Make a plan.
Whether you’re engaged in your creative life professionally or simply as a vehicle for personal growth, I recommend you make a creative plan. If you do this, you too will find both your productivity and fulfillment will increase, in a way that’s meaningful to you. Having defined what you need to accomplish, your unconscious will go to the work of fulfilling it, generating many ideas over time. — John Paul Caponigro
I certainly cannot claim to be an expert on this subject, but do have a little experience, and I am near the baseline. I got an email from Vickie asking for help on getting published and trying to get paid for her photography. Rather than saying “I’m no expert” I provided what insight I could, according to my own experience. I hope others find it useful as well. This is what I told her:
There are many ways and places to publish your photographs depending on your interests, the type of photography you do, and how hard you want to work. Many people use Flickr, and some magazines and art directors look there when they need images. But Flickr is huge, and the chance that you will catch that kind of attention is relatively small.
You can also establish your own website and/or blog. I use InMotion hosting for both. I think it costs about $85 per year; you can download both gallery and blog (WordPress) applications. I also have an account at www.pbase.com which is even less expensive, somewhere around $28 per year. If you want to get serious about selling your work, you should establish your own presence on the web. That said, I should note that I have never sold directly from my web site, but it serves as a photo resume and portfolio for people who might be commercially interested in my work.
Most of my sales have come from small art fairs and to friends or co-workers. ZAPPlication.com has many listings for art shows and fairs across the country and links to the sites of these art fairs for details and applications. I think that CaFe is another similar listing. Jury fees are usually $25-30, but booth fees range from about $35 – $450. I print and mount my own work to save money and remain competitive, and to get exactly the results I want. I also do cards, but it is hard to make much money as cards usually sell for less than $5. Artist’s coops are another opportunity if there is one in your area. Usually there is some contribution to start, they take a portion of proceeds, and you need to gallery sit. You can also call private galleries and arrange for a portfolio review to see if they are interested in your work. Some wineries also host artwork. Art fairs are also a possibility where you have the greatest control. Although most are juried, if your work is reasonably professional, you will be accepted. If not, perhaps you need to re-think.
Depending on your interests you can also submit to various publications directly. If you like to photograph images of fall colors for example, calendars may be a good opportunity. If you live in a small town, you might speak to your local newspaper publisher about travel or lifestyle photography.
Alyson B. Stanfield offers a free artist newsletter that focuses on Art Marketing; you might consider signing up. I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Good Luck!