My goal for 2016 was to have my photo gallery open for business.
I purchased a Business License, last September, and for the latter part of the year, I had been buying canvas prints of my own work to hang on the walls in my home. My hope was to make my home into a physical photo gallery of my work to sell.
Well, my somewhat bare walls are no longer bare. They look nice with the images hanging. I realized that along with that was the logistics issue of when (IF) someone wanted to purchase a print, I’d have to worry about boxes and packaging AND the cost of shipping.
Then, there is the issue that I live in a cul de sac which is pretty quiet. We don’t get a lot of traffic here and the neighborhood likes to keep it that way. So, I was also faced with maybe purchasing a canopy and stands for taking my prints to fairs and flea markets. I still didn’t have enough inventory to show case anything even IF there was a fair or flea market coming up.
I am retired, debt free and I live on a shoe string budget. I don’t want the hassle of taking out a business loan, either. So, since I am not up against any real time constraints and am in no hurry, I continued to plug along. I have not made much progress.
How do I get my work out there for people to see? How do I get this project rolling at a pace faster that half a snail’s pace? The logistics is mind boggling! The hurdles are daunting! I love creating beautiful images for people to enjoy! My art and passion is there!
How do l take this to the next level?
Then, one morning, as I’m doing my usual routine of logging into my social media sites and checking/reading the activity, clearing out the unwanted stuff and moving along to the next site. I’d logged into my Face Book account. There was a post on the feed from a dear friend and colleague of mine that I hadn’t heard from in over a year!
It wasn’t a post directed at me, but rather one that announced my friend had won an award for an image he posted on another site! My friend doesn’t call himself a photographer but apparently one of his family members encouraged him to submit a snapshot of somewhere he had been. It was a fluke for him but seeing that post was an “A HAH!” moment for me.
I had been doubting myself, at this point. I felt like maybe the images I produce are only good in my own head and not really what I believed them to be! Lacking in validation and up against logistical hurdles I had no idea how to effectively get my photos out and available for sale in a town that has so many photographers and galleries around!
Not only that, but this town has a fluctuating economy based on two elements: the military community and tourism.
I had also been submitting images to stock photo sites to sell and the feedback I was getting from them was brutal. Images were being denied, left and right, for technical errors because I have what they term as ‘kit’ equipment. Sure, I bought my camera as a kit and the lenses are average. Also, one of my cameras is a fixed-lens camera, but that lens has an amazing zoom of 42 TIMES!!! I get really nice full moon images and capture things other ‘zoom’ lenses don’t seem to. It’s my favorite field camera.
All of my cameras are Nikon cameras, which may sound cool to the novice, but as any photographer will tell you, it isn’t necessary the equipment that makes the image but rather the person behind the image who is able to manipulate the equipment to GET that image. However, good equipment certainly makes it easier. I’ve been a fan of Nikon products since I was an adolescent. It’s simply my ‘thing.’
So, after submitting test images to about six or more stock photo sites, it came down to just two sites who have accepted images from me. I do still send them images but that isn’t my sole focus. Those require A LOT of editing work to get them to be what these sites want. I need new material for that and will be out gathering more image material, shortly. Still, I have thousands of really nice images to share and maybe make profitable!
What to do?
This is where that little post comes into play. I submitted maybe ten images, JUST to see what they would do on this new site.
Right away, I was receiving awards for them!
See, the site is one where ANY photographer – from the most basic novice and camera phone photographer to the pros – can submit images to. Just like other stock photo sites, you have to put them into a category and a sub-category. You are required to write a brief description of the image and include at least five tag words.
To submit them, you are also required to earn or buy ten ‘credits’ per image. To earn these credits, they ask you to judge images others have submitted. The images go into what this site calls ‘duels’ with other images in the same category. People choose between two images in each showing. For each chosen image, the viewer/judge earns one credit. If a comment is made, the judges earns another credit.
So, not only are you submitting your images but to earn those submissions, you are participating, too! It’s kind of fun to do that! So, now I have over 400 images on their site! I’ve earned many awards now, too!
Okay, so now, I’ve got images up there for display. Great!
Here’s the cool part, those accepted images are also up there FOR SALE! The more image you submit, the larger your own PORTFOLIO – yes, portfolio – gets. If you are so inclined, just like in WordPress where you can have a free blog theme, they have that kind of thing, too. Also, just like WordPress, if you want to go “pro” and buy your own site, you can do that, too!
So, now, I have my own site, there! You can visit my competing images at www.pixoto.com/beckyluschei.
Yes, I am advertising now….
I’m advertising and I AM JAZZED! Gone are the worries of printing, packaging and renting a spot to sell my images at fairs and flea markets. I’ve got traveling and a whole host of other things, like shooting more images, to do than stand around somewhere. I can also enjoy the images I’ve already had made, on my wall, just for me! I don’t have to worry about packaging and shipping either because Pixoto handles all of that. They keep a small percentage of the sale and pass on the rest to the photographer. What a cool concept!
For me, it is a “win-win” situation and they make it fun!
So, interspersed throughout this post are some of those images – as a sample – of what is currently available!