Where Does My Photography Fit?
Now that you know the genres of photography, you have an overview of the development of photo markets and you have been introduced to the various income streams you could be building, you are probably getting a fair idea of where you fit in.
Before going further then, it is worth reflecting on what you have read. The following two exercises will help you plot your way forward in terms of how best to engage with Shutha so that you can become a successful and unique photo entrepreneur:
The 5-minute business plan
A business plan does not need to be an onerous exercise. Five minutes may be all you need to get a clear direction of the path you should take in your photography business to make it sustainable in the long term. Here are some steps that can be accomplished in a very short space of time:
Identify your three top photo genres
Using Understanding Photo Genres as inspiration, list all the photo genres you are interested in for any reason, including any that you have actually practiced. (Bear in mind there may be others that we have not listed).
List them in order of interest or passion with 1 being what you are most passionate about and on down to the one you are least passionate about.
Identify those that are viable markets
From your list of genres you are considering, eliminate any that you do not want to gain an income stream from. I take a lot of photos of my family which I listed as Vernacular Photography. This I eliminated here because I do not want to earn an income from pictures of my family.
From what you learned in Understanding Photo Markets eliminate any genres on your list where you believe that market may not be viable for any reason, or where you believe it may take too long to break in.
Identify possible income streams
- Take the top 3 genres from your list and write them on a clean piece of paper.
- Below each write the 5 income streams we identified Understanding Photo Income Streams.
- For each genre eliminate any income streams that you do not believe are immediately viable. Social Documentary photography was my strongest genre and I eliminated Selling Time, because while running Africa Media Online I do not have the time to do commissions. I also eliminated Selling Rarity because I do not believe I have a significant enough body of work to merit entering this market just yet ,nor do I have the time to make this my exclusive focus.
- Finally, identify which potential income streams occur most regularly across your three genres. If, for instance, Use Rights occurred under all 3 of your genres, Time under 2 and Products only occurred under 1, then Use Rights should be marked as your number 1 income stream, Time as your number 2 and Products as your number 3.
In completing this exercise you should have a list of 3 genres you will concentrate on and the ways in which you believe you can realistically create income streams from each genre.
Don't forget the archival genre
One final matter to note, which is very important. Many of you may not have identified Archival as one of your top 3 genres if at all. You need to bear this in mind because just about all your photography will end up in this genre over time. If you plan well, build your archive at the right standard over time and do not lose it at all, then this can become a valuable income stream, 20, 30, 40, 50 years down the line. It will not only provide a useful part of your pension, but also potentially become a valuable asset for future generations in your family. For this reason, then, we would recommend that you include the Archival genre as a fourth genre on your list, if it is not already included. Again, here you will need to identify potential income streams. Selling time is not a viable income stream within this genre as you cannot carry out an archival assignment unless you can time travel.
The 2-minute reading plan
Now that you have identified your focus areas, in 2 minutes you can create a reading plan for engaging with the Shutha material based on your focus areas.
The 'How to Sell' book will speak directly to the income streams you identified as being most likely within your 3 or 4 genres. Your reading plan should start with your number 1 income stream that you identified above, go on to your number 2 and so on.
What you do need to be aware of is the match between what we have identified as the five possible income streams and the Chapters in the "How to Sell" book.
- Selling Use Rights is dealt with under Stock because having images available for the sale of use rights is often called 'stock photography' and the industry that has built up around this is called the 'stock industry'.
- Selling Time is dealt with primarily under Assignments and under Multimedia depending on whether you are doing stills photography or are also capturing sound and footage. Commissions is another word that is commonly used for Assignments. They are the same thing. Other ways of selling time such as running training courses and selling photographic services such retouching are not dealt with in the Shutha resource as these are considered peripheral to the actual work of photography. They may still be income sources that you should consider, particularly if you have an interest and the skills as it is important you develop a number of viable income streams.
- Selling Products is dealt with under Prints and Books as these are the two primary products that tend to be sold. The Prints chapter will also make reference to various printed materials.
- Selling Rarity is also dealt with under the Prints chapter since fine art prints are the primary means of selling rarity.
Identifying which Chapters in the 'How to Sell' book you should concentrate on almost completes your 2-minute reading plan. The reason for this is that these chapters will reference courses in the 'Courses' training manual that you will need to take in order to comprehensively complete the Chapter you are working on. If, for instance, you want to be competent at reaching and supplying the Stock markets, then you are going to need to be doing many of the Digital Imaging and Digital Workflow courses as well as the Licensing course in the Business Faculty.
I say 'almost completes' in the previous paragraph, simply because you still need to deal with the Archival genre. While the Stock, Books, Prints and Multimedia Chapters may all have relevance to the Archival genre depending on the primary income streams you have identified for your archival work, what is fundamental to building an archive that will last and become more and more valuable over time is to ensure that your workflow and archiving is carried out at the right standard over the years of your career. This is why you must add the following courses to your reading plan:
- Digital Storage in the Computer Faculty.
- Digital Image Basics, Image Formats, Colour and Light, Non-Destructive Editing and Metadata in the Digital Imaging Faculty.
- Lightroom Workflow in the Workflow Faculty.
- If you are concentrating on multimedia then you also need to do all the courses in the Multimedia Faculty.