Ah yes, the blog has been quiet. But I have not. This past week has seen me very busy, and therefore, without time to blog.
As I haven’t heard anything on the engineering front in a few weeks, and given the fact that I do enjoy my business, I’ve been rededicating myself to figuring out ways to make the business pay a little more. You know, so I can have a house again and use the Airstream for trips, not full time living. And to pay other bills and such. Often I hear that I’ve got the dream job, working for myself, taking pictures, printing for famous artists. Yup, that’s all cool. But at the end of the day if you struggle to make ends meet it wears on you.
With that in mind I’ve been doing a lot of research these past few weeks, working on new marketing materials, and I’ve been on another one of those learning jags. That’s what I do. Pretty good at it too.
For instance, I am definitely getting into the portrait market, but not like any photographer in this area. Last week I purchased Vik Orensteins, “The Photographer’s Market Guide to Building Your Photography Business.” Great book, and I recommend it to anyone thinking about really being a photographer. Vik offers up a lot of great thoughts, including how to survive in a very saturated market. Happily, I’ve already been doing some of what’s suggested in the book, but I’ve got a few ideas now on how to overcome the extremely cheap and free photographers all around me. Specialize further!
Currently my revenue streams come from a few places. Giclee reproductions, color matching paintings, selling my own work, and occasional classes are what currently keep the business going. While the business is slowly growing, it’s too slow for my comfort at present.
Printing giclee reproductions is number one of course. Painters, photographers, pastel artists…..my list of clients grows every week. And I’m the best color matcher around. If you want your reproductions to look so close to the real deal, come talk to me.
In addition to the reproduction work I do I also sell my own images through the Ian Russell Gallery. Selling photography in a gallery isn’t the easiest thing. Why? Because everybody has a camera. The number one thing I hear outside my studio door when people are looking at my images hanging on the wall is, “Oh, I could get that image. I’ve got a good camera.” Yup, selling photography in the “Fine Art” environment is really tough, especially given how many people fancy themselves photographers.
Classes are my smallest revenue stream right now, but I’m working on changing that. Going forward I’m going to be pushing one on one classes more. Why? Because nobody can agree on dates. I’ve got a slew of people who want Lightroom Workflow, HDR Workflow, and Photoshop classes. Every time I schedule a class I get e-mails from folks that the date doesn’t work. Since that’s the case with 90% of my clients……One on One. And it’s already working. I’ll be doing one this morning, and one next Monday. It’s more expensive from the client perspective, but they do get 6 hours of my time with the One on One’s.
Beyond what I’m already doing, there will be one more addition. Portrait work. Ah, I know, I’ve started offering that, but I’m refining big time. The work that I will be pushing going forward will be the composites and edgy portraits that I’ve been working on for the past year. I’m ready to really offer it to clients now. And frankly there’s nobody else in my area doing this type of work. After seeing what Joel Grimes does with sports figures, models, and commercial shots, combined with my enjoyment of James Quantz’s work, I’ve worked up my own take. I’ve been doing HDR for years now. And seeing that I can in fact combine that with portrait work that offers clients something very unique in Northern Arizona, I’m going forward with it.
In the coming weeks you’ll be seeing more information here on what I’m up to in order to expand this business. And I’m really looking forward to upcoming shoots. Just last night I got a shoot lined up for a tennis player who wants something a little different for images. Very cool opportunity to produce something very unique!
So, now you know why we’ve had a quiet blog. I’ve been in reading and learning mode. Not to mention I’ve been running a ton of canvas the past few days.
Oh, and finally just for fun. I’ve been experimenting with “re-touching” images. Actually, extreme retouching. You know the extreme “model” look with the near plastic skin effects? Yeah, playing with that some more. I’ve experimented previously, but this week I wanted to really learn the extreme skin smoothing, facial manipulation, etc. To get that unrealistic look that you see in so many magazines. Mind you, the image below is overdone purposefully.
Yup, over processed. But pretty cool eh? In the coming weeks I’ll post a few less processed just for fun!
Finally…… I’ve signed up over at 500px.com. Still learning my way around the site, but I think I like it. Pop on over to see how it works!