In last week’s blog post I shared that I had been caught up in trying to make more money selling my images. (Photography: For Love or Money). That was until my wife Tracy asked me a very thought provoking question. “What happened to doing it for the love of photography and nature?” As I promised, here is how I let making money take priority over what I love to do the most, nature photography.
For me it all began about 7 years ago on our first trip to Fredericksburg, Texas. Tracy and I fell in love with the Texas Hill Country. That’s where we want to retire to and grow old. We want to sit on our back porch and watch the deer, turkey and quail while we drink our morning coffee. Maybe we’ll have a few goats and chickens too. We had it all planned out. By the time we arrived back in Dallas, Tracy had already picked out names for the chickens. So we started looking into what it would take to make our house more saleable. That’s when I started my downward spiral. The fence needs to be replaced. The house needs to be painted and the A/C needs to be overhauled and that’s just the outside. I won’t go into what needs to be done on the inside of the house. I can do all the work, but it takes money.
I started selling images on stock photography sites about 8 years ago and selling fine art images about 6 years ago. I never did it for the money. However, it always made my day when I would get an email telling me I sold a stock image. To tell you the truth, it still does. But I needed to make some serious money. I started working on getting published in magazines, looked into going to art shows and craft festivals. You name it, I researched it. I started reading everything I could about promoting myself as an artist. I tried everything anybody suggested. No matter what I tried, my sales remained about the same. The only thing that changed was that I had less time to do what I really loved. Getting out into the woods and capturing beautiful images of nature and wildlife.
I believe my heart and mind are in the right place now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still trying to sell images but it is not my primary focus anymore. I have to admit though, during that time I did get published in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine…twice. So it wasn’t all bad. I guess what I’ve been trying to say over the last two weeks is this. There has to be a balance. When we pull our camera out of its bag it needs to be because we are trying to capture an image that makes us feel something and hopefully that will make our clients feel what we felt at that split second the shutter clicked, not because we think it will sell. Would it be so bad if a complete stranger told you that one of your landscape images looked just like he or she remembered it from their childhood and that made them want to take their children to the same place? I don’t think that would be so bad at all. Do you?