Is There Another Way?
With the COVID-19 virus spreading world wide, is there another way to keep photography and modeling business practices moving in the right direction? Clearly, it is a major challenge when one looks at cash flow, availability of people and locations, and even proper handling of props.
Some artists have turned to on-line sales, where in the past it may not have been through of as a main revenue stream. Personal websites, commercial sites such as Only fans, or even becoming a stock image provider to such sites as Adobe may be options. Each of these option has advantages and drawbacks and may work for some and not others. For example, personal websites do require that you purchase a domain name and in some cases pay the hosting provider. Hosts such as Wix will even help you built your own website at no cost however the Wix brand will be featured even within your web address. The advantage of personal websites is however you often will not have to pay a commission fee for anything that your sell to a particular customer.
Some commercial sites that host images may actually charge a fee for every image that you sell to a customer. If you have developed a significant social media following, fees charge may not add up to much if you are able to garner a significant amount of sales per month. This usually means that you may need to place a significant amount of 'teaser' images to your regular social media accounts and direct potential customers to your pay site. One thing to keep in mind, for models is that the model must own the images such as self portraits, or must obtain permission to sell images from the photographer. Significant lawsuits have been filed relating to people selling images that they do now own. On the photographer part, make certain that you have a model release. Again, lawsuits have been filed and awards made without these documents.
Stock sites sales can work if you are providing images that are currently in need. Simply posting images without careful research into what is 'hot' and what is not can lead one to much disappointment. Those who do well at this often provide a significant amount of work each month and the payout may vary depending upon which stock site that you choose.
Video events, can help through sites such as Youtube. But in order to make this work, you will need a significant amount of your social media traffic to your channel in order to monetize your work. This can take time, and in most cases you will need something unique about your channel to draw a significant audience. Streaming videos can also be helpful, and in some cases webcams or even some cell phones can produce reasonable quality. This avenue some require some advance work on the producers part such as having a consistent place to film, good audio and lighting, and well as engaging subjects.
Obviously, in person events and be tricky. There is not only a risk of person to person transmission of disease but all props and surroundings must be disinfected before and after each use. Many local governments are placing restrictions on what may happen in public places which makes in person events even more difficult to manage well.
I wish everyone well in these stressful times and hope that you maintain your passion for the arts!