Making money through self portraits
Making money through my self-portraits is a regular thing now, having myself published regularly, I don’t even think about it, but when I first started photography, I took self-portraits a lot. It was a way of self-expression but also a way to practice, solely, without judgement, I was free to make mistakes. Oh, boy did I! But it developed my photography skills quickly, and in a direction, I was happy with.
I still to do this day, do self-portraits, often! My direction has changed dramatically since I was 16. My photography is about telling stories, creating characters and atmosphere.
All thanks to book covers.
My face has graced the covers of amazing authors such as Isabel Allende, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Tammy Cohen, Ryan Graudin, Gia Cribbs and so many more.
So if you are a self-portrait artist, you’ve probably ended up here because galleries while they are great, don’t often sell self-portrait work. As one man insightfully told me one day while I was in a gallery show, wondering why my work wasn’t selling, despite everyone in awe and telling me wonderful things endlessly.
I love your work, it’s beautiful, enchanting and I enjoy looking at it, but at the end of the day who is realistically going to buy a big print of a random young girl and hang it on their wall?
This changed my life, it changed how I viewed my own work and gave me a harsh wake-up call that I desperately needed. It helped me focus in on where I needed and wanted to be. I never even got the man’s name. Thank you whoever you were.
So I needed an outlet, a way to make my work sell. I veered away from self-portraits, but it was always some of my most substantial work.
I just wished my self portraits would make me some money.
Finally, years later, I got into book covers, a creative outlet, a way of making decent money from my self-portraits. People buy them nearly every month, even ones from when I was 16. It felt like coming home. It feels like I have a safe space to practise my photography again, to weave stories into photography, to embody characters that connect with authors and designers enough to publish my work with theirs.
I encourage self-portrait photographers out there to try their hand at book cover photography! And fellow photographers in general to try self-portraiture. You never know what could come from it!
If you’re interested in making money through your own self-portraits, check out my ‘Breaking Into Book Covers’ photography course, it gives you a detailed outline of how to get your own self-portraits published and how to avoid every mistake I made!