Pictures that sell 4

Lee Frost gives tips on how to make money out of your photography and shares some success stories.

Posted 01/Aug/2001 - 12:00AM

Panned Taxi
After shooting the famous illuminated advertising signs at Piccadilly Circus in London one evening, I decided to finish the roll of film off by taking a few slow-shutter speed panning shots of taxis racing across the Circus with the lights in the background recorded as colourful streaks.
I'm no action photographer, so I wasn't sure if they're come out okay or not, but of the half dozen or so frames exposed two worked really well and were accepted soon after by my picture library.
The shots were never chosen for catalogue inclusion and I have only achived one sale to date. Fortunately, it was for an advertising job so the repro fee was high - more than covering the cost of my evening in London!
Whether or not it will ever sell again remains to be seen. It's colourful, action-packed and symbolic of the rush and push of city life, so who knows?

Equipment: Olympus OM4-Ti, 35-70mm zoom, Fuji Velvia
Number of sales: 1
Countries sold: UK only
Uses: Trade advertisement in Business Week and Financial Times
Total sales to date: £1890

Shaftsbury Avenue
On the very same evening that I took the panned taxi shot above, I also photographed this view along Shaftsbury Avenue from Piccadilly Circus with light trails of moving traffic adding interest.
It's a bog standard shot that you could take any night of the week in London, but it has still sold twice so far through my library, as well as being used as two or three times in photographic magazines to illustrate night photography technique.
I love taking pictures at night in cities, and have since made numerous trips back to London for that very reason - only a few weeks ago I photographed exactly the same scene again, only this time in panoramic, and the shots have been accepted into the library.
Being able to make sales from pictures like this is therefore the icing on the cake, and sometimes I have to pinch myself to remember that I'm making a good living from what is essentially still a hobby.

Equipment: Olympus OM4-Ti, 35-70mm zoom, Fuji Velvia
Number of sales: 5
Countries sold: UK only
Uses: Display exhinition, inside brochure, photographic magazines
Total sales to date: £360

Boats in Greek Harbour
About seven years ago I booked a cheap week in Crete, intending to have a lazy week in the sun and take a few pictures. Photography wasn't high on my agenda, so I only took 35mm equipment rather than my usual medium-format kit, but my girlfriend and I hired a car and did a little exploring, and I photographed anything that caught my eye.
These boats were captured during a day in Aghios Nikolaos. The town has a pretty harbour and I have a soft spot for colourful fishing boats, so I was drawn to them like a magnet.
The shots is very simple - I used a telephoto lens to compress perspective so the bows were pulled together the the patterns, shapes and colour emphasised. It was a handheld shot, using no filters - all done within five minutes.
Surprisngly, the pictures I took on that trip have sold reasonably well over the years - expecially in the last couple of years. Repro fees have now more than covered the cost of the holiday, and I expect further sales in the future - even though the shots are getting on a bit.
These boats have been especially popular, selling for use on the cover of two Rough Guides to Greece and Greek music in the last year alone.
Which just goes to show that even an innocent holiday with no serious photographic intentions can produce saleable shots - so never let the opportunity to take them pass you by.

Equipment: Olympus OM4-Ti, 200mm, Fuji Velvia
Number of sales: 4
Countries sold: UK only
Uses: Two books covers, holiday brochures, photographic magazine, travel magazine.
Total sales to date: £540

Food for thought
In addition to the garlic and peppers shots I've posted in recent months, here are some more food successes.
All these pictures were taken on my kitchen windowsill in available light, using a macro lens and often shooting at maximum aperture so only a small area is recorded in sharp focus - which is the current trend in food photograpy if you check out the glossy magazines.
The red chilli peppers and strawberries were published in my library's most recent general catalogue, so I expect many more sales to come over the next couple of years, while the others are all file shots.
None of the sales are particularly big (yet!), but cumulatively they come to a tidy little sum and were very easy to take. I have also notched up sales of other food shots not shown here, making the total returns so far even higher.

Equipment: Nikon F90x with 105mm macro lens, Fuji Sensia II 100
Number of sales: 1
Countries sold: UK only
Uses: Food Standards Agency leaflet
Total sales to date: £100

Equipment: Nikon F90x with 105mm macro lens, Fuji Sensia II 100
Number of sales: 1
Countries sold: Germany
Uses: Not known
Total sales to date: £83

Equipment: Pentax 67, 135mm macro lens, 1x studio flash and softbox, Fuji Velvia
Number of sales: 1
Countries sold: UK
Uses: 4-page mailer
Total sales to date: £129

Equipment: Nikon F90x with 105mm macro lens, Fuji Sensia II 100
Number of sales: 1
Countries sold: UK
Uses: Brochure cover
Total sales to date: £166

Equipment: Nikon F90x with 105mm macro lens, Fuji Sensia II 100
Number of sales: 1
Countries sold: UK
Uses: Food packaging
Total sales to date: £80

Equipment: Nikon F90x with 105mm macro lens, Fuji Velvia
Number of sales: 1
Countries sold: UK
Uses: Inside natural health book
Total sales to date: £100

Comments

No one has commented on this yet. Be the first!

Leave a Comment

You must be a FPME member to comment. Join FPME Today!