“I just thought it’d be fun,” photographer Carli Davidson said about her idea to photograph a dog shaking its head. She had no idea which camera settings to use or which lights or which anything… she just figured it out as she went.
Today she’s a two-time New York Times best-selling author with photo books on cats, dogs, and birds. Before this all happened, she never guessed this is where she’d end up.
Good things come to those who follow their curiosity.
It’s Day 1 of the Ultimate Photography Workshop in San Diego, and I’m here with 156 attendees from all over the world – including the United States, Canada, Spain, and Australia. Twelve presenters from a wide variety of photo markets are here with us to talk about what’s working in the photo world today… and how even the rawest of newbies can break in.
Truly, one of the coolest things about photography is that it doesn’t matter what you like to shoot, there’s a market out there for everyone.
Mike Hagen got his start after he got tired of his engineering job. He thought it’d be cool to photograph outdoor sports like kayaking and hiking. Today, he gave us tips for breaking into the editorial market. “Don’t cold call editors,” he said. “You don’t like cold calls that sell you things, so don’t do it to them.” Instead, he offered us a simple, seven-point plan for reaching out to editors with much more success, and it was different than anything I’ve heard in the past.
“Two hours,” said Tom Reissmann. “That’s about how long I sit down to market my videos to 20 or more different clients. Out of 20, it’s likely at least two will respond — which is all I need.” He gave us his tips for finding the companies most likely to buy short, quick travel videos… plus a plan for approaching them.
Quite possibly the most surprising session of all came from Amy Muschik, who makes a good income shooting photos for Google Street View. In some cases, she walks into a business with a camera and tripod, takes 12 photos, and it’s done.
There wasn’t a person in the room who couldn’t imagine bringing this to their hometown. It requires a special tripod and lens, but she now earns $300 to $3,000 per project.
Almost all of our presenters here in San Diego came from other careers… sales, engineering, animal handling, etc… and now they’re making their living with photography and video.
It doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment to get started. Really, all you need is the connection between where you are now and where you can start selling photos you already have on your computer.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]