Travel photographer Gavin Gough considers himself a traveler first, and a photographer second. He lives to travel and experience new things, capturing the personality and charm of each new location as only someone who truly appreciates it can. He views photography as a method of communication, a way to share and celebrate the understanding and love he has developed for the cities, people, and cultures he encounters in his travels. His photos have appeared in National Geographic, Geo, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times, among many other publications, and he has been commissioned by several tourism boards, NGOs, humanitarian and charitable institutions.
Gavin runs his business from his PhotoShelter-WordPress blog integration. He uses Widescreen, one of the nine Graph Paper Press WordPress blog themes supported by PhotoShelter, which allows him to easily integrate the gallery, search, and e-commerce portions of his PhotoShelter site into his blog seamlessly — all without any manual coding work on his part. His branding is maintained as clients switch between blog posts and the galleries where they may search his archive, license images, and purchase prints.
Gavin's workflow is very reliant on Adobe Lightroom- he uses the application to import, catalogue, and keyword his photos. Once his images are ready, he exports them to his PhotoShelter archive using the Lightroom plugin by PACT Software, which is available to all PhotoShelter members. He has organized his image galleries into several collections- Documentary, Europe, Indian Sub-continent, and Southeast Asia- for easy navigation. Gavin is also very thorough when keywording and captioning his images, so interested buyers can search his entire collection anytime.
About 70% of his business revenue is generated from either assignment work or stock, so it is PhotoShelter's image delivery tools that Gavin relies on the most. With over a half dozen delivery methods to choose from, he prefers to grant download permission to his clients on a per-gallery basis by sending them an invitation to their particular gallery. Within the invitation he can limit the size of the images, set an expiration date, and limit the maximum number of downloads. His invite-only galleries are only visible to the people that have been invited — they remain invisible on the public site. Clients need only open their invitation and log into a free account in order to view their gallery and download images individually or in batch. Gavin can monitor what they're downloading in his account statistics and invoice them later. Both he and his clients are able to avoid wasting time going back and forth, which they both appreciate.
That kind of access has allowed me to make sales from far-flung locations and when clients have plenty of other photographers' work to choose from, that's a crucial advantage. Clients love the ability to download comps and to create lightboxes and PhotoShelter now provides all the tools that I need at the business end of my workflow.
In addition to his assignment and editorial work, Gavin teaches at the Bangkok Photography School, which he founded. He estimates about 30% of his revenue is generated from the school and private workshops and tours. "It's nice to have the variety and I'm reassured that my eggs are not all in one basket," Gavin says. If he wants to spend more time teaching, for example, he shifts the focus of his marketing efforts. He's comfortable doing so because he knows his search engine optimized web presence alone will generate a certain level of stock inquiries. Gavin appears on the first page of Google search results for terms like "freelance travel photographer." "That's another benefit of PhotoShelter," Gavin points out. "I can be selling stock online even when I'm teaching or working on assignment — it's like having a virtual 24-hour marketing assistant."
"I'm conscious of making sure that I've given my clients access to all the potential work that I can do, and conversations often revolve around what else I can provide once the initial assignment has been completed."
Gavin has found that Word of Mouth consistently opens new doors and draws in new clients. A happy client is his best marketing tool. "I try to deliver on deadline, don't offer excuses and always aim to provide a little more than was requested. It's the small things and attention to detail that can tip the scales in your favor," Gavin shares. He is sure to establish the groundwork for a longterm working relationship whenever possible. "I'm conscious of making sure that I've given my clients access to all the potential work that I can do, and conversations often revolve around what else I can provide once the initial assignment has been completed."
The successful photography business Gavin has built allows him to to continue to share his life's passion with others. He never loses sight of that ultimate purpose. "Photography is a means to an end" he admits. "If I couldn't photograph then I'd learn to become a better writer or a more talented sketch artist in order to capture and communicate the experiences that travel brings."