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Making money with underwater photos?

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Do you think it is possible to make money with underwater photography? Is there any photographer who solely lives off from underwater photography?

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It is possible to make money from underwater photography, it depends how much you and your family like to eat. LOL

 

Very difficult these days from what I hear lately. You need to supplement it with photo courses and leading trips etc.

 

Cheers

 

Todd

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About 12 years ago I was attending a lecture by Scott ....? , manager of Nikon underwater, and he answered this question with:" there are less than 10 people in the world now earning their living soley from underwater photo business, an I'm one of them"

 

This was before the digital age where thousands of amateur shooters are now willing to give away their images for a few fleeting days of seeing their names in print.

 

Nikon have since closed their underwater product line.

 

Keep your day job!

 

 

;)

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It is possible to make a living from anything .. you just need passion drive and talent .. probably in that order.

 

Self Motivation and pushing yourself to keep going and keep selling will be key .. doubt it is easy .. but if you want to make a living from something you love to do of course it is possible. Remember it isn't going to be just about photography though and it will be lots of work.

 

The key will be when to go full time and not have another stable income .. and when to quit the stable job to create more work.

 

I am too lazy of course to even consider such a path! ;)

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It is possible to make a living from anything .. you just need passion drive and talent .. probably in that order.

 

I would add 'Business acumen' to the front of that list, no matter what sector of the economy you are in and the rules applies equally to all; from selling fruit and veg on a market stall, plumbing, fixing cars or inventing the next Ipad competitor to running an investment bank. Photography isn't special, its just another business.

 

Turning intellectual property into cash is not easy, but it is possible. However, to place all one's source of income in a single sector, particularly a volatile one such as publishing, does come with a high degree of risk to financial stability. Employee facing redundancy/layoff as a result of a decision to relocate the business they work for to a low cost country will understand this, and having been made redundant myself (a long time ago) there is much empathy.

 

Spreading the risk is just one of many reasons why maintaining two disparate businesses in completely unrelated markets makes sense. If one sector crashes, life is not as comfortable but a level of income is maintained. If both crash at the same time........well it is not impossible, but if that happened society as a whole, including me, may well have bigger issues to worry about.

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May I quote Rod Stewart in a recent interview about how to be a success in the music business?

 

"You need some talent, a little bit of luck and the ability to do a great deal of hard work."

 

No-one is going to pay you to swan about having fun!

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My non-expert assessment of those who at least appear to be successful making a living with underwater photography is that their sources of income are quite diverse. Underwater photographs may be at the core of what they do, but they make money from many other things including trips and travel, websites like this one, advertising photography and journalism related to underwater photography and diving related goods and services. The actual photographs themselves may be the lowest direct source of income, but everything else as a whole can provide a reasonable living. It would seem, like anything else, one should create a diverse business plan that includes how you plan to promote yourself and provide the goods and services required, and then apply the above mentioned principles, step-by-step and in gradient fashion.

A key thing in developing your plan is also to find out what your potential clients need and want, and working out how you can provide for them.

Edited by loftus

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A key thing in developing your plan is also to find out what your potential clients need and want, and working out how you can provide for them.

 

 

Spot on! The success of any business is 1) to identify your customer 2) identify your customer's needs and 3) provide a solution.

 

Too many failed businesses start off with a solution and look for a problem to fit it.

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I can tell you a sure-fire way to become a millionaire as an underwater photographer - start with $2 million!

 

;)

 

-Gina

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Yeah Gina :)

That's indeed a bullet proof plan! ;)

 

But on a serious note - like mentioned allready, I allso belive that there are no UW photographer who would make a living only selling theyr photos. Courses, seminars, workshops etc etc are part of a professional UW photographers services.

 

Cheers

Karel

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I believe it is possible to "live" off of underwater photography. But you need to have incredible marketing skills, networking and a service to back it up. I don't see how or why our profession would be any harder than say a wildlife photographer or landscape. The business side of things stay the the same. Networking and marketing!

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Spot on! The success of any business is 1) to identify your customer 2) identify your customer's needs and 3) provide a solution.

 

Too many failed businesses start off with a solution and look for a problem to fit it.

 

You want to make a little money in UW photography?

 

Start with a lot!

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Hey

 

Well, errr, my only income for the past 2 years has been underwater photography but then again, I subsist on a diet of instant noodles and cheap beer.

 

I havent really made any money by selling photos. All the money ive made has been from commissions i.e. assignments.

 

My number 1 tip: No matter how good your photos are , no one will pay you unless your 2x as good at marketing (......which im not, so i'm poor)

 

Also, Ryan Pedlow and others make there livings 100% from underwater photography but its the tourism side of it rather than the commission side - Ryan has possibily the coolest life style in the world.

 

 

Cal

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Hi guys,

8 years later i would love to hear fresh views on the topic

not that i expect UW photography to easily pay bills now

but curious to know how the over-presence of social media (for instance) may have transformed underwater photographers’ bottom line

8 years ago we said the main income source was leading trip, workshops, doing trainings...

what about social media?

what about being a brand ambassador (not sure if that grants you more than free loan gear)

:)

 

Nicolas

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8 minutes ago, Nicool said:

Hi guys,

8 years later i would love to hear fresh views on the topic

not that i expect UW photography to easily pay bills now

but curious to know how the over-presence of social media (for instance) may have transformed underwater photographers’ bottom line

8 years ago we said the main income source was leading trip, workshops, doing trainings...

what about social media?

what about being a brand ambassador (not sure if that grants you more than free loan gear)

:)

 

Nicolas

Hey Nicholas

Good luck!

I've sold over 2500 u/w image downloads via Shutterstock and maybe another 500 or so via other stock agencies. They sell quite well - daily - but the rewards are, how can I put it, "not generous". Probably pays for a couple of lenses a year. 

But that's stock libraries for you. 

Seems to me the impact of social media is to devalue photo imagery significantly. Why pay for images when you can dig around and probably find them for free? But, by contrast, the quality and innovativeness (is there such a word?) of the images is better and better.

Massive respect to the likes of a number of the guys here on WP who make a living from it: I don't think things have changed and teaching, training and workshops are the core money makers led by the terrific images that these guys create.

Brand Ambassador: yeah, some nice discounts, loans of gear.....

But maybe as I'm probably entering the-dinosaur-generation I'm missing a pot of gold somewhere. 

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Should you find a way to actually make a living off of selling underwater imagery - Keep it a secret!

Because if you don't, then soon everyone else will have the the secret and it won't be a secret anymore and you will be back where you started. 

Inspiration and innovation is the mother of invention. Actually it’s just a mother.

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Should you find a way to actually make a living off of selling underwater imagery - Keep it a secret!
Because if you don't, then soon everyone else will have the the secret and it won't be a secret anymore and you will be back where you started. 

Inspiration and innovation is the mother of invention. Actually it’s just a mother.


Probably right, so there might be more photographers than we thought making money, but they kept it secret ;-)


Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

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I don't think anything has changed, most people don't want to pay for imagery, love your images but sorry we have no budget -how about a credit for exposure??  .   The primary skill needed is being shamelessly good at self promotion!

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2 hours ago, Nicool said:


Probably right, so there might be more photographers than we thought making money, but they kept it secret ;-)


Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

If one wants to know many might out there, a good place to start is scubashooters.net

 

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On 10/21/2019 at 2:28 AM, TimG said:

Hey Nicholas

Good luck!

I've sold over 2500 u/w image downloads via Shutterstock and maybe another 500 or so via other stock agencies. They sell quite well - daily - but the rewards are, how can I put it, "not generous". Probably pays for a couple of lenses a year.

What sort of images sell?   Macro?  Wide angle?  Shots with divers?  Shots without divers?

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Not macro! Maybe the occasional nudibranch. Not many sales of wreck photos. Nor "arty" pics.

My best sales volume has come from a dolphin pod in clear water in the Red Sea (KLM amongst others are using it); and then well-posed single diver on a colourful reef.

I did really well after one trip to the Red Sea - over 1000 sales from 129 images. Deep blue background, well-light colourful reef, single diver approaching with a torch.

Occasionally wide-angle shots without a diver. 

 

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Kind of what I thought.  Non-divers like macros but don't buy them to hang on a wall.   Non-divers like the big stuff that is kinda boring - a turtle, a shark, maybe a diver near something colorful, perhaps a military wreck.   They just don't understand or identify with the cool stuff.   I did get a bit more used to using my wide lens on this last trip.  (Forced myself after losing one of my strobes early on.)   And what I realize in retrospect is that macro shots show a colorful subject, but wide angle tells a story.    I had a great story planned out last summer in Maui when I was going to dive on the Corinthian at the same time my girlfriend was passing by in the Atlantis submarine.  I told her to get some shots of me.   She didn't take a single one, not being anything like a photographer, unlike my late wife.   But I got some nice shots of the sub...

PhxAZCraig

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