As I mentioned last week, I’m stepping out of my role here at S&SPC for a year to welcome a new baby and learn how to be a mom.
In the meantime, you’re going to get a whole new photographer to lead you through the world of taking and selling photos online…
Daniel’s a full-time freelance photographer who sells both fine art prints AND stock photos online, and he’s going to share all kinds of new methods for doing those things with you this year.
I’d love for you to get to know him a little better before he “takes the helm,” so read on for an interview in which he reveals some of his fun travel stories, shares his best-selling images, and even gives away one of his top tips.
Meet Daniel – Your New S&SPC Host for 2021!
Interview with Daniel Nahabedian
BONNIE: What were you doing for a living when you first got started in photography?
DANIEL: When I first started photography, I was working as an HR manager in a contracting company in the UAE. I had studied law back in France and had no background at all in Photography or Art when I bought my first camera.
BONNIE: So, what drew you from HR… to photography?
DANIEL: The joke is that I bought my first camera to impress some girlfriends. It didn’t turn out the way I expected. But to be fair, I always wanted to become a creative person rather than work in a cubicle. Photography quickly developed into a passion because it not only allowed me to expand my creativity but also to slow down and view the world more carefully and closely, finding stories and hidden gems. It didn’t just change my lifestyle, it also changed me as a person.
BONNIE: That’s amazing. How long did it take you to get up-and-running?
DANIEL: After I purchased my first camera, I practiced every single day until I became more comfortable with the settings and rules of composition. Just a few months later, I sold my first prints online. A year later, I felt confident enough to quit my job and become a full-time travel photographer. There was no secret path to success, I just had to allocate at least an hour every day to practice, even when staying at home.
BONNIE: What’s one of your favorite places you’ve been as a photographer?
DANIEL: Every place I’ve visited felt unique and special, and it’s difficult for me to pick favorites. But if I had to choose a recent destination, I’d definitely go with Jordan. Apart from the kindness of the people, the food and middle eastern culture, I was fascinated by the variety of landscapes and the rich history the country had to offer. From the alien landscapes of Wadi Rum to the hidden treasures of Petra, it’s truly a photographer’s dream destination.
BONNIE: What’s an adventure that photography has sent you on?
DANIEL: I’ve had quite a few adventures during my travels – many of them involving getting chased by wildlife – but never would I have thought I’d hop on a camel one day to ride to a camp in the Sahara desert, and immediately get caught inside a massive haboob (sandstorm) halfway through our trip.
There was sand, strong winds, rain and lightning. It was quite intense and exhilarating. I had to hold on tightly to my camel and make sure it was following the caravan while trying to juggle with my camera to take some photos. Didn’t want to end up lost in the middle of the largest desert on earth.
BONNIE: Hah – I bet! So, what do you like about selling photos as stock and fine art online?
DANIEL: Stock photography makes it easier to monetize the hundreds of photos that end up sitting unused on our hard drives. I try to pick the strongest photos to submit as fine art, and the rest of the candidates mostly end up on stock.
Stock photography is also mostly “upload and forget” and can be a good source of passive income without much effort.
Fine Art, on the other hand, requires more involvement, especially for marketing and for establishing a connection with your audience. It also allows me to express myself more as an artist instead of trying to tailor images to a client’s needs.
BONNIE: What are your best-selling stock and fine art shots?
DANIEL: My best-selling stock image is this photo of the Serengeti plains, which has sold over 1,000 times already. It’s a good example of how a photo doesn’t necessarily need to include a lot of information to become a bestseller.
As for my most popular fine art print, it’s this photo of a young monk meditating next to a small pond.
It sells mostly as wall art, posters and postcards. Many buyers loved the Zen and warm mood it gives, as well as the spiritual side of it.
BONNIE: Can you share your number one biggest composition or light tip?
DANIEL: Every person with a camera or a smartphone can be a photographer nowadays. My most important composition tip to get images that stand out is to break the norm and move around to find better angles.
A random “snapshooter” will probably stand in the same spot and take the same photo as everyone else.
But if you slow down, observe the scene patiently, and get lower or higher to find a better angle, you’ll take photos that will have a unique look and have a better chance of grabbing attention. The world becomes more interesting if we view it from a different angle than our everyday perspective.
BONNIE: Thanks so much, Daniel! We’re looking forward to hearing a lot more from you this year.