“I don’t think people are prepared for the amount of work it takes to be successful with Kickstarter,” says photographer Ryann Ford. She ran a a Kickstarter campaign to subsidize publication of her 2015 book called The Last Stop.
powerHouse had expressed interest in the project, which is about the architecture of disappearing rest stops along America’s interstate highways. But the publisher wanted to gauge interest in the project before committing to publication. So editors asked Ryann to do a Kickstarter. She set a fundraising goal of $25,000, then launched her month-long campaign in November, 2014.
“I sat a the computer for 18 hours a day, for 28 days, eating microwave quesadillas,” she says. She spent the time appealing for donations from everyone she knew, posting repeatedly to Twitter and Facebook, and pitching the project to media outlets. Those pitches led to numerous interviews with media outlets that were hungry for blog content, and decided to feature her project.
“I noticed that when I walked away from the computer for a break, the pledges would stop, so I got back on there, tweeting and sharing. It was like stoking a fire. As soon as you stop, it stops.” But her efforts paid off: Ford exceeded her goal, raising more than $35,000.
Few photographers are comfortable asking for donations to support their projects. Fundraising expert Dianne Debicella, program director at Community Partners in LA (and formerly senior program director at Fractured Atlas), reminds artists that they’re not begging. She explains why confidence is so important when asking potential donors for money: “You have to frame [the pitch]... More ›
Los Angeles photographer Travis Shinn spent a decade—“too long,” he says—as an assistant. “Get in, learn what you can and get out. Or you start getting bitter.” Here’s a quick test to help you figure out if it’s time to strike out on your own as a photographer: 1. Have you been assisting 5 years?... More ›
A photographer reached out to PDN last week with details of a fake assignment scam that nearly cost him $4100. A person pretending to be an editor for The Fader, Patrick McDermott, contacted the photographer in late December with an offer of an assignment to shoot a fashion editorial for the magazine. He accepted and... More ›