2014 has come to an end. How did I do as a photographer ? This is never easy to answer and all a mater of perspective. For the last 2 years I have treated this no longer as a hobby but a business.
There are some definite negatives to treat photography as a business, thing like cost, customer satisfaction, revenue all count. Oh yes and thinks like insurance, contracts, invoices, book keeping, …
Some social media statistics :
My websites / blog is up 50-200% depending on the metric
My commercial / portfolio is up 20-200% again depending on the metric
My Social Media Google plus has only 1,000 more followers and on average I get fewer interactions. Both pluses and comments are down
The most visited page on my blog is about my 600m lens. it gets on average 2 reads per day. way more than any other post.
From a pure number perspective these are mixed results. I get 0% of my work from my website,blog or social media. It does however help when I meet people and they want to look at my work.
On the very positive side Google Plus has been an opportunity to meet many great photographers for a week-end in Ireland. Google was also a great source of information for our trip through Scotland.
Photo statistics :
In 2014 I have clicked the shutter more than 80,000 times on my 3(4) cameras, I did borrow my wife’s A77 to shoot 2 games remotely. Most pictures where taken with my A99’s, The RX 100 is used more and more. I managed to shoot exactly 1 roll of film.
Ice hockey, football and rugby have been the most frequent events. Jewelry has been a growing opportunity
I did shoot a number of times in Paris while traveling there for work.
For the first time I had 2x 1 complete week dedicated only to capture landscapes of Scotland and Ireland.
Model sessions I had only 1.
Overall very little time to head out and just shoot what ever gets in front of the camera or plan any session or field trip
The business side of Photography :
Here we are talking hard numbers, revenue cost, investment, …
Year over year changes are as follow :
Investment (new gear, software) -52%
Expenses for projects -6%
General expenses -36%
I was the first pleasantly surprised by the growth in revenue and for the fact that id does come from unexpected sources
today my revenue is split roughly this way:
Sport teams 30%
Other events 20%
Photo sessions 10%
Gear sale 20%
Print Sales 20%
Prints is the real surprise here I never thought I would make that much from the prints and in 2015 it is up to a great start. My other revenue is diversified over a number of customers to avoid any bad surprises. Gear Sales are a little on the low side. I was expecting more sales of my camera carrier but the sales are OK and overall people who buy it are very happy with their purchase.
GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)
My purchase of new gear is way down. There are many things I lust over like a 300mm f2.8 or the awesome 400mm f4. I have reached a point where I have most of the gear and software I need. There where some expenses for broken filters, new hard drives, software, replacing backup batteries, …
The only major photo expenses where a light meter which I did get used at B&H and an 85mm f1.4 also used and for a great deal. Also anew speed-light my old one was 4 years old and had been dropped way too many times
2015 may be a different story depending on what Body Sony releases.
Project related costs are down due to a smaller number of projects and more predictable cost of my remaining projects.
General expenses are down and that is a real surprise. I spent less but what I spent was used to travel to places to get better pictures and build up my portfolio and photo bank.
I am still losing money on my photography but less than initially planned on my 5 year plan. And when I look at what I lose it is still cheaper than any of my previous hobbies.
Outlook to 2015
I am still busy with my pro sport events, jewelry is a growing business as well. I definitely want to spend some time to work on some personal projects with models.
Weddings are still something I am interested but too busy to pursue, family events or corporate events are an interesting alternative with less competition.
Print Sales is part of the growth strategy, I have actually for the first time actual orders to get specific shots and prints for clients