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Sell & Re-Sell Your Photos 5th Edition
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What distinguishes Rohn Engh's book on how to sell photographs--now in its fourth edition--from the many volumes on the subject? Could it be his honest, no-nonsense approach to the topic, as opposed to the get-rich-quick slant of many competitors? His practical, step-by-step advice? His pragmatic sales techniques and principles, which teach niche marketing and explain the vast difference between good pictures of popular subjects (sunsets, wildflowers) and the type of photographs in demand by the editors who actually buy them? All of the above and more, including solid advice about selling photos in the electronic age. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Rohn Engh is a veteran stock photographer who has sold his work to national and worldwide markets since 1960. He is the founder and publisher of PhotoStockNotes, and publishes PHOTOLETTER and PhotoDaily. He conducts photo marketing workshops nationwide.
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Once you get to the crux of this formula - that you should be shooting some type of environmental portraiture (people in the context of a specific place) - it implies that if you are interested in photographing something else, you're basically wasting your time. This is frankly a little disturbing. His theory suggests that it is the market's need for a particular kind of photo that should motivate you, and not your own intuition. That is frankly dead wrong in the eyes of many successful photographers. It only works well if you see your photos as a retail product first, and a personal expression (dare I say "art?") second...and some do see it that way, which is fine.
Perhaps that is where Engh goes wrong: this book could be more aptly titled "How the Casual Photographer can Sell and Resell Their Snapshots." It is plainly not that useful for the person interested in fine art photography, "fine art" meaning anything which is not born of commercial origins. It's as though Engh thinks the act of photographing is what's most important to photographers - that if you're out there snapping away that's all that matters, so long as the pictures sell. For many photographers this is not what the medium is about. It's not a "make big money in a hurry" kind of business. It requires someone who is unwavering, methodical and patient...not someone with a few rolls of 35mm film, a camera and Engh's magic formula.
The best instructor I ever had made one crucial point to his students: to be a successful photographer, your images have to speak to people on a deeper level than the average snapshot. If you wish to make photos of this quality, the *only* way to do so is to shoot that subject matter which is not only familiar to you, but very close to your heart. If you shoot what is only moderately interesting to you, so too will your photos be moderately interesting...and perhaps not interesting at all. This is to mention nothing of the technical mastery you must posess, as well. Formulas do not a lasting photograph make....
The bottom line is, if landscapes or buildings or some other thing which is often photographed...if that is what moves you, *that* is what you should be exploring with the camera and lens. To do otherwise is to do yourself a disservice (unless you just want to sell a few snapshots, which is fine). Granted, it may take a few years before you can really break into the market with some truly unique and marketable imagery but that's to be expected. Great photographs don't come easy; it takes perserverance and dedication. So, if you can't make money off your work right away (as Engh suggests you should), then you find other means of income as you continue to work on your personal style and technical mastery of the medium. Ansel Adams wasn't taking his masterpieces after 6 months work. Galen Rowell (probably the most talented landscape photographer to come along since Adams) failed to sell his work many times before he finally succeeded.
Photography is like any other endeavor in life: if you really want to make your mark, you have to pay your dues. There's no way around it.
So the question really is (dear reader and fellow photographer): are you in it to make quick money, or are you in it to make your mark? If you want the quick money, Engh is your man and this book is your book (without question). If, on the other hand you want to achieve a more lofty goal with your work, this book won't help you much other than perhaps to give the proverbial wake-up call. The call which reminds you that no, it won't be easy...but which ignores the possibility that the struggle might bring much greater success than the forumulas in this book.
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Save your money or get it at the library for free if you want to read it.Read more