Beyond family and friends, most of us eventually begin sharing our photography with a broader audience. We may want to find others with the same interests, improve upon our own work, or simply learn new skills – the reasons can be many. Some of you, like me, may be more enterprising. You may wish to sell your photos as prints, sell a photography book, start a photography business, or simply wish to make a name for yourself. How do you accomplish these goals especially if you are short on time, lack marketing know-how, or maybe don’t know how to create yourself a website?
Starting off in obscurity
When I started in photography my goals were quite grand. First, I wanted to make a name for myself – I wanted to become famous in the world of photography. I also wanted to earn enough revenue from my photography to help pay for supplies and equipment (photography is not a cheap hobby and very rarely to you ever get rich doing it!). My plans included first creating a website which included some of my best photos. Shortly after, I started doing my own photo printing on an Epson R2400 (great printer). However, the expense of ink and paper soon added up. This led to the idea of selling my prints on my website in the hopes of at least covering my costs. I had a small problem though – very few people ever came to my website and I honestly didn’t know how to attract them.
The problem I was facing is a common one – how does one get noticed? There were hundreds of thousands of people just like me, some of which where more talented than I was or where doing a better job of getting themselves noticed. What I finally discovered was that people where simply not going to discover me or my photography if I continued to operate in a bubble. In the world of marketing its known that networks of people are what spread ideas and information. If an idea or information can find its way into the right network of people at the right time, it can spread rather quickly. This is what I learned almost by mistake.
The network effect
My first experience in learning about the ‘network effect’ was when my photo, ‘Running Dog’, was published in B&W; Magazine in 2007. That was a busy year for me as I was published in Photographer’s Forum Best of Photography 2007 and was a finalist in Smithsonian Magazine’s 4th Annual Photo Contest with my photo ‘Summer Time.’ My work was instantly injected into the fine arts photography community’s public awareness. It was an unexpected shock which led to some unforeseen events.
Almost immediately, I began receiving emails asking if my photos where available for sale and for how much. I recall just randomly choosing the price of $250 per print which, surprising to me, people readily paid. I quickly learned how to number my prints, sign them, and ship them. I ended up selling quite a few prints that year, enough to more than cover my equipment and supply costs.
The point is that I got my photography in front of people which led them to noticing it. It wasn’t easy and there were many rejections along the way. However, what I learned was even more valuable. That if you insert yourself and your work directly into the right network of people, you will begin to get exposure almost immediately.
Building a web presence
One of the most important tools you will need to begin promoting your photography is a portfolio website. If you don’t have one already, start building one. You will need a website to link people to your content, products, achievements, publications, and awards. Your website should also have an easy way for people to contact you. If you need help, there are great website templates which you can buy, services you can use – you name it – there is no excuse for not having your photos on display on the web.
Websites can also be created by piggy backing on other systems such as portfolio services or blogs. These prefab solutions are great because you can get a website up and running with little effort. Having a website, however, is just the beginning. What you need to do next is get your content in front of people.
Note, if you do have a website I’d like to mention one great asset that you can’t do without – you need some sort of website analytics tool (e.g. Google Analytics). Almost everyone who runs a website uses these services today and for good reason. They can provide you information about who is coming to your website, from where they came, what pages are they frequently viewing, and how long they are staying. This data can be tremendously helpful in determining where your future efforts are best spent.
Social networks and content sharing websites play major roles in the sharing and spreading of information and interesting content today. Linking your photos, books, or services from your website/portfolio to social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon, can get your content in front of thousands of people within seconds. These links have the potential to spread even further through networks of ‘friends.’ However transient content sharing is, take full advantage of its potential gains. You’ll gain an influx of new, interested, visitors to your content which can help propel your photography even further.
Talking to your audience
One of the best kept secrets today in generating a buzz around a product or service is audience building. Companies have succeeded and failed by employing or ignoring this little known secret. As a photographer, you would implement this strategy in the following way – start writing about what you know in either a blog, newsletter, or website. What novel photography techniques have you developed? What are your favorite camera lenses? What are your preferred aperture settings? What are your post production techniques? How do you set up your studio lighting? What are your favorite inks and paper types when you print?
A good friend and fine arts photographer, Cole Thompson, sends me, and many others, a newsletter every month. In it he shares stories about his latest work, experiences he’s had on a recent trip, or some information about a gallery show he recently attended. He shares information, and that builds an audience – an audience who also becomes interested and exposed to his newest photography. When you build an audience people give you their attentions for free. No need to spend money on advertising.
Putting it all together
Getting yourself noticed in today’s busy and information rich world is not easy. If you want to get your photography noticed, get it in front of people as many was as possible. Submit your photography to photo contests and newsstand publications. Make it a habit of submitting at least once a month. Although the chance of winning a photo contest or getting your photography published is low you will gain some quick exposure when you do. Build yourself a portfolio website or use a service to host your images online so that people will find your work. Take advantage of social networks by posting your work to them regularly. Social networks have the power to spreading information quickly. Lastly, start building an audience. Share information and experiences with the same people you want to attract.
Opbygning af en tilstedeværelse på internettet
Et af de vigtigste værktøjer, du bliver nødt til at begynde at fremme din fotografering er en portefølje hjemmeside. Hvis du ikke har en i forvejen, begynde at opbygge en. Vil du brug for en hjemmeside til at knytte folk til dit indhold, produkter, resultater, publikationer og priser. Din hjemmeside bør også have en nem måde for folk at kontakte dig. Hvis du har brug for hjælp, er der stor hjemmeside skabeloner, som du kan købe, tjenester, du kan bruge – you name it – der er ingen undskyldning for ikke at have dine fotos på displayet på nettet.
Websites kan også være skabt af piggy backing på andre systemer, såsom portefølje af tjenester eller blogs. Disse præfabrikerede løsninger er gode, fordi du kan få en hjemmeside op at køre med en lille indsats. At have en hjemmeside, men er kun begyndelsen. Hvad du skal gøre næste, er at få dit indhold i front af mennesker.
Bemærk, hvis du har en hjemmeside, vil jeg gerne nævne et stort aktiv, at du ikke kan undvære – du har brug for nogle slags hjemmeside analytics-værktøj (fx Google Analytics). Næsten alle, der driver en hjemmeside, bruger disse tjenester i dag og med god grund. De kan give dig oplysninger om, hvem der kommer til dit website fra hvor de kom fra, hvilke sider der er de ofte ser, og hvor længe de opholder sig. Disse data kan være uhyre nyttige til at bestemme, hvor din fremtidige indsats er bedst brugt.
Brug af sociale medier
Sociale netværk og deling af indhold, hjemmesider spiller en stor rolle i den udveksling og spredning af information og interessant indhold i dag. Sammenkædning af dine fotos, bøger, eller-tjenester fra din hjemmeside/portfolio til sociale platforme, såsom Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, kan få dit indhold på foran tusindvis af mennesker inden for få sekunder. Disse links har potentiale til at sprede sig yderligere gennem netværk af ” venner.’ Dog forbigående, at deling af indhold er, drage fuld fordel af dets potentielle gevinster. Du vil få en tilstrømning af nye, interesserede, kan besøgende på dit indhold, som kan hjælpe med at drive din fotografering yderligere.
At tale til dit publikum
En af de bedst bevarede hemmeligheder i dag er at skabe en buzz omkring et produkt eller en service er publikumsopbygning. Virksomheder, der er lykkedes og mislykkedes ved at ansætte eller ignorerer det lidt kendt hemmelighed. Som fotograf, du vil implementere denne strategi på følgende måde – at begynde at skrive om, hvad du kender i enten en blog, nyhedsbrev eller hjemmeside. Hvad romanen fotografering teknikker, har du udviklet? Hvad er din foretrukne kamera linser? Hvad er dine foretrukne indstillinger for blænde? Hvad er din post produktion teknikker? Hvordan du opretter din studio belysning? Hvad er dine favorit-blæk og papir når du udskriver?
En god ven og kunst fotograf, Cole Thompson, sender mig, og mange andre, et nyhedsbrev hver måned. I det han deler historier om hans seneste arbejde, oplevelser, han har haft på en nylig tur, eller nogle oplysninger om et galleri vise, at han for nylig deltog i. Han deler oplysninger, og der bygger et publikum – et publikum, der også bliver interesseret, og udsat til hans nyeste fotografering. Når du bygger et publikum, folk giver dig deres opmærksomhed for gratis. Ingen grund til at bruge penge på reklame.
Sætte det hele sammen
Få dig selv bemærket i dagens travle og oplysninger rige verden er ikke let. Hvis du ønsker at få din fotografering bemærket, få det i foran af mennesker, så mange var som muligt. Send din fotografering til foto-konkurrencer og aviskiosk publikationer. Gør det til en vane at indsende mindst en gang om måneden. Selv om chancen for at vinde en fotokonkurrence eller få din fotografering offentliggjort er lav, vil du få nogle hurtige eksponering, når du gør. Byg dig en portefølje hjemmeside, eller brug en service til at hoste dine billeder online, så folk vil finde ud af dit arbejde. Drage fordel af sociale netværk, ved at sende dit arbejde til dem regelmæssigt. Sociale netværk har magt til at sprede information hurtigt. Endelig begynde at opbygge et publikum. Dele informationer og erfaringer med de samme mennesker, du ønsker at tiltrække.