Shooting on the Fly by Jay Goodrich

Editors Note: This article originally appeared in NANPA’S magazine, Currents and is reprinted with permission. NANPA, The North American Nature Photographers Association, is the premier membership organization for outdoor and nature photographers. If you are not a member you should consider joining.

John Shaw, nature photographer, writer and workshop teacher, once said to me, “The more time you are in the field, the more money you are spending. The more time you are in the office, the more money you are making.” To manage all of my fieldwork I need to spend time in the office editing, selling, and marketing images. I would love to do nothing but travel the globe in search of the next great image, but if that were all I did, I would never make any money.

To add to my stock photography with as little impact as possible on my office time, I attach shoots to personal vacations, conferences, business meetings, workshops and assignments.  At the 2008 Annual NANPA Summit, for example, I arrived two days early to take advantage of photographing in a spot where I had never been. What I found was pretty amazing; I shot close to 2,000 frames. What follows is my diary of this project to show you how it came to fruition.

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The Art and Craft of Ghost Town Window Photography

Most outdoor photographers enjoy shooting ghost towns.  They are great subjects for our cameras and they play well into our imagination of time gone by and the romance of the old west.

I have visited many old ghost towns that are favorites among photographers such as Bodie, California, Bannack and Virginia City, Montana. Rhyolite, Nevada, Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains, and many more towns and historic sites spread around the states.

I have photographed the old buildings, cars, and rusty relics of times gone by and enjoyed photographing all of it. Many times I visited sites like Bodie or Nevada City, Montana and Virginia City Montana and looked through the windows of these historic buildings and see them full of period furniture and artifacts from their historic past. I wished I could go in a shoot!

But at these three specific locations we are stuck outside and can only gaze through the windows limiting our camera angle and perspective and it’s due to the fragility of the furnishings, the buildings, and of course for the more obvious reasons of wandering fingers.

On my last visit to Bodie, I looked through the window and thought I would try to shoot through the window and see what I could capture. The results were horrible due to light contrast within the rooms and exterior reflections.

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Establishing a Price Based on an Images Usage

Pricing? How much to charge? What’s a reasonable fee for an images use? These are all questions I have seen in various forums and from students I have had take my class on the business.

Last week we ran a series of posts on determining the value of an images usage and the questions to ask the client. This approach to image licensing is Right Managed, where a client requests the use of an image and inquires as to “how much” and the photographer establishes a fee and manages the usage.

We are not talking about Microstock or Royalty Free pricing because there is no negotiation going on there. Prices are set for a one price fits all usage that are forever and downloads are automated.

Rather the client here has contacted you and described a specific usage they have in mind and wish to negotiate a reasonable price with you. 

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How to Determine the Value of an Images Usage Part 6

Good selling images often are unique in some way, some more and some less. The usage of a one-of-a-kind image is certainly more valuable than the usage of an average image taken on an average day.

What makes an image unique may be in the eye of the beholder, but the photographer with plenty of market experience understands the difference.

A beautiful image of a Rose flower may be unique to the photographer who created it and no one else. Yet the photographer who happens to capture an image of a tornado carrying a red barn across Kansas has no doubt created a unique image. 

Read moreHow to Determine the Value of an Images Usage Part 6