March 14, 2017
As some of you may know when I’m not working in retail I’m an amateur photographer. I’ve photographed across half the country from as far north as Baker Lake, Nunavut, east to Toronto, Ontario, south to Louisville, Kentucky, USA and west to the Pacific Rim on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I used to post my photos up on Eyefetch until the site went down, it’s back up again but who can trust it to be stable any more. I moved over to Flickr back in 2014 and I’ve been a Pro (paid) member ever since. I think I have about 3,600 photos on there now ranging from random shots meant more for stock photos to the very few, sometimes staged, that I liked the look of.
I’ve been told several times by friends that I should sell my photos and even been told which sites to go to but I continue to offer them on Flickr as Attribution (name credit). I personally don’t choose to sell my photos for several reasons.
The first reason is that I don’t feel my photos, for the most part, are good enough to make any real money off. I mean, you will probably never find my photo in National Geographic or any prestige publication. But then how many can say that their photos are not doctored or enhanced in any way before offering them to the public. I change the size on my photos and I might adjust the contrast or click on the Adjust colour option here and there but that’s all I do to my photos. If they are good, it’s because conditions at the time allowed the right photo to be taken at the right time. I don’t have any special skills, I don’t want nor desire to ever attend a photography course and in the end, being an amateur, is a lot less work and cost. My camera, now, is a Nikon Coolpix 510, which cost me around $300 a few years ago, and it does the job quite nicely. I don’t ever want to spend the insane amounts that people choose to do on lens or cases or whatever. I can not fathom spending more than I have on the camera and if it ever needed more I’d probably buy a new one.
The second reason is work load. The way it is now I take a photo. It might be good it might be boring. I upload it and either someone uses it or they don’t. It’s fun going out and taking the photo and sharing it. I don’t spend much time or effort thinking about it. I don’t have to meet deadlines or complete certain projects to pay for my next meal. And when you produce something, even once, people expect you to do it over and repeatedly until it’s no longer fun like it was the first time. Now that being said if someone hired me to “go photograph this house” or “go to this park or that park and photograph it” for money I’d probably do it because it would pay for the gas for the other fun times.
The third reason is exposure. Okay, so I post a photo and charge for it. If I’m lucky someone in the next five years wants that photo and pays for it to be reproduced. I can tell you right now I’m never going to make fifty grand off one of my photos and Reuters or AP will never pick one up and carry it around the world. So, one photo. Done. Now, in my case I allow commercial outlets to use my photos for name credit. They must, as part of attribution, include my name and possibly a link to my Flickr account. They get a photo and I get credit. Thus, my photos have already appeared in many prominent websites including: CBC, Yahoo Finance, MoneySense online, City of Red Deer, City of Winnipeg, a couple radio station websites, a couple real estate websites, inspirational websites and blogs and educational websites even. These most likely would not have paid for my photos and if they did it would be a few bucks. Instead my photos have been shared with thousands of people resulting in over 717,000 views on my Flickr since April 2013. My 3,600 or so photos have been viewed almost three quarters of a million times. Not too shabby I’d say for an amateur photographer eh. And that doesn’t even count all the ones I put on the Weather Network that in total have probably been viewed over 5,000 times.
The final reason is the pleasure it gives me knowing that someone found a use for a photo I took. I’ve been surprised a couple times on how, what I thought were some of my not so great photos, ended up serving someone somewhere across the country. It’s cool and I kind of feel like it is my contribution to society. I don’t have to write the article – on God, or living well, or hunting, or parks, or government or whatever to feel like I have played a role in educating people.
All that now being said, this year I’ve started thinking about listing a few, the ones I think are good, as ones that are “for sale” as opposed to name credit only. I’ll consider some of the other websites, like the ones that sell stock photos, and maybe get involved with them. I could just set up my own too and sell them via PayPal for people to use as wallpaper s and such. I don’t know yet what, if anything, I’ll do in that avenue.
For now, my photos are available on Flickr at the account linked here.
Freelance Online Writer, Amateur Photographer, Founding Member PPC Huron-Bruce EDA Initiative.