditto my film project documenting one year atop a local mountain).

However, this board is titularly for landscape photography, which is why I asked about that here.

Maybe you are correct and there's no way of making any money at all in this area in the UK, but I wanted to ask the advice of people who are doing it successfully. It seemed at least worth considering given that I already have some skills and a lot of kit compared with a blank-slate startup...

When I have succeeded in ventures before it has usually been by trying lots of things and seeing which ones stick. So I want to at least TRY to assemble a sensible portfolio of local landscape photographs, produce some product (even if only postcards and small prints sold at or near cost to test the market initially) and see if my observation about a gap in the market was in any way correct before just throwing my hands up and saying there's not any sort of business model here.

Same way as my work in mainstream cinematography has paid me a few tens of thousands of pounds but also convinced me that it is a VERY brittle and unstable market. Landscape photography may be just as bad, but at least the requirements to get started are me, some kit I already own, a car I already have, a passion for the mountains I've always had, an eye for a picture, and some time and hard work. Whereas mainstream movie making really needs a sh*t ton of money invested to get started on top of that. Even the little short I'm doing next month is going to cost a couple of thousand. One of the two features I DoP'd for has just got distribution, but MAN the producers had to put in a lot of cash to get it to that stage.

If nothing else I'll end up with some nice prints for my wall, a perfect excuse for more time in the mountains, and some photos to try drawing and painting from again and see if there's a kernel of a business there, instead.

Cheers, Hywel Phillips
« Last Edit: May 10, 2015, 12:02:43 pm by Hywel »
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jjj

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2015, 12:40:30 pm »

I think the key thing to earning in this new field is a solid tourist market to bolster locals wanting nice shots of their locality. Assuming you have the skills.
If there isn't one, then that would explain the lack of people cashing in on your region.

I live in on edge of Peak District which is a very popular area and thus inundated with pretty landscape photographers selling postcards and prints.
It's something I've contemplated doing some myself as I spend a fair bit of time out there on my bikes. But I am not that interested in shooting pretty landscapes, so not sure how commercial my work would be. But it would be in contrast to the usual shots, so....

Villager Jim a photographer who lives in the Peaks itself has done well in part by building up a big following on FB. He is also allowed extra access to Chatsworth Estate that most photographers do not get and they sell his work in their shop too I seem to recall.
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Justinr

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2015, 02:18:14 pm »

Since I gave up trying to sell myself as a photographer and called myself a writer I've been busier than ever with the camera. And as for the Tories getting all high and mighty about fetishes then wasn't Steven Milligan one of them? (Tory that is)

He was found dead in his flat in Chiswick, London, in February 1994, apparently self-strangled by the use of an electrical cord during an act of autoerotic asphyxiation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Milligan
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Jeremy Roussak

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2015, 04:56:23 pm »

And as for the Tories getting all high and mighty about fetishes then wasn't Steven Milligan one of them? (Tory that is)

I've seen nothing to suggest that the rather peculiar subjects the OP photographs will be made illegal; and the relevance of a death 21 years ago is what, precisely?

Jeremy
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Justinr

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2015, 05:09:40 pm »

I've seen nothing to suggest that the rather peculiar subjects the OP photographs will be made illegal; and the relevance of a death 21 years ago is what, precisely?

Jeremy

Nor have I, but then I was responding to the OP's concerns where he stated it quite clearly. The relevance of Milligan and his fetishes (plus all the other rumours surrounding the tastes of certain Tory members) and the apparent desire by the Conservatives to discourage such activities would, I rather imagined, have been apparent to anyone who has a sense for the hypocritical.

BTW, whatever consenting adults get up to is their business as far as I am concerned.
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jjj

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2015, 07:12:13 pm »

Nor have I, but then I was responding to the OP's concerns where he stated it quite clearly. The relevance of Milligan and his fetishes (plus all the other rumours surrounding the tastes of certain Tory members) and the apparent desire by the Conservatives to discourage such activities would, I rather imagined, have been apparent to anyone who has a sense for the hypocritical.
Then there's the Westminster paedophile ring from some years back that was hushed up and which is having difficulty getting someone impartial to adjudicate, because all qualified people so far have connections to those possibly involved. Plus there are possible murders associated with it and within it. Potentially the scandal of the century.
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Justinr

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2015, 07:27:36 pm »

Then there's the Westminster paedophile ring from some years back that was hushed up and which is having difficulty getting someone impartial to adjudicate, because all qualified people so far have connections to those possibly involved. Plus there are possible murders associated with it and within it. Potentially the scandal of the century.

Yep, heard much the same thing and more, but I'm not sure that we should be conflating the much discussed possibility of pedophile rings in the British establishment with harmless fetishes as portrayed by the OP, and I didn't mean to do so  in my post.
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jjj

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2015, 07:37:52 pm »

Not entirely off topic as Hywel is portraying perfectly legal specialised sexual activities in his main business, yet those in power who may potentially stop him doing that may have been complicit in very extremely serious criminal offences, some sexual. Which as you correctly said is hypocritical.
I do seem to vaguely recall some bill trying to get passed a while back that was quite sly in it's nature and would outlaw such things as which Hywel shoots. The Tories seem hell bent on passing all the unpleasant laws that the Lib Dems put a stop to last time around as quickly as possible, such as getting rid of Human Right protection. The sex related law may be another.
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Iluvmycam

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2015, 09:06:22 pm »

I can't believe your problem. Don't they have anything better to do?  As a fetish specialist you should be able to work international.  I wish I could encourage you with the landscapes. Pretty pix are a dime a dozen...or even free.

http://www.amazon.com/Sunrise-around-world-Photo-Gallery-ebook/dp/B00ROCZ2JG/ref=pd_sim_sbs_kstore_9?ie=UTF8&refRID=16FNDDPK30NZ1MN5T7FJ


http://www.amazon.com/Spectacular-Mountain-Lakes-Photo-Gallery-ebook/dp/B00QU1H3NK/ref=pd_sim_sbs_kstore_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=0GHX6N388YGCDGWS8V3J

Maybe you have something special to offer with landscapes. I work in other areas to make $. There are much easier ways making $ than taking pix. But others will make a great living at it, so just depends on the photog.

Good luck!

« Last Edit: May 10, 2015, 09:09:17 pm by Iluvmycam »
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NancyP

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2015, 04:12:34 pm »

I would worry less about the Tories and more about the local non-established churches in a small town, who are on the spot to create a nuisance and possibly give you free advertising. But there is a p&*n market out there in small towns, so why not an elegant fetish photo market? Or not so elegant? (imagining a Missouri rural p&*n, trussed like a deer to the pickup truck bed, with camo motif - think "Duck Dynasty" - what to do when you've hit the license limits).  ::)

Seriously, our Republicans make a lot of noise about p&*n, but their big donors include hotel magnates (pay per view!), and there's plenty of personal use, I am sure. Your Tories can't be much different.
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Justinr

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2015, 06:45:47 pm »

I would worry less about the Tories and more about the local non-established churches in a small town, who are on the spot to create a nuisance and possibly give you free advertising. But there is a p&*n market out there in small towns, so why not an elegant fetish photo market? Or not so elegant? (imagining a Missouri rural p&*n, trussed like a deer to the pickup truck bed, with camo motif - think "Duck Dynasty" - what to do when you've hit the license limits).  ::)

Seriously, our Republicans make a lot of noise about p&*n, but their big donors include hotel magnates (pay per view!), and there's plenty of personal use, I am sure. Your Tories can't be much different.

The small non established church thing doesn't really happen over here, Henry VIII and Luther saw to that 500 odd years ago while the pope still tends to the rest although Mohammad is getting in on the act  nowadays.
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NancyP

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2015, 06:59:36 pm »

I keep forgetting that the percentage of people that care about religion is much lower in the UK and Europe than in the US, and that street preachers aren't as aggressive as the U.S.s late Fred Phelps.
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jjj

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2015, 12:48:19 am »

Religion thankfully is no big deal over here. I'm struggling to even think of anyone I know who even goes to Church, bar the Vicar who lives opposite me or an old school friend who went into the family business and became one of the first women ordained in Wales. Even she seems to be ambivalent about religion.
The US seems to be going back to Middle Ages with religion though sadly.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 10:50:16 pm by jjj »
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Justinr

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2015, 04:06:14 am »

I keep forgetting that the percentage of people that care about religion is much lower in the UK and Europe than in the US, and that street preachers aren't as aggressive as the U.S.s late Fred Phelps.

I'm struggling to recall ever seeing a street preacher in Ireland, I'm sure there must be one or two somewhere, probably in Dublin, but there was a fellow round these parts who carried a banner reading John 3:7 to hurling matches and was treated with great good humour by the fans, more here-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_3:7_%28sign%29
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NancyP

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Re: A Landscape Photography Business
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2015, 10:47:04 am »

Well, at the end of the month on Pride weekend I expect to see a bunch milling around downtown where the parade is held. Street theater. Far more exotic than the drag performers.
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