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Your Guide to Getting Into Fine Art & Stock Photography: Part III

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For our third installment in our series on how to market yourself in fine art and stock photography, I want to talk about a few of the many resources that are available to you as you begin your journey. I will touch on a few of the ways that you can find opportunities to reach out to potential clients and galleries.

WHERE TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES



Fine Art Photography

If you are a fine art photographer, there are many opportunities and venues for you to showcase your work. In fact, there are often so many opportunities out there that finding the right place to submit your work might seem daunting. The further you go on your journey, though, the more you will know where to submit your work, and where not to submit your work, too. 

One of the most standard ways of getting your work "out there" is through the process of submitting to open artist calls. These calls can range anywhere from small, local galleries, to major national and international art institutes and centers for photography.

You will generally be required to pay a flat rate submission fee, or a submission fee + an additional charge per image submitted. Open calls are often just that - completely open, or, in many cases, group shows will have a certain theme - such as street photography, landscapes, etc.

Below are some resources to help get you started:

  • F-stop Magazine: F-stop lists many current calls for entry, and is also a great way to keep tabs on the current trends in the fine art photography world.
  • Photo District News: PDN is known for their competitions, which, if you submit, know that you are going to be a tiny needle in a haystack of thousands of other photographers, so consider your odds! On the other hand, they do offer very valuable resources that will not only help you find ways to showcase your work, but you will also find content, interviews, workshops and conventions that will help you grow.

As you browse artist calls, do your best to submit to galleries or competitions that you feel best fit your work. Research the gallery, the jurors, everything you can, and this will not only increase your chances of having your work seen, but it will also help you establish where you fit in the fine art photography realm.

When you begin submitting your work, you may have zero (0) return. Or, you may get into a bunch of shows right away, and then have a dry spell. While the quality of work should always be considered a factor, know that, in some cases, even if you have amazing work, your work may not (statistically, it probably will not) be selected. Do not expect overnight success, and do not expect to become rich. The main focus when showing your work should be to engage viewers and create dialogue.

Stock Photography

Much like fine art photography, stock photography offers many opportunities to share your work with potential clients, but can often provide a better financial gain (again, though, don't expect to become a millionaire) than showing in art galleries. There are many photographers who rely on stock photography as sort of a side, or part-time, supplement to their main source of income because, when your work is in the right hands, it has the potential to reach a very wide market and generate revenue.

How does stock work, though?

Basically, when you sign a contract with a stock agency, you are licensing your photograph(s) to that agency for a set period of time (typically 1-3 years on average). The stock agency then handles all purchases from there, and you will receive royalties based on the amount of sales. Obviously, you want to be signed with a stock agency who will provide you with the highest percentage of royalties, so be on the lookout for, and try your best to avoid, agencies who will only give you 10% royalties (yes, there are agencies who do that, and it is total robbery for the photographer).

While your images are licensed to a stock agency, you can typically continue to sell prints, show your work in galleries and on your website, but you will not be allowed to license the image rights to another client until the contract with your stock agency has ended.

Where are stock images used, and how?

Stock images are used everywhere! They can be used anywhere from book and album covers, to billboards, to ad campaigns, to blog posts, etc.

Below is a list of some of the most popular (among photographers, because these agencies are some of the best in terms of royalties, and among buyers, because of the high quality of their libraries).

Arcangel: You can submit your portfolio and application to Arcangel at any time. Arcangel specializes in creative, conceptual yet relevant imagery, both still images and video. They have a category for images made with smart phones, and a vintage collection.

Stocksy United: One of the most popular up-and-coming stock agencies, Stocksy is extremely exclusive, and only accepts new photographers a couple of times year. They also have a film category, for all of you film shooters out there!

Trevillion: Similar to Arcangel in terms of theme and content, but Trevillion has a much smaller and more exclusive collection, but you can submit your portfolio to them at any time.

Before signing with a stock agency, I encourage you to not only read the fine print, but also understand the fine print. If you do not understand what something means, research it! The world of stock photography is fairly complex, and a lot has been written about it to help you make informed decisions!

 

Do you have any questions about what we have discussed here today? We love hearing from you! Please visit us in our Pretty Presets for Lightroom private Facebook group and at the Pretty Forum - see you there!

 

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