Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/02/22

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Subject: [Leica] selling our photos on the web
From: Francesco <>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 15:26:46 -0800

Fellow LUGgers:

As some of you know, I travel a bit with my fiancee and we both take
many photos on the trips.  In JAN 98 we went to Southeast Asia, and we
each ran through 20-30 rolls of film.  In SEPT 98 we went to France
and we shot another 25-30 rolls of film each.  Before 98 we did a lot of
driving cross-country over the Western US and have about 20 rolls from
those trips.  On the side, when I have time, I also run around San Diego
and try to make photographs happen, so I have another 3-ring binder full
of random slides as well, as does Yvonne, my fiancee.

Now we are not published photographers, and we have never sold a single
image (excluding the thousands of glamour images I sold when I was in that
business, but that is another project entirely).  What we would like to do is 
make some money from our work and recover costs.  I do not like the idea of 
submitting to some glossy stock photo book or CDROM since
those are a dime a dozen and I understand the photographer does not
get much of a cut anyway.  Instead we are excited about trying to sell our
images ourselves from our own websites.  

As I have explained, about 95% of our images are in the category of "world
I would guess that 30% are of commonly visited and photographed sites
and attractions, and the rest are spontaneous shots showing the lifestyles
of the people in those regions, architecture, street shots, landscapes, etc.
I understand that selling travel images is difficult as the market is
but I see many magazines, books, and textbooks every day that would be 
able to use images like the ones we take.  Now we are not masters or 
experienced photojournalists, just amateurs who love to travel almost for the
sole purpose of photographing other cultures.  That is literally all we do
when on vacation!  When we return from trips, we get all the slides processed
and eventually weed out about 40-50% of the 20-30 rolls that we believe to
be average to exceptional images.  The rest are blurred, out of focus, 
overexposed, bad composition, etc.

Anyway, my question is.....what success do you more experienced LUGgers
think we might have in selling and marketing our own images, without going
through stock companies?  Is it a lost cause?  Are the stock companies
the market so much that we don't have a chance?  Or are publishers looking
for lesser known photographers who AREN'T all over the market already?

How many of you LUGgers actually make money from selling images in the
way we propose?  How many of you are using stock companies and doing well?
Is is reasonable to expect to make a decent supplementary income (say $1K-$3K
monthly) from selling travel images alone?

If you have any experience in this field, please jump in and offer any advice
you can.......thanks in advance.