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“Remember the Joy” by Bill Bachmann (Part 1)

May 6, 2009

Book Excerpt: Remember the Joy by Bill Bachmann (Part 1)

PhotoEdit is proud to announce a new series of book excerpts for its blog. Some of these excerpts will deal directly with stock photography, including tips on how to be successful for both the beginner and the expert, and other excerpts may deal with a wide variety of issues related to the ever-changing demographics of America and how those changes directly and indirectly affect the business of stock photography. We are very pleased that long-time PhotoEdit contributor Bill Bachmann has agreed to let us offer some excerpts from his newest book, Remember the Joy, which offers tips on “how to have a successful career in photography and have fun doing it.” In this first segment, Bill, who is one of the premier travel and lifestyle photographers in the world, discusses the personal characteristics necessary to succeed in stock photography.

Asian waiter shows selection of tea to Hispanic couple sitting inside booth in dining room aboard cruise ship

To do well in stock photography, a person needs many business skills, in addition to solid photography skills. A self-check of your own personal strengths is very important before you even begin. It will not give you the career freedom you desire if you are constantly finding you do not have the necessary personal and photographic skills to match the system that you will be creating.

In other words, a long look at yourself would be important before you invest the time, resources, and energy!

Travel and lifestyle are the two main sellers in stock photography around the world. Do you have the desire, health, money, family support, and energy to perhaps go on a two-week photo workshop, for example, so that you can begin building your stock travel library without making any money immediately in return? A workshop with other photographers is a perfect way to concentrate ONLY on shooting stock with foreign locals as models and learning from other participants in the travel group.

Greek fisherman wearing a straw hat holds an octopus at a harbor in the village of Pisso Livadi in the island of Paros in Greece

One terrific thing about stock…and this is a real plus…is that you can keep your day job probably at least for a year or two until the stock sales start to allow you more flexibility. You are, in a sense, going to school while you have your other job for financial support. It would help tremendously, therefore, if you have the support (both emotionally and financially) of a spouse or significant other.

Since lifestyle imagery is also another big seller, do you see yourself with enough energy and people skills to take the time to arrange models (or even friends to stand in as models) for your pictures? You can have a great time with it. Invite a lot of friends over in your backyard, buy some hamburgers for the grill, direct them to wear clothes that look modern, and shoot a group family barbecue, while they just react and act themselves. If you can mix various races together, it will be even more productive and salable. Then don’t forget the model release, which I will talk about more in a later segment.

Indoor portrait of Cameroonian young woman

None of this will do you ANY good again if your personality is not one to get yourself and others motivated for people pictures. You are NOT getting paid for this shoot (now, at least), so if you are lazy in bed and would rather sleep than go through the steps of getting people together for a barbecue, then perhaps lifestyle shooting is not for you. Only you know if that would interest you. Although lots of checks in future years from the same images may go a long way towards providing that motivation!

Here is a list of characteristics that are very important, if not absolutely necessary, to be successful in stock photography: organization, resources, positive attitude, energy, confidence, ambition, determination, personality, photo skills, business sense, support of family, and love of photography. Take a long look at these and see how you feel about your abilities. I can give you the tools for success, but you must have the drive and skill to take those tools and make the sacrifice. You will spend time making no money at all while you build your stock library to the point where agencies really want your work to sell. Are you able to put effort now into something that should pay off now, but not immediately?

Three White cowboys, one holding a lasso and one holding leather reins, talk while sitting on porch at a ranch


This concludes the first book excerpt from Bill Bachmann for the PhotoEdit blog. We thank Bill for allowing us to offer these valuable excerpts. If you are interested in ordering Remember the Joy or any of Bill’s other fantastic books, please visit his order page by clicking here. To see Bill’s complete collection of travel, lifestyle, and other worldwide multi-ethnic images on the PhotoEdit site, you can click through to his lightbox by clicking here. Stay tuned for more forthcoming book excerpts!

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