Buying and selling photographs in 2022 has changed greatly. It wasn’t that long ago that I was selling golf course and rodeo photos through a major stock agency, paying Agpix for a daily email want list, and relying on Cradoc software for photo pricing. How things have changed! Today, I do the occasional shoot for local companies and continue to sell photos to Travel Alberta and Parks Canada, but the entire industry has been transformed by microstock websites and the ability to find almost anything online directly from photographers and social media feeds.
The photographers I know that are making a living by selling their work have specialized – shooting for real estate companies, corporate events, and even cattle for auction houses. Locals like John Marriott and Paul Zizka have gained huge social media followings that make guided tours and workshops a worthwhile enterprise. Others such as Darwin Wiggett have gone off the grid and continue photographing only for the love of the art.
As a publisher, we go out of our way to support local photographers. We worked with local wildlife photographer Wayne Lynch to create our Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies coffeetable book and for Images of Jasper, we went right to the source and used the work of photographers who actually live in Jasper.
This spring, Summerthought will be publishing a new edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide. Our team has spent months sourcing photos, as the book is in full colour for the first time in 50 years. We could have gone to a microstock website, but felt it worth the effort to source locally, even if the process took longer and cost more. One common thread we hear regularly is companies (including publishers) expecting photographers to supply their work for free, so we are happy to be able to pay a fair price for photos we use.
While sourcing photos for the new Trail Guide, we went to all our usual sources, but also checked websites and social feeds of hundreds of local outdoor enthusiasts. The quality of photos in general is amazing, but what struck me especially was the quality and quantity of material from the remote backcountry of the Canadian Rockies.
Check out the work of these local adventurers/photographers we’ve worked with in recent years for various Summerthought Publishing and Gem Trek Maps projects: