Friday, January 23, 2009

Promotion - Make the Most of Your Photography

The Successful Photograph that Wasn't - Yet

This photograph was taken in 2007, as a publicity shot for a local theatre group. They were performing a play called "The Women", set in 1940's America. The shot was taken in the women's toilet of a Limerick restaurant, and I won the award of "brass neck of the week", for standing in there with them and not flinching as customer after customer frowned at my presence (I did leave the room several times, too, for decency's sake).

I didn't receive any other awards for the shot - and I didn't even get paid for it, as the theatre group didn't have a budget for the photography. I got model releases for the actors and a property release for the location - which allows me to try and sell the image through my agent. I saw that as more important than the €50 or so I might have been paid, had I pushed the fee issue.

There are several versions of the shot - it was taken in colour, and I have produced Sepia (like this one) and "aged photo" versions, as well as the original. It always receives a huge amount of interest whenever it is seen - either on my studio walls, or via my website or on the two occasions that it has been exhibited.

But, it has never sold, or won a prize or had any other success connected with it. And that niggles me, because I really think it "has something".

I suppose that every photographer in the world thinks that their favourite shots "have something" - and there is not necessarily anything special about my shot because I think that way about it. But, it got me wondering if I should just leave it there? Perhaps it is a shot worth "promoting", and maybe the fact that it hasn't reached a wider audience, or made any money is because I'm not doing anything about it.

It's like I'm expecting people to magically "find it", just because I think it is worth seeing. There must be hundreds of thousands of images out there that are worth seeing - but probably only a fraction of those really do get noticed, or have good things happen to them.

Promotion is the key. I should simply tell more people about it, email to editors that might use such an image, put it on my calling cards (most of mine are 8x6, so they'll be seen OK); enter it into competitions; make it bigger and more prominent on my website and post it to my bl...oh yeah, I just did that!

But what I really should not do is expect it to be seen without taking any action. And that applies to you, too. Get your good stuff out there - and make the most of it.

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