Jul 06 2007

Making it Big: How to Take Your Photography to the Next Level

Published by at 9:09 am under General

You’ve been taught concepts of composition. You’ve taken lots of stunning pictures. You’ve learned how to develop your own work. You’ve even invested in a really good camera. Now you have an album full of beautiful photographs to show for it, and that’s great, but your friends only want to look at your album so many times before they are bored. For all the hard work you’ve put into your art, this seems a little anticlimactic.

Photographers who want to get some exposure (the kind that makes you famous, not the kind you do in the darkroom!), there are many options for putting your work out in the world for the public eye. Be aware that photography is a hobby for many people, but those in the photography business have a real passion for the art. Realize that this is a serious business, and become a part of this professional atmosphere only if you truly want to take your hobby to a newer level.

The first option you have for public exposure is your local art gallery or galleries in near-by cities. Often, they will have an open call for work, which may be hung in the lobby along with photographs from various other artists. You may or may not get paid, but either way, this is a good way to get your name out there. If you’ve taken many photographs that you feel are gallery-quality, you can even approach gallery owners with your portfolio and ask about holding a private collection show. Remember that if you want to do this, you’ll need not only a variety of photographs, but you’ll also need to blow them up and get them matted and framed. In this case, you’ll be trying to sell your work, and galleries will take a huge cut-up to 50% in many cases. Price your work accordingly and remember that once someone buys it, it no longer belongs to you.

Another option is to work freelance for magazines. While a market such as National Geographic is almost impossible for new photographers to break into, there are many smaller publications that are in need of good photographs, especially if you (or a friend) can write a good article to go with it. Network with your writer friends and see if they are interested in getting any pictures for their stories, then offer to take them for free and only charge if a magazine buys them.

Lastly, the easiest way to get your work into the world is, of course, on the Internet. You can build your own photography website online, or you can work freelance for websites, as you would in the print world. In either case, pay is low or nonexistent, but if your site is popular, thousands of people can view your work every day. The key is to not give up. Keep shooting and trying to get public exposure, and you will eventually succeed.

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