Selling photographs of airplanes is not usually a priority in the career of a spotter, defined as an aviation photographer who exclusively dedicated to his hobby. It is something that happens occationally and it is a huge lever, more in a profesional way, rather than speaking in economical terms.
One of the type of aviation photographers descriped above, the first priority is to improve the quality of the photographs, in a technical and artistic respect, keeping in mind an advantage of learning skills from the best of this sphere profesionals (whom you will find on airspotters.org). The commercial aspect is often a consequence of the first: perseverance, hard work and, of course, a fair amount of luck.
It is true, that there is a small group of photographers whom often generate sales steadily or even they may persue work as a professional photographers, but for the vast majority, this adventure is an disheartening experience and poorly valued economically, finding huge differences between type of clients or the purpose is comercial/ for publishing or personal. Anyway, through this post I would like to mention photographers who successfully sell aviation photographs without being well known Ricado Beccari.
It is agreeable that, the ideal situation in business would be to have a constant client, like an “Embraer”, who calls you whenever he wants to do a story or for being more modest, just a private client, aeroclub, foundation etc.…which would share the common undesrtanding of this kind of photograpy in aviation. But this is not very common case, most of the photographers do not have contacts and they must present and compete with their work , as you could descripe, in the ocean of photos which move in airliners, jetphotos, aviationcorner field…filled by the massive growth of the start up practises.
These web sites are the main showcases for a spotter. Any editor, company or an individual browisng through their search results in this field will come accross desirable information. At a higher level, directly focused on the client´s needs, there are photo Banks such as Airteamimages, where images are actively promoted, and also they are responsable for all the administrative bureaucracy between the client and the customer, which provides guarantees and quality, working with recognized photographers.
The relation between Airteamimages and their photographers is varied, like in every company the “general conditions” can be negotiated according to their interest or your specific desires to collaborate with them. The commissions are usually 50% or less (25% if the client contacts you directly and you refer the work to Dereck Pedley, Airteamimages director). The photos are usually sold for a reasonable price, depending of the use but usually not less than 200€. Exclusivity is not required. Just to keep in mind, all of this information is very general and depends on contract and agreement.
Also, there are alternative options to explore general stock photo collections such as Getty or Alamy, or sites like “micro-stock”, but do not be surprised if they pay you just a few cents per photo. To be very succsessful in this, you must have a well developed high-quality portfolio. In addition of the sale prices being low, commissions are usually around 70%, so unless your portfolio is outstanding and well presented, there is less chance for you to get benefit of it. In my personal opinion, I believe this way devalues the work of photographer and it is not right for aviation photography, in matter of demotivating people with low incomes.
Next step would be to eliminate intermediaries, which means that we are going to manage our stock images by ourselves, through our websites, which we can be developed with a mínimum investment and knowledge. However, it requires a huge effort to make live your website in the Internet, and long time until google lets your website appear when someone is searching. Obviously your web will never be so good positioned like airliners, but as a friend says, you must be everywhere.
Also, it is very important to mention that beside patronage, quality and visibility we have to add another equally or even more important aspect, accessibility…you know, “if your pictures aren´t good enough, you are not close enough”.
The market for aviation photography is very limited, this is a very specific area in which there are already too many people and also very skillful. However we must not forget that this is a hobby, the perfect excuse to have fun with friends, talking about photography and airplanes, learning every day new techniques and exhilarating the sight with such beautiful machines called airplanes.
Please, see list below for successful examples:
↑ Javier López. Precio 200 €. Publicación.
↑ Jorge Guardia. Precio 200 €. Cliente Privado.
↑ Mark Jayne.. Precio 235 libras. Cliente privado.
↑ Johnson Barros. . Precio 500 $. Cliente privado.
↑ Ismael Jordá.. 400 €. Publicación.
↑ Daniel Guerra. 550 $. Cliente privado.
↑ Chen Peng. 1000$. Cliente Privado.
↑ Ismael Jordá.. 8000 €. Cliente Privado.
We are the next!!
Keep Calm and Shoot!!!