Moving Photograd Forward

Last year I benefited a fair amount from Start East, an initiative local to me who provide business support in the form of workshops, seminars, and one-to-one meetings. Advice and guidance really motivated me to take the first step in making Photograd my job. Many of you might not know or realise, but Photograd is a one man team. It's something I had an idea for soon after graduating when realising I didn't want any old ordinary day job. Thoughts became words, which soon became this online platform and related social media channels. Photograd now has a big following; I'm overrun with emails and requests, and views are always growing, it's just a lack of income for my hard work at this time.

Oh, I also work two other jobs.

After my first one-to-one in December I knew exactly what I had to do to make this work. I created a survey just for those featured on Photograd since it launched in April 2016 in order for me to gauge what is wanted and needed in this industry. I promised I'd publish some results and here they are.

Of the roughly 120 featured graduates when the survey was created, 52 responded.

  • 59.6% don't currently sell their work, 40.4% do.
  • Work is generally sold after assignments, at exhibitions or art fairs/festivals, through websites, word-of-mouth, via online printing portals, during residencies, or through an agent.
  • Of those 52, 81.4% are looking to sell work in the future, with 14% possibly wanting to. 4.7% revealed that selling work isn't for them.
  • Of those 52, 50% have somewhat benefitted from Photograd, with 38.5% having definitely benefitted from the platform, and 11.5% suggest they've not benefitted at all.
  • 94.2% of those 52 would consider being part of opportunities provided by Photograd in the future.

"What support or resources do you think you need as a photographer?"

  • Exhibitions, portfolio reviews, feedback, features and promotion.
  • Commissions, project support, advice, workshops, both professional and peer networking opportunities.
  • Print sales and outlets to sell work, both online and physical opportunities.
  • Competitions, meet-ups and discussions, learning resources, marketing and sales skills.
  • Support with funding and bursaries, recommendations, and links within the industry.
  • Inspiration and motivation, and an online community.

"What are your goals in terms of making a career from photography?"

  • Exhibitions, marketing, journalism, editor, writing, interviews.
  • Take on commissions and residencies, enter competitions and opportunities, and collaborate.
  • Teaching, lecturing, assisting, and make contacts within the industry to move forward.
  • Gain respect, be established, achieve agency or gallery representation, and reach a wider audience.
  • To make more work and sell more work.

"What does Photograd mean to you?"

  • Networking and exposure opportunities.
  • Connect and be inspired by others.
  • Exploration into new genres of work.
  • A valuable community and support system.
  • Professional, accessible, needed, and useful.
  • A first step platform to launch graduate careers.
  • A boost.

"How has Photograd benefited your career?"

  • Exposure, publicity, reaching a wider audience, gives credibility to work.
  • Confidence and inspiration to continue creating new work and show others.
  • Features are often used on websites, CV's, and sent to others when applying for opportunities.
  • Meet like-minded people, grow online audience, put new ideas into words.
  • Be contacted by others working in the industry for further opportunities.

"What extra support would you like to receive from Photograd, if any?"

  • Exhibitions, online and offline community support. Industry connections.
  • Critiques, portfolio reviews, mentorship, workshops, events, talks.
  • More exposure, sharing of new work. Advice and guidance, feedback.
  • Opportunity links from other platforms; a 'what's on' newsletter.
  • Financial support, funding and grant resources.
  • A way of sharing work online with others for feedback. Professional and peer networking. More of a conversation between those featured.
  • A physical presence.

"What sort of opportunities would you like to see provided by Photograd?"

  • Exhibitions, collaborations, connections, talks.
  • Feedback, reviews, competitions, awards, internships.
  • Seminars, printed media opportunities, festivals, open calls, job connections.
  • Involve more industry experts.
  • An online store.
  • Introduction to industry professional; publishers, curators, galleries etc.

At the end of the survey I allowed featured graduates to leave any additional feedback and this section overflowed with very kinds words of appreciation, support, and encouragement. I can't express how much it all means to me.

I've been working extra hard already this year to provide new exciting opportunities for Photograd, most of which will allow me to finally pay myself.

Watch this space.

Melissa, at Photograd. Obligatory tea in hand.