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Business of Photography

Business of Photography

At the most basic level the business of photography falls into two very broad categories:

1. assignment photography and
2. stock photography

Assignment Photography Niche

Assignment Photography is photography commissioned by a client. Assignment photography can be thought of as custom photography, done to meet client’s unique needs. Advertising of specific products, executive por traits, weddings and other special functions, sports events, school photography, and many other photos are shot on assignment. Most photographers will spend their entire career shooting on assignment.

An at tractive aspect of assignment photography is that there is little to no upfront financial risks for the wedding photographer Buckinghamshire. No money is spent by the photographer until an agreement is signed.

Stock Photography Niche

Stock Photography is photography shot on speculation, in advance of being sold. Stock photography began as an outlet for the hundreds of thousands of photographs taken on assignment. Eventually, a market developed and flourished that had photo marketers forming stock agencies to market a wide selection of generic photographs.

Having the images available as stock gives clients a lower cost (but evenly priced) option. It gives consumers a high-quality visual experience that they might otherwise miss. And, best of all, it gives the photographer the opportunity to earn income from photographs that otherwise would stay in a drawer or on a hard drive forever.

Everybody wins!

As the business of stock photography grew explosively, supply was steadily outpacing demand, and the field became even more competitive. Stock photography quality has risen, and shooting specifically for stock has replaced the concept of using the stock agency as a place for surplus photographs.

Many photographers spend part of their time shooting specifically for stock, taking advantage of the opportunities provided by being on location for an assignment. Other photographers specialize exclusively in shooting for stock.

Stock photography can be a lucrative market for photographers, but given its competitive nature some rules to assist you in attaining success are worth keeping in mind:

• Your photographs have to stand out from the masses of photographs in the stock photography niche files. Unusual locations, stunning composition, and a sufficiently generic, undated image go a long way to ensuring repeated success.
• The more images you have on file the greater your chances of success.
• Your ability to constantly refresh your stock images is critically significant. In fact, stock agencies worth their salt will insist on it.

It is not unusual for photographers with reasonably well developed stock photography niche portfolios to generate thousands of dollars from the resale of a single image. Quite a few images have generated tens of thousands of dollars in resales over the years.

It is much less risky to build a stock portfolio part time alongside an assignment practice, expanding more heavily into stock as you gain experience and become known.