What to Do with Your Countryside Photos
It is likely that you will have very many photographs that could be classed as countryside photographs, and these are often one of the first groups, or a sub set of them that are used to produce your own photography book , or to build a portfolio, as well as for images to frame and hang on the wall. They are also a class of photograph that can be shared with others, and made available to others under a range of projects. In the wider article What to do with your photos we have considered a range of uses from assisting charities and third world countries to preservation and re-enactments groups, as well as a printing on a mugs, jigsaws or using them to produce a special personal calendar for someone.
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. Similarly we would love to have more articles by others, especially if they are illustrated with photographs. Other groups, magazines and websites would also appreciate your input. Allowing you not only to make use of some of your photographs but expand your own experience.
Having gained experience and confidence, its often a natural step to look at how you can make this hobby pay for itself, if not looking to produce a living from it, while others may look at creating some income from their photography to support their chosen good cause, charity or a relative in some way. Others may like to make it a game, perhaps building an income from their photography to buy their dream holiday home or to fund another dream. In What to do with your photos we locked at this in a general way and how we could start to work out what we had now, would like to expand on, and the possibilities.
In many ways the country and countryside market is one of the easiest subject areas to find markets for because of it's diversity of subject matter. But at the same time this is the main reason why we need to define 'countryside photos' as this genre is too wide. Looking at other sources this can mean anything from that lovely landscape you captured on a walk, through to country activities and sports such as farming and shooting.
When looking for potential markets for your work don't forget that the British Countryside offers not only opportunities in the UK market, but also the overseas markets, and in particular Europe and America like images which depict our heritage and traditions which can sometimes be found in our rural areas.
Once you have decided that the countryside is a topic you would like to photograph and possibly market in, then it will be necessary to determine which aspect of it you are interested in. So you will need to identify your market before going through existing photos or creating more. Going through your existing photos could also allow you to get started straight away, but first you will need to go through each of the images and identify which classifications they fit into. To help you do this we have put together a What to do with your photos - Classification List.
As with any subject you photograph it is always a good idea to know your subject matter and to market research your target market. Doing this at the beginning will allow you to go out and photograph with more purpose. Planning is always important, knowing more about the subject and area you are travelling to before you get there and knowing what kit you need to take will enable you to maximise your time better. Of course there will always be that opportunity that comes up when you are there, something you weren't expecting, or something you couldn't have predicted, but the more prepared you are at the start the more rewarding the opportunities will be. Also while out on a shoot, think laterally and shoot several frames of each subject, for instance a cover picture usually requires an image in portrait mode, but you may be able to capture the same scene in landscape view for a calendar etc, a location guide for us will need some images to show the layout and surrounding area so that others can see what is there or know what to expect before they arrive.
Countryside Photos break down into a number of topic, areas such as:
Your existing images are sorted, you've decided on which part of the countryside you want to take more images of, now you need to research potential markets for them. The following are some ideas of what you may be able to do with them.
Magazine Articles and Pictures Only
The magazine market is large with around 8000 magazines across all topics and genre. Going into a local bookshop or library you will find publications such as the Writers & Artists Year Book, the Writers Handbook or books of advertising possibilities, that give lists of magazines currently in publication.
The sorts of magazines to look out for include, Country Living, County Magazines such as Cotswold Life, Hampshire Life and so on, BBC Countryfile, The Countryman, This England, Walking Magazines and more.
When looking at magazines remember that most magazines are monthly and have lead times ahead of where we are currently at in the calendar and therefore are working on different time schedules to the one we are currently in. For instance in February they are working on the April issues, so any snow pictures you got in January are too late for this year. With magazines for countryside images this is more of an issue as most of the images will involve some form of outdoor scene, where the season is noticeable straight away.
There are two aspects to getting images into magazines - photos only and combined article with photos. The starting point is to identify those magazines that may be interested in your work. Studying copies of the magazines in magazine retailers or your local library would be a good starting point. Look out for such items as, what type of articles do they have, are they predominantly descriptions or are they step-by-step or 'how to' type articles. But while you are looking don't forget to look for a gap, something that you may have images of, or you have knowledge of and could tell others about, getting hold of some back copies may give you some idea of what has been covered before, or been missed.
For more information on how to go about getting your work into magazines, see Getting Photographs Into Magazines and for pointers on how to create an illustrated article take a look at Creating Illustrated Articles.
Stock Photos and Picture Libraries
There are many opportunities for getting your pictures onto stock Picture Libraries on the internet, some are specialists whilst many are more generalised, and many of these have an online presence. Picture libraries take on images and sell them on to picture researchers, editors, advertising agencies and many others for a licence fee. There are a number of different types of licence each having a different sale rates, as the photographer you get a percentage of this fee and this percentage varies across the different libraries. See our article on Stock Photography for more details on how to go about this and what you can expect, also take a look at our article which specifically looks at Rights Managed Images (images being sold for a fee), to get an understanding of what to expect and what you should do.
Another way to get your images in front of others and to potentially sell them is by selecting some of your images to be used for Creative Commons purposes. Creative commons as such will not earn you an income, but they can act as a portfolio for you. You can also put creative commons work on websites such as Geograph and Flickr and in both instances you have the ability to create a profile page telling people about you, which in turn can link to your own website. For more on Creative Commons - see here.
If you have a large number of photos already and they are pretty good, you could put together your own website. The website could be a portfolio of your work - that you can use to market yourself to potential clients, or it could be your own picture library where you show/sell your images direct to the client/public.
Although most calendars are produced to be sold at the end of a year into the beginning of the new year, and probably have a short shelf life, the companies that produce them are working all year round. They are continually on the look out for new ideas and new material as well as being able to utilize that they already have. Take a look at Selling to Calendar Publishers for more information on this. Another article takes a look at producing An Income from Calendars, and as well as this we have a number of other articles, lists and information on Calendars in the reference section under Calendars.
A nice touch at Christmas or for birthdays and other occasions, and something that is becoming more popular is to send personalised cards. There are a number of websites which offer the ability to send personalised greetings cards and those like moonpig.com not only offer standard cards with your own greetings but also have some designs where you can upload your own photograph to really personalise it. However you could create your own personalised card on your own computer/printer by using standard greeting card software, and buying blank card/envelope sets from your local stationery store to send to family and friends.
You could also look at getting your images in front of Greeting Card Publishers. Greeting cards is a big industry and there are a number of publishers which you will be able to find some of these in The Writers & Artists Year Book and The Writers Handbook. Existing Greeting Card publishers like Hallmark pay between £70-£300 per design, but from what I have read it is hard work and they are quite picky. However do your research try to find a gap in the market, and try approaching small publishers who may not pay as much but are willing to give your work a go.
Alternatively you could produce postcards which have many uses. You could produce a Postcard of a selection of your images instead of a business card, this could be a useful tool and talking point. Or you could look at self-publishing some and marketing them to various interested parties. Many tourist attractions, places and locations sell postcards; they are also sold in village post offices/shops, newsagents, shops etc. They are a cheap form of advertising and particularly visitors to tourist spots find they are a cheap option to get a reminder of where they have visited. You will need to do your research first about what is already in the marketplace and where you think a gap in the market might be. Put together a sample of your good quality work to entice your potential customers to take up your offer. Having sample images on a CD or USB pen stick device will allow you to present the images on screen, which when backlit can have an enormous impact on the image, but also have a few samples made up and printed in postcard size so that they can get an idea of what the image will look like presented in it's final form. There are a number of postcard printers who will do them in small quantities to allow you to do this. A List of Postcard printers can be accessed from here.
Prints including limited editions
Producing prints of your favourite photos to remind you of that wonderful holiday or special occasion and then framing it to hang on your wall for others who visit to see has a certain element of satisfaction about it. Of course your walls would get rather covered if you did a lot of them, unless you routinely swap them around. Of course another option is to produce prints to sell onto others. If you have a website you could display them on here and have the ability for others to buy those they like, this would be selling in most cases direct to the person who was going to hang it on their wall. The other way of course is to put together a portfolio, of those you want to sell as prints and try your local galleries. The thing with this area is in the market research, knowing what the market wants now and what next seasons trends might be. Technically the images selected have to be very good, and as art images to put on a wall people have to find them desirable for some reason, and want to buy them. This is the market where quality and marketing counts. You can make money with either but more when applied together.
Whichever aspect of the country market you decide to target, market research is the key. Get to understand what the customer wants, look out for opportunities and gaps in the marketplace, but remember to continue to enjoy your photography, passion is what will give you a good saleable image, and hopefully a good income.
The photographs that you have now, and photographs that you enjoy taking can be used for your own use, to benefit others, or to create an income for you or some other purpose. You don't necessarily have to take any photographs different to your current interests, allowing you to make use of what you have and will have. Or you could use this as the motivation to expand your photography and justify more time and expenditure. You could look on it as a hobby or as a part time income or turn professional, the great advantage of this type of photography is that you can take what you want to, when and if you like, so the level of enjoyment is high and the stress of trying to meet deadlines or the wishes of others is reduced.