Crowdfunding Your Photography Project

Crowdfunding Your Photography Project

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Ludwig van Beethoven was a quirky dude who was known to defecate into the chamber pot beneath his piano while composing masterpieces of classical western music. But I digress.

The larger point I want to make is that back in the day, artists often relied on patrons to fund their endeavors. Beethoven had a number of patrons like Prince Rasumovsky from Russia. Johann Sebastian Bach had Count Kaiserling, who paid him handsomely for the Goldberg Variations.

That was then, and this is now. The historical patronage structure no longer exists to support artists en masse. Twentieth century funding outlets for photography projects like magazines have had their budgets slashed. So if you’re a famous photographer like Gerd Ludwig and you want to follow up to see how things are going in Chernobyl 30 years later, what do you do?

A cottage industry of “crowdfunding” has come of age to help creative artists (or almost anyone for that matter) pitch an idea online and solicit funding from family, friends and strangers. Kickstarter, Emphas.is and IndieGoGo are a few that we’ve profiled in our latest guide Crowdfunding Your Photography Project.

But more than just a survey of services, we interviewed eight different photographers who have used crowdfunding successfully and not so successfully to take their projects from inception to completion. And like all our other research, you can download Crowdfunding Your Photography Project for free.

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter. He co-hosts the "I Love Photography" podcast on iTunes.

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. George L. at 6:04 pm

    Great resource. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve supported two friends on RocketHub.com and have seen how crowdfunding can be quite powerful.

  2. Thomas Hayden at 1:49 pm

    Looking forward to reading this. I successfully funded a last minute project to create a gigapixel virtual of the Grand Canyon by raft via Kickstarter in 2010 and hope to do more crowdfunded projects in the months to come. Because of my extraordinary backers on Kickstarter, over 200,000 users have now experienced Grand Canyon GigaView on Google Earth and Bing Maps. Just zoom into the Canyon and look for my 360Cities.net or Photosynth icons near the river. Once you’re inside one of the images, keep zoomin in for incredible details. To be able to zoom in from space, below the Canyon walls, onto a rock on a beach, and then to be able to zoom in on a individual flower, is an incredible user experience online.

  3. John Paul Henry at 8:24 am

    Allen & Co. – Thank you! What a fantastic resource this is for photographers, like myself, incorporating non-profits into their business structure. With the help of your case studies, I can now present a strategy to non-profits, that were once looking for handouts, to allowing them to INVEST in marketing -> paying graphic artists, web designers, and, ahem, photographers. You’re helping create a new market for photographers; that’s pretty awesome.
    – John Paul Henry

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