A lot of people take photos. No, seriously. A lot of people. But the number of people who actually do something with their photographs are an absolute minority. I decided to catch up with a friend of mine – Jason – to see how he turned his hobby into a multi-million, global sales success.
Okay, so I’m full of it: he barely even breaks even. But still – he’s found a cool way of trying to do something with his photos. And that’s worth taking a closer look at, methinks!
I’ve stumbled across Jason’s site, fotoviva, several times before I even got to know him. It goes to show that this global village of ours isn’t always as big as we think, I guess.
Jason is a web designer who’s an old-timer in the world of photography: He’s been taking photos for about 15 years, but always on a hobby basis. He’s a Nikon fan (Boo! Okay, just kidding), and shoots most of his photos with a modest D50. The results certainly make it worth it, however!
Occasionally, he takes photos that are so good that they deserve to be shared – but how? There are so many venues where you can show off or sell your photos, but Jason decided they weren’t good enough for him: Either they were a bit lacking, or they weren’t quite what he was looking for.
There are some great pieces of on-line gallery software out there, but they are limiting in that you can’t sell your work. The sales galleries? Well, they’re a bit crap too. So, being the ever-creative soul he is, Jason decided to just go ahead and start from scratch.
“Basically”, he says, “I launched it as a site to try and sell my own pictures as canvas and poster prints 5 months ago. Then I realised that there are so many really good photographers out there, completely unknown, yet they have no idea about the internet or how to create a website to sell their work and earn some extra cash.”
So he opened up his website to other photographers as well. “When I find a photographer whose work I like”, Jason explains, “I ask them if they would like to try and sell some of their pictures using my site.”
It’s not exactly a new approach (it’s what I do over on 3Songs.org for concert photography, for example), but it’s a win-win situation. As Jason sees it: “This helps build up my site, and offers the other photographers an outlet to sell their prints”
I think Jason’s Foto Viva website is one of the more elegant photo gallery / sales solutions I’ve seen, so I thought I’d share it with you guys.
So, he’s got a successful website and is a pretty accomplished photographer. Surely, that means he’s had all his dreams come true? Not quite… “One day I would like to spend at least half my time taking photos”, he admits, “not only
in England but around the world, whilst continuing website and graphic design on a much reduced scale.”
Spoken like a true photographer, that is.
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