How to Take Your Business on The Road

A couple years ago my cell phone rang and it was a client who had requested images a month before. I had emailed her three weeks later about usage fees she was calling now to discuss her budget. Within five minutes we had negotiated a fee that we were both satisfied with.

What made closing this sale interesting was that the client was “glad she caught me in the office,” since I am often traveling. What she didn’t know, however, is that I was actually out photographing on location at Oregon’s Crater Lake. Still, from my perspective, I was in my outdoor office creating images to license.

Balancing marketing and shooting can be a dilemma for outdoor photographers: How do you continue to create new images and maintain an office to market and sell the work? The success of your business hinges on both a regular flow of new imagery and selling that imagery. Here are some ideas on how you can take your business on the road.

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In This Market; It’s Not Who Has The Images, It’s Whose Got The Client

Have you ever picked up an outdoor nature or adventure magazine and found a feature on an area close to your home base? The cover photo caught your eye because it is an area near you and you not only know it well, but have photographed it extensively.

The inside is illustrated with some nice work although you feel not as good as yours (of course). As you continue to go over the story you wonder “whose shots are these?” The photo credit lists the photographer and maybe you have heard of them, maybe not, but you know they are not a local photographer. In fact maybe they are from the other side of the country and they are coming to YOUR town.

I live in the beautiful and scenic adventure town of Bend, Oregon. A photographers paradise. Snow capped peaks, alpine wilderness, skiing, mountain biking, fishing, climbing, boating, everything!  I know where to go and how to shoot it.

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How to Determine Your Clients & Shoot for Them

As an outdoor and nature photographer, you obviously spend time out shooting your favorite subjects, then process and organize those images, before submitting them to requests. But how much of your time is spent determining who you will submit those images to? Do you know who your customers are?

It is important to understand that there is a huge difference between photographing for your own pleasure and photographing for profit. Most businesses know who their customers are. They do extensive research to establish the demographic that is best suited for the product and often customize the product for that demographic.

With millions of images available for image buyers to consider it is too easy for them to get lost in all the options. Like us, they don’t have a lot of time these days to search aimlessly for the perfect image. Instead they go where they know they can find what they need and fast. It could be long established photographers they have worked with or agencies. Are they finding you and your work?

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How to Approach Strangers and Ask for That Model Release

Have you ever been in the field photographing some great landscapes when you discover a person in your scene? Maybe your first thought was wishing they would hurry up and move and you contemplate asking them to do just that. But as you watch them you realize that what they are doing makes for a great shot and you begin shooting.

Later as you edit your images you realize that these are marketable images but you also realize that you can’t sell them without model releases. But now that you are back in the office, the chance to ask for and obtain a release may be too late.

You may be asking yourself: If only you had the nerve to ask for the release in the first place you wouldn’t be in this predicament. However, it is not easy to ask a stranger to sign a legal document and especially if you are shy by nature. Here are some ways to handle those situations.

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Here are Some Reasons Why You Need That Model Release

It is a common discussion among photographers that signed model releases are not required for every usage.

The discussion usually revolves around the notion that releases are required for commercial use and not for editorial.

Generally speaking, it’s true that you do not always need a release for editorial usage, but it is also a fact that some photographers have been sued and LOST when their unreleased images were used editorially.

There is no absolute rule! However, here are some other considerations.

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How to Donate Your Nature Photography to a Good Cause (and Still Make Money!)

by Liana Vitali

Among the sea of nonprofit organizations kindly requesting donations of awe-inspiring nature shots from the photography community, one charity offers the added benefit of a potential financial boost to your pocketbook while donating to a good cause!

ARKive, the Noah’s ark of the Internet, is the first-ever centralized digital library of stunning audio-visual profiles of the Earth’s most threatened species. With species extinction now occurring at a faster rate than at any time in Earth’s history, photographs and films may soon be all that remain. It is ARKive’s priority to profile the IUCN Red List of species most at-risk of extinction which, these days, is topping out at over 17,000 species. Ultimately, ARKive is a free educational resource operating under the belief that if society does not know what a species looks like let alone know that it exists, how can that species be saved?

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Todd Kaplan Scores a Multi Page Spread in Big Sky Journal

Todd Kaplan is an adventure and nature photographer based in Sun Valley Idaho. He has been photographing professionally for almost 15 years. He has many publishing credits to his name including: SKI Magazine, Delta Airlines, Outdoor Photographer, National Geographic Traveler, Readers Digest, Fly Fisherman, Backpacker, Sunset Magazine, Smithsonian, United Airlines (Hemispheres), Field and Stream,  Outdoor Life, Time Inc., and many more

As today’s nature and outdoor photographers face smaller markets these days, the pressure to find other ways to market photography moves to the front burner. Todd has been doing that for years, researching ideas and generating proposals before submitting them to editors and it has resulted in an impressive list of publishing credits.

This month’s issue of Big Sky Journal features an impressive photo essay of Todd’s photography about protected rivers in the Northern Rockies.

Read moreTodd Kaplan Scores a Multi Page Spread in Big Sky Journal