Jerry and Marcy Monkman
Nature photographers Jerry and Marcy Monkman are well aware that a photo can do more than preserve its subject's beauty in pixels. Their photographic contributions to over 100 various conservation projects have actually helped preserve many of New England's wildlands. "I almost always approach a shoot with the goal of inspiring the viewers of my images to appreciate the environment and take action to protect it," Jerry shares. By working closely and frequently with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the pair are able to give back to the northeastern lands they've made a career out of documenting. In addition to their work with non profits like The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Monkmans have numerous editorial and commercial clients which include National Geographic Adventure, Men's Journal, and L.L. Bean.
Jerry and Marcy, who operate under the name EcoPhotography, rely on PhotoShelter to run their business. "I find Photoshelter to be invaluable in promoting my work, providing a platform for displaying my best work, and delivering stock and commissioned work to my clients," Jerry says. They use the Induro template, one of the ten designs available to PhotoShelter members, with a few manual tweaks of their own to display their image galleries. They were so pleased with the Induro design, they carried it across to the Graph Paper Press blog they maintain to share the stories behind their shoots and update followers about their business.
"I almost always approach a shoot with the goal of inspiring the viewers of my images to appreciate the environment and take action to protect it."
The pair works hard to establish long-term working relationships, as recurring clients provide a reliable source of income. "A big chunk of our income comes from the same 10 to15 clients, year after year," Jerry explains. They try to meet with clients in person at least once a year to sustain those relationships, and keep them informed on their latest projects the rest of the time through postcards and emails. Assignments and stock are big revenue sources for EcoPhotography, so they depend on PhotoShelter's image delivery methods to get their images to the right people quickly and efficiently. When clients are not able to pay upfront by card, the Monkmans send the images to them in an invite-only gallery, and invoice the client later. The invite-only gallery ensures that only approved clients are able to download the images. The images found in their public galleries are all protected by PhotoShelter's Theft Guard, and include a custom EcoPhotography logo watermark. The licensing process is even simpler for clients that are able to pay by card- they enter the usage details into the RM pricing calculator on the site, receive a price quote, pay on the spot and download the image immediately. In such cases, the Monkmans do not need to lift a finger, they can continue shooting while the sale takes place.
Jerry and Marcy also sell signed limited edition posters and "eco prints"- prints made with recycled cotton and carbon pigment without any brightening agents or heavy metals- that they fulfill themselves. As they shared with us in a blog post on sales in 2010, they've found the online marketing advice provided in PhotoShelter's free reports to be particularly effective in driving up print sales.
We learned that playing the SEO game can definitely help. We're employing a bunch of the ideas in PhotoShelter's guides to SEO and social networking - Facebook, Twitter, blogging, guest blogging, relevant caption and gallery names, etc. We've sold more prints online this year than in any other previous year, and most of those print buyers were unknown to us before they clicked on that 'Add to Cart' button.
The pair is always involved in a number of different projects, and are constantly looking to further diversity their business. In his own words, Jerry believes that success is reliant on "being able to withstand the ups and downs of the photography business longer than other good photographers!" Which is why their income is not entirely dependant on image sales. They have also published seven photography books, including their latest, The Colors of the Fall Road Trip Guide, and have two more in the pipeline. They've recently begun producing video documentaries and are currently working on one about a local vegetable farm and another on the endangered eastern cottontail rabbit. Jerry also teaches a number of workshops throughout the year for both beginners and more intermediate photographers looking to gain more insight into the unique challenges of photographing a constantly changing environment. Whatever particular project they happen to be involved in at the moment, Jerry & Marcy continue to find fulfillment combining their shared passions for conservationism and photography.