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08-14-2010, 06:48 PM   #1
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Who makes some money off photography hobby (not career)

I debated where to post this but finally decided to post here because im a noobie. Some guys I work with got into photography last year and four of them bought canon 5D mark IIs. This summer they have been determined to find a way to make the hobby at least pay for itself. a few weeks ago they went to a local car show and set of a booth. It was a flop, it rained off and on all day so only about 55 cars showed up. the one guy that stayed to print out photos and sell them made $300.

Today we booked a car show in indiana the midwest corvette car club. Paid $85 to have the booth for two days. drove about 2.5 hours each way and ended up only selling $30 worth of photos. Most people that showed interest in our booth said they didnt bring their cars today. I have a feeling the people that actually brought cars just never found our booth.

At a lot of car shows there is a large population of people that want to sell their classic car, i had an idea to take nice photos of their car and helping them make a craigslist ad/ebay ad (though we arent adverting that service) Currently they are just selling prints as

canon pixma 9000 mk II
5x7 = $5
8.5x11 = $10
13x19 = $20

I guess my question is -- does anyone else do this kind of work? setup a photography booth at say a fair , do portraits, car shows, etc ? I am looking for any tips or suggestions that could be helpful.. im not looking to make a ton of money, i just want to make some money to buy some nice lenses, tripod, etc :-)

Here is what our booth looked like. ignore the sign in the background, thats a different vendor.

08-14-2010, 06:57 PM   #2
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Im interested to.
08-14-2010, 07:05 PM   #3
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Go check out craigslist ads, they're always wanting photographers for one reason or another

The only time I've gotten paid was a few weeks ago when I took pictures of a house for a realtor, I'm hoping for some referrals from that but I'm not holding my breath. I tried advertising that service on craigslist and I got some funky scam emails so I just tabled it for the time being

Car dealership owners also need people to take pictures of cars for them, i found a guy who wanted me to take pictures of 20 cars for him but he flaked, which was a bummer because I could have made a ton of money off that, even working at a really low rate I probably could have made at least 100 or 200 bucks if not more
08-14-2010, 07:17 PM   #4
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I swear the best way to make money shooting is by not doing it for money. Sounds weird but this is how it worked out for my wife and myself. Now we keep about a year worth of events scheduled. The only issue is, it was all done through word of mouth.

08-14-2010, 08:02 PM   #5
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Listening to local action with a police/fire frequencies scanner,
from 1997 to 2004 or so I used to freelance 'action' type
photos as a hobby (fires, crime scenes etc.) and sell them to newpapers.

With good connections..even managed get registered as a 'media' with ID card
from the Quebec Provincial Police (US State Trooper equivalent I guess).

Local weekly papers would pay 20 to 40$ per photo,
the major newpapers; Journal de Montreal, LaPresse, The Gazette
would pay 75$ per photo, 150$ if published on the front page.

These days I think the rates are up around 100$, 200$ for the front page.

Last edited by mlatour; 08-14-2010 at 08:09 PM.
08-14-2010, 08:09 PM   #6
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some good ideas. I hope in a few months i can make some money to buy a nice DA limited lens :-)

I have found a lot of people saying they make money by word of mouth. volunteering to doing weddings and such for free to get some experience and if you do well you will get alot of free advertising via word of mouth.
08-14-2010, 08:24 PM   #7
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like the booth idea but it seems to only pertain to the people that own cars. What about having some prints already made for other that are car enthusiasts to flip through and buy on the spot.This way you could broaden the range of who you are selling to. Plus this way you can fill the booth and tables with things to look and and something tangible that can easily be picked up and purchased. just a thought.
08-15-2010, 12:42 AM   #8
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Photography was my job long ago... but that was long ago.

More recently, I lived part-time in an extremely quaint and picturesque small "art town". I roamed the town and county and border day and night, shooting scenes and people and whatever. My historic house isn't far from tourist paths and has a shaded front patio that became Gallery 39A during tourist days when I wasn't otherwise occupied. My Canon S9000 printer makes nice large prints, up to 13" / 33cm wide, although I usually max-out at 11x17". My shooped prints, often on thick textured hemp paper, are more graphic-arts than photo-realistic. They sold. Not in huge numbers at huge prices, but enough to be worthwhile for me.

I don't suggest this as a way for anyone to make living money. You won't, not without special talent and skills and boundless energy and perseverance. But it's fun to have your own gallery, so long as you don't have to worry about rent. And who know, you *could* get lucky.

08-15-2010, 05:21 AM   #9
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Each weekend I have a stall at the local market for a couple of hours. I sell prints and CDs of images to tourists. It varies as to how much money I make each weekend - the market is only open during tourist season. Local people also buy stuff but not as regularly. Sometimes they will ask for a particular image or subject and I will make something up for them to order. This has taken a long time to build up.

I have five different CD titles in a range of flavours with up to 15 images on each Cd in regular JPEG sizings and in a larger TIFF size if available. I make up the Cds and print the cd faces myself. I also sell prints in sizes up to A3 and also available in cheap frames. The mark up is pitched to pay for materials and for time but not so high that it is a killer for sales.

I sell the CDs under the creative commons licence and mostly to retirees on tourist trips and so not much issue with problems of people ripping me off. Occasionally do a check of my more distinctive images using the TinEye Reverse Image Search web site to check just to be sure.

Have been doing it for three years or more and now the tourist buses come by the markets. Well and truly pays for my gear. Also is a expense write off for tax purposes. This is a rather remote town so get dome event photography and other work by word of mouth.

Lastly events images get sent to the local paper who pay me for each 'topic' same rate whether 1 image or 5 images are used.

All the above are dependent on location and regularity, word of mouth, and no one available to do what I do. If I move away from here the whole 'business' model collapses due to competition.
08-15-2010, 10:12 AM   #10
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When I was in school we had a book for freelance that had contact info. for almost every publication that bought freelance. This was back in the film days they required you send the negatives most of the time. But you might be able to go to the library and find a book like it. I sold some to nat geo never published that I know of but they paid me for them.
08-15-2010, 06:03 PM   #11
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You might also think about something along the lines of a calendar. the reason I brought that up is I just happened to look over at the wall and see the one the insurance guy sent. It has 12 shots of really cool cars. Make a few up to have at car shows. It's something everybody needs.
08-16-2010, 04:32 PM   #12
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If you can do one gig a month for a day and make a few hundred bucks, you're successful.

Also, I gotta tell you after looking at your photo:

I don't think there's anything more meaningless or obnoxious than crossing out a price, and giving a lower price, and saying "Today only."

It's a lie, and people perceive it as lying and don't trust you.

Have a little class. You're not a snake oil salesman.

Last edited by Ira; 08-16-2010 at 04:48 PM.
08-16-2010, 04:50 PM   #13
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Um, Ira, the OP stated that the sign belonged to a different vendor-in the sentence right before the picture.
08-16-2010, 04:55 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by subeeds Quote
um, ira, the op stated that the sign belonged to a different vendor-in the sentence right before the picture.
ooops! My bad!

I apologize big time!!!!
08-16-2010, 07:15 PM   #15
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Yeah, id never lie to people and i was joking to my wife about that sign. Its a nice big sign, i highly doubt they plan to only use it once. In their defense, their sheet sets did seem like a really good deal but i seriously doubt they were 1200 thread count as advertised.

i mean the highest ive ever seen is like 600 and they were $50-80 even online.

I also wanted to update you guys on sunday sales. I wasnt there because it was my anniversary but they sold just over $500 worth of photos. they said from 1030am to 230pm they had long lines waiting to get prints of their cars. It blows me away that we only sold $30 worth saturday...

Last edited by buttons; 08-17-2010 at 06:05 AM.

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