Photography, Money And Love

Love, Passion and PhotographyA friend of mine, fellow photographer Tanya Constantine, left a message for me on my Facebook page in which she lamented that there is too much emphasis on the money aspect of photography, not enough on the love and passion for the art. I was reflecting on that as I drove home from my studio this evening.
The Enjoyment of Creating Stock Images

I spent the day creating stock images, including the elephant in the starting blocks at the top of this blog. I was doing it for the money. But I do love the work as well. I love coming up with ideas, ideas that will amuse and at the same time deliver a message, a commercial message no less. I love the process of putting my images together, the planning, the photography and the Photoshop work. I love finishing an image and just plain enjoying it.
Money As A Measurement

The money, however, is also important, and in several in a couple of ways. Obviously, I want to maintain a certain standard of living, put some away for when I reach the point where I can’t work as much…or even don’t want to work as much. And the money is important in another way too. It is a measure of my abilities, a yardstick by which I can judge my progress. For better or worse, I take pride in the fact that I can make money at photography, and yes, it makes me feel good about myself.
How Can I Make Money With My Photos?

One often hears, or reads, that this photographer or that photographer would do their work whether they were being paid or not. I often wondered if that were true of me. I really don’t know. I do love creating images, but seldom create ones that won’t earn me money.  Even on vacation or traveling I will find myself reaching for my camera when a potential shot catches my attention, and yet I am always wondering if and how I can make money with the shot. I have foregone some pretty cool shots because I couldn’t see how I could make money with them.
Wasted Images

Part of my thinking goes that if I don’t have a market for the image it will be wasted. No one will see it. I have so many images that know one will ever see, some really great ones too. But I don’t have the time, or I suppose, the inclination, to get them online, to enter shows, to make prints (and where would I hang those prints?), to get them in front of an audience.
Sharing Images, And Making Money

Just thinking out loud here. I am interested in why I take the approach I do, but I certainly am not unduly bothered my how I operate. As I said, I do enjoy what I do. I love making my images. I love sharing my images, be they funny elephant pictures, silly cat photos, or businessmen in odd, funny and precarious situations. I to confess though, I really love making money off of my images too.

About the author

John Lund  has been shooting professionally for over 30 years.  John was an early adopter of Photoshop, first using version 1.0 in 1990.  He began using digital capture in 1994.  John has been active in the stock photography world as a founding member of BLEND IMAGES, and long time contributor to Getty Images, Corbis, and, more recently SuperStock.

John has lectured on digital imaging and stock photography, has been a columnist for PICTURE and DIGITAL IMAGING magazines, and written ADOBE MASTER CLASS, PHOTOSHOP COMPOSITING WITH JOHN LUND.  John has been a frequent speaker at Photo Plus and other venues and has taught workshops at Palm Beach Workshops and Santa Fe Workshops.  His work can be seen at

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

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