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Jumat, 08 Agustus 2008

Your Photos Need A Self-Critique

When you are next out on a photographing excursion, begin the habit of asking yourself, "Is it marketable?" before you snap the picture. Gauge whether the piece of film or digital file that you're exposing in your camera has a good chance of resulting in a sale for you.

If it's color: Is it saleable? That is, -is it a picture a photo buyer will need ...not one he already has access to. Will that transparency one day be on a photobuyer??s desk? If it's B&W, will the negative result in many future sales?

One photographer friend said she could not break the habit of snapping pictures of anything and everything on a photo excursion, then trying to make the marketing decisions a week later when the processed film returns. To make the change-over, she placed a label on the back of her camera that read: "Is it marketable?" It took her only two weeks to finally break the habit. The label is now removed. She no longer aims her camera at silhouettes of sea gulls against the setting sun (and other such "classic" shots, that do sell, but that are individually very difficult to market because thousands upon thousands of similar photos are available to photobuyers).

Instead, she now photographs specific subject matter geared to specific market areas that match her own interest areas. She found (and continues to find) dependable markets for her material by doing some sound marketing homework. >The MARKETING QUOTIENT Critique

In my seminars, I offer a free critique of photos based on their marketing potential. Since the persons who attend my seminars are photographers, I don't comment on the artistic value of the photograph, only the marketing potential. I use what I call the Marketing Quotient (MQ), a number factor ranging from 1 to 10. (Ten equals high.)

Since there's no mystery about the MQ, you can make a self-critique of your own pictures. Here's how to start:

A key factor in selling anything is the law of Supply and Demand. If there's a great supply of something, it's not going to sell briskly (e.g. the silhouette of the sea gull). If on the other hand, the supply is limited, the demand will be great. (A volcano erupting in Washington.)

Seventy-five percent of your photo's marketing worth will have to do with supply and demand. For example, if there's a reasonable demand for a picture, and it's not the kind of picture easily available in agencies, your MQ can start at 7. From this point, your MQ will go up or down.

Here are some of the factors that will cause your MQ to increase: 1.) You have an established track record with the photobuyer, or you are a "name" photographer. 2.) Your picture is available to meet a deadline. 3.) Your picture is: a) timely, up-to-date; b) lends itself to a publishing house's needs; c) matches the photobuyer's interest area; d) available for one-time use; e) has not been used recently by the competition; f) available for commercial use also and therefore has a model release; g) technically acceptable; h) good.

Your MQ will decrease if your answer is a negative to any of the above.

Photobuyers make the assumption that your photos will be "good." To be marketable your photos need not be prize-winners, but they must be good.

Since you know your own marketable areas better than anyone else, you are in the best position to make your own MQ assessment. Take a weekend to go through your pictures and eliminate any in your market file that come up with a low MQ.

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