There is no greater inspiration for John Dunne than a trip across the world and the chance to explore somewhere new. For this Dublin-based fine art and landscape photographer who calls himself a "hobbyist photographer," travel and exploration will always inspire John to capture life's moments with a camera.
The opportunity to photograph landscapes around the world was handed to John in his early twenties when he was given a job that required him to travel across Europe and North Africa. And as part of the gig, he had to purchase his very first SLR camera, a Canon EOS 500. But returning home and feeling deflated by the lab prints that resulted from his shots, John put his camera down for 13 years and did not pick it up again until 2006 when he set out on another exciting trip - his honeymoon which would take him through Italy, Tokyo, Australia, Fiji, and Bangkok.
John remembers the most pivotal moment in his photography career, which happened soon after he returned home from his travels to look over his photos. "I suddenly had my ah ha moment," John recalls. This is what I was missing in the world of film SLR - the computer!" Knowing little of fine art photography years back, John realized that a computer would let him translate his shots into the images he imagined them to be.
Now fully committed to re-exploring his passion for photography, John needed a way to showcase his photos on a platform that was easy to use and easy to navigate, both for him and his visitors. But as he played around with various options, one overriding theme was clear - they all required too much work on his end. And with a full-time job during the week as a Global Programs Manager for a large IT company, John just didn't have the time to tinker with the technicals.
So the hunt continued. With a growing number of fine art and landscape images in his archive, he needed a single solution platform that offered a great deal of creative flexibility. This is why he was delighted not only when he discovered PhotoShelter, but PhotoShelter's seamless integration with Graph Paper Press themes for WordPress blogs.
"PhotoShelter offered me a powerful backend for galleries, portfolios, e-commerce tools, print vendors, and image licensing. WordPress offered me an incredibly powerful and extensible blogging platform. And Graph Paper Press offered me a beautiful way of tying them both together seamlessly. Bingo!"
PhotoShelter impressed John again in June of 2011 when he wanted to update his site's design and bring his images to the forefront. "Using PhotoShelter's simple tools, I created new gallery collections that displayed my work by color groupings and locations," John says. For sales, PhotoShelter also provided him with the "whole package," allowing John to easily sell prints and licenses directly to the public. PhotoShelter also let him create secure galleries for client work and allowed those clients to download mock-ups or full-resolution versions of the images.
Although John still considers photography a hobby and passion he pursues outside of work, today PhotoShelter's e-commerce tools help him bring in revenue from corporate shoots and commissioned work focused largely on his landscape and fine art floral photography. But John believes that his exposure to corporate clients happened only by chance. "I just started helping out by taking photos for my own company," John remembers. "Word spread and I suddenly started getting paid work from clients."
To market his work to existing and potential clients, John stays true to a pace that is slow and steady, combining word of mouth and online efforts. He relies on social media, noting that his own blog posts are a regular part of his daily workflow, as well updating and sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and more recently 500px and Google+.
What's John's advice for encouraging conversation on social media platforms? Simply, be sincere. "In a world of constant self-promotion, people can spot a fake a mile away. If you do nothing but fill these streams with only you, you won't get very far."
Whether it's information about social media sites, SEO, or managing client relationships, John puts to use the expansive amount of information that PhotoShelter provides photographers and says, "PhotoShelter as a team are clearly passionate about what they do and through their blog and excellent research reports, they are contributing back to the community in a meaningful way."
What does the future hold for John? He admits he's been asking himself the same question lately. "I see myself facing two important questions. Like many I ask myself: 'Can I afford to take the risk and make a commercial success if I venture out as a full time photographer?' The second question is a little more esoteric but just as important to me: 'Will the passion fade if I become financially dependent on photography?'" With a full-time job he loves in addition to his passion for photography, John feels good about where he is right now.
Today, with a hobby he can't live without, John considers himself lucky to live in Ireland, a part of the world where beautiful green landscapes are just a short drive away. "I honestly continue to be in awe of the world around me, both the grand vistas and the tiniest details. And without photography, I wouldn't have the opportunity to share my personal interpretation of the world with others."
Hobbyist, Landscape, Nature
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