Income from fine art street/docu photo

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by j_d|30, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Hi all,
    I have been taking street and documentary fine art photography. Some of what I do is a bit conceptual too.
    I wonder, how do such photographers make money? Since it is not about one shot but rather a series/project.
    For example, how do street photographers eventually create income? (other than teaching)

    Thanks
     
  2. It's hard enough to monetize creativity, let alone a specific genre like street photography. Better to do it for the love it.

    Eric Kim has built a successful business around his street photography, teaching workshops, and selling products,...If you know how to hustle and have the drive anything is possible.

    Maybe the best bet for making money with street photography would be to write a book called How to Make Money with Street Photography.
     
  3. Maybe the best bet for making money with street photography would be to write a book called How to Make Money with Street Photography.

    Phil, I like your approach!
     
  4. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Hmm... I already wrote the
    book:
    CHAPTER 1
    "Take lots of pictures."
    CHAPTER 2
    "Sell 'em."
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Many, probably most, don't.
    That's the case with a lot of different sorts of photography and photographers. Likely, your work will benefit from being seen in blog format, where you can present photos in a more narrative way. A book is good for this as well.
    Not sure what this is. My sense is that documentary photography is documentary photography. If it becomes fine art, that's because of viewers, critics, and curators. I don't know that anyone actually shoots documentary fine art photography.

    If you're interested in making money as a documentary photographer, that might have some potential, though it's still difficult. You'd likely have a better chance with video. Maybe see if you can apprentice with a professional documentary team as a start.
     
  6. It surprises me how many of my photographic role models have been editorial portrait photographers to make money, including HCB, and recently I learned Duane Michals was in that number, also. If HCB couldn't make a living at street during the heyday of journalism and print, maybe no one should expect to.
     
  7. There are many documentary photographers who have intentionally straddled the line between documentary and fine art without needing viewers or critics to determine that for themselves. Evans, Frank, Eugene Smith, Salgado, Magnum photographers like Alec Soth,...Documentary photography whenever it wants to conceive its message as strongly as possible tends to utilize in more or lesser degrees the iconography of the past. One of the most literal examples is Lewis Hine's A Madonna of the Tenements. In Evans case, it was also more about the very documentary nature of the camera itself that was to be the new fine art aesthetic of modernism.

    I've read that HCB came from a rich family and finances were never much of an issue for doing what he wanted to do. Obviously having the finances alone won't turn anyone into the next HCB.
     
  8. Having money may not make you good in itself but it can certainly give one the time and opportunity to pursue things one wants to do instead of what you are simply required to dl to pay the bills. Didn't Ansel Adams come from money as well? I think more than a few of the great journalist or editorial photographers had to watch funds closely.

    Rick H.
     
  9. I grew up in a community of artists with an artist father, brother, and nephew and many artist friends and acquaintances. I am the black sheep in the family (I became a critic/art theorist).

    Most artists I know have "day jobs" -- if they are lucky, that is teaching art at a university or school. Others drive taxis or whatever.

    A few have married well.

    It's really not too different from minor-league or amateur sport, one of those cases in which
    Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen
     
  10. The market for documentary photography is primarily magazines, of which there are not many. The market for street photography could be collectors, etc. But collectors tend to go with people who have already made a name for themselves. I do OK selling prints but it's taken many, many years. I also do journalism from time to time, which pays, teach English as a second language, or take temp jobs. If I were starting over I'd get my MFA and teach.
     
    denny_rane likes this.
  11. Yeah, an MFA and a (if you need it) a teaching credential. That is a damn good way to make a living as a "Photographer".

    Ansel Adams never would have "made it" as a Photographer if it were not for his wife.
    Really, until he met and hired a manager, he did not make much money. He was 70 Years old before his prints and his name were marketed and he then started to make Tens and Hundreds of Thousands of dollars a year.

    You want to make a living in The World Of Photography...???
    Learn how to PRINT. You can still be a "Photographer".....but learn how to PRINT...!!
    Fae it... photographers are an F'ing Dime A Dozen.
    Ask yourself.....how many photographers do you know.?
    .......and how many printers do you know.?........There you go.
    For every talented printer, there are Two Thousand talented photographers.
     
    Stephen_Prunier and Vlado like this.
  12. Learn how to PRINT. You can still be a "Photographer".....but learn how to PRINT...!!

    Right, Denny. I bought a printer, and then a colorimeter, and then paper... and inks... and...
     
  13. How do you put it all on Instaram?
     

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