What To Do With Your Photos
In the course of a year we take many photographs, some as part of a project or to meet a need, others for our own enjoyment or because we are in a place or situation that provides the opportunity. As the years run by, we end up with good collections of work, but what do we do with all these photographs.
Some we could make into coffee table or other books for our own enjoyment, these can be produced as single copies or a few more if we want, we have looked at this in the article making your own photography book. Similarly we might produce our own notepaper or cards, or put them onto products ranging from mugs to jigsaws, and many of the retail photo dealers and mail order photo processors offer a range of possibilities. Several years we have produced some individual calendars for relatives or others, such as the children's school teachers, where we have selected specific photos and made up a calendar that we felt they would most appreciate.
We could produce a personal website and show on it some of our photos, or produce one on a specific area of interest we have, and that way share both our photos and knowledge with others. We could also join in with other projects run by others, such as the Geograph Project where they have collected photos by geographic map squares, although defined as a game it allows you or me to put in a map reference and see what is in that area, and to also then move around the area looking at what is in surrounding areas. This project also now makes over a million images available as a part of creative commons, so others can use them as well, and on this site we make a lot of use of images taken by others and available under creative commons, from Geograph and a variety of other sources. Perhaps we would just like to make them available to others, and could add them to one of the picture publishing websites and make them available under the creative commons licensing.
There are other groups, organisations, and agencies as well as individuals who would appreciate the use of your photographs, ranging from clubs and societies, such as re-enactments groups, railway restoration or similar, pressure groups with a specific interest, and agencies trying to increase tourism in areas here and in other countries. In some developing or third world countries tourism is their main source of income, but they often lack the quality photos that we can take, so allowing them to use some of ours allows their tourism to grow and could be far more help to the people of the country than any donation that you could afford to make.
We also welcome the involvement of others in producing location guides and articles, and as you will have discovered the location guides we have on specific places are of great help in deciding what to photograph, and finding out both about it, and what to take with you before you go. These allow you to make every trip productive and see opportunities that you may not have realised existed, some right on your doorstep. Having visited a location and having some photographs you would have little difficulty in adding these to a location page and completing a grid showing entry details and links, as well as as adding any other text that you would like to.
Many of the articles we have are on a specific topic, windmills, waterfalls, cathedrals.... and while some are 'how to' photograph them, others are on other aspects, and many more could be usefully made available here, covering more areas, histories, background and specific topics to expand our coverage. We have articles on some wildlife species, and would like to add far more, similarly there is scope to cover plants and groups of plants, styles of architecture and much more, much of which you could illustrate with photographs that you already have.
Your involvement could be anything from an occasional quick guide or article up to editing a section or a portal on a country. Currently nearly all if these are produced by two people, so if we had a few more helping, just think how much more coverage we would have. See the 'Help Required' button on the menu bar on the left for more on how you can become involved.
There are other specialist sites and specialist low circulation magazines that don't have the budget to employ writers and all the work is done by enthusiasts, and it may be that some of our interest areas might overlap with these.
We could use some images as part of other projects, like producing a book or presentation, or perhaps its time to look at how all these pictures could bring in some income. Just think, if you have 5,000 decent pictures and on average each brought in just £20, over a period that would be £100,000, step it up a gear and make more images earn more on average and it could provide a good pension, fund your dream holiday property or allow you to support your charity of choice or a family member through college and get a home of their own.
While you enjoy taking the pictures, do you have someone close to you who would like to become your business manager and handle this for you? Could this become a family interest? Or even open up the possibilities of a new lifestyle that you would all enjoy more. Starting with what you already have, and then over time allowing you to strengthen some areas and increase the shots or target photo expeditions to expand your collection.
There are two ways to look at this, we can look at the needs of a potential client, for example a magazine and work out how to meet these needs, or the other way is to look at what we have, and how it could be used, plus how to develop this particular topic coverage and income from it. Within Photographers Resource we are looking at both, but this article is the start of looking at this second approach, looking at types of photos, many of which you will already have and looking at just what you could do with these photographs.
The first stage is perhaps to decide on a listing of photo types. The actual classifications you decide upon is up to you, but they want to be specific enough to allow you to think about what you have and how you could use this material. We have produced a suggested listing to get you started, you may want to expand or trim this to meet your needs. See What to do with your photos - Classification List.
Next we could look at what sort of coverage you have of each, some areas perhaps you have a lot of photographs, in another perhaps far fewer or none at all.
We could then perhaps look as well at which interests you the most, highlighting or underlining these topics, as these are the topic areas that you would like to expand your coverage of.
We are then ready to start exploring what we can do with the specific group of photographs, could they become a book, perhaps they should be in a picture library, or you should have your own picture library on this topic. Perhaps you could sell these to magazines, or write some articles to go with them. Is there the scope for calendars, greeting cards, limited edition art photos, posters, ..........
We are always our own worst critics, but are we happy with what we can achieve, and particularly if we are thinking of expenditure to boost some sections, should we think about some training or skills improvement. Remember that a skilled photographer can produce good photos with any kit, while a photographer with all the kit in the world, but unable to use it, is only going to get some random successes.
The difficult bit in all this is that we actually have to put it into practice, to do something, to go about marketing the work we have, but if we approach this as a game, full of fun and a challenge, not expecting to win every round, then this can be an enjoyable part of the overall process.
The What To Do with Your Photo section covers many of these areas as well as looking at specific uses in more detail, and will continue to grow.
We want to enjoy our photography, to take what interests us, but it makes sense to also have a use for the work we produce, rather than just fill up computer hard drives full of pictures that will never be used. Having a use for our photographs provides the motivation to do more and the satisfaction of seeing a good job, well done. It does not matter ultimately if we use them for a non-profit or profitable purpose, the important part is that we do actually make use of them. Beyond this the challenges, the expansion of our interests, and getting out and about, particularly in the countryside, will keep us fit and healthy, as well as benefiting in so many other ways.