Mike Silversides Photography is finally a go. I’ve been thinking about becoming a professional photographer almost as long as I’ve been taking pictures. I was all set to get started earlier this spring. But the unexpected expense of buying a new car, and the suggestion of my wife to come up with a business plan, has really slowed things down. And it probably going to take awhile to really get going, but this is the start.
In fact it’s not the first time I’ve thought about earning money from my photography. For a year or two around 1990 I had some slides in at a local stock photography agency. I also put together some prints which I sold at a local arts and crafts fair. I also had a gallery show. Results were disappointing and although I think I almost recovered my expenses, it was not profitable. I still have some prints lying around from that time even after giving some away as gifts. After a couple of years with the stock agency I think I ended up with $100 in earnings, hardly worth the hours and hours I spent selecting and captioning slides not to mention the effort and slide film expenses to take the photos in the first place.
Here’s an early image that I had scanned to a Kodak Photo CD.
But I continued to take pictures just because I love capturing interesting moments and showing the beauty in the world around me.
Mostly self taught, I’ve spent years taking pictures. I’ve also attended workshops and local photography classes.
A variety of factors have influenced my decision to “turn pro” at this time. These include: paying off the mortgage so now I have the financial flexibility to start up a new business; the experience of my wife’s successful web site Creative Kids at Home which earns a tidy sum from Adsense and affiliate advertising; our children are a bit older; a renewed interest in making pictures; and the advent of digital cameras that will make a web-based photo-business more cost effective; and inkjet printers that truly make the digital darkroom a reality.
And what makes me think I can make a go of it?
- There are thousands and thousands of photographers out there, many practically giving their photos away.
- There are even thousands and thousands of professional photographers out there; established photographers serving stock agencies, editorial and advertising markets. Who needs another photographer?
- The money paid for photographs keeps dropping and dropping. The market is saturated with photographs and photographers.
So why would I do this?
- Because I want to, and because I enjoy taking pictures. I probably won’t like all the marketing and business administration stuff, but I think I like taking pictures enough that it will all seem worthwhile.
- Because I think I have the talent to take the photos that buyers will want to buy.
- Because my wife and I have experience with starting new businesses and running a business.
- Because I think I’ll make money at this. I know it’s going to take awhile and I’m prepared for that. But our experience with Creative Kids showed us how to make money with a web site and I think I can translate that experience into a couple of photo related web sites that will also make money.
What’s next? Well, I need some new equipment. I’m continuing to working on the business plan. There are pictures to take.