Part III: Don’t Ask Why….Ask When?

The Tree

In part two of this series I talked about overcoming self doubt. This is a stumbling block that affects us all, as photographers and people in general. With the constant barrage of high quality imagery regularly shared on various social media sites it is easy to get caught up in the madness and the noise inside your head.

So here you are, increasingly excited about your new-found joy and it has started to take on a life of its own. You have started making new friends out of complete strangers on the internet. For the first time in your life you have not one, but THREE or more favorite weather outlets that you look to for information about upcoming forecasts. You have started regularly finding yourself outside at 4 o’clock in the morning with your camera pointing it at the ground, the sky and the trees. You have even begun to visualize compositions in the passing scenery as you drive in your car. You my friend have a sickness, the disease of photographic obsession.

It has been a year or so now since you got serious about photography. People on the internet and your friends and family have started showing appreciation of your images. A co-worker expressed an even greater interest and after telling you how amazing & beautiful your image was they asked you if you sell your work! You feel like a rock star now. In the five minutes since they asked you to sell them a print you haven’t heard another word they have said. You are engaged in a fantasy inside your own mind where you have quit your job and find yourself repelling out of a helicopter onto a secluded beach. You have your camera in one hand and a pen in the other, ready to sign autographs for the group of loyal fans that have been waiting for you to land since last night. One of them even has a t-shirt with your face on it….

You snap back to reality when your boss, with a very unpleasant look on his face, asks you about the report that was due 2 hours ago. You realize that if you are ever going to be able to quit your day job to become a professional photographer, you better start selling some prints. You just sold an 8” x 10” print to your co worker for $20. It cost you $7 to have it printed and $4 to have it shipped to your house. You do some simple math and you realize that to make a respectable income from your photography you are going to need to sell approximately 6500 more 8 x 10’s. Ok, maybe you should try for some larger print sales. If you think I am talking to you, sit back and relax because it’s going to be a long ride but I honestly want to try to help you. I would like to see you to succeed.

It is crucial that you realize that this is not the music industry, nor are you an actor or actress. No one is going to “discover” you and propel you into fame & untold riches. Besides, despite what your Mom keeps saying you are just not that good yet. If you want to sell your work you are going to have to dig deep and sell yourself. Some call it salesmanship, others call it hustle. Whatever you choose to call it, you need to get some of it fast. There are a finite number of potential customers out there and a seemingly infinite number of aspiring photographers and many of them are extremely dedicated and producing VERY good work on a regular basis.

Here is where the twist comes in. I know many amazing photographers who rarely sell anything. It’s not that they don’t want to; they just don’t know how to sell themselves. I also know many less than amazing photographers and even some terrible ones who seem to sell their work right and left. So what is the secret? What more can I do to sell my work? Tune in to part four of this series, don’t ask why…ask what and I will try to answer this burning question for you. In the meantime, if you enjoy looking at pretty pictures please have a look at my website at http://www.aaronreedphotography.com and consider a print or two. I still have a few thousand to go this year. ;) Thank you again for following this series and sharing with friends and family who may find it helpful. I truly appreciate it.