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Making money with photography on the road
#1
Hey there!

This will be quite a long 'commercial-door2door-businessman-kind of' story.
Sorry about that, but I hope somebody can get something out of it. 

As I started travelling full-time almost a year ago I ended working for most of my Dutch clients.
These days I have to be quite creative when it comes to making money, as most of the jobs are cold approach.
Next to working online, I get photography jobs like this: 

- Research: i check online for businesses and their pictures(or the lacking of).
I mostly go for restaurants (could also be a hairdresser, hostel, beautyshop ; anything where they appreciate and understand the importance of high quality visual content).
- Go there in the morning as it is the most likely time the owner is there. (don't negotiate with employees; it will only waste your time - i tell you this out of experience). (bring some relative portfolio pieces; digital is fine)
- Tell them you're a photographer and you saw their website. Without telling them their pictures suck (they know) , tell them you think you can create some beautiful pictures there.
- Offer them to shoot some pictures with the;  "if you like them, you can buy them from me. If you don't like them; no hard feelings. 
I find that a lot of people otherwise say no, as they are not going to hire a total stranger without social proof.
- Go there for the shoot at the moment the businessowner told you is the best time to do so. And shoot; do your best to be mister social as well as shooting great pictures. 
- After the shoot don't go home! Do the post-processing in the restaurant so the contact is still warm. If you come back a few days later I've noticed prices are always lower or sometimes they all the sudden have some nephew or friend of a friend who is going to shoot the pictures. You need the contact to be warm. 
- Negotiate with the owner: Prices vary on the country you are in, how well you did and what kind of person you are and you are negotiating with. 

For now this seems to work quite alright; depending on where you are of course. Some countries are really hard to land a decent job as there is already so much great photography out there ( I've noticed Denmark and Luxembourg.. ), and sometimes it's hard if you don't speak the same language although if you speak it a little it can actually work in your advantage (noticed this in France and Spain). 

Other ideas I have but have not tested yet:
- Be like a caricaturist on a busy street; but instead with a photobooth. Caricature Style photography/editing. Print right away on mobile printer. 

- This one I haven't figured out completely yet, although i can imagine there is something here:
if there is a business-event with a lot of businessmen offer the organizers of the event to shoot some pictures for free.
In the meantime bring loads of old memory cards (128mb/256mb) (with your contact info on it) with enough memory left over to shoot at least 20 pictures. Start taking pictures of the crowd with your normal memory cards.
As soon as you meet a person who is enthusiastic of getting their picture (I always meet people in these kind of events that want you to email them their picture) offer them to shoot their LinkedIn-profile picture. Do a fast 5 minute shoot (with one of the small memory cards) with them somewhere quiet in the back. (or you can actually do it with your normal memory card if you are going to post-process it on your laptop in the event) and sell him the memory card with their picture. 
As I am typing this I am not sure how this would work, if you have an idea I would love to hear your suggestions.

How about you guys; what are the weirdest ways you made money with photography? 
My friend was the intern of a photographer who, every time if he didn't have a commercial job planned for the day just decided to do something spontaneous. For example: he ran to the flower shop; bought a bunch of flowers, made some great photographs and sold the pictures to the police station the next day where he had a shoot (true story). They hung them in their hallways
Yesterday I met a guy here in the hostel and he is travelling through Europe by making really cool 360* videos for companies. Same way I am doing with the photography of restaurants, although he chases the higher-end businesses. 

I would love to hear your ideas/ ways on how to achieve to get photography jobs without having steady clients (great ways to get a portfolio as a beginner as well!)

Cheers!
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#2
We must have been fortunate, people came to us!! Ed.
To each his own!
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#3
(Apr 27, 2017, 09:14)EdMak Wrote: We must have been fortunate, people came to us!!    Ed.
Haha yes you were! When I was still living in one spot I got people coming sometimes as well.
But now I'm travelling I have to start over and over again in every city. The only thing I can take with me is my gear, (some) skill and a few years experience.
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#4
Your story is inspiring Gerben!
What country was the most receptive with you as a cold approaching photographer? I believe it also comes to the culture and standards of live in each country.
I live in a cultural city and there are a lot of photographers here, we are so many that we come to the point we compete on prices which is not healthy for you as a photographer because your art is not valued, always compared and the gear is expensive.I'm thinking to move soon, maybe in a bigger city , with better economic expansion
Regards
Robert
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#5
I don't know how I'd fair, I've worked in sales for non-photographical products, but it still took me a long time to build up a client base for photography.
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#6
Fair comment Craig. A lot of people now seem to buy a DSLR, and assume they are photographers. Ed.
To each his own!
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#7
I think I have about $5 dollars built up in stock photography royalties (it was just an experiment with a handful of shots) but I can't get to it until it reaches $100 dollars which is unlikely to ever happen as I'm not putting any more pics up on those sites.

So, thus far, I've never made a penny from photography. :-)
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#8
(Apr 28, 2017, 13:49)EdMak Wrote: Fair comment Craig.  A lot of people now seem to buy a DSLR, and  assume they are photographers.  Ed.
Yeah I agree and then start asking question where to sell the photos!
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#9
(Apr 29, 2017, 00:44)delb0y Wrote: I think I have about $5 dollars built up in stock photography royalties (it was just an experiment with a handful of shots) but I can't get to it until it reaches $100 dollars which is unlikely to ever happen as I'm not putting any more pics up on those sites.

So, thus far, I've never made a penny from photography. :-)

I had over 300 pictures on a site at one time, took me nearly 3 years to make the $75 minimum LOL.
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#10
(Apr 29, 2017, 12:26)EnglishBob Wrote:
(Apr 29, 2017, 00:44)delb0y Wrote: I think I have about $5 dollars built up in stock photography royalties (it was just an experiment with a handful of shots) but I can't get to it until it reaches $100 dollars which is unlikely to ever happen as I'm not putting any more pics up on those sites.

So, thus far, I've never made a penny from photography. :-)

I had over 300 pictures on a site at one time, took me nearly 3 years to make the $75 minimum LOL.
I tried microstock, and made 0.3$ in 3 months the read few articles with the best practices in this area, the main thing is to be consistent,look on the platform for the trends,deliver best quality possible.
Even so, to make 2-3k $ you need years, i rather shoot 2 weddings in a weekend.
Regards,
Robert
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#11
(Apr 28, 2017, 01:44)RobertMurariu Wrote: Your story is inspiring Gerben!
What country was the most receptive with you as a cold approaching photographer? I believe it also comes to the culture and standards of live in each country.
I live in a cultural city and there are a lot of photographers here, we are so many that we come to the point we compete on prices which is not healthy for you as a photographer because your art is not valued, always compared and the gear is expensive.I'm thinking to move soon, maybe in a bigger city , with better economic expansion
Regards
Robert
The Netherlands seemed the easiest! It's where I come from so that might've helped but I'm not sure about it.
I think it also really depends on the city. Granada seemed easy but now I am in Tarifa and it's quite hard (I didn't expect); because high season is just starting so a lot of business had a low-earning winter and are broke. 
Here in the hostel there is a guy solely travelling on making really cool 360* video's for businesses, but was also complaining the pay was low around here. We try to keep each other motivated.
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#12
(Apr 27, 2017, 07:24)GerbenG Wrote: Hey there!

This will be quite a long 'commercial-door2door-businessman-kind of' story.
Sorry about that, but I hope somebody can get something out of it. 

As I started travelling full-time almost a year ago I ended working for most of my Dutch clients.
These days I have to be quite creative when it comes to making money, as most of the jobs are cold approach.
Next to working online, I get photography jobs like this: 

- Research: i check online for businesses and their pictures(or the lacking of).
I mostly go for restaurants (could also be a hairdresser, hostel, beautyshop ; anything where they appreciate and understand the importance of high quality visual content).
- Go there in the morning as it is the most likely time the owner is there. (don't negotiate with employees; it will only waste your time - i tell you this out of experience). (bring some relative portfolio pieces; digital is fine)
- Tell them you're a photographer and you saw their website. Without telling them their pictures suck (they know) , tell them you think you can create some beautiful pictures there.
- Offer them to shoot some pictures with the;  "if you like them, you can buy them from me. If you don't like them; no hard feelings. 
I find that a lot of people otherwise say no, as they are not going to hire a total stranger without social proof.
- Go there for the shoot at the moment the businessowner told you is the best time to do so. And shoot; do your best to be mister social as well as shooting great pictures. 
- After the shoot don't go home! Do the post-processing in the restaurant so the contact is still warm. If you come back a few days later I've noticed prices are always lower or sometimes they all the sudden have some nephew or friend of a friend who is going to shoot the pictures. You need the contact to be warm. 
- Negotiate with the owner: Prices vary on the country you are in, how well you did and what kind of person you are and you are negotiating with. 

For now this seems to work quite alright; depending on where you are of course. Some countries are really hard to land a decent job as there is already so much great photography out there ( I've noticed Denmark and Luxembourg.. ), and sometimes it's hard if you don't speak the same language although if you speak it a little it can actually work in your advantage (noticed this in France and Spain). 

Other ideas I have but have not tested yet:
- Be like a caricaturist on a busy street; but instead with a photobooth. Caricature Style photography/editing. Print right away on mobile printer. 

- This one I haven't figured out completely yet, although i can imagine there is something here:
if there is a business-event with a lot of businessmen offer the organizers of the event to shoot some pictures for free.
In the meantime bring loads of old memory cards (128mb/256mb) (with your contact info on it) with enough memory left over to shoot at least 20 pictures. Start taking pictures of the crowd with your normal memory cards.
As soon as you meet a person who is enthusiastic of getting their picture (I always meet people in these kind of events that want you to email them their picture) offer them to shoot their LinkedIn-profile picture. Do a fast 5 minute shoot (with one of the small memory cards) with them somewhere quiet in the back. (or you can actually do it with your normal memory card if you are going to post-process it on your laptop in the event) and sell him the memory card with their picture. 
As I am typing this I am not sure how this would work, if you have an idea I would love to hear your suggestions.

How about you guys; what are the weirdest ways you made money with photography? 
My friend was the intern of a photographer who, every time if he didn't have a commercial job planned for the day just decided to do something spontaneous. For example: he ran to the flower shop; bought a bunch of flowers, made some great photographs and sold the pictures to the police station the next day where he had a shoot (true story). They hung them in their hallways
Yesterday I met a guy here in the hostel and he is travelling through Europe by making really cool 360* videos for companies. Same way I am doing with the photography of restaurants, although he chases the higher-end businesses. 

I would love to hear your ideas/ ways on how to achieve to get photography jobs without having steady clients (great ways to get a portfolio as a beginner as well!)

Cheers!
That is a good experience from which we can learn a lot.
Reply


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