TO NICHE OR NOT?
My book, "Sell & ReSell Your Photos," is now in its fifth updated edition. The marketing approach, which is the foundation of the book, is still the same: "Find what area appeals to you, find markets for that area of interest, and then photograph it." Specialization of this type, whether film-based or digital, continues to be the smart way to go, rather than attempting to photograph everything under the sun.
As commerce on the Internet develops, we are beginning to see successful Internet merchants taking a similar "niche" approach: focusing on specialty areas, rather than massive portals where they might have a few of the specialty item(s) you are looking for, but not the deep selection you might wish they had.
However, if you have no specialty area, and your photo collection is across the board, the web now offers a new remedy.
Today's web search engines offer photo researchers the opportunity to type in a single word or phrase and find the source of a highly specialized photo for their project. If you have included captions with your photos at your web site, or have listed text descriptions of your photos, the new search engines will locate your photos and follow up with your contact information. A photo researcher will contact you for more information on your stock photo collection, and you'll either make a sale or earn a good contact for future business.
My new book, "sellphotos.com," can help you get a handle on how to use the new electronic tools available, to increase your sales. You'll learn how our stock photo industry is in a transition between digital and analog (film) images. Depending on what your aspirations are, and where your target markets lay, you'll be able to decide which niche markets (or none) are the most beneficial to you.
Which Film? - A Personal Choice
What filmstock you use is very much a matter of personal taste and preference and usually the result of either a lot of testing or sheer experience, sometimes both.
I had some 110 35mm films from a four-week trip to Japan processed recently at my favourite London lab, QE6 in the music street of the capital, 'Tin Pan Alley'-- more correctly, Denmark Street. I was picking the transparencies up in batches as they were heavy, and as I collected the last lot, one of the guys there asked why I even bothered with Kodak film, especially the Elite amateur one.
Somewhat taken aback, I replied that I liked its faithfulness in reproducing colours. I have used Fuji Velvia extensively for landscapes and scenic work, and it is without doubt the best for this type of travel work. But in city streets the excessive contrast is far too much for it to cope with, unless you shoot with the sun over your shoulder all the time. As this is not always either practical or desirable for the shot, in these circumstances I find the contrast latitude of Elite much better.
This is of course a personal preference; we all have our favourites.
I attended a talk given by one of Britain's key contemporary photographers recently, Martin Parr, a member of Magnum. His choice is Agfa, and he readily admitted that he must be one of the few people using it. But that hasn't stopped or even slowed his rise to success, with fifteen books published to date.
Want to read more of this article? Go to www.photoaim.com/trvnt36.html.
Rohn Engh, Photosource International.