Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Suggestion for Earning More Money In Stock Photography

No Secrets in Stock Photography
There really aren’t any secrets in stock photography. If you make more images, you earn more money. When you make better images you earn more money. If you make images that are relevant to the market, you make more money. If you make intelligent choices in your distribution…then you earn more money.

A Suggestion: Shoot Seniors (Maybe I should say Photograph Seniors…)

You want to make more money in stock photography? Here is a suggestion: Shoot seniors. Shoot mature adults living active, vital lives. Seniors connecting with young people. Shoot seniors connecting with their doctors, nurses and care givers. Shoot seniors connecting with each other. Shot ETHNIC seniors! Shoot seniors at work, at play, running there own businesses, enjoying their grandchildren.

A Need For Seniors

There is a HUGE need for seniors. In a couple of years, for the first time in human history, there will be more people over 65 than under 18. Check out what the agencies have in the way of “mature” adult images…talk about holes! And those huge holes become absolute canyons when you check out the senior ethnic content.

“Mature Adults” Pushing Boundaries And Inspiring Us

My creative director suggested to me a couple of years ago that an image of a senior woman dunking a basketball would be a great seller. I am getting close to doing it too! I swear! So there is another category…seniors doing outrageous things, seniors breaking the stereotypes that we have of them. Seniors surprising us and pushing the boundaries…which when you think about…is part of real life today. There are all kinds of seniors busily changing our perceptions of what the “golden years” are all about. We should be out shooting them…and being inspired by them!

Simple Shots and Significant Profit

My girl friends mother came to visit us a year ago. I photographed her in my office. Simple shots…sitting at a desk, using a computer, a close of her hand in her daughter’s hand. We spent about an hour, maybe an hour and a half shooting. No make-up artist, no styling, not even an assistant. I did get a model release though! Total cost…nothing. So far that little shoot has brought in just over $2,000.00. You don’t have to make shoots into huge productions to make them profitable. That little senior shoot will be bringing me revenue for years to come.

An Active and Vital Senior Model
Yesterday I was contemplating a SCUBA diving trip…maybe to Cozumel for some drift diving, or perhaps Bonaire off the coast of Venezuela (don’t be fooled…I go diving at least once every decade or so). As I do, I started to think about how I could make the trip pay for itself…and it suddenly came to me. I can base the trip around an active and vital senior. There would be a bit of a twist though…because it occurred to me that I could be the model…arrgh…I am a senior!  I would go with my partner Stephanie. We can photograph each other enjoying ourselves in various situations and activities…from researching the trip, to packing, to traveling to enjoying the vacation itself.

Focus, Shot Lists, and Follow Through
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that within two to three years the images we will create will not only pay for the trip, but will be generating profit. In recent years I have been able to generate considerable money from each trip I have taken. It is simply a matter of having a focus, creating a shot list, and having the discipline to follow through.

Time, Hard Work, Common Sense and Income Opportunities

You can still make a living in stock. It takes time, hard work, some common sense, and shooting for the holes in existing collections. And one big hole in every collection is in their imagery of the demographic consisting of what we refer to as seniors or mature adults. The need for that imagery is just going to keep increasing, and providing all of us with an opportunity to increase our stock photo income as well.


mj said...

Thanks for the inspirational post, John! I'm thrilled by the idea of having all trips of our little studio pay for themselves :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice !!!!