Once in a while, I’ve licensed my photographs. However, that’s become increasingly rare as the quality and quantity of available photos have increased. It’s a noticeable drop from a decade ago when I would get several inquiries per year. Luckily, photography is just a hobby, and any incoming funds help to pay for new gear — I don’t have to live off this income.
I was pleasantly surprised that I licensed a photo last year, which is now available to the general public. It’s part of the Austin Events Calendar, a yearly publication, and mine’s the February 2023 picture aptly named “Hot Rod Drive-Ins.” I even got some money out of it that would help pay for a lens.
I have two takeaways. First, my picture is a unique slice of Austin life that goes beyond the typical tourist snapshots. Only three of the twelve in the 2023 calendar look standard. And, I don’t use standard as a pejorative — they are great photos, the kind of subjects that I often make. The calendar shines when it documents Austin from an unexpected perspective.
The second takeaway is that image quality can be strong enough for professional work, even on a modest camera. And by professional, I mean printed in a commercial publication at 8 by 12 inches, larger than most magazines. And, unlike magazines that might be weekly or monthly, this calendar is a yearly publication. Which arguably requires high image quality.
I shot this with a super-zoom point-and-shoot, the Panasonic ZS50, a 12MP camera released in 2015. This picture was part of a 2016 blog post featuring nine images from a hot rod night at Top Notch. I called the ZS50 my photo sketchbook and used its excellent zoom range to experiment with different compositions. It helped me get out of my wide-angle rut, which is how I started photography.
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