Most photographers would be thrilled to see their prints displayed in a calendar. Calendars are a work of art, adorning walls and desks for an entire year. Selling photographs to calendar companies is a challenging, but rewarding pursuit.
As in any profession, you want to become the best in your business. This cannot be achieved without dedication on your part as well as the necessary funds to finance your dream. High end cameras have to be the first investment that a photographer makes. Look for discount sales and used cameras from professionals who are moving up. Your typical point-and-shoot will not take shots that can be enlarged for calendar use without losing clarity. Next, establish your own photography niche. Pick something you enjoy photographing, because you always want to love what you do. Consider what you enjoy doing most. Do you love fabulous landscapes, people, horses, children, or old cars? If you can find a class that specifically addresses your niche, for example, portraits, jump on the opportunity. In the meantime, practice, practice, practice. Try emulating great photographers and seek advice and critiques wherever and whenever possible.
A portfolio to showcase your work and sell your pictures is essential. You want prospective clients to see your photos in the best presentation possible. It will come in handy during business meetings with calendar publishers who are considering hiring you. To ensure that your portfolio makes the most impact, include your best shots rendered in the best quality. Your child’s old cast-off Spiderman binder is not a suitable container for your prints. Spend a little money on a tasteful album.
You can expand your options for reaching clients by building a professional photography website and registering with online photography sites. Websites such as iStockphoto or Flickr provide an effective medium through which you can build an online portfolio. There are some websites that do not charge for this service, but others require a subscription fee.
Most photographers find it difficult landing their first client. Scour the market for future clients. Do not waste your time by approaching publishers who appear to have needs that fall outside your niche or expertise. Instead, focus on publishers within related niches. Approach them by sending an introductory letter describing who you are and the service that you wish to offer. The names of publishers are printed on the backs of calendars, in Photographers Market, and online.
Another option that is particularly useful for budding photographers is to talk to businesses that hand out complimentary calendars to their customers. Common examples of such companies include dance studios, gardening clubs, and riding clubs.
Whether or not you sign a contract with them, it is good to keep notes of all the communication that you have with each company. This way, you will be able to avoid resubmitting the same pictures to the same clients.
Some companies and publishers are going to reject your proposal. In fact, most will. Do not let this discourage your efforts. Instead, give heed to what they have to say regarding the level of skill evidenced in your photos, so you can improve.
Breaking into the calendar field is possible if you are dedicated to the craft of photography. Take time to establish your own specific area of expertise, practice your abilities, and get your work in front of as many potential clients as possible. Working your way up through hard work and determination will surely bring you success.